Monday, April 16, 2007


Anyone who's ever run a marathon has inevitably considered the possibility of qualifying for the prestigious Boston Marathon. It's often the first question a fellow running pal will ask his first time marathon finisher friend: 'Did you qualify for Boston?' At 111 years old, it is the oldest marathon in the world, and holds a great deal of pride and memories for 1,000's of runners. Personally, I was never drawn to doing Boston, I guess because I'm loyal to my precious New York.. Why stray if you are satisfied? But at work this morning, I couldn't help getting swept up in the excitement that this morning's little race brought to my workstation. By the time I clicked onto the The Boston Marathon website, the men's race was already into it's third mile. There was an American in third place! I was tempted to email my friend Dick who knows everything about running trivia, but I imagined him telling me that a marathon is a very long race, and this guy has a lot of real estate to cover, and I shouldn't place any bets until they're further along into the game.. Then I checked out the women's race.. Jelena Prokopcuka, who won New York in 2005 and 2006, was again going out hard from the gun.. (Or cannon?) When I had more time to catch the details of the race, I gleaned this edible little tidbit from the Boston Marathon website:

The pack was now down to four, with Prokopcuka and Grigoryeva [the eventual winner] running side-by-side, Jeptoo and Perez right behind. By 25K, the women had whittled the finishing pace down to 2:32:44, but whenever the wind gusted everyone lined up single file behind the taller Prokopcuka. The Latvian, who lost precious training time to a bout of the flu a month ago, turned around several times, clearly annoyed at the role she was given. [Indeed! This isn't the Tour de France, ladies!]
And then later they had to say of the Russian winner:

As she made the final turn onto Boylston Street, Grigoryeva took a glance over her shoulder to check her lead. She liked what she saw. She looked again, just to make sure. She was clear, running the last mile in 5 minutes flat and grabbing a Russian flag from the crowd just before breaking the tape.

I thought that was cute.. And good timing with the flag. Maybe I have a little soft spot in my heart for Russian runners.. Afterall, my last coach did give me the nickname 'Russian Rocket'.. Hmm, I haven't been living up to that one for a while..
But back to notes on Boston.. I was looking up random results, just because I love checking out the competition.. A lot of women in my age group under 3 hours! Then I thought, let me check and see if my friend Deanna ran.. Deanna is such an incredibly talented runner, if she wasn't such a likeable person, my jealousy for her natural running ability would take precedence over a friendship. She ran the NYC marathon one year, with no serious training in 3:17.. Her speedwork consisted of running for the bus in the mornings for her 2 hour commute to work. She was always late. Even to races. One race I saw her from the starting line, and I could tell she was too late to join in, though that had been her intention. Instead she decided to join in at mile two to help pace me. I was holding about a 6:45 pace, too fast for me to be talking, but she was chatting away, giving calm updates as to where all my competition was at that stage in the race, and what I would need to do if I wanted to catch them.. All this and not even slightly laboring with her breathing.. Good thing she's so likeable.. So after her 3:17 marathon with no training, she developed all kinds of undiagnosable runner's maladies that my guess were simply a matter of her body asking for a break.. And for her to never run another marathon again without training. But she likes her marathons, and she seems to always do the Boston one.. So I looked her up, and sure enough, not only had she run it with the 50 mph winds and rain that caused the elite runners to slow down by a full 7 minutes off the course record, she ran close to the times she normally runs for a marathon.. So Deanna, this post is for you.. Thanks for inspiring .. And congratulations to anyone else who was brave enough to toe the line today for this old run. And to Jason Lehmkuhle, who started off in the top 3, ran his first 5k in 16:20, and his last in over 29 minutes.. That's one painful way to run a marathon, brother..


Jon said...

I am always so glad to see a new post from you.


So what else is going on with you?

Anonymous said...

Tamar: Enjoyed your reflections about the Boston Marathon. Always enjoy reading others thoughts about marathons.

I've always preferred the smaller marathons. I've never been comfortable with the big crowds.

I really think the marathon distance is quite a challenge and much more difficult than the 1/2 marathon.

Kevin Pasterchik

Just_because_today said...

Boston has never interested me. However, since my marathon goal would qualify me for it, who is to say that in a year I wouldn't be packing my bags and heading to this crowded and prestigious marathon. I've been known to eat my words before especially when it comes to marathons (and in many other areas of my life). I used to question why anyone would run more than one marathon a year if at all, last year I ran 3. I used to condemn people who ran a marathon for fun which I saw as disrespect for the distance and for the effort of those who trained hard...I ran NY just for fun last year.
A marathon to me is a race against the most difficult competitor - oneself, so I embrace that competition now and enjoy it. I dont get that same thrill with the smaller races. And speaking of marathons, why is it that by the time I finish, there is no food?
that is one lousy way to greet a runner after a long run!

tamar said...

jon~ hi.. deanna says gu is a sham (the little packets of glycogen fuel that often save marathoners from 'bonking'), and what's really needed is a little old man holding home-baked brownies at mile 21..
what's new with me? I started playing the mandolin, but then my nails grew back.. what's happening with you?

kevin~ ah, how can you snub ny? I think it's fun to alternate small town races with the divas, like ny.. yeah, the marathon is in it's own category of torture..

jbt~ welcome back! if you are looking for a race with history and intrigue, check out comrades marathon or race in south africa.. There's a good writeup on it in Runner's World this month..

Jon said...

Has anyone seen Tamar? I miss her.

Mike said...

Hi, Tamar. I hope you've kept up with your running more than you've kept up with blog writing!! How are your post GNY workouts and racing? Regards, Mike

tamar said...

jon~ thanks, I missed you too! I've been really terrible about procrastinating writing.. If you see my latest post, you'll know why.. Hope you're doing well! Thanks for checking up on me..

mike~ hi! you cracked me up.. fortunately my running is the absolute only vice I never neglect.. Got taconics to beat!
Things are going well.. I ran a 6:14 mile last month.. How's by you? Any upcoming races?