comprar nike air max 2014 Kathy Martin Started Late but She Is Catching Up
The crowd, small but noisy, fixed eyes on Kathy Martin, the woman in last place. Early on, she was fifth in a pack of 11 runners, calmly moving in heavy traffic. She ran not only efficiently but also beautifully, her classic strides in perfect rhythm, a fluid parting of the empty air, almost balletic.
But the race was 3,000 meters long, nearly two miles 15 laps on the indoor oval and the other women, most in their 20s and 30s, were atop much younger legs.
Still, the crowd urged her on, and as she leaned into the final turn, people shifted their heads as if watching tennis, first looking at Martin, then back at the clock near the finish. The bright digital seconds seemed to flicker at hyperspeed, but with a strong kick, Martin completed the race in 11 minutes 16.5 seconds, a time 13 seconds faster than any 60 year old woman had run before.
In competitions called masters races, athletes are reborn every five years, reclassified in age brackets like 40 to 44 or 45 to 49, each with its own set of top performances. Martin excels at every distance from 800 meters (about half a mile) to 50 kilometers (about 31 miles). While in her 50s, she broke American records in more than a dozen events. “Some people put out a press release every time they step to the starting line, but Kathy is just a quiet lady who comes to an event, kicks everyone’s butt,
towels herself off and goes home.”
Last September, Martin turned 60, entering prime time in the 60 to 64 age group, when she will almost certainly be faster than in a year or two or three. Setting records now is like eating a good meal while it is hot.
“I certainly don’t go crazy about setting records, but I like to challenge myself,” said Martin, a small dark haired woman with a smile on her lips and hearing aids in her ears. Her Web site has a link to her one brush with celebrity status, a Nike commercial done a decade ago. Most of the ad shows only her behind with a voiceover that says, “See that, that’s 51 years old and can run a 5:08 mile.”
The center of Martin’s workday is a basement cubicle in a Century 21 office. She shuttles clients around in a white Lexus, and her conversations fill with talk of real estate: appraisals, inspections, termite reports, the sellers who are highly motivated and the others who are simply unrealistic.
But the early morning is all hers. Martin is outside by 7, launching into carefully conceived workouts, mixing long and short distances, covering flat surfaces and hills. Some days, she goes 12 miles, some days 5, running through the winding streets of Northport or along the trails and bluffs of Sunken Meadow State Park. She trains for speed on a high school track.
Chuck Gross, 68, a onetime runner now with bum knees, is her husband and her coach. He has the strong opinions; she has the strong legs.
“Chuck tells me what to do, and I do it,” Martin said. “I don’t want to read the running books and I don’t want to obsess about it.”
Theirs is a good partnership. Gross, a building contractor,
delights in being the guiding hand in charge of his wife’s speedy feet. He is steward of the clock and the calendar, devising the daily workouts and setting the travel schedule. He signs up his wife for as many events as she can handle, maximizing her chances at titles and records.
Since her birthday, Martin has run in 13 highly competitive races, including the Chicago Marathon and a cross country championship in Seattle. She has set nine American and two world records. Her pending record in the 3,000 meters was set in January at the Armory track in Upper Manhattan; a month later, competing at the same site, she broke the world indoor record in the 1,500 meters with a 5:12.2.
Last month, in a 50 kilometer race at Caumsett State Historic Park on Long Island, Martin not only set a national record, but her timed intervals at 20, 25 and 30 kilometers were records as well. Her 50 kilometer time of 3:58:37 was nearly an hour faster than the listed standard.
“Some of the American records are, shall we say, relatively soft, and she can poleax most of those,” Gross said. “The world marks are more difficult.”
Last November, in the Philadelphia half marathon, she finished in 1:28:28, 44th out of 5,888 women. She easily won the 60 to 64 age bracket; only three of her peers were in the top 2,000. Her time was so fast she would have finished sixth among women 30 to 34. Her age grade was 99.3 percent.
This week, Martin is entered in the world masters championships in Jyvaskyla, Finland. It will be a chance to race against the European women who are her stiffest competition, and her final tuneup was supposed to be the national masters championships,
which was two weeks ago at Indiana University in Bloomington.
She and Gross arrived two days early, checking into a hotel. They were anxious. Earlier in the week, Martin felt unusual discomfort around the back of her left knee. Acupuncture had helped, but she still had a troubling stiffness.
The morning was sunny on the meet’s first day. Martin went for a warm up run outside the field house, circling the parking lot. There were tears in her eyes when she returned. The discomfort had escalated into pain.
More distressing yet, she said, “I felt something pop.”
The First Run
The running career of Kathy Martin began on an impulse. One night 30 years ago, Gross went for his usual jog after dinner and Martin, without giving it much thought, put on her sneakers and followed him out the door. The temperature was mild. The air was breezy. And Martin was pathetic.
Ten minutes into the trot, she lay down exhausted in the middle of Clark Drive in East Northport. “Get up or a car is going to hit you,” her husband said. And when she caught her breath, she answered, “I hope it does.”
The misery was ultimately redeeming. Martin, a 30 year old nurse back then, assessed her cardiorespiratory future. On the plus side, she was trim, barely 100 pounds, and she did not smoke. But she was also woefully out of shape, one of those people always on her feet but never exercising. She wondered: If I cannot run a mile at 30, will I even be able to walk one at 60?
Gross quickly assumed a supervisory role in Martin’s conditioning. After a few months, he got her into in a local three mile road race. At first, she resisted. “I can’t run three miles,” she said. He brushed aside her objections, saying, “If you can run two, you can run three.”
Neither of them recalls how well she did in that first race,
but the mere excitement of competing was addictive. Martin sensed she possessed untapped ability. She wanted to prove she could run even faster.