Here's my race report from the New York Marathon.
There were so many events that happened that weekend, and perhaps that is why I have postponed writing anything about it here on my blog. I will just mention some of the highlights here - the things that will stay with me for a while.
The last time I was in New York was 25 years ago with some college buddies. I thought the traffic was the worst I had ever seen, drivers extremely rude, and the city was dirty. I did not feel safe walking downtown in the middle of the day.
Now, in 2008 the traffic is still nasty - but there is less honking (I guess there is a law with a $350 fine). The people are friendlier and I felt completely safe walking the streets late into the evening.
On to the marathon, or should I say the "Moving Sea of Humanity".
This is a really big marathon, but I have to admit that they have the logistics of this down pretty good. My only complaint was that I had to spend over 4 hours waiting at Fort Wadsworth on Staten Island before the start. My bus left Manhattan Public Library at 4:30AM and the first wave race start was at 9:40AM. I visited with a lot of people before the start, and was surprised how many runners were from other countries. My guess was 50%.
Since I had minimal training for this marathon, my goal was a 3:30.
The start corrals look very crowded, but are not that bad. There were 3 different colors with 3 different start times, so actually it was a 9 wave start. The 3 different colors took separate bridge lanes and different street lanes until they merged together at mile 8.
The cannon went off, and the song "New York, New York" blared from the speakers. Everyone was in a great mood, and we began the long climb up the Verrazano Narrows bridge. This is the biggest hill on the course, so I took it real easy. First mile in 8:43. After that, I got settled into a nice pace of about 7:45-7:50/mile.
We ran through Brooklyn, later on we went through an area where there were a lot of rabbis/priests there. They had braided beards and really cool black top hats. It made me think of the Seinfeld episode where George was going to convert to Latvian Orthodox because of his girlfriend Sasha.
When asked by the Latvian orthodox priest: What aspect of the faith do you find particularly attractive?
George: I think the hats.
I too, find the hats attractive.
The run went well until the Queensboro bridge ascent started. This is mile 15, and I know this is the point where my lack of training was going to be my limiting factor. HR hit a high of 177 and my legs were getting heavy.
At mile 16.5 as we turned north on 1st Avenue, Mary was there. I saw her first, then she saw me. She got a picture of me here. I'm in the orange shirt.
There were so many spectators on this part of the course. We continued north toward the Bronx. It was somewhere here where the first 3:30 pacer caught me. I ran with him a while and found out that he was in a different start color and had an offset of only 30 seconds compared to my 1:30 offset at the start. I knew that if I fell back a little, I would still be in the 3:30 ballpark.
It was at this point that I came up with my own little "Challenge Yourself".
How close, without going over, can I get to a 3:30 finish? I started to do some calculations in my head after crossing every mile marker to figure this out. It was something to keep my mind occupied, as my body was being fully challenged in the final miles. My HR was creeping and holding at an average of 173 - OK for the last 5 miles of a 10 mile race, but not OK on the final 10 miles of a marathon.
I dug deep, soon I saw the 1 mile to go sign. Watch said 3:22:10. Ouch, I'm really hurting now, but just push it a little more. 800 meters to go - 3:26:05. I think I can. 400 meters to go - 3:28:02. Keep pushing, man this hurts...Finally the finish line. Hit the stop on my watch, it showed 3:29:59.76 - Official results say 3:29:58.
Oh well, close enough.
HR at the finish was 179 - that's the highest I've registered during a marathon, but what it really shows is that I am out of shape right now.
The stress fracture did not present any major problems during this marathon. Sure, I can feel some pain in it yet, but as long as I rest properly and ease back into the training, it will be fine.
I had a great time in New York. Mary and I saw a lot of sites, ate and drank at some very nice places. Yes, squid is delicious!! We even saw Dennis Rodman while touring the city. The squid/Rodman in the same thought pattern really does not have any subliminal meaning....I don't think...
But, most of all, it is good to be home. It's not so crowded.
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