2017 NYC Half Marathon
So tomorrow one of the years best half marathons is going down. Now, it's by no means the fastest race of the year, heck not even close. You won't see times like you would at the RAK half or like we did in Cardiff last year but there are guys in the field with sub 60 potential on the right day and some great storylines to follow. First, let's start with the women, on paper this is Molly Huddle's race to lose, she's got the best credentials here as she's coming off a PR in the half last year on this course and an AR in the 10000m. She didn't run super quick indoors but 15 flat solo without real competition dragging Sisson along for the ride is still a solid performance. I see her duking it out with Edna Kiplagat and Caroline Rotich over the first 10miles or so and likely pulling away with around 5k to go. I don't see it coming down to a sprint finish like last year. I'd also like to see Desi Linden go at least 69 low, if she wants to be able to compete for the win in Boston she may have to close the last half of the race in sub 70 and though she has a 2:22 to her name she cant run that evenly and expect to run away from the best in the world. Girls at the highest level of major marathons can roll 67/68 coming home if the first half is slow enough. It will give us a look at where she is going into Boston. Also, if the conditions are favorable we could see Lanni dip under her own Canadian Record for the half. Her 10000m times indicate 70:15-30 so that's something to watch for. On the men's side Feyisa Lilesa should in theory handle this field with ease if he's in good form, I know he's been dealing with a lot of issues because of his protest of what's happening with the Ethiopian government but he's very much on the upswing. He looked awful in Honolulu, but had a great performance at the Huston half just getting outkicked at the line while throwing up the "X" in support of his country. The man has world championship and Olympic medals as well as a world marathon major win. I expect he pulls away from Stehpen Sambu late in the race (26:51 10000m man). Calum Hawkins should have a great shot at the podium and has looked like a baller this year, I just don't think he's near Lelisa type fitness.
Nike's Sub2 Project
What can we really say about this? I mean I'm super interested in following it, but I also realize it's ridiculous and a media/cash grab in terms of marketing new shoe tech and showing they are dedicated to pushing the boundaries and human potential/evolution in sport. I hate that we don't get to see Kipchoge run London against Bekele. I spoke to my bud JJ about this last night, and he's one of the few people who can change my mind on something in terms of what I think an athlete can run. We both agree that Kipchoge is the best marathon to ever live, but I thought he was capable of maybe taking 30-45 seconds off the WR in Berlin while JJ is thinking he's in 2:01:XX type shape and the more I thought about it and how smooth he looked running 59:17 in the dress rehearsal over 13.1 I'm thinking he may be right. So with that said, I'm a little upset he's not running London, as he could certainly break the WR there, last year with even pacing he would have done it and he appears to be in at least that type of fitness again and likely even better then that. Marathoning at the highest level is so unpredictable and the body can only produce so many of those types of efforts, let alone the training cycle leading up to it. I don't want to see him waste even one performance on a "race" that will always have a question mark attached to it. Now, I'll still be tuning in of course and Kipchoge is such a professional that he will likely recover properly and be at 100% for another attempt in the fall. I just wish we could see him duel with Bekele while both are in their current form. The other things I gleaned from the trial was that Tedese is still a beast and looked great running sub 60, while Desisa struggled. I'm still unsure about what to make of those FlyVapor 4% shoes, improving economy by that much seems a little far fetched but it's definitely a possibility, especially if the extra foam under foot means later in the race the athletes aren't as banged up and are not feeling as much muscular breakdown.
As for how this effects the spring marathons, I mean, Boston doesn't really appear to be that interesting of a race on either the men's or women's side. The story is basically can Rupp take the win, something we will break down in my next post. (I'm going to need to look more at the competition and bounce some ideas/thoughts off JJ). As for London, that should be interesting. I don't believe we will see a WR but we could see another 2:03 and if Bekele is ready to go, London will ensure they bring in good pace makers and set things up for him as best they can. That's the marathon to watch this spring.
So, things are finally clicking like I want them to. I'll keep my mileage high for another two weeks then come down for a local 5km, the Boston Pizza Flat Out 5k. I'll use it as a rust buster and run it as hard as I can. Normally the weather is horrible as it's on the highest point in St. John's near the airport and you get ridiculous wind but I should still be able to take a crack at the course record. After that I'll put in another week of big training and taper into the the Sun Run, Mississauga and Ottawa. It'll be important to keep the workouts progressing through April and May but I'll have to keep the mileage a lot lower to ensure I'm fresh to run some PB's. I'm not setting super lofty ones right now, just to run 30:45ish at the sun run, 67 at Mississauga and compete as best I can in Ottawa as it just comes down to racing there where the heat can be a major factor. The last 4 weeks I've averaged 134.4 miles and my legs are feeling great, even today after doing a 17 mile long run in the morning I had lots of energy and ran an easy 4.5 at 6:00/mile running the last one in 5:21. So I guess it's just keeping things simple, consistent and progressing slowly from here into the spring. (You can toss me a follow on strava if you want to see my exact runs, I'll start recapping weeks again soon when I've got a little more time to post every week)
So that's pretty much it I guess, like I said, I wish you all a happy and safe St. Paddy's day weekend and be sure to tune into the NYC half tomorrow, it's going to be a great race and don't forget to cheer on Lanni and Eric. Lastly, a big shootout to Jeremiah on starting Solo J Sales and getting back into the running game with Brooks. If he hadn't taken a chance on me back in 2013 when he was the lead rep with Saucony I doubt I'd have continued to train as hard and decided to pursue whatever talent I have in trying to reach my ceiling of potential and personal bests. I'd also not have met such a great guy and friend. Thanks man, I'm pretty amped we are both playing for team Brooks Running as we move into the future. You'll be nothing but successful as you've been in all your other endeavors! I've got a high five ready for you that I'll deliver in April!
Until next time, stay frosty.