runningandthecity
How to piss off EVERY non-Runner!

In this Cult, things can turn ugly very fast if you are faced with the nonbelievers, the same way it happens with religion or politics.

So, if you are having one of those days when you feel like starting a fight, it is quite simple:

-Talk about PRs, pace,…

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Howdy everybody!!!

I’ve been a bit busy lately but I didn’t want a long time to go by without sharing my experience at Millrose this past weekend. 

Sidebar: in case you’re not familiar with Millrose Games:

The Millrose Games is an annual indoor athletics meet (track and field) held on the first Friday in February in New York City. They started taking place at the Armory inWashington Heights in 2012, after having taken place in Madison Square Garden from 1914 to 2011.[1] The games were started when employees of the New York City branch of Wanamaker’s department store formed the Millrose Track Club to hold a meet. The featured event is the Wanamaker Mile. (more here)

I’ve been going to Millrose, since I remember liking track and living in NYC. Here is my post from last year, when EVERYBODY was there. Having had the whirlwind-iest last two weeks that I had, I didn’t even check who’d be running. So lame of me… surprise me Millrose. I knew Centro and Lagat would be there and that was enough for me!

Did a great run that day to get inspired, and even watched Saint Ralph, one of my favorite running movies. You gotta get in the mood, right? I then got this breakfast of champions:

It was Valentine’s Week after all!

We barely made it there for the Opening Ceremonies, and as usual, I never made it to my seat… I like hanging out by the track and located my friend Sid and his wife who are such amazing runners and friends and hang out, just like last year. Sid remembers every single runner and world record, ever, so that makes my work a lot easier.

(Shoe-Box) Opening Ceremonies. Bright tops really do make a difference, see?

A hot second after they were sprinting and we were screaming. It was just so intense the whole night went by in a minute, even if it was 3.5 hours and we were standing. I just never let down. I did walk off to the media section for a bit and got to chat with Peter Gambaccini. If you read anything running related, you know him. He writes all the amazing RW.com’s news and knows EVERYTHING. I met him last year and when someone introduced him to me I screamed like I had just met Justin Bieber. Yes, he’s that amazing! I’d say, bookmark him.

But back to the action… we were right on the track. I love putting my hands on the track (ok, just the tips of my fingers or the guy with the flag would come my way) when the runners go by. Such… force! You really feel it there… it’s quite breathtaking. Mostly when you know that you’ll never ever get to do the speeds they do!

Look how close:

Going back to the crazy week I had and not being ready for the event… I then hear Nick Symmonds is racing next.. WHAT?!?!?!??! Seriously. WHAT? I had never seen Nick racing. I am gonna admit the unadmittable: I’ve always had a *bit* of a crush on Nick Symmonds. Well, you all saw my previous post where I screamed about him. Well, Nick RUN.

Ah.

Nick’s race is the 800 usually but here he run the 600m. He came in fourth, in 1:16:89, a bit over a second from Sowinski’s american record (for 9/100s of a second) of 1:15:61. Exciting race!

Then it was time for a very exciting 2 mile race. I like the longer races as it’s funner to watch the positioning and strategy ;-)

Lagat threw down (and then fell on the floor after too!) to get the american record down to 8:09.72. Such a great race. 

Hello Kip, remember me?

Then, soon enough, waaay too soon actually, the national anthem and the main event, the Wanamaker Mile. The women’s was fantastic, but I was really dying to see Centro and Lagat go head to head again, since the last time I saw them at the Fifth Ave Mile.

It was surreal. There is just something about this event, and how upclose you see them lap after lap, you can possibly even know what they’re thinking…

The thing is… they went out too fast (1:53) and that threw the option of a record out of contention… they all just went with the rabbit!!! 

Too close to even get a picture… They are TOO fast (and I should have brough my camera instead of just my phone!!!)

Eventually Lomong and Centro sprint for the finish, while I held my heart in my hand, and Lomong beat him 3:51:21 to Centro’s 3:51:34. Did I mention in this post how much I enjoy watching Centro run? Just had to say it.

It was intense though. I was shaking for over an hour and I needed help getting out of the building. I am NOT kidding. I thought I was going to pass out.

Lomong, enjoying the victories!

Lagat again, and his cute kid

And while I was bring transported out… you know what happened… I saw Nick Symmonds, I almost fainted while talked to me about stuff. And then I left, in shock or something. Post is here in case you missed my ridiculousness. Sharing again, just because I can’t stop.

This was of the oddest of  all races I ever run, mostly because it was this particular race…
As you know, I had an old PR of 6:30. I was pretty sure I could PR again, but I wasn’t sure if I could do 6:20, 6:15 or what. So I made the executive decision to not look at the watch during the race, not even to look at my heart rate (oh gosh, that number can be quite scary in such a short race!).
 
I positioned myself on the 4th row. There are no corrals so you have to line up where think you’d be ok. The gun goes off and in the first two blocks it was crowded and had to weave around a little, but it was fine, not stressing about it. Two blocks in, I settle on a rhythm. This is where things got really REALLY strange.
Every time I run this race, or do any kind of mile repeats for that matter, I am going all out, struggling, breathing heavily, and scared for my life; soon I start fading, I gulp for air and desperation sinks in throwing my form, my lungs and my legs into a fit. Really, mayhem.
This one was NOTHING like it.
 
I was moving in such a controlled way that I had no idea what was happening. It was fluid, relaxed, low to the ground, no stress, breathing was completely subdued, no big movements, all was superefficient and working like a perfectly oiled machine. All I thought was Great, I am doing an 8 minute mile. My average pace last week at the 4 miler is gonna be faster than this one mile. I was a bit upset, but I checked and there was nothing else to activate, no extra gear to pull on. Nothing. Frustrating!
With a quarter mile to go, I get upset at myself and will myself to look for a sprint deep down somewhere, there was nothing extra. Nothing. But my pace didn’t seem affected, or my breathing. SO strange.
Then, with two blocks to go, I see the clock at the finish: 5:52, 5:53, 5:54 clicking up. And I get it, I was running way too well, probably for the first time ever, so I didn’t know how to handle it. I then understand why it felt good, why there was nothing extra, why it felt so comfortable… I just had no idea I could do it. 
I crossed the line in 6:05. There was no puking, no coughing, nothing dramatic for once. It was beautiful. Unexpected on all fronts. The time was suprising too, I would have laughed if someone said I could be close to sub5, but the way my body took over the race was the win. There was no tension, like running a mile all out was normal now. This was my second PR of the year (out of 12 races), and there was no tears, no crazy nothings, we just do this.
Who is this person!??!?!
 
Stats!
Finish time: 6:05. Average Pace: 6:05
Previous PR: 6:30. From: September 2009
Age Grading: 71.04%
Overall Place: 1,376 of 4,839
Gender Place: 157 of 2,184
Age Place: 18 of 333
 
Not bad, huh?Another race over my 70% AG goal!! YEY ME!
 
Had an apple, hang out with friends, added a few more miles with Helen and Keith, cheered, then had more food, then, oh, got to see the best runners in the world!
 
 
 
In the meantime I came around Kara Goucher, who was signing autographs and she said “It’s not a visit to NYC if I don’t see you!!”. She’s so sweet. I let her to her autograph signing… Robert, who run in the media heat and was taking pics for RW, got this pics of Patricia, my other training partner and I. So cool.
 
 
We then positioned ourselves to watch the elites go, we were at 100 meters. I have to say, and hope you are not dissapointed, that I didn’t take pictures! I decided to get video, because I love watching and studying their form in slowmo, so this is all I can post here about the finish meters:
 
The women
 
 
The men
 
 
and then, SOON, it was over. It was over SO FAST.
 
 
 
 
Then, I got to congratulate them up-close and personal, right at the finish line!
 
 
 
 
 
We waited a bit, then it was time for the awards ceremony…
 
 
 
I then went to the elites tent, where they were mostly seating waiting to do their drug testing. Nothing else to do but peeing now. It was kinda cool being in there, they’re all SO relaxed after the race, and chatted a bit with them all. One pic from the tent with Shannon, who I love! 
 
 
This race is always such a fun time. It’s amazing how for one morning in the year ,Fifth Avenue is all ours. That corner, where the finish/awards/tent is, is such a toursity area with the apple store and the Ritz and it is so crowded, but when you see all these Olympians, and World Championships winners and medallists (Leo had his silver with him in there!), it’s such a different place… Like you’re in a virtual universe. And to come across Kara or the other ones who remember who you are, or other people/journalists who remember my blog or interviewed me last year for the Footlocker Five Boro challenge or anything else, it just seems… crazy?!?! It was truly a strange day. This was the most non-dramatic race I’ve ever done. A whole out of body experience day, really. Next up: Berlin Marathon. In 7 freagging days!

You might know that the Millrose Games used to be hosted at Madison Square Garden since 1914. This year they got moved to The Armory, an amazing track in Washington Heights, that also holds the National Track & Field Hall of Fame. It’s really a gorgeous place and wherever you sit, you’re way closer to the action than we used to be at Madison Square Garden so, naturally, I love the change!

The thing is, even though seating was quite close… I never made it to my seats! I was saying hello to some NYRR friends and then just ended sticking around there and watching from the main floor.  Standing up, for the whole time, yes, but look how close I was…

This was the scene behind (and on top of) me:

Everyone was there. Everyone. I spotted my friend Robert, who now works for RW, in the middle of the track, snapping pictures (sorry R, you’re quite unmissable!), and found pretty much everyone else walking past at some point or another. You know, like a birthday party or marathon week or something. It was so much fun to see all these different races, and I found myself taking pictures but also shooting video of their form, and watching it over and over in slowmo as soon as they stopped. Yeah, racing p0rn. I’ll upload some videos soon and share if you guys are interested!

Not sure what race this picture is from, but I love it:

I am sure you all heard what happened already and you can watch all the races here, but I’ll share some my pictures, of course! I took a ton so had to pick and choose which ones to post, first some from the NYRR Wanamaker Women’s Metric Mile.

Because you always have to warm up for some things…

Jenny Simpson getting ready to blast the course!

Shannon “always ready to throw down!” Rowbury!

Fabulous, fabulous race. I breathe for a second, and soon enough, we get to watch Lagat (and Baddeley, Lalang and many others) run a fantastic New Balance Men’s 5000 Meter. I can’t lie, about this, I was having some issues standing up at that point. Being so close to the track is quite intense.

Then they did the dashes (IF only I could always get that foamed wall for my runs!!?!?!) which would leave anyone breathless; the hurdles, which really scare the crap out me (I’d be dead in a second!); the Sprint Medley Relays, which are so confusing to me as they switch pace in a millisecond and I struggle to adjust to the speed… and the Women’s 400 meter and 800 meter… Eh, what’s another word for intense? Whatever it is, read it in caps please.

By then, I was seriously exhausted. With just the NYRR Wanamaker Mile coming up, I felt like I needed to lay down and rest. It’s such a packed event, with so many amazing races that you can’t ever look away or relax to breathe. It was like I had had a few cups of coffee (and I don’t drink coffee) or watched a Bourne movie: hyper-tense-elated-attheedgeofyourseat excitement and exhaustion. And all I wanted was more legs turning over. Forever!

And then it’s there, finally, the NYRR Wanamaker Mile. They warm up, they run run around. Matt Centrowitz has the “be scared, I know exactly what I am doing. It’s on" look. He’s totally focused and it shows. I think I felt a bit of fear. 

They go. I stop breathing again.

I am sorry for the blurriness. My camera had no idea these guys would be so fast and hadn’t had any coffee either.

Then it happens: I breathe. He did it and it was all we all had dreamed of and more. I really need to post the video of his legs doing the work, it’s pure art and it needs to be at the Met ASAP. Pure hot-running-art-on-fire. Even when walking he flies…

Remember to breathe, Elizabeth. Setting up a countdown calendar for next year already.

Intense  before and during the #millrose #Wanamaker Mile. Floating after. Pure Genius. Breathtaking to watch.