It’s that time of year again… Rejoice, it’s National Running Day!

So apparently it’s National Running Day. I always find out after the fact or, in this case, with about two hours left to the fact (see my post “Today is National Running Day?? Why Wasn’t I Told?!?” for proof) . Why am I not intimately involved in a day dedicated to my fellow running brethren? Because, frankly, it’s not devoted to runners. It’s devoted to wannabe runners or beginners. Now don’t get me wrong, I fully support people in taking up running, and it might even deserve its own ‘day,’ but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s not so much a “Runner’s Day” as an “I Would Like to Be a Runner Day.”

To all those aspiring runners and beginners out there, I will tell you this: it kind of, but not really, gets easier. Perhaps not the best motivation, but it’s true. Running is about pushing yourself. Yes, you can build yourself up to a certain fitness level and be comfortable maintaining it, but that’s not really the point. I think it’s exciting to see how far you can push your own body. Inserting speedwork and occasional races into your running routine is all part of the fun of the run.  But, then again, I’m not so intense that I don’t frequently go on runs at a comfortable pace and merely enjoy the act of running, the scenery, etc.

World Records and Whatnot

I went on an 18 mile run this past Sunday, my second in three weeks. Not for any particular reason, I was just in the mood to go far. I’m technically training for a half marathon at the moment (the Long Island Half Marathon, a tradition in my family), but I have yet to see a training plan that calls for such long runs.

It’s a nice feeling- scratch that, a terrible feeling, but nice in retrospect- when you have just a few miles to go during a long run, and your legs get that sense of heaviness just before they begin cramping, letting you know you’re approaching your physical limit. Granted, many people can go considerably further than 18 miles, and I could too at a slower pace and some training, but 18 ain’t bad. To think I once couldn’t make it a mile, that’s a hell of an accomplishment. It’s satisfying to know that I have the ability to push my limits further and further back, and that I have yet to reach my full running potential.

Now, enough about me. There’s been running in the wind. First of all, Geoffrey Mutai has crushed the world record for the marathon with a blazing time of 2:03:02. But, unfortunately, the time will not be recognized as an official world record due to the point-to point course and net elevation drop in the Boston course (Boston Globe). This can easily be argued both ways, but my stance is this: if Boston is really a hard course worthy of world-record recognition, Mutai can do it again (or close to it) on an easier course such as Berlin. Either way, winning Boston in that kind of time is a remarkable achievement that cannot be marred by any technicalities, at least in my book, and hopefully Mutai feels the same way.

Also in the news was the race to the finish line between the Kenyan Caroline Kilel and the American Desiree Davila, which culminated in a two-second win by Kilel, one of the closest women’s races in Boston history (The New York Times). American Kara Goucher also placed fifth, in a race not long after she gave birth. In the men’s race, American Ryan Hall placed fifth in a time of 2:04:58. The Americans seem to be catching up in long distance running, at last.

All in all, this was one fast race.

Sorry, Geb!

Was it the way I waved? Or the tone in which I yelled out “Go Geb!” Or was it just a coincidence?

The odds are overwhelmingly in my favor that it was a coincidence, so I’ll go with that.

What I’m referring to is the 2010 New York City Marathon, in which world record holder Haile Gebrselassie dropped out due to a knee injury. I saw him about a mile before that, and cheered him on. While my cheer may not have caused Geb to drop out of the race, it is still pretty cool that I got to see him. And if it’s true that he’s really retiring from running (as per his announcement following the New York City Marathon), then I saw him before the last competitive mile in his incredible career.

And an incredible career it was (or, hopefully, continues to be). If you check out his Wikipedia page, you can see the ridiculously long list of records he has held. And in the case of the marathon, still holds. 2:03:59 is probably not going to be broken all that soon, unless of course Geb comes out of retirement to astonish us all (hint, hint, Geb).

But if this really is the end to his professional running career, then I would like to recognize one of the greatest runners who ever lived, Haile Gebrselassie.

Oh, and Geb, if it was that guy at around mile 25 who somehow caused the injury that ended your career, sorry about that. But can I still get your autograph?

Breaking News: Geb may not be retiring! According to The New York Times, he is reconsidering and may run in the 2012 London Olympics.

By the way, this is not actually breaking news at all. Well, it’s breaking news for me, because I just read it, but Geb actually said this just a couple of weeks ago.


I’m Back! Cheer for Joy!

It’s been too long since I’ve posted. I’d apologize to all my dedicated readers, but I don’t think I have any.


Well, my life has been busy these past few weeks, and while I’ve kept up with the running, I just haven’t had the time to talk about recent developments. And there have indeed been developments. Unfortunately, most are not of the good variety.

The first major development is an injury. It occurred around the time I started out the Vibram Five Fingers, but I’m not pointing any fingers (pun intended). That knee was giving me trouble well before I started with them, so if anything it just hastened the inevitable injury. Also, it really started hurting after a race, so it may not have been the shoes at all (and no, I did not race in the Five Fingers).

Of course, I took it nice and easy once I got this injury. Meaning I kept up my regular running schedule as much as I could and didn’t let it interfere with my racing plans. Oh, what’s that? I’m an idiot? Well, you may be right. But I still PR’ed, so I’d like to think it was worth it.

I did eventually let my knee rest and I’m on my way to recovery, only long runs hurt it now. But I’ve kept off the Five Fingers as a precaution, because even if they didn’t cause the injury, they definitely would irritate it considering how hard they are on the joints.

I promised you developments, in the plural, and so far I have only complained about my knee injury. I don’t have too many more personal running developments, but in the running world at large I’m sure there have been many. The one that comes to mind is Tyson Gay beating out Usain Bolt in the 100 meters in early August. Sure, Bolt wasn’t in top form, but impressive for Gay nonetheless. In other somewhat-running-related news, the U.S. Open has been going on for the past few days (it’s a stretch, I know, but there is some running). There have been some great matches so far, and the Watch Live function on the U.S. Open website is great.

I realize now that I alluded to multiple bad running developments earlier, but there really aren’t any besides my injury. It sounds interesting though, so I’ll leave it there, even though it’s bad journalism.

Also bad journalism is discussing journalistic errors in the same piece…

Today is National Running Day?? Why Wasn’t I Told?!?

My God, I nearly missed it entirely. How shameful for a running blog to miss the one day of the year specifically devoted to running. Because today is, as I’m sure no one is aware, National Running Day!

At first (when I discovered today’s significance accidentally on the Runner’s World website about ten minutes ago), I was excited because I thought it was kind of like Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, where people show their appreciation for their old folks’ hard work. It’s time someone started appreciating my running- it’s hard work, too. But then I realized it’s not a day for runners at all, but rather for non-runners to consider taking up running. Which is why most runners, like I was until about ten minutes ago, are blissfully unaware of its existence.

National Running Day is about raising running awareness, understanding the benefits of running, and blah, blah, blah. Since most of my posts are targeted toward the running crowd, it is somewhat unnecessary to discuss this. I don’t need to convince runners that running is good.

So as it turns out, National Running Day is not a day for runners at all. Which is why I propose a National Runner’s Day, which is based more along the lines of Mother’s or Father’s Day. All runners will be celebrated and receive presents such as a new pair of running shoes or other (expensive) running attire. Unfortunately, this is unlikely to catch on anytime soon, so in the meantime we’re stuck with the lame ol’ National Running Day.

Chris Solinsky Stuns with a 26:59 10k Debut

On May 1st, Chris Solinsky made his 10k debut. On May 1st, Chris Solinsky also stunned the world by crushing the American 10k record (previously held by Meb Keflezighi), and becoming the first American to go under 27 minutes. That this was a race in which Galen Rupp was expected to go for the record and that Solinsky is mainly a 5k runner just add to Solinsky’s incredible achievement.

Some would say it was a miracle. But I believe that takes away from the accomplishment. So instead, I’ll just call it what it is: incredible.

When I watched the last lap of this race (the Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational, hosted by Stanford University), and listened to announcers mesmerized by Solinsky’s incredible performance, I felt some serious emotions. I got chills as he crossed the finish line 4/10 of a second under 27 minutes. And keep in mind that this wasn’t even live; I was watching it a couple of weeks after it happened. But watching somebody accomplish something so great is emotional for everyone involved, spectators included. You can watch the last few laps here:

Amazing. Just amazing.

Congrats to Chris Solinsky- keep on surprising us, Chris.

Boston’s Begun!

Good luck to all you Boston runners out there! Hopefully we can have an American winner this year!

Of course, I greatly respect anyone who wins, no matter the nationality, but it would be nice to have an American winner again. Are you listening, Meb and Ryan? Well, I hope not, you should be concentrating on running at the moment.

And for all you thinking off pulling a Rosie Ruiz in honor of the 30th anniversary of that 1980 race-