I come from a running family. A number of years ago, my dad decided that marathons were “too short” and embarked on ultra marathons. Ultras are technically anything longer than a marathon, so they range from 50k (31 miles) to 100+ miles, usually on trails. […]
This year was the most excited I’ve ever been to watch the Boston Marathon. Sure, I’ve followed the updates on Twitter and would track the small handful of people I knew who were running, but ever since they announced the elite field in December (you can read my analysis of that here), I’ve been anxiously awaiting Boston Monday.
The US had the deepest field of elite women I’ve ever seen, and there was plenty of hype around breaking the 33-year drought since the last time an American woman won. The depth of the field fed the hopes of running fans everywhere as we had not one runner to pin our dreams on, but four. Shalane Flanagan, Des Linden, Jordan Hasay, and Molly Huddle all had a realistic shot at the crown. Having a “team” to count on certainly spread some of the pressure off of those individuals as well. Kara Goucher recounted that pressure in her blog.
The depth of the field certainly helped when Sunday evening Jordan Hasay withdrew from the competition due to a stress reaction in her heel. While I was certainly sad for her, it wasn’t nearly as devastating a blow as it would have been if she was the only contender.
Now, to set the scene for the race:
Boston Marathon pic.twitter.com/624jMKKQBu
— Alistair Cragg (@alistaircragg) April 16, 2018
It was the coldest start in 30 years. 30 degrees at the start with 20 mph winds and driving rain. Normally you see women running marathons in bun huggers and crop tops, but the race director printed a second set of numbers, so everyone could keep on their jackets and discard them along the way if they warmed up. Most of them didn’t. It looked miserable.
The race started off relatively slow – 19:17 for the first 5k. Whoever was brave enough to lead was subject to the pack squeezing in behind her to try to escape the wind. At one point, the leader started zig-zagging across the road in an effort to annoy and/or shake off the drafters.
At 12 miles in, Shalane Flanagan did the unthinkable and ran off the course for a bathroom break. Someone posted that they timed it at just 13-14 seconds, so it was a quick stop, but still a crazy move. Des Linden dropped off the back of the lead pack and kept looking over her shoulder until Shalane caught her, and then together they caught up to the main pack.
This was the first of many tearful moments for me. We found out later in post-race interviews that Des told Shalane early in the race – just a few miles in – that she wasn’t feeling well and might not finish, so if Shalane needed anything to let her know. These women are teammates only in nationality and run for different clubs/sponsors. They are competitors in every sense of the word. To see the level of class and sports(wo)manship was touching.
Back to the race – apologies for the vagueness ahead but I don’t remember exactly when/who did what besides Des. At some point (I believe after halfway), one of the lead Ethiopian women took off and broke open a nice gap between herself and the field. She had 27 seconds on the chase pack which Des was leading.
Side note: announcers never know how to talk about Des Linden. The woman is a metronome who sticks to her race place regardless of the whims of the other athletes. Sometimes this makes it look like she’s falling “off the pace” when really the pack has just surged some, and she catches them later when they slow down. Her confident, charging stride while leading the chase pack (which was stringing out) was awesome to watch, and all the announcers had to say was how she seemed to be “back from the dead.” Lots of eye rolls.
5km later and we still have the Ethiopian with a 25 second lead on Des and another one with a 2 second lead on her just ahead. I am worried at this point because she only made up 2 seconds over that 5km, and there wasn’t that much of the race left (maybe 10-15k?).
Then you see Des catching second place and leaving her in the dust. She’s severely closed the gap on first. Is this really happening?
Des catches the lead runner and is in first with about 10k to go. The lead runner doesn’t respond at all, Des pulls away, and it looks like as long as she finishes, she’s got this race wrapped up.
The real crying starts now. I can’t help it. The woman who got 2nd place by 2 seconds in this race back in 2011 is dominating the field and is about to get her first Marathon Major win. The crowds are losing their minds as she makes her way right on Hereford and left on Boylston to the finish. She crosses in 2:39:54 and the first American woman to win in 33 years.
That is significant. That is inspiring and heartwarming and all sorts of other feel good adjectives. But to add to the significance:
- American Sarah Sellars placed 2nd
- American Rachel Hyland placed 4th
- American Jessica Chichester placed 5th
- American (and Georgian!) Nicole Dimercurio placed 6th
- American Shalane Flanagan place 7th
- American Kimi Reed placed 8th
You might notice that none of those names except Shalane were in the elite field preview. Heck, Jessica Chichester wasn’t even part of the elite field and started with the first wave of runners! The significance of the day came from the fact that the US put 7 in the top 10 including a champion and absolutely dominated the field. A lot of these women aren’t professional runners and work full time. That’s unheard of!
On a day with less than ideal racing conditions (to put it lightly), American women persevered, and it paid off. Big time.
Facebook’s “On this Day” has been an entertaining and nostalgic feature that I enjoy. Today’s post was educational, though! This is from 2012 at my apartment. I have no memory of this, but I thought it might be fun to repost it with something silly like […]
First, let me start with my story. I met my husband working at a Christian summer camp when we were 19. We dated long distance for a little over 4 years before getting married at 23. I never experienced the whole “go to a bar to meet someone” occurrence during my dating years and have mainly learned through entertainment and social media. Plus, if I wasn’t currently married, I would be Liz Lemon.
I went out with a group of single women on Valentine’s Day this year and got a small glimpse into modern dating and found it both fascinating and entertaining.
To set the scene, I was visiting a friend from college (Anna) in Austin prior to a work event. She’s a travel nurse, so it was wonderful timing for her to be in Austin at the same time I was going to be there! The plan was to go dancing, so we loaded up the car with Anna, her mom, Carol (her mom’s friend), and Allie (her neighbor) and went to The Domain.
Unfortunately, the usual dance class was having some sort of Valentine’s special for couples. When we got there, the pairs were learning the choreography to “Time of my Life” from Dirty Dancing. As entertaining as it would have been to see them get to the lift at the end, we decided to find another hangout spot for the evening.
We ended up at The Punchbowl – a bar/restaurant that also has arcade and table games. The table games (foosball, ping pong, virtual reality games, etc) you had to pay for by the hour, so we opted for some arcade games. While we were racing Mario characters, Anna’s mom and friend gained an admirer at the bar named Mark. He offered to treat us to foosball, so we accepted.
It was a giant table – 4 people per side, so we played the 30 & unders versus the over-30s. This is when I got to observe Mark trading his attention between Anna’s mom and her friend Carol. During a “team huddle” I asked Anna about this. “Wait – which one does he like? Is he eventually going to pick one? This is so fascinating to me!”
We proceeded to lose at foosball after keeping a relatively close game for the first half and then switched sides for a rematch. At some point during our rematch, we gained some onlookers. After losing the rematch (still bitter), our onlookers introduced themselves as part of the IT department for Amazon and said they wanted to play as well. They looked to be in their 20s and 30s, and this is when Mark turned into who I like to call Macho Mark.
He grabbed the foosball and told the group that the current game was on him, but he’d be happy to turn the ball back in if they wanted to get the next game. I definitely understand not wanting to pay for someone else’s game, but the way he made a show of it seemed unnecessary.
We contemplated leaving at this point. It was quite late (again – I’m Liz Lemon), plus it was Central time, making it even later for me.
But then it seemed rude to leave when they had just paid for another round of foosball, so we stayed. We were contemplating a guys versus girls matchup when Macho Mark came over and named himself the captain of our team and assigned each of us which section of the field we were responsible for. Apparently not paying for the game meant he was still playing?
Three of the four Amazon guys were not good at foosball. In fact, they were really bad. The one good guy switched to defense after we built up a substantial lead, or else the game would have been over much faster.
At some point, the Amazon team called Mark “Old Yeller.” Macho Mark, not to be outdone, retorted with, “Hey – you’re 4 single guys hanging out together on Valentine’s Day, and I’m with three chicks. I’ve already won.” Then he went on to mansplain to us how to play foosball. Cue my numerous eye rolls.
After we defeated the Amazonians, we declined to stay for another game even with bribes of drinks. Again – I’m Liz Lemon. Those carrots don’t work on me. We did stay long enough for a group photo, though! By this point I had already told Anna I would be writing a blog post about this evening, so I wanted a photo for posterity.
All in all, the evening was a very tame look into a life I’m not familiar with. I realize “glimpse into modern dating” is a bit exaggerated considering the events of the night, but I like it. It’s entertaining – just like my Valentine’s Day.
T’was the night before Christmas, and all throughout Workplace Every participant was posting at a furious pace. Daily Blog Posts was booming, each submission full of wit, Sharing wisdom and tips, hoping for a massive traffic hit. Today I Learned, blowing up just as much […]
I’ve always loved musicals. I’m not sure if it’s that every Disney movie has a singalong soundtrack, so I was indoctrinated early or what, but I’m always up for a movie or play where people burst into song as if it’s a normal part of conversation.
Today I saw The Greatest Showman which is a musical about P.T Barnum and his circus. Spotify has been teasing me with shot clips of a few of the songs over the last month, so I was excited to hear them in full and see how they would fit into the storyline. Overall I enjoyed the movie. I was expecting a happier story, but it was still highly entertaining with good music. I tend to tie memories to musicals, and I expect to remember this musical as the one I saw with my family at Christmas one year.
Some of my other favorite musicals are:
Phantom of the Opera
I got the song book for Phantom when I took piano lessons as a kid, and I would pound away at the keys while playing the dissonant run. I owned the soundtrack, saw it at the Fox Theatre, and went to see the movie when it came out as well.
I wasn’t familiar with Hairspray until the movie came out in 2007, but I quickly fell in love (hey, Zac Efron!). Again, saw the movie, bought the soundtrack, bought the DVD, etc.
I suppose I saw this in middle school? I don’t remember watching the DVD too many times, but my sister and I would belt out “Come What May” in the car on the way to Wednesday night youth group attempting to hit the high notes and harmonize to the best of our (limited) abilities.
Who doesn’t love that 525,600 minutes song (aka “Seasons of Love”)?
Into the Woods
My familiarity with Into the Woods started with Gilmore Girls when Paris tried to intimidate Brad by singing the song under her breath when he was near. Then when they made it a movie staring Anna Kendrick, I was sold!
Into the Woods is also special to me because one Friday I had a particularly bad day at work, and I decided I would do see it that evening (my husband had no interest, so this was a solo trip). We lived across from an AMC where you buy your seat, and as I was in line to buy my ticket, the show sold out. Devastated, I went back to my car and sat there crying before composing myself, searching for showings in a theater 20 minutes up the road, and then speeding there to make it on time. I got to see the movie and loved it, so all was well.
A classic! Put aside the problematic storyline of trying to be someone else for your high school love interest and just enjoy it.
And then there are musicals that I still haven’t see but really enjoy the soundtracks. I hope to cross them off my list one day!
Dear Evan Hansen