Sympathy pains. When my wife was pregnant many years ago, everyone joked that I would also have similar discomforts to mimic what she was experiencing. Although I did suffer from some leg pains at the time, they had less to do with her carrying our twin daughters and everything to do with heavy mileage.
And, now for the past two weeks, I am again having sympathy pains. No, she’s not pregnant. Instead my sympathy pains, were for my fellow marathoners who are running this weekend.
Let me explain. I had trained long and hard this summer for the Chicago Marathon. Chicago is my favorite marathon and even though it is incredibly difficult to marathon- train through our summer heat and humidity, I have done it many times.
This summer wasn’t any worse than normal, but my mileage and long runs were simply too inconsistent. When a Chicago training buddy was going 22, I was still struggling with 16-milers. Friends said I should go to Chicago anyway, run slow and “have fun with it.” But long ago I vowed never to run a marathon unless I was ready to roll.
Clearly, I wasn’t and a few weeks ago, I pulled the plug on Chicago. No big deal. I’m a big boy and can deal with disappointments. Since I wasn’t running the marathon and my legs were beaten up by the summer marathon training, I decided to take a couple of easy, recovery weeks that coincided with what would have been my taper for Chicago.
Now, I don’t know about you, but the two weeks leading up to the marathon are the two hardest weeks in my marathon training cycle. Like everybody else, I reduce my training load and try to rest up for the big race.
I hate it.
My body is so used to the daily endorphin rush and the weekly long runs it rebels when I switch it off. Instead of feeling great, I feel antsy, tired and disjointed. Whatever confidence I’ve built up over the past three or four months is gone. Running a single mile at my marathon goal pace is difficult during my taper and I can’t imagine trying to run 26. And yet, I always do.
But, this time Chicago was out and I still feel the same way—cruddy, nervous, edgy–I usually do before the marathon.
Evidently, my mind and body never got the memo that I wasn’t running. My mind and body couldn’t differentiate at this time of year between some relaxed R&R and its normal early fall marathon taper.
Then, it dawned on me: Sympathy pains.
My sore legs and apprehensiveness had nothing to do with me and everything for my friends, co-workers and training partners who are running Chicago on Sunday. I’m not, but my body and head still feels like it is.
O Marathon season got off to a bang last weekend with Austinites flying all over the country. At the speedy St. George (Utah) Marathon, Colin Bell led the way for Austin runners with a PR of 2:37:43, good for 27th overall. Sean Lilley notched his first sub-3 with a 2:57:48 clocking. Other times included Joseph Garlock ran 3:03:11, Jason Gooch (3:06:09), Dave Keller of San Antonio (3:14:05), Anabel Pearson of Helotes (3:14:54), Abby Perone of San Antonio (3:16:14), Chris Neugebauer of Dripping Springs (3:17:43), Lisa Ansin (3:18:43), Todd Sazenski of Pflugerville (3:19:11), Joe Tammaro of San Antonio (3:19:27) and Jeff Burrus (3:23:39). Also, the ageless James Hill of Buda, all of 73 years old, ran a phenomenal 3:39:13.
O At the Twin Cities Marathon in Minneapolis, former Austinite Scott MacPherson came oh so close to breaking 2:16, but settled for a PR of 2:16:02 to take 10th in the USATF national champs. Other Austinites included Steve Boots who is 56 and won his age group in a remarkable 2:54:09, Joe Terracina (3:08:03), Robyn Dodge (3:21:41), Michelle Ryan (3:24:16), Jerie Kelly (3:32:10) and Jessica Casey (3:34:42). Robert Perez of San Antonio (64 years old) ran 3:31:06.
O Three-time IBM winner Betzy Jimenez and man-about-town Chad Childers are getting married on December 15th.
O Meanwhile, Chris Brewer, the deputy director of external affairs over at Livestrong, got married last weekend to Kris Carson. The couple are honeymooning in Italy.
O Erik Stanley, who won last week’s IBM Uptown Classic 10-K, has a whopper of goal for 2014. The former UT miler wants to become the first to ever run a sub-4 minute mile and a sub-9 hour clocking for 100 kilometers in the same year. Pretty tough stuff. I can only think of a handful of guys who ever even ran a sub-4 mile and a sub-2:15 marathon—and none of those did in the same year. The only names that readily leap to mind are Rod Dixon, Duncan Macdonald, Paul Cummings, Alan Culpepper and I think Ed Eyestone ran sub-4s and sub-2:15s. There are probably a few others, but not many runners have that range. Anyway, Erik who had a 1500 PR of 3:41 while still at UT (approximately a 3:59 mile), plans to run a few indoor miles this winter and then tackle a few ultras in the spring.
O Great to see David Bizzell back running well again at IBM after a long absence from the road running scene. Bizzell, who is now 63, was second to Jimmy McIntire in the 60-64 age group in 43:02.
O Congrats to Roger Soler of San Antonio. Soler, who was an Olympian for his native Peru, is the founder and owner of Soler’s Sports (four stores in San Antonio), and has been nominated to the Run Specialty Hall of Fame for running retailers. Also nominated for the Hall of Fame as a key influencer in the running business is my boss, Fritz Taylor of Mizuno USA. Both Fritz and Roger will find out the results at the induction ceremony on December 4 at The Running Event in Austin.
O Down in Helotes last weekend at the Helotes Run Festival Half Marathon, Paul Baltutis reports that pro triguy Robbie Wade dominated to win in 1:18:38 on a hilly course. Anita Quirino, a Texas A&M—Corpus Christi grad, won the women’s division in1:23:26. She’s planning on running the 3M Half in Austin in January.
O The Ironman World Champs in Kona is Saturday and it would be great to list the Central Texans who are entered, but the IM website doesn’t list the qualifiers. Anyway, I know at least local pros Kelly Williamson and Brandon and Amy Marsh are competing on Kona. Stephan Schwarze will also be competing as an amateur for the 10th time on Kona. You can follow them on the live tracking on the IM website—if it works.
O Jamie Cleveland, who co-owns Hill Country Running and Texas Iron with his wife Andrea Fisher, has been one of the top triathletes in these parts for years—and he doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Cleveland, who is 41, was the overall winner of the Texas Tri Series by more than a full minute over Joe Stephens. And his Texas Iron charges took six of the top 10 overall sports in the series.
O Last weekend at the Chili Pepper Cross-Country Festival in Fayetteville, Arkansas, Tia Kool of Rogue Running won the 5-K collegiate open in 16:55 in the mud by a split second over Grace Heymsfield of Arkansas. Other Rogue runners were Sarah Pease (8th), Mia Behm (16th) and Mary Goldcamp (25th). In the men’s 8-K College Division, David Fuentes of Team Mizuno finished sixth in 24:35. Fuentes was the first non-collegian in the race won by Kennedy Kithuka of Texas Tech in 23:28. Devin Monson of Rogue Running was 20th and Rogue’s Matt Cleaver was 20th and Carl Stones was 22nd.
O Gilbert Tuhabonye’s 12-year-old daughter Emma is becoming a terrific athlete just like dad. But Emma Tuhabonye is a swimmer and last weekend qualified for the A Meet in the 200m breaststroke at the TXLA Fall Kickoff. The A meet is the highest standard.
O More Tuhabonye. Earlier this week Run for the Water – the race that benefits his charity (the Gazelle Foundation) announced a new Global Run for folks who don’t live in Austin. For more information visit http://www.gazellefoundation.com/runforthewater/2013globalrun/.
O Steve Jones, the former marathon world record holder who won the New York City and Chicago marathons, has been inducted into the Boulder (Colorado) Hall of Fame. Jones, 58, is a frequent visitor to Austin and has spoken numerous times at the Austin Marathon pre-race expo. Jones has lived in Boulder for 25 years where he coaches world-class marathoners as well as recreational racers.
O Part of the reason the Austin Marathon is reinstating prize money for the ’14 race, according to race director John Conley, is “We want to be put the spotlight on the front of the pack again. The post-Olympic business climate for professional running seems to be on shaky ground and we wanted to be true to the sport and be part of the solution.” For the first time since the ’08 race, Austin will offer prize and performance money.
O Francie Larrieu Smith, one of the greatest American distance runners ever, has been the head cross-country coach at Southwestern College in Georgetown now for 15 years. Last year, her men’s and women’s teamas had their best years ever with third place conference finishes. This season, her teams may go one step farther. The Southwestern men’s team has won one meet (its own Southwestern Open) and has two third-place finishes and a fourth last weekend in the Alamo City Duals in San Antonio. Francie’s women have also run well this year with a first (again in the Southwestern Open) as well as a third, fourth and sixth last weekend in San Antonio. Their conference meet is November 2nd in Shreveport.
O The new Lance Armstrong documentary—The Armstrong Lie—will be out in a “limited rollout” on November 8th. There are several other biopics in the works about the former Mr. Yellow Jersey, but this one by Alex Gibney was started in 2009 and then halted production when the doping scandal first came to light. After Armstrong’s mea culpa to Oprah, Gibney went back to work on the project and got Armstrong to sit down for an interview. If you’re interested in this sort of thing, there’s a two-minute trailer posted on www.slashfilm.com. Go to trailers and scroll down.
O Random thought: I’m not a betting man, but if I were, I’d bet the ranch on OU covering the 14 points (Vegas line) against the Longhorns on a neutral field at the Cotton Bowl. Hard not to imagine anything but a blow out.
O What I’m listening to this morning: “Kill To Get Crimson” by Mark Knopfler.
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