This being the weekend before a marathon, it was a chill weekend. Don't do too much, watch some sports, and rest up for next Sunday. So, Saturday was an easy 10 miler. The last long run. The goal: don't do anything that risks injury. Salome & I got out the door at 6:30 AM, ran the 10 easy and were both back by 8:30 AM.
Most of my friends were out for long rides getting geared up for May 15th's Florida 70.3. I put off my ride until Sunday, not wanting to get coaxed out for a longer ride. I did a semi-causal 30 ride Sunday with 3 friends. Just enough to keep the cycling muscle memory intact, until after the marathon. Then it was onto chilling for the rest of Sunday.
First up, watching the Miami Heat dominate the Boston Celtics in a game that should give the Heat the #2 spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs. That's good for an additional home game in the second round of the playoffs that should be against the Celtics. After 3 previous poor showings against the Celts, this game gave me hope for Miami in that future rematch.
Finally, I tuned into the Paris-Roubaix cycling race on the Vs. Network. Ah, the joy of hearing Phil Ligget and Paul Sherwin comment on a bike race. Paris-Roubaix is one of the "Spring Classics" of bike racing in Europe. It's a brutal 160 mile course, much of it over narrow cobblestone streets, called pave, starting outside Paris and ending in a velodrome in Roubaix northeast of Paris. In most races, the favorites let an early group of unknown rabbits go off the front to keep the pace honest. This keeps races from becoming slow tactical races by the best riders. If the best riders screw around with each other, one of the unknowns in the breakaway can end up stealing a race title. This is what happened Sunday.
Fabian Cancellara, the race favorite, had won both the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix last year by such large margins that European sports writers started a crazy speculation that Cancellara had a small motor inserted into the frame of his bike that helped him accelerate so well. A totally bogus speculation, but showing just how good Cancellara was last year. In last weeks Tour of Flanders, the other riders were keying off Cancellara so much, that he tried to break away too early and ended up burning out and being beaten for 1st place. This weekend, the other riders again keyed off Fabian to such an extent, making him do all the work up front during the last 20 miles of the race, that they ignored the unknown rabbits out front. Belgian, Johan Van Summeren, took advantage, and took the race, by riding for his life to a win. Cancellara held on for second. Knowing life wouldn't get any better than this, the lucy Belgian proposed to his girlfriend at the finish line. Nice touch. Fabian Cancellara later joked with the press that the other riders were keying off of him so much that if he had stopped at a cafe for a cup of coffee, the whole race would have stopped with him. The race had me looking forward to July's Tour de France.
In other sports news, I read this morning that Chrissie Wellington once again broke the women's world record for the Ironman distance at this weekend's Ironman South Africa. She lowered her own record set at last November's Arizona Ironman by 2 and 1/2 minutes to 8:33:56. The next women came in at 9:08 and 9:20. So, 2 world records after missing Kona in October due to a stomach virus. The rest of the Pro woman better hope Chrissie doesn't get sick again. She comes back way too strong.
Congratulations to Chloe of Running with a Bottle of Wine, who took 1st place in her age group this weekend at a local triathlon. She also did a great post about keeping your transitions quick and simple. It's worth a read. I'll put her advice to practice after this weekend's marathon.
I also see where a running buddy, Bob Bowker, pulled himself off the course of the St. Louis Marathon this weekend at mile 8. It was too hot, Bob knew he was off pace, and that to finish would have been a brutal and senseless self punishment. He walked off the course, which saves his training for another day. It takes a wise runner to pull himself from a race when it's clear the race is not going well. We can all learn from Bob's experience. I just hope I don't learn that lesson next weekend.