Monday, August 6, 2012

A Leisurely Sunday...

I planned for an amazing Sunday. I set the entire afternoon aside to watch the Women's Olympic Marathon streaming live from the BBC. I love watching marathons live; sure, it's 2+ hours of running, but it always ends up very exciting. And this is the first Olympic Marathon for me that I've actually been interested in running. I was stoked.

I was excited to see Desiree Davila; her 2nd place Boston finish was the first marathon I ever watched. It was incredible because I didn't quite understand what I was watching & she came out of nowhere. I was excited to see Shalane Flanagan & Kara Goucher for the first time. I've heard a lot about these two & I really like Shalane's competitive spirit.


To start with, I got the time difference completely wrong. First, I thought the event was starting earlier than it did. Then I completely miscalculated & ended up missing the first 10 minutes. If I hadn't checked Twitter, I'd have missed the entire first hour of the marathon.

If you follow the sport at all, you probably heard Desi was having injury issues. Even Paula Radcliffe pulled out from her Olympic dream due to injury. I also understand (now) that the 4th place Olympic Trial winner decided to participate in the Olympic track events, so she hadn't trained to marathon distance. So I was super disappointed, being 10 minutes late, to see Desi had already dropped out.

I set my focus on Shalane & Kara. They were easy to spot in their baseball caps, presumably to keep the rain out of their eyes. It was complete soaking downpour in London. I like running in the rain; I find it cool & refreshing... & these ladies wear far less than I do when I run. But all I kept thinking about was how all that water would equal soggy feet & chafing. It was a pretty standard first hour. Then the sun started to come out & I thought about the humidity & how icky the sun makes the rain feel. And the ladies lost their baseball caps, so I had a more challenging time figuring out who was who. I kept getting China confused with Shalane. During the second half of the race, Kara fell off... then I saw Shalane start to fade. I was sad. Eventually, I realized Shalane wouldn't rally, but I stuck with the race to the bitter end. When Shalane came in 10th (from a 5th place position), I was sad. Then she collapsed to her knees & Kara came up right behind her (in 11th place) & tapped her on the back... then helped to carry her off the field.

Teamwork & tan lines.
I really wanted to see an American lady win this race. I was so incredibly disappointed for these two women; I wanted to see them kick some ass & show that the U.S. can still win long distance running.

Sidenote: Another thing that really bothered me was the water stations. The winner, Tiki Gelana, managed to make an amazing comeback after being knocked over by another runner at a water station early on in the race (what would her time have been if she hadn't had to stop for bandaging?). Later in the race, one of the leaders kept dropping her water bottle right next to her... not throwing it out in front of her. So the runners next to her actually tripped on the water bottle! That's really dangerous & inconsiderate to your fellow runners. I've been trying to figure out/remember who it was, but none of the reports include this information. But the BBC Live announcers commented on it & showed replays of the runner tripping. It was a pretty crappy thing to do. And it wasn't an accident because the runner was a repeat offender.

So now it's up to the men... which I'll be watching next Sunday. :D

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