Sunday, November 1, 2009

Running With The Best: Ryan Hall, Meb Keflezighi and Bill Rodgers

Yesterday, Halloween Day, I had a 5K race which was extremely hard. I don't know what happened. At mile one I wanted to quit and was very close of doing it, being the first time this happens to me. At mile two I was done, I don't know how I kept going. At mile three, I thought I was not going to make it!!! When I crossed the finish line I had to sit down for a minute as I was pretty much knocked down. When I stood up, I didn't have a good balance. Obviously I ran hard, but the time (28:54) was way slower than my PR.

In my "race analysis" I think that the reason is that I ran my second mile too fast, or faster than usual. After the first mile I did target Stephanie Jesmer from my division and didn't let her pass me. She was pretty much breathing in my neck during the whole second mile. Every time she got close I pressed harder. But when we completed two miles, I was done, and she left me behind. Stephanie got the division and I got second. I was happy anyway as I tried something new.

My plans for the day after the race was to run 2 hours some minutes with the best and fastest marathoners of the world. The race? The 40th New York Marathon. I could barely walk when I jumped out of bed, but I was so excited with my plans that got my legs quickly ready, had a GU, set up my laptop in front of my treadmill, and joined the crew at mile 4. While they ran under 5 min/mile, I was at recovery pace of 11:30 min/mile. But I was running with them. I felt a motivation that I have not had before. It was the coolest idea. A front pack of 13 men kept me excited cheering for the US to bring the title. Among the pack two Americans, Ryan Hall and Meb Keflezighi. I was routing for the blond kid of Big Bear Lake, CA, but if was not going to be his, Meb needed to take it. Around mile 14 the pack was reduced to 11, Ryan and Meb, still there. At mile 17 the pack went down to 6, and Ryan was left behind. Around mile 20 it was a three men race: Meb, still there. At mile 22 went down to 2 men, and at mile 24, Meb took off. When my treadmill hit mile 9 and 1:44 minutes, the race was won by Meb. He crossed the finished line in 2h 09' 14".

The 40th New York Marathon had an American winner after 27 years. And I ran with him during 80% of the race - from home. It was a fabulous.

But what about running with one of the best for real ?

Last weekend I had the opportunity and fortune to run a 10K with one of the greatest American marathoners, Bill Rodgers. In a brutally hilly course, and a more brutal downhill, he joined the cause to fight prostate cancer, which he is a survivor of. After the race, he was ready to talk to everybody. In the waiting line, I didn't understand what took him so long to sign an autograph, but when was my turn, I understood.

Very nice to meet you, Bill. And then he started. Hi, have you been running for a while? Where are you from? How did you do today? What are your favorite distances? When are your upcoming races? Then he knew about me also being a survivor, and we both shared that running has more meaning now. He was asking all the questions because he was the type of persons that care. It was not about him, it was about all the runners and the passion of running.

I got 7th in my division with 1:02:23.5 and Overall Female 59/77.

I am blessed and thankful, not only that I can run, but that I could virtually and for real, be Running With The Best: Ryan Hall, Meb Keflezighi and Bill Rodgers.


Petraruns said...

Lizzie Lee - what a wonderful report and what a wonderful idea to run with the best in a marathon! I'm full of admiration of your vim and vigour. And as for Bill Rodgers - how amazing! He seems wonderful.

ShirleyPerly said...

Lizzie, great idea to run with the best! I did something similar during the 2008 Olympics. Missed watching NYCM this year but was so happy to hear Meb won.

And how nice to meet running legend Bill Rodgers. I've not had the chance to meet him in person but have heard from many that he's a class act.

Congrats on your two races!

MarathonChris said...

What a great race report - and what a great idea to run and watch the NYC marathon!!!! Very cool!

Marathon Maritza said...

Great race reports and what an AWESOME idea to run while watching the marathon on your computer!!!! Man I wish I could do that!!! Awesome!

And meeting Bill Rodgers....whooo! frame that bib!