Pete Magill’s next race: meeting deadline for new book manuscript

Pete Magill, who was scary fast at the L.A. Halloween Half Marathon last month, quickly replied to my queries afterward. But being the procrastinator webmaster, I didn’t post till today. But since this is a day of thanks, I share my gratitude for all the readers of this immodest blog and your eternal patience. Pete also reports: “Looking forward to running in the USATF Club XC meet this year, after being too injured to run last year — fingers crossed, as a month at this age provides ample opportunity to get injured again!” He also reveals: “I sold my running book proposal, BUILD YOUR RUNNING BODY … with the manuscript due next August and publication scheduled for spring 2014.” Yowza! That will be a must-read, if his writing record is any indication.

That’s Pete between me and Amanda Scotti at Striders awards banquet Nov. 10.

Here’s my quickie Q&A with Pete on his 13.1-mile feat:

Masterstrack.com: Was that your first half-marathon in competition?

Pete Magill: Yeah, that was my first half-marathon ever. I’d raced a 15K back when I was 16, but nothing farther than that since— not including the Hood To Coast Relay a few years back, which included three different legs for a total of about 17 miles.

Did anyone pace you? What was your race plan?

My race plan was to go out slow and then not slow down even more! Unfortunately, there was an immediate break between the “elite” runners and the pack, and the last thing I wanted to do was run the entire race alone. So I went with the elite guys, going through the first mile in 5:06. Well, I knew that was too fast for the race, so dialed it back. One of the elites slowed with me, then fell off around 3 miles. At that point, my plan was just to run the same “comfortably hard” effort I use for tempo runs, staying within myself until at least the last mile or two.

Were you ever thinking: I can win this sucker?

Never. Fernando Cabada, our national record-holder for 25K and one of our top elites, was lined up on the starting line right next to me. Unless the pace car ran over him — and perhaps not even then — I wasn’t going to beat him. There were other good runners too, including Jacques Sallberg, ranked as high as #4 steeplechaser in the USA (8:28), who finished third, 34 seconds ahead of me.

At three miles, I suddenly found myself running alone, with the nearest pack of elites a minute ahead. I spent the rest of the race slowly tracking down the three runners in that pack, finally catching them at mile 11 — they made the mistake of running down a long steep hill too hard, pounding all the pop out of their quads — and I outsprinted the only one of the group to match me over the last two miles. Frankly, I was thrilled to take fourth in a race like this!

How did it feel? Any new aches and pains at the end?

The race felt relatively easy. The same physiological fitness that allows me to compete well at cross country and in the 10K translates to a longer race. The only difference is that I got to go out easier! The first six miles were actually fun! The last couple miles were undeniably challenging, but the last couple miles of any race — including a race that only lasts a couple miles — are challenging! It’s a day later, and I have some minor soreness, but nothing that won’t keep me from going out on an easy distance run this afternoon.

What did you win? Money? Jim Ryun autograph?

No money. I didn’t even take home a plaque. They gave me a lei at the awards ceremony so that I’d have something! But I wasn’t running the race for any of that. I was running to test myself at a distance I hadn’t raced. It’s one thing to say you can do something — like run a half marathon competitively. It’s another thing to do it. I’ve done enough talking about how I can race this distance. It was time for me to put up or shut up.

What, if anything, did Ryun and Shorter say to you?

I didn’t talk much with Ryun, whom I haven’t met before. But I had an interesting chat with Frank Shorter. I asked him if he’d ever even run a half marathon — because I couldn’t remember there even being half marathons back in the day — and he confirmed that he hadn’t.

He did mention that he’d split 1:03 and change on his way to a full marathon on two separate occasions, which is a time that would’ve won yesterday’s half-marathon by over a minute! The third man on the podium with us (in the photo posted on masterstrack) was Rod Dixon, whom I’m come to know fairly well. Rod is a huge hero for us middle distance runners. Rod was a bronze medalist at 1500 meters in the 1972 Munich Olympics, but his claim to fame among milers was his come-from-behind victory in the 1983 New York City Marathon, running 2:09. Dixon proved that us milers could actually go long. We love him for that … and hate him too! Ha ha!

Were you happy with your time? Was it some record?

I was very happy with my time. Remember, this was my first outing at this distance, so I wasn’t about to push the envelope. The American age 50-54 record is 1:09:30, by Norm Green. At about the halfway point, I figured I had a good shot at that. But a long gradual climb at mile 7, and then a tough, steeper climb at mile 9 ended that thinking — especially given the pounding of going back down the mile 9 hill.

Still, my final 5K split was my fastest. And my plan now is to run a faster, flatter, cooler-weather Half Marathon and see what happens — the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in Phoenix this coming January is a possibility. But regardless of what happens later, this time made me the 6th-highest age-grade performer at this distance ever for American masters runners. I’ll take that.

Did you say hi to Deena Kastor when you passed her?

I left Deena at the start, but I did talk to her after the race. I was the coach for La Canada High School back when Deena ran for nearby Agoura High School. So I had experience getting beaten by her — as she led her teams to wins over my own. The funny thing is that, at the time, I pegged her for a high school star who’d never make it in college. I said this out loud many times. I was an idiot.

So when will you go full 26?

I’m planning on a spring marathon, probably the Los Angeles Marathon since it starts just a few miles away from where I live. That’ll give me time to go for the half-marathon record in January, then try for the track 5000 world record in early March, then run the marathon and then take the rest of the spring off! Of course, given my experience since turning 50, I’ll also be lucky to make it through the rest of today without incurring some new injury. Let’s just say the schedule is always tentative … very tentative.

But first ice yourself for a month.

Icing actually interrupts the healing process when it comes to muscles, so no icing for me. On the other hand, even though science hasn’t proven as much, I truly believe that a few beers will go a long way to getting me back to the start line of the next race more quickly.

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November 22, 2012

3 Responses

  1. Liz Palmer - November 23, 2012

    I will only buy Pete’s book if he promises to autograph it…congratulations Pete! And BTW, nice looking picture of a great group of people.

  2. Henry - November 23, 2012

    You da immodest webinator!

  3. KP - November 24, 2012

    Pete, I’m thankful to know ya. You’ve also been quick to serve up some sound advice for us crazy old competitors. More than this, you’re a friend for life to so many of us. All the best in 2013.

    KPaulk

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