About 15 years ago, when I was in really good shape I worked out regularly with a coach on a quarter mile track. I remember one of my favorite workouts. Simple 90 second quarter mile repeats. Ten of them with a 90 second rest break.
During one of these rest breaks I did some math. A 90 second quarter was the pace of a 6 minute mile. A lot of people can run a six minute mile. But here is the thing. The men who win the New York City Marathon are covering 26.2 miles in way under 2 hours and 10 minutes. A 2:11 marathon would be run at an even 5 minute per mile pace. That is 75 seconds per quarter. That means the winner of the NYC Marathon is running 105 consecutive quarter miles at no more that 75 seconds with no break. Yea, at my best I could not run a 75 second quarter. Yea, I could not keep up with the winner of the Marathon for any one of his 105 quarters, and he does not get any breaks. (BTW, now I am happy to run a 2 minuted quarter)
After the workout I mentioned this to my coach. He replied the best way. "Isn't it humbling that we get to cross the same starting and finish line as these guys." Humbling.
Today I ran to Central Park. I figured I wold see some of my friends that were helping out with the 5th Ave Mile. I honestly did not think seeing people running a mile would be that exciting, but just as I was gonna leave the profession women were about to start. I watch as a women ran past me on her way to a 4:18 mile. I did not see this coming but I felt compelled to call my daughter. But then the men. I did not want to watch the race through my camera phone. So I aimed the lens and clicked when I saw the runner go under the clock.
That yellow blur under the clock is Nick Willis. His official time was 3:52.1. Another 14 men finished in under 4 minutes. I don't think I can run that fast for 100 yards and that is what it looked like they were doing.
Check out my friend Ken's blog for video. I was on the other side of the street.