Olympic Marathon

The Olympics are here, and I am taking in just as much as I can.  Every sport, every athlete, whatever I can absorb.  But I looked forward to the Women's Marathon more than anything.

I got up at 3:30am to make sure I had time to make coffee and a soy cocoa* before the gun went off.  I also wanted to catch a little of the warm-up, see the women's faces, the nerves, the excitement.  I love that stuff!

By 4am I was settled onto the couch and deeply immersed in three live feeds of the marathon.  The rain was dreadful.  The pace was slow.  I could see the American women's confidence and I was really proud!  But my heart went out to Desi Davilla who had battled injury for weeks before the race and clearly wasn't herself.  Her uneven gait told the story and I just begged her to drop out of the race.  It's the hardest thing to do- trust me I know- but no one can deny that you earned your spot at the Olympics and no one will remember how far you made it, even if you make it the entire way.  I don't believe the marathon is a race to wrestle your way through; it's too long with too much potential for long term damage.

Back to the live action: I watched every step, every turn, all of the way to about 10 miles... and then I fell asleep.  Hey, it's still not light out and I am exhausted from all of this intense watching!  Fortunately, I woke back up with 2 miles to go; perfect!

At this point, Shalane is strong, Kara isn't in screen, and the east Africans who held back in the first 10 miles are leading the race with authority.  Shalane begins to fade which is only driven home by the number of women passing her in the last mile.  My take on what happened?  This is only her third marathon and this race, more so than any other Olympic running event, requires experience.  Hitting the wall can happen to anybody, no matter how fit or fierce they are.  But you don't believe it can happen to you until it does. 

In my very humble opinion, I believe Shalane's source of confidence and greatest weakness in this race was simply believing she was invincible.  Unfortunately, it fell to the latter.  However, this experience will serve her well and her marathons to come will be absolutely mind-blowing.  I just hope she isn't too hard on herself.  It's hard to miss your goals, but she certainly didn't perform poorly, she just didn't meet the high expectations she held for herself.  Not meeting goals and actually racing badly are two totally different things.

Still a week to go in Olympic action.  Next race to get psyched for?  The women's 3000m steeple is tonight but the women's 5000m prelim is tomorrow.  Go Julie Culley!!  And of course the men's marathon on Sunday- Go Meb!!!!

*Soy Cocoa: 1T. raw cocoa powder, 1T agave, 1 scoop Hammer Soy Powder, hot water.  The best instant meal you can imagine!