4/30/08

Intense Yoga Session…

"Run hard, be strong, think big!" Percy Cerutty

So before every yoga session our instructor asks us who’s hurt or injured. She knows that I had recently ran in the Boston marathon and knew that I had gone to get “work” done that past Friday evening, as I called it a deep tissue massage, but really just went to a physical therapist or sports doctor. So…my yoga instructor was surprised that the only thing that was “injured” was my tight calves. I mean I’m no super human person, but I have been lucky without injuries and with my tight calf.

I went to the Physical Therepist on Friday afternoon last week after the Boston Marathon to have a runner’s check up. I think any runner should get a check up on how their legs are doing and seeing if there are any hurt aspects to their feet, legs, body. So, I had met my PT, MD, at the NYRR awards party and she had contacted me due to me being the secretary of our club. MD had wanted to write an article for the NY Flyers and we had been talking…I was scheduled to get a real deep tissue massage, but figured if I can learn something about my legs and understand the muscles rather than just getting the deep tissue, then I would better off for myself. So, I told her the locations where I had been “ailing” and somewhat hurting such as: Planters Fasciitis, Achilles Heel or Achilles tendinitis, tight calves, limping…etc. I just tolerate pain pretty well and have a high tolerance for it. I try to just move on and just go about my business and do my workouts. I understand my body, I understand when to say when, but some are minor issues and I work them out accordingly. I know, I know…there are a whole lot of people that are worried about me, but still I push on and appreciate that concern.

So…Surpassingly everyone knew I had tight calves except me. MD showed me some moves in which I needed to stretch my calves. She rubbed out a whole lot of this one strain that I have on the side and hooked me up to this machine that shoots electrodes into your body and makes the muscles “work” and tries to loosen up the muscles here and there. But it was good and I felt very good leaving on Friday…but the tightness continued and will continue, so I have been rubbing my calf everyday with “the Stick” and also been stretching…back to Yoga…
So my instructor basically warmed us all up accordingly to what people had “injuries in” the class was based somewhat on my calves and upper body. The session was intense. My legs felt fine yesterday, but were extremely tight and loosening them up felt amazing. Some of the stances were somewhat difficult and intense, but I think Yoga is what you want out of it and what you put into it. You can go as long or as intense as you want. I use it for the intense workouts on my off days, but incorporate the intensity of running with breathing styles of meditation and freeing the mind of meditation and feeling one with mind, spirit and body. It’s a real good feeling of reaching your inner peace and a huge stress relief.

By the end of the session…I felt so much better and my calves were 10 times looser and more flexible.

I love Yogiing! I also love doing the Crow Pose (seen above)...

4/29/08

Puddle Jumping...

"On Saturday night, I said to myself, 'Are you ready to deal with a victory?' I decided I was." Joan Benoit on her thoughts prior to the 1984 Olympic Marathon

I could not have said it better myself. BUT...last night was a run for the CRAZIES! The weather forcast expected that rain would be upon us for the entire day. Running for the Monday night crew was questioned if this would be canceled...although most NY Flyer runs are all weather purposed. Nothing is stopped, unless it's lightning, tornados, hurricanes...etc. The extremes of running is usually upon people and as all runners, we are somewhat crazy for going out in some dangerous weather.

I'll let JG explain the story which he explains it in a different point of view than myself:

"Six of us ran. My pals JM, ES and BH and our dynamic duo JS and AE. When we left the corner it was drizzling. When we got to the West Side Path it was raining. It rained the entire run. Hard rain and soft rain but RAIN!!! There were puddles of water everywhere so I got confused when B started pointing out puddles spots. We were all soaked from our head to our toes. I got even more confused when B started jumping in puddles. Some were very deep. He would sometimes jumpin them to just to get wet and amuse himself and other times he would purposely splash water on one of us. Mostly on J. So they would have a puddle battle while the rest of us watched and ran. When we finally finished there was minimal conversation and no Mexican dinner :-( We all wanted to get home and out of our wet clothes."

Oh the joys of running.
I can't wait for the next rainstorm :-)

Hey, it was JS that started it all. Really she is the one that got me thinking, "well if your wet already, might as well just jump in the puddles of water..." I know...I know...it was bad that I tried to get everyone else wet. It was not just a regular rain...it was cold rain...

Hopefully everyone is dried off and not one got sick!

4/28/08

No NYC, Hartford instead...

"You have to forget your last marathon before you try another. Your mind can't know what's coming." Frank Shorter


As the days for registering for the NYC marathon comes to a close on May 1st, the question is: IS The New York City Marathon in my future? I think not...well not this year at least. I'll be going for the other ING sponsored race: The ING Hartford, CT marathon. Less commotion, flatter course and unfortunately, I will be away marathon Sunday. Unfortunately, I can not see my friends and teammates who are doing the NYC marathon because I will be planning go attend one of my really close family friends wedding, JD. Who I have been friends with for the longest time and she is my age, or actually we were born like 5 days apart, so no NYC for me this year and $135 saved…and not even doing the deferring process because that’s ridiculous! I’ll just run my 9 races and volunteer for one race as well.

As for final touches on Boston Blunder: a picture of all of my high school friends who had attended the B.Hsia fan club, as described here ut many thanks to though who attended and SC for making this all happen…(TJL, SC, MC, TC, BJ, CS, MM, VG…and others...you guys are awesome!) I was researching the ING Hartford Marathon and was sifting through the elite status categories which I found the amenities to the elite status were pretty amazing:

Marathon Elite Athletes are provided:
Complimentary Entry
Shared accommodations (for out of state athletes)
Maximum of $300 in travel expense reimbursement (see below for travel expense eligibility and regulations)
Use of Elite Athlete Hospitality Suite in hotel complete with food, beverage, massage and other services
Friday night Pasta Feast
Pre-race course tours on Friday
Shuttle from hotel to race start

Then I looked into it more to see what these guys had to do to get this “elite” status qualification time, and read:

To qualify for Marathon seeding, runners who have completed a marathon in the last 24 months under the following times:

Men less than a 3:01

Women less than a 3:30

Wow…umm…I qualify!!! I just made the cut off by 51 seconds… Well…we shall see if I am able to get in or not…not sure if this is a certain number of seeded people or do they pick from a lottery of people? I e-mailed them to find out…

4/27/08

run for your life

"The race is not going to come to me, I'm going to have to go out there and get it." Husband and her coach to Magdalena Lewy Boulet during the US Women's Trials

No one believed it was possible…Until one man’s dream ran its course.
On Sunday, April 27, a bunch of Flyers (JS, JoM, DG, NJ, JaMes, AK, HP, AG – Runner26, JA and Stebo) organized a screening of the first show to watch a Tribeca Film Festival movie about Fred Lebow. The movie was called Run for your Life, a film by Judd Ehrlich. Who is Fred Lebow? All I knew of the man was like any other NYC runner, there was a NYRR 5K trail race named after him and his statue lays in between the road and the dirt path right near Engineers Gate in Central Park. (Yeah, the guy looking at his stop watch, that’s the statue that I am talking about.) But yes, that’s the only two things that I had known about Mr. Fred Lebow until I had watched the movie.

Fred Lebow was the founder of the New York City Marathon. In the film, you find out many different stories of how the NYRR held races in the Bronx to the existing weekend races in Central Park. You also get a glimpse of how the NYRR organization was run in the old days or at least how Fred Lebow, former President of the NYRR for twenty years. Fred Lebow was a man of vision and the movie showcased his vision to bring the marathon into NYC first in Central Park and then out of Central Park to the 5 boroughs.

He was not just the founder of the New York City marathon, but the man who envisioned bringing running in all aspects of life. Changing the way we look at different running events, allowing women into the field of running and incorporating them for advertising, but later on a true testament of women empowerment and proving that women are just as good or even better than male runners.

The strictness of his dictatorship in running the NYRR organization and the NYC marathon told his story of the good and bad times of Fred Lebow. The movie also projected his battle with brain cancer and his amazing effort to run his race of the NYC marathon for the first time in 1992. Topping The 40 Most Influential People and Moments of the Past Four Decades
, his story is quite impressive and very heart-whelming.

It’s really scary though in the beginning of the film, they began with the cobblestones of a regular NYC street. The movie brings the essence of NYC, the memories that one brings from your own marathon. The story behind every marathon, especially the story behind the NYC marathon, is very dynamic because NYC is a very special marathon and very unique. If there was one marathon that you had to run, it would be NYC or Boston. Granted that I have only done NYC once, but it was special and uplifting. There is a small clip in which brings me chills, where a weather forecaster for the radio is on the newscast telling the listeners, “oh it’s a beautiful day on this Marathon Sunday in NYC, etc…” just brings me to tears in some ways.

By the end of the movie, I was in tears from Fred Lebow’s story. The essence of the man and legend that put all of his life, his career for NYC running and the Marathon itself is amazing and he is honored. As a NYC runner, we take that for granted each of the weekend races, the NYC marathon…it brings new meaning to the NYC marathon now…
“fascinating…exhilarating and heartbreaking.” This Week In New York

Out of 122 feature films at this year's Tribeca Film Festival, Run for Your Life is now in 7th place for the $25,000 Cadillac Audience Choice Award.

Waking up to the Wrong side of the bed…

"These high wild hills and rough uneven ways draw out our miles and make them worrisome." Shakespeare, Richard III


Talk about waking up to the wrong side of the bed…well I really literally cannot wake up on the wrong side of the bed, since I only could get out of one side, but it was a very rough morning.
I do have to say, what is the absolute WORST case for a runner to wake up in…(besides waking up and missing your race)…

Try waking up to cigarette smoke, yes you heard me right, cigarette smoke, which I had thought that I was smelling things this morning from the person in the room below me. But being nauseous from the many of beers that I had drank the night before at one of my college friends birthday parties. I had said to myself, “It’s going to be a while till I start drinking again, which I always say…”

But, I got out of bed, since the smell was getting worse and was saying in my head, “is the smell just getting stronger and stronger?” I head to the bathroom and seeing that there were people in the living room, where my roommate lets random people stay at our place on the weekends, I glance around. As I get out of the bathroom, I see this guy pass by my room. I asked him if he was smoking in the apartment and he acknowledged me and said that he was not. CLEARLY he was lying to me. I glance one more time when he left and there were cigarettes in the ash tray.

There is one thing that is a huge respect issue with me, I give people the benefit of the doubt, all the time. When you cross that line of lying to me, and on top of that I don’t even know you and the first time you interact with me, you are lying with me…that’s even worse, because you just lost everything. I was PISSED.

I woke up early to get most of my chores done, which included laundry and food shopping. I was lucky that I got out of the apartment to go to the laundry mat. This way I could get some fresh air and move, but I go back and forth from the laundry mat and back home, since I only live about a block away. I had to go back to my apartment and turn on my fan since I was truly upset with the guy and really wanted to kick him out of our apartment. I guess I am too nice, but kept my cool. I mean who does that when they are a guest in someone’s apartment? Some people are just so disrespectful.

Side note: I put my clothes into the washer, close the door, put my detergent in and put my money in. The wash cycle goes on and I could see that my running shorts, one of the draw strings is attached to the door, where I can see this string get would up constantly and then rewound back and forth. I wanted to fix it, but clearly I could not and did not want to lose my money in the process. I came out with a wounded draw string.
Also…do you separate your running clothes when you put it in the dryer? I often do since these clothes dry quicker (since most of the material are quick dry or drifit clothing and allow my other clothes to go into another dryer.) Maybe I’m just different.

And after folding all of my bandana’s that I had to wash, I have quite the number of different bandana’s in my collection…maybe I need more…

4/25/08

Sore…and burnt…

"The difference between my world record and many world class runners is mental fortitude. I ran believing in mind over matter." Derek Clayton

Walking down stairs a big difficulty when it comes down after a marathon and especially when you live in a 4th floor walk up or rather down. Walking up is more favorable, but walking down, that’s the killer. I just to happen to find out that most people would walk down backwards, although this does help, there is another way that you can do this. You can walk sideway where you get half of the pain, but you can move faster and more efficient with a sort of pain.

The reason is that your body is going forward when you go down the stairs…but no running this entire week.

The Monday night ride back to get home from Boston to NYC, was not as bad as the ride up to Boston by bus. TJL, long time friends from high school who lives in Boston, was bringing her family dog back home to meet up with her parents in Hartford. She offered BJ, another long time friends from high school who lives in NYC, and I a ride home along the dog transfer with her parents to go home (Westchester) and then take the train back into the city.

The ride was more comfortable and definitely it was good to catch up with good friends. But it was a long ways back home when you go from 4:15am to running a marathon to transfer to two cars and then a train ride back…and get back into NYC at 11pm.

This whole week ONE side of my arm was sun burnt from the Boston Marathon. It was red at first, then the pealing started happening and it was bad. It’s so funny though since you only run on one way the majority of the marathon the sun is shining on one side of your body. The early start…was cold and cloudy, but once the sun showed up the weather was beautiful and the sun was radiant. I’ve talked to other runners and their one side was also burnt as well...

4/24/08

Slow Marathonfoto…

"Hills are speedwork in disguise." Frank Shorter

Just imagine 25,000 runners trying to get their photos on Marathonfoto from this Monday’s race. I basically say to wait for tomorrow morning and get my photos off of the web. There is a thing that you enjoy when doing a marathon or any other race, you look for the good, bad, ugly and funny photographs that the professionals take of you. For some people, it’s the only photographs and memories of that particular race. For me, I take my photos during the race and have memories from this aspect of things.

Cheating Starts Before the Race Does
By GINA KOLATA
Published: April 24, 2008
Someone was selling a coveted starting place for the Boston Marathon. And this person claimed to have run a marathon in the impressive time of 2 hours 30 minutes, not only earning a place in the Boston Marathon — which requires nearly all runners to meet a tough qualifying time — but guaranteeing a spot near the starting line, where the quickest line up.

There was a problem with this eBay auction. It was against the rules.

The Boston Marathon requires athletes to have run a marathon in the past year with a time that is adjusted for age and gender. Most find the race’s strict standards all but impossible to meet. All this helps make the Boston Marathon unique and makes running it a dream for many athletes.

It also raises two questions: Why does the Boston Marathon make it so hard to enter? And how often do runners sneak in by trading or buying one another’s entries?
People try to cheat to get into the Boston Marathon every year, said Marc Chalufour, a spokesman for the Boston Athletic Association, which sponsors the race. And this year’s race, which was run on Monday, was no exception. The B.A.A. finds cheaters by checking sites like eBay and Craigslist, and hopes that if it misses some, other runners will turn in any cheaters.
That last situation is more likely, as the eBay seller must have learned. The offer was quickly removed from the site, but not before the person was exposed and publicly excoriated on running message boards.

Most marathons take all comers, but big-city marathons, which attract huge crowds, often have systems to limit the field. Nothing, though, matches the Boston system.
To enter the New York City Marathon, for example, runners must take part in a lottery. The only way to bypass this process is to run for a charity; be a member of New York Road Runners, volunteer with the group, and run nine of its races; or be very fast. Very fast means meeting qualifying times that are stricter than those of the Boston Marathon. Richard Finn, a spokesman for the New York Road Runners, explained that the qualifying times are the group’s way of attracting the quick-footed without “leaving it up to luck.”

The marathon in Chicago has a system to accept extraordinarily fast runners, but takes every applicant until it meets its limit.

With Boston, though, you either meet the qualifying time, illegally sneak in or gain entry as a charity runner — only 1,275 of 25,000 in the race ran for nonprofit groups like the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training.

The reason for the qualifying times, Mr. Chalufour said, is the peculiar logistics of that race. The Boston Marathon is the only big-city marathon that starts on a narrow road in a small town, Hopkinton, Mass. There is just not room for a huge field.

Qualifying times emerged in the late 1970’s when the running boom was starting and the Boston Marathon became overwhelmed with applicants.

“The goal wasn’t to challenge runners,” Mr. Chalufour said. “That was a byproduct.”
But soon the byproduct became the goal. There are runners who have spent decades as marathoners trying in vain to qualify for the Boston Marathon. There are marathons that have become popular largely because their flat or, in the case of Steamtown Marathon in northeastern Pennsylvania, largely downhill courses allow contestants to run fast times, increasing their chances of qualifying for the Boston Marathon.

The qualifying times for the Boston Marathon are not a result of a scientific analysis, though they evolved. At first, there was no effort to ensure equal opportunities for runners of different ages. The original standards, in 1976, specified that men had to have run a marathon in the preceding year in three hours or less. For women, it was 3:30.

By 1980, the B.A.A. made allowances for age, acknowledging that it was a lot harder for older runners to meet those times than it was for people in their 20s and 30s. Before that change, Mr. Chalufour said, masters runners (40 and older) were mostly shut out. If you were a masters runner, “you had to be relatively one of the best in the world,” to make it into the Boston Marathon, he said.

Now, there is a progression of qualifying times with a goal of limiting the field to 25,000 runners. Even so, the association had to close its registration in late February this year — the first time it had to do that — when 25,000 qualified runners had entered.

In order to deduce how many marathoners could have qualified in 2006 and 2007, Jim Fortner, 69, a runner from Pasadena, Md., analyzed published statistics on marathons in the United States. He limited himself to certified marathon courses that enabled runners to qualify for Boston if they ran fast enough.

The analysis included more than 740,000 marathon times and included more than 90 percent of marathon finishers in those two years. Only about 10 percent of those runners had times that were good enough for Boston. (Twenty-two percent of the runners in the Steamtown Marathon qualified.)

Of course, the very difficulty of qualifying for the Boston Marathon explains part of the appeal of sneaking in. But these days, unless a runner privately offers an entry to a friend — and some do — the runner takes a real chance of being outed.
Entries on a message board at one running site, LetsRun.com, turned catching that eBay seller into a blood sport. Although Mr. Chalufour said that “at this time, we don’t know if the eBay seller was indeed the person who was reported on the Internet,” the participants on the message board seemed certain they had their man.
One wrote: “Anyways, if this isn’t an April Fools’ Joke (auction started on 3/30 though) this guy ain’t that smart.” The writer added that he found the runner in “about 20 seconds” because there are not many runners with times of 2:30 and the runner’s auction location was Columbus, Ohio. He named the suspect, and concluded, “Hey, it’s only at $20.22 right now. It’s a bargain.” (The offers soon soared to $500.)
“Good work, detective Colombo,” wrote the next person posting a message, adding that the B.A.A. would not be happy.

Others posted photos of the suspect from a running club newsletter and from his eBay profile. Others said they had notified the association.

Still others stood up for the eBay seller. “Wow, you guys are AWESOME. Glad you have nothing better to do than rat this guy out to the B.A.A.,” one defender wrote.

Others thought that whoever bought that entry would be in big trouble. “About 2 weeks after the race we will be able to type in the bib # on the Boston Photo Website and SEE who this actually is!!” one person wrote. “We can then totally trash this guy for a couple weeks!!!!! God help the guy who buys this bib!! Ha Ha Ha.”
Another disincentive for bib sellers would be a final result that would be a blow to their egos.

“I sold my ’04 Boston Bib for $550 on eBay; not as easy nowadays,” a person wrote on LetsRun.com.

But, the runner concluded, “I’m the one that had my 5:50 time posted in the local paper.”

4/23/08

Yogi…

"The freedom of cross-country is so primitive. It's woman vs. nature." Lynn Jennings

OK. So still hurting this morning as I went down the steps from my 4th floor walk up apartment today…Just had to get through the day at work and then I can go to yoga.

Yoga was amazing…well…it started out stretching out the essential parts to ease into things. I was super cautious since I didn’t want anything to seriously snap, since my muscles are so tight right how that anything could happen. As we warmed up the earlier stuff eased in and started out simple…then tougher and tougher parts came around which may have seemed simple on any other given day, but after a marathon…the legs were fired up and I was in serious sweat mode. It was horrendous and some of the staying positions were rather tough. My muscles were twigging like crazy and some of the stances were testing my flexibility, but that was good. I needed that. I was sweating up a storm and in the end I just wanted to end the whole class and be done with it and call it quits…

But I stayed till the end and really relaxed and enjoyed myself. It was really great to have that kind of meditation and relief…I felt so good afterwards and my legs were finally coming back to where it should be.

4/22/08

One word, what does running mean to you?

"I appreciate the art and science of running, but more than a sport, it's part of my life. It helps me live better." George McGough

Kristin Armstrong asked this to Lance Armstrong in an interview:

“In one word, what does running mean to you…besides the word: tired.”

What does running mean to me in one single word:

Relaxation

I guess this is a totally different case when you are racing and training and going out for a run, but besides keeping in shape, exercise, team and friendships. Running is the only time when I feel relaxed and feel that I don’t have to worry about anything in the world. It is “my” time. Time where I can feel like the world is moving and I am isolated in a complete bubble. It is a time where the wind blows by my cheeks and I can feel, hear and see everything crystal clear. It helps me relax from work after a long day and recoups my body to have more energy and indulge in life. It’s my inner peace when in motion, although Yoga is my inner peace when I am stable.


So I’m interested…what would you say?

Yes, Running Can Make You High
By GINA KOLATA
Published: March 27, 2008


THE runner’s high: Every athlete has heard of it, most seem to believe in it and many say they have experienced it. But for years scientists have reserved judgment because no rigorous test confirmed its existence.

Yes, some people reported that they felt so good when they exercised that it was as if they had taken mood-altering drugs. But was that feeling real or just a delusion? And even if it was real, what was the feeling supposed to be, and what caused it?

Some who said they had experienced a runner’s high said it was uncommon. They might feel relaxed or at peace after exercising, but only occasionally did they feel euphoric. Was the calmness itself a runner’s high?
Often, those who said they experienced an intense euphoria reported that it came after an endurance event.
My friend Marian Westley said her runner’s high came at the end of a marathon, and it was paired with such volatile emotions that the sight of a puppy had the power to make her weep.


Others said they experienced a high when pushing themselves almost to the point of collapse in a short, intense effort, such as running a five-kilometer race.

But then there are those like my friend Annie Hiniker, who says that when she finishes a 5-k race, the last thing she feels is euphoric. “I feel like I want to throw up,” she said.

The runner’s-high hypothesis proposed that there were real biochemical effects of
exercise on the brain. Chemicals were released that could change an athlete’s mood, and those chemicals were endorphins, the brain’s naturally occurring opiates. Running was not the only way to get the feeling; it could also occur with most intense or endurance exercise.

The problem with the hypothesis was that it was not feasible to do a spinal tap before and after someone exercised to look for a flood of endorphins in the brain. Researchers could detect endorphins in people’s blood after a run, but those endorphins were part of the body’s
stress response and could not travel from the blood to the brain. They were not responsible for elevating one’s mood. So for more than 30 years, the runner’s high remained an unproved hypothesis.

But now medical technology has caught up with exercise lore. Researchers in Germany, using advances in neuroscience, report in the current issue of the journal Cerebral Cortex that the folk belief is true: Running does elicit a flood of endorphins in the brain. The endorphins are associated with
mood changes, and the more endorphins a runner’s body pumps out, the greater the effect.

Leading endorphin researchers not associated with the study said they accepted its findings.
“Impressive,” said Dr. Solomon Snyder, a neuroscience professor at Johns Hopkins and a discoverer of endorphins in the 1970’s.

“I like it,” said Huda Akil, a professor of neurosciences at the
University of Michigan. “This is the first time someone took this head on. It wasn’t that the idea was not the right idea. It was that the evidence was not there.”

For athletes, the study offers a sort of vindication that runner’s high is not just a New Agey excuse for their claims of feeling good after a hard workout.

For athletes and nonathletes alike, the results are opening a new chapter in exercise science. They show that it is possible to define and measure the runner’s high and that it should be possible to figure out what brings it on. They even offer hope for those who do not enjoy exercise but do it anyway. These exercisers might learn techniques to elicit a feeling that makes working out positively addictive.
The lead researcher for the new study, Dr. Henning Boecker of the University of Bonn, said he got the idea of testing the endorphin hypothesis when he realized that methods he and others were using to study pain were directly applicable.

The idea was to use PET scans combined with recently available chemicals that reveal endorphins in the brain, to compare runners’ brains before and after a long run. If the scans showed that endorphins were being produced and were attaching themselves to areas of the brain involved with mood, that would be direct evidence for the endorphin hypothesis. And if the runners, who were not told what the study was looking for, also reported mood changes whose intensity correlated with the amount of endorphins produced, that would be another clincher for the argument.

Dr. Boecker and colleagues recruited 10 distance runners and told them they were studying opioid receptors in the brain. But the runners did not realize that the investigators were studying the release of endorphins and the runner’s high. The athletes had a PET scan before and after a two-hour run. They also took a standard psychological test that indicated their mood before and after running.

The data showed that, indeed, endorphins were produced during running and were attaching themselves to areas of the brain associated with emotions, in particular the limbic and prefrontal areas.
The limbic and prefrontal areas, Dr. Boecker said, are activated when people are involved in romantic love affairs or, he said, “when you hear music that gives you a chill of euphoria, like Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3.” The greater the euphoria the runners reported, the more endorphins in their brain.
“Some people have these really extreme experiences with very long or intensive training,” said Dr. Boecker, a casual runner and cyclist, who said he feels completely relaxed and his head is clearer after a run.
That was also what happened to the study subjects, he said: “You could really see the difference after two hours of running. You could see it in their faces.”

In a follow-up study, Dr. Boecker is investigating if running affects pain perception. “There are studies that showed enhanced pain tolerance in runners,” he said. “You have to give higher pain stimuli before they say, ‘O.K., this hurts.’ ”

And, he said, there are stories of runners who had stress fractures, even heart attacks, and kept on running.
Dr. Boecker and his colleagues have recruited 20 marathon runners and a similar number of nonathletes and are studying the perception of pain after a run, and whether there are related changes in brain scans. He is also having the subjects walk to see whether the effects, if any, are because of the intensity of the exercise.
The nonathletes can help investigators assess whether untrained people experience the same effects. Maybe one reason some people love intense exercise and others do not is that some respond with a runner’s high or changed pain perception.

Annie might question that. She loves to run, but wonders why. But her husband tells her that the look on her face when she is running is just blissful. So maybe even she gets a runner’s high.

4/21/08

Part II - Boston Marathon...

"The race is not always to the swift, but to those who keep on running." Nike running poster

The Wellesley girls really did not disappoint and by the time I had reached there, it was pretty much do or die. I needed to push on, but I had a good time thinking in my head, why am I not single anymore? But as a good boy, I did not stop to take any pictures, but switched my camera to video to hear the screams and sounds of the Wellesley girls and the wall of sound. They were loud! Screaming at every runner that went by, as the guys went to the side to slap the girl’s hands and I had just videoed and then soon switched to picture mode to take a few pictures of the girls. It was truly exciting and definitely reved up your engines a ltitle too much maybe. Although as you enter the town of Wellesley you see these masses of people lined up on the street corners.

All you think about in your mind is I’m at the half way point. How am I doing? Am I on target? Wait, what is my target? I was about 1:28 in change and I knew that I was going out fast. 1:26-1:28 half is about where my PR is, so at the rate that I was going, I could get around a 3:00 -3:05. I guess that was what I had been gunning for. Something I can be be proud of and just Boston Qualifying as a standard of almost all my marathons now…it’s a good standard for me and the pace is comfortable to a level where I can go 26.2 miles and feel comfortable…but in actuality, anything can happen in a marathon. Weather, course, hills, preparation, season…it’s all dependant and factors that go into a marathon and how you do.

Back to the race, so still leaving energy for the hills of Newton, where if I play my cards right, that is where I will begin my marathon. As I recognized much of the course from before and actually running the course, I was in huge preparation. I knew that the Alzheimer’s organization had a sign and members at mile 16.5…I got real antsy to see them and that was right after the “so called hill” across the freeway. I generally did not feel the hill, but when you were running at such a great velocity and energy on the course, the hill becomes quite the climb to succumb.

Ok…looking now for the Alzheimer’s group….looking…looking…ok! There they are! Wow, as I turn on my camera, I am quite happy to see the group. T comes along and runs with me for a while, he was very impressed by my time and I did not know where I was at within the team. The crew did not expect to see anyone at least 30 minutes later due to my qualification time and the charity group being in the back of the pack. I push on, by this point there are a little less of an amount of people and the Gatorade stops and water stops you become quite use to the way things work. If you miss one side (right which comes first) there is always the left side where you can get Gatorade and then water. When you miss one side, you have to swerve to the other side to get your fluids in.

As I round around the hills, I could feel my blisters setting in, I really have to get new shoes because every time I do a marathon, I get blisters in the same exact place on my sides of my feat at mile 10…But yes, it all starts at where I rounded the turn onto Commonwealth Avenue, where mounts of people were lined up to cheer on the runners. I looked over to my right, there I had noticed the fire station. I have never really noticed the fire station before on our regular run, but there it was to indicate that you were heading into the infamous Newton Hills called Heartbreak Hills. 3-1/2 hills to climb and then your done and home free from there. As I rounded up one, the support of the crowd was helpful, but it was quite exhausting. Save some energy, you still have 2-1/2 more…As you climb each hill, your mind keeps thinking was that a hill or was that just a mound? What number am I on right now…Did I just count that one? The relapses of down hills were comforting, but hardly enough as a recovery time and going up those hills and maintaining pace was hard enough. Take pictures, keep your mind off of things and move on. This is where I needed the most help and I look down as I usually do when I need help at these last few miles to the inspiration of what I really am running for…and that is for my grandmother. I run with the Alzheimer’s association because I knew each and every day my grandmother is feeling some sort of pain or discomfort. I know that I could just suck it up and move on, push and really get through the feeling. But my inspirations of my grandmother helps me get through it all and I live another day as I view her through my purple bracelet.

I see JK at mile 23 at almost the last of the hills coming onto Boston College. I stop, take a picture with her and I see EM as well. I get excited, but move onto the last of the hills to complete the factor. The hills is not just the last of the things to worry about. It’s after the hills you need to complete as well. They call that cemetery mile because people just drop like flies over there due to no crowd support (cemetery) and the fact of just completing the hills gives your legs a dead feeling. Push on…Next thing to get excited about was the Citgo sign…and reaching that is just icing…because that’s about a mile away from the end.

23 miles complete…3.1 to go and I was on target…to breaking my 3 hour mark. I knew it, but did I have enough to hold on. My mind was energized, but I had to remain focused as I see the crowds of people coming in closer like a tunnel as you run past. Pain starts to show due to the fast pace that you are sucked in at from the beginning when you are running with such a large amount of people that are at your pace. It’s all about control and not going out too fast. Competing with others to strive towards the best of your ability, but making sure you are comfortable since you are running 26.2 miles and the race should not begin until you reach mile 20. All I was awaiting for was mile 25, there my crew (the Brian H fan club of all of my high school buddies were there…or were they? I had told them that I would be rounding the mile marker at 1pm and no earlier…I worried a bit thinking they would not see me or they would not be out. I finally see the infamous Citgo sign and push on…keep moving, keep pushing your body and you will be there before you know it…but it was a whiles away. As I round mile 24, I think ok…6:30 minute miles for a breakage of 3 hours…think you can do it? Get to Mile 25 and then see where you are at…I was slowing and my body was deteriorating…Beacon street was consuming me with it’s long stretch from 23 to 26 miles...

Then as I watch and see the church that my friends apartment is on the corner of, the area where I had left that same morning about 4-6 hours ago…I didn’t know which side they were on…I look right, I look left…and their they were. I was going to stop, but lingering at the milage point of knowing I almost have my PR in the bag…I quickly take a picture of them and scream out, “I think I have it!” Then move on…One more mile to go…

I move into Kenmore square, large amounts of people, move on…Then all of a sudden everything occurs pretty quickly. I had walked this route and it had taken me quite some time to get from my friends apartment into the downtown city…I know that they had changed it a bit where you go under the underpass and then back up…boy was that a big change. The slow of the underpass was quite large and the amount that you want it so badly did not help at all since you had to go up. I saw a guy spralled out on the ground with medical attention around him. I thought in my mind, “I don’t want to be that guy, is the PR of hitting under 3 hours really worth it?” “Live another day, but go for it!”

I round the corner, and large crowds are there as you go about ½ a mile from the finish…push till the end. I take photos, round the next corner and push even more…your in the home stretch but still have about ¼ of a mile to go…save a little then push…take pictures, push…take pictures…ok…now sprint!

I was exhausted and left everything out on the table, put everything out there on the course and finished strong. I look at the clock and knew that I didn’t have enough, but by how much, I did not know.

Missing the mark by :9 seconds to getting an equal 3 or by 10 seconds to get a sub 3 was too close…as I find out later on from calling my sister and calling my NY Flyer Monday night crew who had been watching me online at each of the split markers. I knew that they were watching and I knew that the first reaction that they had in my first 5K was that I went out too fast…but could I hold it? I didn’t know, but as I hit each 5K, I knew in my mind that a time will come up on their screen…I just didn’t know that I was that close. The competition was high and I liked that factor, the crowd support was amazing and you will not get that in any other marathon except NYC.

In all, I was satisfied. I mean I still got a PR and it’s Boston! There are three words every marathon runner lives to say: “I finished Boston!” and that was the most important feeling in the world for me. I still get chills down my spine by just saying that…

I finished the Boston Marathon!

Part I - The Boston Marathon...

"Records are made to be broken." Athletic Proverb
Going to bed the night before the race is usually a very hard thing for me to do in the cases of the huge distance that you have to conquer. Running a marathon is not an easy task and I usually get very jittery before the race. But the Boston marathon was on Marathon Monday, where having got to my friends place on Friday morning and going to the expo at Saturday and waking up early on Sunday morning to watch the women’s Olympic Trials, I was exhausted from the weekend already and went straight to bed.

I clearly thought that I was going to miss the bus and miss my team to the start of the race. Calculating in my head that I had to wake up at 4:45 or 5 in the morning (really 5 in the morning)…I woke up before my alarm at 4:15. I had tried to go back to sleep and just take a quick nap, this was not the case and I just got up and went to my already laid out clothes and piles of running gear that was laid out the night before (I think all runners do this for the big race.) As I gathered my things and told my friend that I was leaving so she did not have to get up. I leave her apartment and see the T just stop right ahead of me and I got out into the brisk morning. It leaves and then I ponder walking back and forth if I should wait for the next one or if I should just walk the mile into the city. I decided to just walk.

As I walked in I think that I am missing something and I was. I had forgotten a bagel that I usually have before marathons. I remember that since the Alzheimer’s was linked up with the liver foundation to take a chartered bus out to Hopkinton, they may have breakfast. I buy a newspaper to calm my nerves and I usually keep a scrap book of all the marathon news articles of whatever race I have done.

I walk into the Hyatt go to the 4th floor and see that there are tons of Liver foundation members and a small portion of our group is there. As we slowly grow and wait for other members to arrive, I sit and chat with other people from my team that I have never talked to before. We get the call that we can walk to our busses after an intense cheering session from the liver foundation members whom got their own team riled up. We filled in the seats that their members had left for our 40 or so people…Along the way you can see the yellow regular school buses with other Boston Marathon runners along the way to the start. Hopkinton, a very small town with a whole lot of architectural charisma…but there are a whole lot of runners there already at “athlete’s village” which is located at the high school with 3 large tents. I quickly go to the Porto potties for my 1st trip there…out of 4 trips that morning…and then try to find my team. I find some people but where are the rest? I have no clue, so I leave my stuff with some teammates and go look around. I call ST, one of my Flyer friends to see where she is at, we try to locate each other as I stand in front of the bagels in all 3 tents, finally getting to her at the last tent that is hidden, where I find my other Alzheimer’s teammates. I take pictures along the way as I meet up with other NY Flyer teammates and quickly move on to getting ready as well. As I hear my numbers getting called to go towards the busses, I make my way to say my last good byes to my fellow Alzheimer’s Teammates…little did I know that this would be some of my last interactions with some of them…(it was like I was going to a foreign country and not going to see them in like 10 years or something)…

Anyways…As I meander through the buses with numbers linked up with your number, I quickly change out of my other clothes, finally put my stuff in my bag and zoom my way to the start. I wanted to jog thinking I had to get to the Porto potties before everyone else…but man! There were so many people at the Porto potty section. As I await in line I hear a person talking about some police officers that took away bibs as they found them peeing in people’s residences. Horrible, but when you have to go, you have to go. Pee. Done. Now to the starting line…AS I found my choral I pass by many runners from NY that I do know. Warren street, Polish Runners, etc…many of them that run at my pace. The star spangled banner sung, the envision of how this race is going to take place, the atmosphere and thinking back about a month ago, this square was barren with only our Alzheimer’s team training on the course running the 20 miles… THEN…it finally HITS ME! I am running in the Boston Marathon. Wow, I can’t believe that I am doing this. I am actually doing this. As the sun peers out from the sky, it is like the skies just separated and then it was very warm. The morning was very chilly as I awaited and asked my Alzheimer teammates what they were going to wear. I’m at the starting line…I have awaited all this time and BOOM! The gun just goes off and the crowd just starts moving. Wow, this is so great. In my mind, I am thinking, I must not go out too fast. Must not go out too fast…marathons are not won or lost in the first mile, but it is how you sustain your race pace is where you can PR. PR? I wasn’t even thinking about PRing on this course. I am doing the Boston marathon for the first time and I have made it this far! I can’t believe I am here. As I snap tons of shots at the start, and see crowds of people there just awaiting people to go…it’s crazy, your in this huge crowd of runners all at your pace and you are running in one giagantic huddle of people. It’s madness! Actually I really didn’t like it that much and the first water stop soon came at mile 2 or 3. There you had to dodge those who were stacked up like a traffic jam with onlookers from and all you want to do is smooth sail. Uh! It was crazy as I chatted with some other veteran runners. They told me next year, bring a water bottle to have at the start so you can hydrate and not “miss” the water station. I’ll keep that in mind next year. The crowds were amazing, the experience was fun as the only marathon that comes even close is New York City, where Brooklyn was amazing. But NYC is a whole lot more energetic and music playing everywhere, Boston was more like a celebration of people where they were all out because it was Patriots day and you were there because you had made it in this race and qualified and you felt like you were on a float in a parade… Anyways, back to the race…as I went through the small towns and awaited for the excitement of Wellesley college, the excitement came bout’s at the midway. Wellesley college is the halfway point and they are renown for the wall of sound as my teammates had prepared me for when I trekked up to see the course. The gals did not disappoint. At first, I was like, “oh where is this sound that they speak of?"

Then you hear it from a distant…it gets louder and louder.

4/20/08

The day before…

"Racing teaches us to challenge ourselves. It teaches us to push beyond where we thought we could go. It helps us to find out what we are made of. This is what we do. This is what it's all about. " PattiSue Plumer, U.S. Olympian

Olympic trials in the morning, woke up at 6:30 and out the door by 7:15. I had walked to where some parts of the marathon was going to be at, but I arrived early and planned everything accordingly. So I went over to see if the brook hanson team was giving out these T-shirts like last year’s men’s trials. I went over to a small group of Hanson fans and they told me that they were just for themselves. I walked down the street to find if I could find anywhere else that they were handing them out. I did, in the corner and manipulated my way in getting a yellow t-shirt. Oh how I love getting free stuff. Since I was already in the middle of the city, I wanted to check out the athletes and the start. I figured that if I went to the start, may as well see the start and then find anywhere to see the rest of the race. I stayed, the national anthem played, the start began and the ladies were off…

I had decided to watch the race at the 3, 8, 13, 18, 23 and 26 mile marker and boy…it was exciting. Talking with other marathoners for the next day sitting right next to you that also had qualified for the race was fun and just amazing. But watching these ladies where each of them had qualified running a 2:45 time or better in any other marathon race. Wheew! Major respect and major turn on…

The rest of the day consisted of rest. I met up with ST who had been in Boston since Friday and we met up chatted and then departed our own ways. I had been with friends, MC and TC, who were both brother and sister of one of my best friends from high school whom had organized a high school get together to see the Boston marathon and I guess also a Brian Hsia fan club. It was amazing…

The rest of the day remained inside and laying off of my feet. That and dinner…actually 2 dinners and then now I am resting to go to bed. No marathon jitters yet, just get everything pretty much set for tomorrow and go to bed…wake up the next morning and run a marathon….no big deal…right? It’s only Boston….

4/18/08

Bus to Boston…

"Bid me run, and I will strive with things impossible." Shakespeare, Julius Caesar

So, thinking I would leave early to get to Boston early for Marathon Monday...I left work on friday at around 3pm. I had caught the subway and still had to huff and puff to catch the Fung Wa...but was able to see one in sight, but still had to buy tickets...but they waited. I got on and waited...finally rested and took a nap.

I awoke about an hour later knowing that we had pulled over to the side...oh no! I have heard these stories from other people's experiences saying how buses have burned or even blown up from these chinatown buses. I called my sister to tell her where I was.
In my head, at least one person knew where I was so at least if I blow up, that will be reassuring.
We start up, then pull over...uh! This is frustrating. I can't believe this...I see that there is another Fung Wa bus that I could have taken only if I was late to the bus, but I had decided to take this one hoping that I could get to Boston a whole lot earlier...WRONG!

The bus driver tried to get back onto the highway, then he turned off the AC unit to the bus and then when that didn't work...well we just pulled into the rest stop...uh!!! Very frustrating...I think I was about 2 hours late...or maybe 3 even. I have really no clue. I maybe mixing this up even with even the time where there was a person on board that was smoking weed and got sick from it as the police came to pick him up...but man, I had some pretty interesting experiences with buses.

Anyways...got to Boston ok, now the harder part in finding my friend, sheil's place. I had a pretty large pack on my back and well...there was a Boston game going on and there were lots of hardcore fans...now, being a yankees fan I layed low, but the station that I was getting out of was...well, the exit was on the other side...so I had to purge my way to the other side....I finally did with the help of a guy as he told me a out the other door...but finally got to my friend sheils's place...what an adventure!
Now on with the great weekend!.

Temperature and weather for Marathon Monday?

57°49°

4/17/08

Last run…

"A runner's creed: I will win; if I cannot win, I shall be second; if I cannot be second, I shall be third; if I cannot place at all, I shall do my best." Ken Doherty

So…last run before the Boston marathon, I have been waiting for this moment for quite the long time, getting to this moment. I can’t believe it is here and it’s going to be quite amazing. I have been listening to Podcasts from runners world magazine all this week and it has been getting me very much psyched way too early for this race. Tomorrow I leave and wanted to get one last long run before the actual day of marathoning. Of course I am suppose to taper, but I don’t believe in tapering due to the whole effects on how it slows your process of your legs feeling sluggish during the actual race day.

So…what did I end up doing? Well it’s a long story…I ended up having to get my Alzheimer’s Association singlet at the UPS holding facility due to the organization sending it to my old address, but it was ok. I went during my lunch hour…but I was going to head down to J&R electronics to pick up another battery for my camera during my lunch hour…one was on the lower west side, one was in the downtown east side…what is the fastest way to get to two points during my lunch hour…(I look at my running backpack and my running shoes…)

I started to get ready and zoom in and out of my office. I didn’t want my partners to see me or any of the potential clients to see that there is a runner in the office all dressed up in running clothes and what not. So I quickly snuck out and had to make good timing. Ran down to the west side with my backpack in hand and went to the UPS to pick up the singlet. It was a beautiful day and just amazing to run during my lunch hour. I quickly got to UPS to pick up the stuff and headed straight to the next destination which was downtown.

As I got to the store in about 10 minutes later, I quickly found the battery and paid…I had no more than 20 minutes still left and I had to head back uptown. As I swerved through tourists bouncing in and out of streets, I arrived back to my office with a total of 4.5 miles. My co-worker looked at me with a strange face as she asked me if I was pressed for time. I said no, but really I was in my scheduling for the last few preparations for Boston.

I had prepared to run after work as well running a 4 mile up and then a 6 mile easy loop around Central Park. As I headed up town on a beautiful day, I quickly seize up in regular body cramps, these must have been from the apple that I had just eaten no more than 20 minutes ago. I was fine and had to find my rhythm. It’s hard when you are trying to train for a marathon and you have these short fast integrals and longer mileage, I should be fine. I got up to the normal spot, Engineers Gate, but got there early and stretched. There most of the regulars were out and I had mistakenly told, JM, that I had already ran 4 miles or actually 8 miles and she had yelled at me…telling me to taper. I went slow though and then ended up with JS, at the half way mark and felt ok.

I took the subway back to my work place and everyone said their good lucks to me…it’s my last run before the Boston marathon….well...planning on doing a 4-5 miler in Boston on Saturday.

4/15/08

What to expect in Boston? The Brian Fan Club…

"Remember to 'bank' your racing powers until you seriously require them, and you will then find that the interest is there as well as the capital when you start to draw on the account." Arthur Newton

Boston in 6 days...
OK...so leading up to the day, I have received one of my friends, who I will be staying with (SC) at her home in Boston. There, she had organized quite the ensamble of people in sending out this e-mail to notify all the people in NYC, Boston and friends...


"I hope you will join me and the Brian Fan Club (if you're receiving this email, you're probably already a member, or a targeted future member and will be soon enough) to watch the Boston Marathon this coming Monday, April 21st!

We'll be watching the marathon as it goes right by my apartment on Beacon St.!
Feel free to come by anytime after 12. Based on scientific analysis of spreadsheets and course maps, Brian should be running by my apartment between 12:45-1:15. After we see the blur that is Brian whiz by us, feel free to stick around to watch more runners, eat, and celebrate with Brian when he returns to my apartment (probably around 2:00ish--again, based on very scientific calculations).

Some questions and attempted answers:
-Where is your apartment?
Beacon St located on the Green "C" line - one stop out from Kenmore Square

-"I live in New York--how could I watch Brian run on a Monday?"
Take the day off!!--follow the brilliant examples of BJ (and TC? and maybe KG?)

-"Who is Brian Hsia?"Come on Monday and you will meet the legend.


Forcast for Boston on Monday....

High of 52 degrees, Low of 44 Partly Cloudy...
This may be the perfect conditions for a runner....
Hopefully things will not change, like last year's Boston which was rainy...

Boston Marathon 2008: What to Expect
By Raymond Britt, RaceBoston.com

Boston Marathon: What to Expect from Start to Finish

About 20,000 runners will likely preregister for the 2008 race, including thousands who will be competing for the first time. For them, and even some veterans, there can be as many questions about the event as there are miles between the start on Main Street in Hopkinton and the finish on Boylston in Boston.

Race Weekend

Some thoughts about the days before the race.If you're in town Sunday morning, go watch the US Women's Olympic Marathons Trials, to be held in downtown Boston and in Cambridge. It's a unique opportunity to see some of the country's best women marathoners at their best.At the race expo, make sure to pick up a race poster at the adidas booth; it will have your name on it in tiny, nearly invisible letters. Worth having. Also, if you are at all tempted to buy one of the official race jackets, do it. Don't let the price tag put you off; you deserve it. It's like the varsity jacket for marathoners.

Few have earned one; you have. Wear it proudly.

3603

"Those who say that I will lose and am finished will have to run over my body to beat me. " Said Aouita

Boston in 6 days...

As I copy almost all of my teammates's Blog's this entry, this one comes from my teammate CH,

"That's my bib number for the Boston Marathon. Go to www.baa.org on marathon day, you can type in my number and track my progress along the course. I'll send an email to friends and family before the race as a reminder."

Although for the bizzilionth time, I had not received my packet...it;s really a tradition of mine since I don't get my mail and it's either sent to my old mailing address, my parent's place or gets lost somewhere. So I have to pick up my number at room 108...during the convention center. Eh...i'll bring my acceptance card.

So yes, I think I could have gotten a lower number since my qualification time was based on my Vermont Marathon. Still good and my 3rd best time overall, so not complaining.

As I take this from KH (one of my fellow Alzheimer Teammates)



"Dictionary.com defines "taper" as follows:
ta·per [tey-per] - to reduce gradually

I don't believe in tapering. Taper? Nope that's not in my vocabulary list. What's that all about? Well I have been down in my miles and even though I do know that you need to reduce your mileage, I don't. Why? I mean I believe you need a base for running. You are suppose to feel good when you run a marathon. Not sluggish in the beginning. A regular 6 or 9 is a taper for me...the usual...about a 12.

Day off from running today....NYFlyer meeting though...my life revolves around running...

U.S. Marathoner Has Impressive Showing in London
By LIZ ROBBINS
Published: April 14, 2008

LONDON — Ryan Hall was flying through the London streets Sunday, alongside six of the world’s fastest marathoners.


Hall, a 25-year-old from Southern California, moved to the front of the pack in the 16th mile and asked the two pacesetters from Kenya to go a little faster than 4 minutes 58 seconds a mile.


Martin Lel of Kenya, the defending champion in the London and New York City marathons, said he thought Hall looked too strong and relaxed. He recalled wondering: “Am I not running, or what? I had to ask myself many questions. I think, Now it’s a race.”

The pacesetters promptly sped to a 4:39 pace and left Hall behind. Angry at himself for his overconfidence, Hall briefly stormed back to the pack in the 21st mile. Then the cold rains and wind slowed the pace.
But Lel, a 29-year-old veteran, shrugged off the field’s every move and outkicked 21-year-old Sammy Wanjiru of Kenya in the final 385 yards to finish in front of Buckingham Palace in a course-record 2:05:15. Wanjiru finished nine seconds back.

Abderrahim Goumri, the runner-up to Lel in London and New York last year, finished third in 2:05:30, making this the first time three men finished under 2:06 in a marathon.

Hall finished fifth in 2:06:17, becoming the second-fastest American marathoner. This was only the third career marathon for Hall.

“It’s pretty exciting to run just three marathons to join that kind of company,” said Hall, whose most recent marathon was his victory in November at the United States Olympic Trials in Central Park, where he finished in 2:09:02. He ran 2:08:24 in placing seventh last year in London.

“I thought: ‘This is a classic move. I tell the pacemakers to go faster and they drop me,’ ” Hall added, laughing at his impertinent request.

Still, the race was critical for Hall in his preparation for the Beijing Olympics in August. “I think it was important for me to establish that I could run a fast time,” he said. “I’m definitely within striking distance.”
Khalid Khannouchi, who was born in Morocco and became a United States citizen in 2000, holds the American record of 2:05:38, set here in 2002. That time was the London record until Sunday.
Lel shattered the London record by 23 seconds and lowered his personal best by 1:26.

As a result of a 62:12 first half, which was well below the pace of the world record (2:04:26), six men ran faster than 2:07 — also a marathon first.

Emmanuel Mutai of Kenya finished fourth in 2:06:15 and Deriba Merga of Ethiopia finished 21 seconds behind Hall.

In the women’s race, Irina Mikitenko of Germany, 35, crossed the finish line in 2:24:14 in a downpour. Svetlana Zakharova of Russia finished second in 2:24:39.

The prerace favorite, Gete Wami of Ethiopia, finished third in 2:25:37 despite falling over another runner at the water stop 18.6 miles into the race. She crashed facefirst to the asphalt and banged her right knee.
“This is the first time I’ve ever fallen in a race,” Wami said. “I was happy I was able to come back.”

Lel was also pleased, if not surprised, with his dominance, considering the disruptions in his training since winning the New York City Marathon and watching his country plunge into tribal violence after elections in December. Lel, who lives near Eldoret in the Rift Valley, left his house to train in Namibia.

“It was a great day for me to be a champion,” Lel said.

After Hall and then Mutai dropped from the lead pack in the 23rd mile, Lel, Wanjiru, Goumri and Merga ran four abreast for two miles. Merga was the next to trail off, then Goumri, leaving only Wanjiru and Lel as the first to pass under the banner that said “385 yards to go.”

That is where Lel is best. “In my mind I am going to fight,” he said.

Hall is trying to put himself in position to do that in Beijing, and he has shown remarkable progress while racing in London. In July 2006, he ran the 5,000 meters at a track meet in the Crystal Palace. Slogging in last place, he looked up at the stadium monitor to see Bernard Lagat already winning.

Soon after, Hall and his coach, Terrence Mahon, decided that he would be better suited for distance running.
“I feel like I belong,” Hall said. “Last year it was like, ‘These guys are my heroes and now I’m running with them.’ This time I was more trying to figure out how to win the race. It was fun to mix it up with those guys.”

4/14/08

Long day...

"Training is principally an act of faith. " Franz Stamfl

I had a very busy day at work today…very busy. Something was up and I quickly found out what that was mid day. My firm had been laying off people, about 8 people and two of those 8 were in my bay of 4…

I had been one of the lucky ones and it was a complete shocker. As I had been scared of my own job position, I work hard, but anything can happen. When it comes down to work, you are absolutely not safe, especially in my field of architecture.

But I needed to get out of my office and was glad that the end of the day was finally here. I had decided to run early and hopefully meet up with the Monday night group after I was finished. I had plans to meet up with my parents for dinner because things had changed in their schedule which I was planning on going home on Wednesday, but would not be able to see my mother, since she worked on Wednesdays. So, I wanted to see her...

I hate missing Monday nights. It’s my running family and it just sucked that I would be missing out on my Monday night group next week as well due to Marathon Monday…



Boston in 7 days....ONE WEEK!!!


What kind of apparel am I gonna get???
Wait...I made it to Boston...it's like I earned it, right?

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4/13/08

Run As One…

"Everyone is an athlete. The only difference is that some of us are in training, and some are not. " Dr. George Sheehan

Boston in 8 days....

Started off on the west side this morning and ran into the park for my warm up and arrival into central park pretty early on to receive my bib and shirt. I was there early, so I stretched out and needed the long stretch to relieve my muscles from the long strenuous workouts that I have been doing for the past few weeks without Yoga. Work has been kicking my butt and the running longer miles have been exhausting. My legs are starting to feel it and there are 8 more days till Boston… oh how I waited for this moment. As I met up with CD and AK, I had seen them before the race and we had chatted. PBJ came by as he had been running very good races down the stretch and has improved on almost all of his races and PRing on every distance. I was amazed. We left our things in the baggage are and I soon became chilly with only a singlet and shorts. AK and PBJ walked along as I just had to jog and left them wishing a good race to both of them before hand. I soon a led myself into the 7 mile pace, where I always seem to tell myself that slower is better…I saw AG (Runner 26) out near the 8 minute mile marker and waved to her…then soon went over to talk to her. She had a young lady with her, which AG told me that it was her grown up child, AG is a school teacher, while also teaching her children how to run. I thought this was amazing. AG told me to hurry up and leave so I would be able to run my race and help the team out. I wished them good luck and left to go back into my pace group. The start was absolutely horrible. People were ahead of me that should not be ahead of me. I had put myself a little before the 7 minute mile pace group, but still there were people that were WAY slower than that. I just can’t wait till the wave starts are initiated within the corralling of people. It should relieve the pace set for faster runners and should throw the other people in the back! I usually have no problem at all with people and the only problem was, was that it was a shorter race. When it is a longer race you can usually have time to get up and reach your pace…but in a shorter race, you don’t have time to mess up…especially when people are BOXING you in! That was the problem. I can usually weave in and out of the crowds, but boxing people in…NOT COOL!

As I tried to make it up to my pace, I passed many of my teammates and had expressed my problems to them. Never the less, I also felt a little twing in my left lower calf area, which has been hurting me for the past…say 6 months…no new issue there, but this time it really twinged due to the effects of back and forth sway. I slowered a little, but kept pushing myself. This was a short race and a points race. The real reason was that the T-shirts were dry-fit. That’s the main reason I was out there.

I quickly found my pace and a little bit more of it, surging ahead and really trying to top my game. I have been peaking at the right point of time and I just didn’t want to lose sight of the main goal and that was BOSTON. No injury here and it’s not worth it. Also, a marathon is another ballgame where it’s no easy feat…it’s all about pace, time and patience. The race is not a sprint of a 4 miler where you’re trying to get all your energy at one time…even that I can’t do!

I ran a great race though and really tried to turn it on in the end. It was exhausting, chilly and nice to know that I had PRed in the end…Wheew…continue the streak till Boston…Peaking at just the right time.

4/12/08

What it feels like to be a regular person…

"I have to race. I'm like a Ferrari. You can't keep it in the garage. " Regina Jacobs, three-time 1500-meter Olympian

Boston in 9 Days...

Laundry day today with a bunch of chores that has to be done at the same time and then WORK. Uh, work has been killing me lately with some pressure to send this out, input this and deadlines, but I think I’m handling things pretty nicely. But it’s a matter of checks and balances, how to manage things correctly and in some cases, something has to give.

In the past I would have said, running….NO WAY! But I have learned that rest days can be your best friend and quantity of miles means nothing if they are not quality miles. It’s strange, but I have found my ways.

I am not saying that I am totally giving up running or not running today. But this morning I got up at 7am (to do laundry on a Saturday – which some normal people do, not saying all because most people sleep in.) I did not go to the regular Saturday morning group runs like I normally would do on a regular Saturday morning and in many cases it’s going to be a busy week.

I will have to make sure I get enough sleep here and there because Boston is right around the corner and I am pretty psyched for that…but make sure that I am not too psyched which I normally don’t get before a marathon until the work week is finally over. I usually get antsy when I get to the expo and feel the energy of pre-marathon jitters.

4/11/08

NY Philharmonic…

"I tell our runners to divide the race into thirds. Run the first part with your head, the middle part with your personality, and the last part with your heart. " Mike Fanelli, club coach

The soothing sounds of the NY Philharmonic last night was just incredible. The intensity of the orchestra, the well scripted music, the dynamic, robust sound, it was probably one of the best things my ears have heard.

As I wandered around with SN, this gal that I have been seeing, we ran into LC and JL? Whom are both runners and LC is a Flyer. It’s very weird seeing people in different places other than in their running clothes or in Central Park. It’s the normalcy part that we don’t see on a daily basis and whenever we go to social hours, it’s very interesting how people’s personalities are changed or seen when you see them in their regular clothes.

We went into Avery Hall, which was where the philharmonic and orchestra’s played, considering that Lincoln Center is devised into 3 different buildings, one for each program: Orchestra, Opera and Ballet. But this was my first time in Lincoln Center and it was an experience. Needless to say that I had been exhausted from the day at work and not getting enough sleep the night before, I needed to keep trucking. SN and I had also not eaten dinner before which may have been a slight problem (but I would not recommend that the next time).

As the orchestra came out and played, their technique and synchronization was amazing. I had wondered how many countless hours they had practiced. How many countless times they had given up things to be with the NY Philharmonic and how they had been well versed since they were little to JUST PLAY. They were all music genius’s and they played with such passion. It was amazing to watch and well worth just seeing it for the first time as well as being cultured in that aspect.

In some ways, I can relate that to running, although in the end, it’s just life and how people’s passions lie within different things, different determinants and the excellent innovation of entertainment.


Boston in 10 days...

So continuing to get ready, nerveous and excited. I have awaited a whole year for this event and signing up the first day, waiting for something special and it has finally come...

This is going to be special for me. keep thinking back to the fact that I set it as a goal of mine to make it to Boston and qualify. Missing my qualifying time by 45 seconds was a huge thing, but making it a huge goal in the 3 of the 5 marathons last year that I have done was unimaginable. I'm awaiting but still need to keep my nerves down. I need to not speed out at the start, that is my only fear. But I'm running this to run. Keep things on the perspective, but it's too hard when your running with the creme de la creme of runners whom all qualified to get into this race! It's amazing....scary but amazing. we shall see...study these maps up....and know the different towns it passes through! The first quarter of the marathon...rolling hills...The start of some hills...Welsley and some screaming gals....The tough part....Heartbreak Hills and the Beautiful Boston College...The finish...the accomplishment...the goal...the glory!

4/10/08

Regular Thursdays…

"If you want to win a race you have to go a little berserk. " Bill Rodgers

Boston in 11 days...

So I have not done this in a while, but after work I would usually incorporate two sports that I love into an end of the week routine. Running, of course, and volleyball. Running was with the Thursday night crew which leaves at 7 at Engineers Gate, but usually I am really late and have to catch up (which I enjoy more since I am going at a pace that is close to my race pace.) I had left at 6:35 pm from work trying to get some things done and by this time I knew I was late. I would have to leave at 6:30 the latest and even 5 minutes late was a big deal when you are running. Every minute counts as if you think 8-9 minutes is where an average runner runs per mile and you can be digging deep to catch them for each mile. I also usually run up from my office, which usually takes about half an hour (depending on traffic from 14th and 8th to 89th and Park.)

But I knew I was late today… and went on my daily routine pace…but knew that I could not catch up to them. I saw DG as he passed me in the park. I saw him carry a bag, then thought to myself…opps! I was suppose to get my race bib and shirt for this weekends race before…oh wellz! I brushed it aside and I thought I would make time sometime this weekend.

So trying to catch them was somewhat difficult. I tried to see them if they were at Harlem Hill…nope! Ok…just trudge through it and make it like you are doing one of the heartbreak hills…ok…I can catch up to them…

I see them at the water fountain…a group of them all together – PBJ, SS, JM, CG…a whole lot of people. Now, I could finally chill out and just enjoy myself.

I chill with JM since I have not spent quality time with her in a while. It’s good to chat while on the run and just catch up. I have been pretty bad doing things as I gear up for Boston as my seriousness becomes a little overwhelming, but it’s ok…I’ll deal.

JM and I trot along as her pain continues due to her marathon…then we run into a bigger problem. Her knee is now not functioning as properly as it wanted it to…so we stop, then run, then stop, then run, then stop…we stretched for a bit, massaged her leg out, while she wanted me to go ahead and tell the others that we had fallen behind. I wanted to, but thought otherwise. I wanted to be a good friend and stay…trot it out and well I was suppose to taper…oppps! I don’t seem to have that in my running vocabulary list.

We trotted together to the end, where weirdly enough I met up with one of my high school buddies, DT. I had last seen DT when my dear friend PC had passed away and he was even a closer friend toward him than I was. I probably will wear a black ribbon during the Boston Marathon to honor PC’s passing. But we chatted until he hit the subway an d I made sure that JM was ok. Then I finished my run and headed back into the park and back to the office.

I came back to the office, finished some items still on my plate from work, changed and then headed to volleyball at 10pm…usually it starts at 8pm. I was mainly going to celebrate one of my good friends from college who’s birthday passed during the weekend, so I wanted to drop off a gift to him.

Anyways…I got there thinking in my mind that I was just dropping off the gift…little did I know I would be playing volleyball for 4 hours…10-2…yes…2am after a 12 mile run…which I normally do…it’s strength training and well your legs definitely feel like crap afterwards…

Man or machine? I don’t know…crazy…yes, I AM!