[I’ve added a note on the Flying Pig 10K as well as a note on the note]

I’ve no idea what to expect tomorrow night. I plan on running the Loucks Masters Mile. I ran the inaugural version two years ago and broke, barely, 5.

Now I head back up to the White Plains track to do it again. It’s where I got through all of 100 of my first 1600 of an interval work-out last week before my sciatica kicked in, so I am suspicious of how that part of me will react to getting up to speed.

Plus there’s no way I’m getting under 5. Instead, I plan on just seeing what happens. I’ll probably wear flats instead of spikes because I’m afraid of the stress of the latter. So not a lot of strategy. Ewen had a recent post that spoke about racing like the elites in terms of strategy and tactics, surging and stuff. I admitted to rarely having done that, since my objective has tended to be of the just-trying-to-run-as-fast-as-I-can variety. But more than road race, the track at least allows for some of it, as you try to stay with a group or pass a group and kick it in.

Entitled “I Race Like Ryan Hall,” in reference to Hall’s Boston performance, Ewen wrote,

It has occurred to me that I race like Ryan Hall — at least in long races, which I’ll classify as 15k or longer. I try and run an even pace throughout the race, which is the proven best way to run a record time — in my case, a personal best. The thing is, I’m not actually racing! I’m running a glorified time-trial with other runners for company. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? I’m not sure.

I can’t disagree with this. I do find Hall to be a runner who I like to watch just for the sake of watching and I find that for days afterwards I find myself relaxing a bit more in my own runs as I try to emulate him in some small way.

As I’ve written before, track races can be brutal.  As with cross-country, though, it’s a shared brutality in which there’s a special brotherhood among the participants. Particularly for someone like me who began his running career as a track guy, I get taken back in some small way, as I do with a track workout, to the simpler life as a track guy. (I take further comfort in seeing Chris Solinsky breaking 27 in the 10000 since he is actually heavier (albeit also taller) than I am.)

Couple of final things. Herb has posted his Boston race report, as always worth a read. I ran into Herb about 6.5 miles into a 13+ on Saturday and got the chance to run with him for a goodly number of miles. He seems pretty recovered from Boston. Matt has a nice race report on a recent five-miler on his podcast. And Robert’s just crazy (and I got to run with him on the prior Saturday). Both Herb and Robert, I should note, ran 22s on those days, far more than I did; I am amazed at the ease with which they are able to plug in those things. Herb suggested that it’s in my head. I don’t know. I think one is either wired for that or she’s not.

On May 19 I’m hosting a RunnersRoundTable on “Reasons Not To Run A Marathon.” I have several people lined up, but if anyone else would like to join — and I don’t care whether you’re for or against or agnostic — please drop me a line.

Also, someone has posted the following video as “Sportsmanship. Period.” Well, as Ewen discovered, the video has been removed by the race itself, which put it up. Perhaps it was a bit embarrassed. The video showed a woman walking about 15 yards from the finish of a 10K (the clock was just under 44) and the woman behind stops to pull her along, which led the first woman to go down. Meanwhile a race official came running out and arrived just as the runner was collapsing and helped her up and across the finish. Also, although I suggested that Brandon had questioned it, but I saw that the comment from the race was in response to a comment about disqualification on YouTube.

OK, call me a hardass. but what was a race official doing helping an athlete before she finished? That’s a disqualification. We’ve all seen images of athletes collapsing near the finish, most memorably Gabriela Andersen-Schiess at the 1984 Olympics and in a video of two women crawling across the line in the Kona Ironman, cases in which the officials stayed right by the athletes but did not touch them until they crossed the finish line. On the other hand, an athlete competing against the woman who collapsed — and that would be a woman and not a man — should be applauded. What that be a DQ offense? I don’t know.

Sportsmanship in races occurs all the time. Giving a hand-signal (as cyclists do) about a sewer grate or pothole ahead, not cutting off another runner, passing a cup of water to someone on the outside of a water station, shouting to a runner who is missing a wrong turn, saying an honest word of encouragement as the finish line approaches. As Ewen noted, at our level we’re really time trialing and doing the best that we can do. In my experience, these small acts of sportsmanship happen in every race.

[I posted a thread on LetsRun asking about the applicable rules.]

Brandon, from whom I obtained the clip, shared my concerns about whether this was kosher. He received the following response:

    Thanks for your comments and for watching our video! The Flying Pig Marathon does not offer prize money, so our rules are not as stringent as if there were cash on the line. Similar to earphone rules: It is our choice to let people know they shouldn’t wear them, but we won’t disqualify them (like some events) if they do.

This response is what the Brits would call in their wonderful word, “Rubbish.” Some rules are not made to be broken. This is basic stuff (like having someone jumping in to run with you late in a race or handing you water).

I like JT’s comment. Were I the one dying, just let me finish the damn race. It may take a bit longer but I don’t need to attach an asterisk to the result even if I don’t get DQed. And I know enough not to touch another runner to give help without asking beforehand. Return