Saturday, November 03, 2007

Trialed and true

11:15 AM - 12 miles, 1:22:00 - West Hill.
Canal path, two loops at West Hill and back. Threw in a few steady stretches mid-run and finished up with a 5:42 last mile on the path. Felt comfortable, but thought for sure I was under 5:30.

7:45 AM - 5 miles, 38:40 - Central Park.
All over the place with Hodgie and A-Ten while watching the Trials. Nothing but a whole lot of stop-and-go mileage, but made sure I clicked the watch every time.

I was positioned at the 6-mile mark of the men's Olympic Trials marathon in Central Park this morning, hootin' and hollerin' at the top of my lungs for the 120 some-odd studs who came flying by in a steady stream of sustained speed. One runner never made it to that early mile marker however, and all it took was one quick phone call before those excited chants turned into an eerie silence.

"Ryan Shay just went down," best bud Sean McKeon shouted at me from the other end of the phone.

"Did he trip?" I asked.

"No dude, they're giving him CPR," he informed me. "It doesn't look good."

Next thing you know an ambulance comes flying by with its lights flashing and people are wondering what in the hell is going on. About a half an hour later, rumor was floating around the park that Ryan Shay had passed away. The race, possibly the most exciting event I've ever had the pleasure to witness in person, suddenly didn't seem so important any more.

Needless to say, it's been an emotional day on many fronts. The race itself was exciting and inspirational - lots of positive energy making its way around the park this morning. Lots of impressive performances too, most notably Ryan Hall, Dathan Ritzenhein, Brian Sell and local homeboy Nate Jenkins. Ryan's untimely death put a terrible twist on an otherwise fantastic day, but sometimes such a tragic event can help to put everything else back into perspective.

This life is short, so you need to make the most of it while you can. Ryan Shay sure did, and he's inspired me to do the same.

Quotes of the Day

"You can't think about 'what if I fail,' because it will cause negative thoughts, so instead you have to turn the energy around and feed off that energy. All these people are cheering for you. They don't know you, they just want you to do well."
- Ryan Shay. RIP, 11.03.07

"You’ve got to run smart, but you’ve got to have the faith that you can finish. You can’t get scared. If I go out and feel good, I’m not going to be afraid to run with that lead pack. You have to take that chance. If that means I’m running 2:25 and crawling home, then so be it. At the same time, if it’s late in the race and I’m coming up on people, if you have even a passing thought of not thinking you can pass certain people like Meb [Keflezighi], then you won’t make it. The time to be in awe of them is after the race. Until then, everyone’s equal and you go for it."
- Nate Jenkins. He wasn't afraid, he took that chance, he didn't crawl home and he didn't have a passing thought about passing Meb late in the race.

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