Michelle, Noah and I rode our bikes downtown to register me for tomorrow mornings race. As I was locking up I noticed two African males looking at what I presumed to be a map of some sort, leading me to believe they either needed help as tourists or were in town for the race. I knew Little mentioned bringing in some Kenyans from New York and thought they might be runners he knew.
I walked up to them and asked them if they needed help and I noticed one of them was wearing a running t-shirt from a previous race. The Kenyans have arrived. I pointed them towards a couple of restaurants and an inevitable running discussion started between myself and the coach as the runner spoke nearly no English. Turns out they are from Minnesota and the coach, William Kosgei, trains a number of Kenyan runners, some of them 2:08 marathoners, one of which is an olympic marathoner and another who is heading to the world championships this year in Berlin. I bit my tongue trying not to mention that I had just read More Fire, quelling any urge to play the “fan boy” role or awestruck mzungo (white man).
The coach then gave me his business card adorned with both the U.S. and Kenyan flags and told me to contact him before I headed up to Minnesota, as I had previously mentioned that I would be taking a trip up there this coming weekend. I may just do that….if only to say I’ve trained with Kenyans. 😉 We parted ways and promised to see each other on the starting line the next day, which honestly, will be the last I see of that runner as he streaks away at the gun. He and his teammates are all racing to beat 29:30 and win themselves $1000.
The thing is, they are going to have competition.
I looked at the pre-registered list and scanned up and down until my eyes caught familiar names. They will have to deal with Jeff Powers of Indy Elite down in Bloomington. Powers came in 3rd or 4th at the Mini-marathon, running 13.1 miles in something like 1:04. Then I saw Stephen Haas’s name. Stephen, also of Indy Elite, has been training at altitude in Flagstaff, Arizona and races the 5k on the European circuit. Stephen would probably be their biggest mzungo competition for this race, however, Little assured me that Haas is still in North Carolina right now and will not be running the race. Still, it won’t be a one runner battle as Little has brought in some friends from New York who are also vying for the cool grand. So we are looking at around 8 – 10 guys who are going for the big money…that I know of. As Little said, “it’s going to be a brawl”. Damn straight.
I, however, will be watching the race unfold from…well…actually I won’t be watching the battle unfold. I will be left behind. Such is competitive racing. This is ok though, as I hang on to the hopes of making it in the top 15, there is the chance that I’ll be pulled by better runners to a PR, if my tired legs regain enough strength by tomorrow morning.
Speaking of tomorrow morning, it’s bed time. I have a race to run and the butterflies are in full effect, so I better get to sleep. Look for the race report tomorrow evening.
Ummmm….addendum. I was just informed that another top local runner (from Morroco) is bringing a bunch of his Morrocan running buddies to this. I don’t know if it was a typo or something, but apparently there are TWENTY SEVEN guys in that group.
Ummm…double addendum. Due to the fallibility of internet communication, it turns out the local runner is not bringing TWENTY SEVEN guys….he’s bringing A 27 guy…as in a 27 minute 10k runner (who may not even do the race). Still. 🙂
Pre-race rest day
Breakfast – Oatmeal (w/ peanut butter, a touch of brown sugar, flax seeds), coffee
Lunch – Indonesian Thai Peanut noodles w/ tofu
Dinner – Senza Formagio pizza from Bazbeaux pizza, water
Snacks – Apple, peanut butter, water, coffee, avocado (w/ peanut butter & soy sauce)