It was interesting to read Naoko Takahashi’s eight 5K split times on her way to the first women’s sub-2:20 marathon in Berlin Sunday. Talk about an evenly-paced marathon — the difference between her slowest (first) 3.1 mile checkpoint and her fastest leg (last), was but 23 seconds. Wow. And that little difference can often be explained by a mere topographical change in the course. Or a head wind, for that matter. I’ll bet Adam (Mr. Negative Splits) Polakowski really can appreciate this. He’s the very best when it comes to understanding pace.
I loved seeing Janet Jordan stretch out her previous longest ultra Sunday by 19 miles, as she successfully completed the Vermont 50 mile trail run. Brian did the same course by mountain bike, and now the campaign begins to see if I can get Janet to attempt the Vermont 100 next summer, now that we have “the night-time pathfinder” Brian in the fold to lend his noble light as pacer over the last 32 miles. (allowed in Vermont 100, though you have to leave bicycle at home for that one).
The high school cross-country season takes on an extra twist when half your friends are coaching the various teams. Paul Fendler coaches Cape Cod Academy, Kevin directs Sturgis, Don Bates coaches Harwich, Don Smith leads Barnstable, Brian Corrigan is at the helm for Mashpee, and Jim Hoar trains D-Y. The one and only Melissa Sherman has left for Boston College, but we can still enjoy Jeff Way, Eric Critzer (son of 100-miler Judy), and Eric Burgess duking it out. And the latter two are only juniors, so there is much more to come.
I recommend the book “Racing the Antelope” by Bernd Heinrich for all you naturalists out there. Heinrich is a legendary record holding ultrarunner who has combined his study of some of the amazing endurance feats of other species with his own 100 kilometer running. Heinrich is a professor at the University of Vermont who I met through another good marathoner who teaches there, Ralph Swenson.
George Eliot wrote: “If a man is not willing to attempt to go to the utmost reaches of his perimeters, then how is he ever to discover just how very far he might go?” I like that. The ultra Grand Slam awaits. Cruel, patient, exacting and inscrutable perhaps, but next year, if I just play it just right… Hope does spring eternal.
See you on the trails,