New York City, NY
On Saturday morning, two members of PRTC were able to take place in the fastest and deepest Olympic Marathon Trials ever. Stong winds were gusting down the streets of Manhattan on this Fall morning, as Hurricane Noel had taken an unexpected turn back toward the U.S. coastline. The temperature was nice and cool as the buses made their way to the starting line at Rockefeller Plaza.
This race was not your typical, quiet road race. Evidence of that could be seen a full hour before the start. As Ted went out on the streets to warm up, he saw a group of men running around with their shirts off – each one covered with a letter spray-painted on to his chest. The letters spelled out “Brian Sell” – the eventual third place finisher and member of the 2008 Olympic Marathon Team. Viewed nationally on the Today show, the opening miles were conservative, as the runners made their way through the city – running right through Times Square. This start was somewhat surprising, although understandable, as each and every runner knew that the rolling hills in Central Park awaited.
The field filtered in to the park with fans awaiting. People were cheering and holding signs everywhere. There were very few spots of the five mile loop (the first of the five loops was four miles) that did not have people lining it. With each lap the runners covered of the criterium course, the crowds at the grandstands grew bigger.
Both of our guys did not have the day they envisioned however. Matty fought cramps from the third mile to the finish. The cramps were not constant, Matt explained, as “they would get better, then worse, then better, then worse. I could never stand up and run pain free for more than two to three minutes.” Matt is not sure why this problem arose, but thinks perhaps it is due to overhydration. This is understandable on a day when every runner wants to run well so badly that his or her preparations can border on overkill.
Preparations is exactly what hindered Ted on this day as well. Ted started the race further back than Matty, but was looking to run conservatively and perhaps move up as the race went on. “With the Summer and Fall I had, I knew I was short on health and fitness. I hoped that with a conservative start, my strength would show itself and I could pull through as the race went on. Ironically, I have been improving in health steadily the last three weeks; I simply ran out of time to prepare.”
UPTOWN, PAT WARD LINED UP FOR A RACE THAT ALSO FEATURED MANY HILLS, but these hills would be found on the grass. Pat said that was caught up in some traffic off the starting line, but that he threw in some surges upon entering the woods and up Freshman Hill. This put Pat in good position entering the back hills. “In retrospect, I was probably a bit too aggressive,” Pat noted afterwards. “I somehow went through two miles faster than I had at Franklin Park six days before, which led me to start feeling pretty ragged over the latter part of the back hills loop.” Pat lost places in the back hills loop, but was able to recover and take back some of those places leading up to the bridge. From there, Pat fought hard and maintained his position until the finish.
“I think this was a better performance than my race at Mayor’s Cup. And since it came after several not restful hours on my feet that morning in Central Park, I can’t complain. I’m glad I decided to race, but I’m looking forward to pacing myself a bit more evenly at Rothman, and then gearing up for a strong race at Club Nationals!”