Most years, marathon season has been wrapped up by Thanksgiving. People begin to hibernate, or start to look ahead to the spring. Three brave souls pushed their fall marathon season to the first weekend of December, and it was like hitting Triple 7s at the slot machine - money came pouring out!
First up was Erik T. Orberg at the Memphis Marathon. Erik came into the race with a 2:35 personal best from earlier this year at the Vienna Marathon. Prior to that, his 2:39 at Philly last fall had also been a personal best. Erik's been rolling for a couple cycles straight, but this time he took a vastly different approach. His run mileage decreased in favor of riding his bike more, and as a result I think the quality of his run workouts improved. Not that he wasn't putting forth his best effort before, but he seemed to have a level of focus I hadn't seen before. ETO went Walking in Memphis and absolutely owned the day, grabbing the win in addition to another new personal best of 2:33:40. Afterwards he must have been 10 feet off of Beale, because who wouldn't be after winning a marathon?! Here's a great Twitter conversation he had with hilarious Twitter entity @BMoreRunning:
@BMoreRunning 1. - check. Working on 2-4. 4 might be tricky, may have to pull the winner cardOn Sunday, December 7th, a date which will live in infamy, it was Dustin Meeker and Melissa Tanner's turn. They were taking on the fastest race in the west: California International Marathon. But just because it's a net downhill doesn't mean there aren't any hills to run up! The pair had both run big races in July at the Eugene Marathon; Dusty narrowly missed breaking 2:30 and Melissa dropped a 2:55. But at CIM, they were looking for more. Much more.
— Erik Ør (@matrixat) December 6, 2014
Dusty is one of the diligent workers we've ever seen. He has this amazing ability to go lap after lap at the same fast pace, and when it's time to work out, he is all in. His first marathon was just last fall at Philly, and when you start off with a great result, it can often be hard in your second and third tries to "just get faster." When you're fighting for seconds, so much is how you feel on that day. Dusty must have felt pretty good as he dropped a steady tempo, holding 5:34/mi for 20 miles. How would he respond in the final 10k? He was almost identical through 20 at CIM as he was at Eugene, but this time he demolished the final 6 miles and ran a 2:27:53 - good enough for a 2.5 minute PR and he became our 3rd runner under 2:30 for the year (first time that's happened!)
Melissa came into the race with a 2:51 lifetime best, but that was a few years ago, and has had mixed results over the past 2 years. Melissa is nothing if not patient, and her metronomic style allowed her to negative split her way to an insane new personal best of 2:47:24 - a 4 minute PR and the 2nd fastest in team history!
A 5k is on the opposite spectrum of a marathon, but it doesn't mean that performances are diminished. Lillian Pinault has been on fire all fall, and continued it with her 2nd win in a 5k at Charlie's Run 5k. Most notably, she ran 19:51, which is the first time since she's lived here (almost 7 years) that she's broken 20 minutes for the distance, and it's the first time she's done it on the road. That's awesome!
So it was a pretty incredible and amazing weekend thanks to these 4, but naturally it was a very difficult choice for the Purple Drink Athlete of the Week. In the end, I gave it to Melissa.
But, I awarded Dustin the AutoZone In the Zone Award and Erik earned the KC Masterpiece Award. Naturally, Lillian won the NOS Award. They were just too good to leave out!