Do you ever question why you even bother running races? I certainly do. Running is easy; racing is hard and you put yourself at a very real risk of failure. Especially in a marathon. Sometimes it’s great; other times, not so much.
But the beauty of racing is the excitement, the challenge of putting your fitness on the line. It’s a test—a final—but the test isn’t really against other runners as it is with the distance, the weather, terrain and that little voice in our heads that we all hear which is begging us to either back off or quit.
My educated guess is more than half of all Central Texas runners never run a single race. Or, if they do race, it isn’t more than one or two. They are perfectly content to put in their miles, but simply don’t want to brave the difficulty of racing.
That’s their loss.
I’ve heard all the reasons why some folks never put on a number and race, but either they don’t know or have forgotten that the pure joy of racing is it gives every single runner the chance to win. Obviously, that doesn’t mean being the first to cross the finish line, but everyone who enters has that chance to win. What winning means to you and me differs.
And winning in a road race is just as hard for the first-place guy as it is for the slowpokes. In running, there are no gimmes, no lucky bounces and no Mulligans.
We all compete on a level playing field, but our victories don’t necessarily come against others. It’s with ourselves. Can we capitalize on our training and make it pay off by utilizing our patience, pacing and determination? Can we put it all together on that single day and push ourselves to go a little bit faster than normal, stray out of our comfort zone and put up with the discomfort all the way to the finish?
If we can do so, I count that as a victory. It might not be a PR—those are pretty elusive these days—but accepting and meeting a challenge (defined any way you want) is just as big a win as breaking the tape might be.
That type of winning never gets old. Never.
O Allison Macsas, who leads a nomadic lifestyle heading Rogue Expeditions, has had great success in her five races at the BMO Vancouver Marathon. Sunday was no exception as Macsas, in her first race since the Olympic Marathon Trials in February, finished second in Vancouver in 2:42:07. Despite warmish conditions, Macsas hung tough for 20 miles with the eventual winner Hirut Guangut until she pulled away.
O Jessica Harper of Austin also ran a terrific race in BC. Harper placed fourth among the women in 2:45:52. Meg Alley was the third Austinite in 13th in 3:11:11. Nadia Tamby was right behind her in 3:11:28 and Arik Yaacob was fifth fastest Austinite in 3:13:19.
O In Philadelphia, our own David Fuentes had a huge race in the Broad Street 10-Miler. The 29-year-old St. Ed’s grad placed third overall (first American) in 49:27 despite crappy Philly weather. Former Austinite Chass Armstrong—he and Fuentes were high school teammates in Boerne—finished 17th overall in 52:15. Chass now lives in Asheville, North Carolina.
O Former UT stud Joe Thorne, who now lives in Grover Beach, California, won the San Luis Obispo Half Marathon last Sunday in an event record of 1:10:50.
O In the USATF Half Marathon Champs in Columbus, Ohio, occasional Austinite Scott MacPherson had a solid race, finishing eighth in 1:03:57, good for $1500. Allison Mendez of Rogue didn’t fare quite as well. Nursing an injury, Mendez ran 1:17:04.
O But Mendez’ fiance—Matt Cleaver—had a mega win at the Payton Jordan Invitational in California. Cleaver won his heat of the 3000 steeple in 8:37.62 with Rogue teammate JT Sullivan fifth (8:43.81) and Austin Bussing ninth in 8:45.55. (The automatic Oly Trials qualifier for the steeple is 8:32.) UT’s Nate Moore PR’ed in another heat of the steeple ran 8:54:10 which ranks him second in the Big 12 going into the conference meet next week. Katie Burford of UT also PR’ed in 4:21 in the 1500 and so did Mary Beth Hamilton in the 800 in 2:06.26.
O In the same meet, former UT star Marielle Hall made her debut in the 10,000 and registered a superb 31:37 which is the second fastest time by an American woman in two years. Current UT runner Brady Turnbull PR’ed in his 1500 heat in 3:45.51. Another former Austinite (and current Oregon freshman) Matthew Maton ran 3:45.67 in a heat of the 1500.
O Liza Galvan of San Antonio returned to her native land of New Zealand to win the Rotorua Marathon—her country’s national championship—in 2:55. A two-time Olympian, it was Galvan’s first national marathon championship.
O Closer to home, the Travis Country 5-K in south Austin last Sunday was won by ultraman Paul Terranova in 17:16 with Cale Stubbe second in 18:19 and Joe Schippani third in 18:22. Bill Bitner was the top masters in 18:38, while Jill Gajkowski won the women’s masters in 21:34. Top woman of the morning was Karen Saenz in 18:54, followed by Zoe Wheeler (20:12) and Kenzie Marsales (20:25).
O Former UT women’s track coach Beverly Kearney went 1 for 2 in her $1 million suit against Texas. On Tuesday, an appellate court threw out her claim that UT retaliated against her when it tried to fire her in December of 2012. But the same court allowed Kearney to go ahead with her claim that she received disparate treatment in comparison to other coaches who were punished for having inappropriate relationships with other student athletes. Her suit said other coaches, including former offensive coordinator Major Applewhite, didn’t receive the same disciplinary action as Kearney received. Kearney resigned in January, 2013 eight days after she was told she’d be fired for having an inappropriate relationship with a sprinter on her team. Kearney, who had been at UT for two decades, claimed the relationship was consensual and had happened in 2002. Both sides of Kearney’s suit have until May 18 to file a motion for rehearing the case. Or, UT could ask the Texas Supreme Court to hear the case.
O It’s been almost a year since our friend Robert Espinoza, a former manager at RunTex and fixture in the Austin running community, died at the age of 54 in Savannah, Georgia. I won’t get into the circumstances of his untimely death, but a new documentary about running Savannah is—in part–beautiful tribute to Robert and his contributions to the running community. Here’s a link: https://www.facebook.com/soulproprietorstv/videos/699070133569097/.
O What I’m listening to this morning: “Wildflower” by Tom Petty. The great second solo album by Petty is a solo in name only as all the Heartbreakers (except for drummer Stan Lynch) played on it.
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