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Pete Magill is really fast, a 14:49 Cascade 5K at 47. Here is a must listen-to (click on photo) with Scott Douglas of Running Times on Masters Running. The two key take-aways:

  • You’re probably running too fast for your easy runs. (Though not the hated JS.)
  • You must do drills for your speed, to improve stride length.

As to the Drills, here’s a Video.

On Friday, Matt Tegenkamp became the third American to break 13 in the 5000, a week after Ritz became the second (and broke Bob Kennedy’s American Record). Teg’s 12:58.56 puts him third on the US list (after Ritz’s 12:56.27 and Kennedy’s 12:58.21). With Todd Williams, Kennedy was a breathe of life in American distance running in those days, taking the lead with 800 to go in the Atlanta 5000 before finishing sixth.

This race was quite different from Ritz’s, although they both lost to Kenensia Bekele. Ritz ran very evenly and picked off runners throughout. Teg was in the mix, the eighth of eight guys until Kenny B. opened up a gap. Unlike the week before in Zurich, however, Kenny B. came back to the pack, and Teg and seven others were right in it at the bell.

Bekele opened up and won, and Teg held on for seventh. He was happy:

Julie has a nice post, The sub-13:00 love train, on it.

    I was also reminded of an article from Matt Fitzgerald in Running Times late last year, How Records Are Broken, which examined the forces that push records downward and what everyday runners can learn from them. The gist being: While we hobby runners may not break any world, national or age group records, breaking our own personal records in a regular and dramatic fashion is a worthy goal — and an achievable one.

Unfortunately, I won’t be stepping aboard any time soon.

The new (September) issue of Running Times has an article by Marc Bloom. Marc is a long-time follower of HS running, and publisher of the Harrier, which covers the subject. He’s also the author of “God on the Starting Line,” which details his coaching of a New Jersey Catholic High School cross-country team, from the perspective of a Jewish coach.

His RT article is entitled “Muddy Footprints” (it’s not yet available on-line.) He provides “10 Reasons to Race Cross Country” and, bless him, notes the experience of “eating the dust of the 40- and 50-year-old youngsters” in the USATF XC Champs in Maryland last February. Here they are:

  • Run in the Footsteps of History
  • Run in the Natural Landscape
  • Run with Less Injury
  • Run for Fun, Fitness and Variety
  • Run Trails with Street Smarts
  • Run for Road-Racing Prowess
  • Run for Your Team
  • Run with a Pre-Boom Mindset
  • Run with Spikes if You Can
  • Run Without the Watch in Mind

Whenever I run a 5K at Van Cortlandt, there’s a spot — it’s about at the 1 1/4 mark — where I want to stop and, as Ryan Hall said he felt at Boston, find another career. Shortly before Blacktop. But I get over it and suck wind to the finish. My older legs can’t carry me down the hills — VCP has a number of uphills going out and major downhills coming home — as they used to so it’s frustrating to have people open up on me in the last mile.

And everyone suffers over the final 1/2 mile on the flats. But for the reasons articulated by Bloom, there is a purity and specialness about it.

There are three runs that I think all runners should do at least once. (This list does not include running a marathon.)

  • a Track Race
  • a Cross-Country Race
  • a Road Relay

I have spoken about running road relays, as well as about doing track races. But I think it’s worth flagging cross-country as well.

Here in the New York area, there are plenty of races, chiefly at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. It’s where you’ve likely run many an XC race if you ran for a high school in the area. Most accessible are the biweekly 5K races put on Thursday nights from May through August by my friends at the Van Cortlandt Track Club. NYRR has mostly-5K races come the fall, with a you-have-to-do-once Pete McArdle 15K (brutal is too kind), on Dec. 13 this year.

And the VCTC races: $5.

Will you finish last? First, as noted in my track post, DFL is nothing to sneeze at. Second, take a look at the results for the VCTC’s 2008 races. Third, and most important, who cares? A good time is had by all.

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