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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Shannon's 1500 Final - SPOILER ALERT

If you are hoping to watch the 1500 Final on TV and not know the result, then read no further.





I'm not kidding...you've been warned....




Well, it wasn't the race we were all dreaming would happen. But life and especially athletics are not a fairy tale stories that you get to script. Shannon gave it a good run and ended up 7th. Crazy how that is a bit of a letdown?! I got an e-mail from Ruth Wysocki (1984 Olympian in the 1500) that said Shannon's 7th is the highest finish by an American in Olympic 1500 history (she thinks). 7th in the Olympics! Wow!

Shannon was well positioned in 4th/5th for the first 2 laps but infortunately it was a slow pace (65 and 68 for 2:13 at the 800). That meant it was a large pack together at this 4:03 pace. In my opinion, it would have been better if the race were strung out a bit at a faster (4:00) pace.

Quick track strategy lesson for those who are asking "if Shannon wanted a 4:00 pace, why didn't she go out and lead the race at that pace since she knows she can run that fast?" The answer is that it takes a lot of energy to lead a race (physical and mental) and to lead the pack at that pace usually (99% of the time) leads to others passing you and running 4:00 and you fading to a 4:06.

Back to tonight's race. With 500 to go Jamul surged hard. I thought that was the key moment and Shannon had to respond. Unfortunately a gap opened between Shannon in 4th and the top 3. But it wasn't over. Shannon kept fighting. Others were with her. And sometime in the last 200, a Kenyan runner took the lead and Jamul (the big big favorite) fell back to 5th. Shannon was 7th in 4:03.58.

I haven't talked to Shannon yet. She smiled and waved at the camera when she was introduced so it appears she was relaxed and enjoying the moment. I watched through binocolars as she did an interview after the race and she seemed to be smiling and at the end got the interviewer to laugh, too. The only thing better than her running ability is her class act!

Her plans after the Olympics were to stay overseas (Europe) and run a couple more races. I think this will be good international experience for her.

It was an emotional day. I read a great e-mail blast from SHCP letting the whole community know about the 1500 Final. Then I was in the middle of reading an e-mail from an SHCP alum from the class of 2003, thanking me for coaching her and saying all kinds of nice things about how Shannon represents everyone who's ever run for me, etc. I was all teary-eyed and then my cell phone rang and it was Shannon, wanting to get some info from me so we can go into the Olympic village on Mon. It was a real honor to get to talk to her and give her some advice the morning of her race.

Well, 2 more days left in China. We were originally going to watch the men's marathon on TV but I just scouted the course on the map and I think we can easily get to a couple spots on the course between 25-35K so we are going to get up early and see what we can see. We still have Summer Palace, Peking Duck for dinner, wathing the Closing Ceremonies on TV, shopping at Silk Street, seeing the Olympic Village with Shannon, and seeing if there are any Olympic souvenir sales the day after on our to do list. It's been a great trip but Malinda and I are both looking forward to going home. This travel stuff in a foreign country and not speaking the language is tiring! But I wouldn't have missed this for the world!

Not sure if we'll be sending out any more messages. If I don't send any more messages, thanks for reading. It has been a memorable few weeks and it's been very special to share the memories with our closest family and friends - our immediate families, the SHCP community, and the Pamakids Runners. I look forward to sharing Olympic stories with another of my extended families when I get home - my current Irish cross country and track & field teams!

Love,
Andy & Malinda

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Division V rankings anyone?

Albert Caruana said...

I will get those out by the end of this week.

Anonymous said...

Thanks I can't wait