Around here there is something called the Red Rose Run that is quintessentially a local five-mile run as opposed to a five-mile race that attracted world-record holders and Olympians that it did during its heyday. That’s fine, I guess, because I doubt most people really care if it’s Kenyans or local racers at the top of the leaderboard. Most people who run (based on my uneducated experience) don’t particularly care if they get faster from race to race or what place they finish. Everyone has a reason for running, and sometimes one doesn’t have to be fast to enjoy it – that’s the beauty of it.
Nevertheless, there are a few of us who don’t do this for our health. Deep down we’re aggressive, hostile and competitive. Running is the perfect place to channel those feelings.
Anyway, speaking of racing and really good runners, Khalid Khannouchi was back racing in a 10k through Central Park last weekend after dropping out of the London Marathon in April. Actually, the fact that Khannouchi was racing in New York was such a big deal that The New York Times offered a pre-race feature on the runner as he prepared to race against American Dathan Ritzenhein and Australian Buster Mottram. After the race Ritzenhein told reporters that he was “intimidated” at the starting line to see Khannouchi, the American record holder in the marathon, standing there.
As followers of the sport know, Ritzenhein finished the race in a Central Park-record 28:08, 17 seconds ahead of Mottram. Khannouchi, meanwhile, was 14th in 30:06.
Perhaps the injuries that plagued Khannouchi in London resurfaced in Central Park? I couldn’t find any post-race comments from Khannouchi online aside from a rhetorical question posted on his web site:
Is Khalid back?
Obviously, not yet!!
According to the story in The Times, Khannouchi wants to race in Beijing for the 2008 Olympic Games and then call it a career. First, however, he has to make the U.S. marathon team, which doesn’t sound too difficult noting that he has the fastest qualifying time for the trials and that he is the only man in history to run under 2:06 three times. Khannouchi’s five best marathon times make him the fastest ever.
Yet for some reason his name doesn’t enter the conversation when talking about who will finish on the podium and make the Olympic team at the marathon trials in November. Never mind that there is no other American within three minutes of his best times. For some reason Ritzenhein, Ryan Hall, Alan Culpepper, Brian Sell, Meb Keflezighi and Abdi Abdirahman are the runners to beat, while Khannouchi seems to be forgotten in the, “oh yeah… him,” sense.
Is that because he missed the trials in 2000 and 2004 with injuries that some whispered weren’t serious enough to really keep him out of a race like the Olympic Trials? Is it because of his age (he’s 35)? Could it be that he has completed just two marathons since running Chicago in 2:05:56 in 2002? Forget that only one American was even in the neighborhood of the times he did register (2:07:04 in London in 2006 and 2:08:44 in Chicago in 2004); he has run 2:05… three times!
Either way, the trials in Manhattan in November should be quite interesting. Take Khannouchi out of it and it’s the deepest American field in a long, long time. Add him into the mix it’s possible that the American marathoner could be one of the strongest teams in Beijing in 2008.
Anyway, I think I’m getting closer to deciding whether I will run a local road race or two in the upcoming weeks. Aside from that, I’m also continuing to build up for a marathon in October and/or November. So far my strength and recovery is pretty good but my speed… well, let’s just say I’m strong.
Here’s how the week of May 14 to 20 broke down:
Monday - 18 miles in 1:59:38
I was consistent and strong for the entire run. It helped that the weather was perfect, of course, but this was a good one. I only started to feel slightly tired toward the end and I'm quite sure that I could have busted out another hour with no trouble.
First 5: 33:21
2nd 5: 33:05
3rd 5: 32:56
Aside from a slow first loop, I was pretty rock steady consistent.
Tuesday - 13 miles in 1:26:48
Felt pretty good in the beginning. My legs had a little snap and I was raring to get out the door and get busy. But it was hot and sunny, which slowed me down as the run wore on. It wasn't anything major, but it was quite obvious that the sun and heat were a drag.
1st 5: 33:05
2nd 5: 33:24
Elsewhere, I read that Deena Kastor has skin cancer and has been battling the issue for a little while. Not so seriously (except for where it pertains to my finances), my car came dangerously close to overheating and I had to take it to the garage. Hopefully it's not too major.
Wednesday - 13 miles in 1:26:16
I actually veered into the Brick Yards today for some reason. I also had a fairly quick pace thanks in part to hard winds blowing a nice tailwind. Better yet, the wind and approaching rain storm brought the temperatures down to something more conducive to distance running. If only the weather would be 55 and overcast for two hours every day...
Thursday - 10 miles in 64:00
I didn't sleep well, so I decided to get up and run early. Surprisingly, it went fairly well. I kept the pace steady and ran a few surges, though nothing that would constitute speed work or to get too excited about.
Friday - 15 miles in 1:36:49
This was really good one. The weather was perfect -- 55, cloudy with drizzle -- and despite feeling a little tight when I woke up, I was solid and smooth the entire time. Who knows... maybe I'm starting to get into shape.
Saturday - 12 miles in 1:18:24
I ran well and felt strong. I'm sure I could have put in many more miles, but I don't want to overdo it quite yet. I guess I stopped because I want to pace myself. On another note, I added a few faux strides when I was finished. I definitely feel as though I have to do a better job with my speed work.
Sunday - 6 miles in 36:32
This one proved that I'm not in great shape and/or that I need to start getting busy with the speed workouts. I tried to run up tempo with the possibility of running a 5k time trial, and it didn't really go as planned. I ended up just doing a tempo run, which wasn't spectacular. I didn't push it because I didn't feel too good, but the times when I did push it ever so slightly, it didn't feel good either. I ended up doing five miles in 29:24, which was disappointing, but at the same time, I really didn't push it. Nevertheless, the point is that I have to get to work.
That’s 87 miles for the week.
“I knew coming in here that the competition would be great and I could conquer it,” she said. “That wasn’t the case today. We marathoners can get pretty hard on ourselves, but I felt I had the drive to push forward and the will to win the race. So I’m definitely disappointed knowing I was good enough to come here and win this race. I’m disappointed that didn’t happen.
“Usually, you can learn a lesson from a marathon. I’m not taking anything away from this one. There was no learning experience. A fifth-place finish is a fifth-place finish.”
So yes, it had to be something with Kastor. She's far too good of a runner to simply have a bad day. Just ignore the second-guessing.