We all know it's cool that we get to run in the same competition as the top athletes in the world - even though they are way up front and we may never see them. Still, we often get a glimpse before the race, or get to see them at the expo. And they are usually very normal, nice people, about the same size as us, with the same nervousness and fears and dreams. (well, bigger dreams)
And I've met a few.
Me and Kara at RNR LA
Me and Jen Rhines at Cherry Blossom
Me and Ryan and Sara Hall at the LA expo.
But this year I got to actually know a couple elites (OK, sub-elites) that ran in LA.
I met Cheyne. He works at Skechers which is close to where I live. He
just moved down from San Francisco, and met up with our Tuesday running
group. I found myself running with him at 8 minute pace and we started
chatting. I found out he is running LA and told him I was too, and was
shooting for 3:25. I thought maybe he would have a similar goal since,
you know, we were running at the same speed...
"Oh, I'm shooting for an Olympic Trials Qualifier, under 2:18"
ran with us most Tuesdays (as his 2nd run of the day after a hard
morning workout). He was banking 110 mile weeks. Nice guy, fun to talk
to. He was genuinely interested in my assessment of the LA race course.
Turns out his PR is 2:25, when he got 3rd at the Napa marathon.Six weeks
before LA he ran Surf City as a training run; Easy for ten miles, and
then MGP for 16. He won in 2:35.
became friends, and when he needed a way to get to the race, I offered
to pick him up, and we drove to the shuttle bus pickup area together.
Until he went off to his elite bus...
He also scored me a free pair of Skechers, so there's that.
So that's one. Now here's another story.
went to the race expo on Friday before LA. This was the day after I got
laid off, so I was still kind of shell-shocked. I had the whole day to
kill, so I figured I'd hang out there for a while. I saw Ryan and Sara
Hall would be speaking, so I sat in the speech area and listened to some
guy tell us how to properly run a marathon. Then there was 20 minutes
to kill. I sat in the front row and started chatting with some girl
named Cassidy about Ryan Hall. It was the usual running talk. She's from
Chicago, so I told her about the race course, etc.
saw her bib. Number 132. "Um, are you in the elite corral?" Turns out,
yes! Her PR is 2:49 and her goal is also to get an Olympic trials
qualifier (2:42). But, you know, just a regular runner who happens to be
really fricking fast.
We got along well, and sat through
the Halls' interview, and then waited in line for photos with them (see
above). We both had no other plans for the day, so we grabbed some lunch
next to the expo. Lots more runner talk about the race and strategy and
goals - the usual.
Had to get my "elite" shot...For when she becomes famous...
was without a car, so I gave her a quick tour of part of the course so
she could see the hills before dropping her off. We talked about race
strategy; Whether it made sense for her to start with the elite women,
or to start with the main pack later and run with some fast guys instead
of by herself behind the faster women.
So race day came.
It was hot and I bonked, but then I touched base with Cheyne afterward.
He didn't have a good day (like most of us). By mile ten he had dropped
off of goal pace and was considering quitting, but he hooked up with one
of the women who had started ten minutes ahead and ended up running
with her for the whole second half of the race. Called it a training
run. He finished in 2:49.
Then I checked Cassidy's result.
2:58:56. Hmmm. Given her ten minute head start, that meant they must
have been very close at the finish. You guessed it. She was the woman
Cheyne ran with! They ended up running together for over half of the
race. Somehow my name never came up. I had already told each of them
earlier the story of how I met the other one. Now I got to tell them
that their new race partner was my friend. Cool. Here they are in the
now Cassidy is training for Grandma's and another shot at 2:42. Cheyne
is shooting to qualify in a half. Both are still hoping to be in LA next
Spring for the Olympic Trials. Maybe we can have a reunion.
Running is cool.