New York, New York, it's a wonderful town. And I got to run across all 5 boroughs with over 50,000 like-minded maniacs. This race was everything it is hyped up to be. Despite cold, windy conditions that apparently cut the crowds down quite a bit, it seemed like a big crowd to me, and I loved it!
The dear wife and I hit the expo on Saturday, and it was crowded! But everything was still smooth and fast.
We ran into Katherine Switzer, and she was very nice. She's a hugger. Buy a book, get a hug.
I managed to meet up with most of the Loopster contingent there. MJ and I posed for the paparazzi.
we grabbed Cheeky Runner out of the pacer station for a jumping pic.
Because when you meet her, you have to get a jumping pic, right? Our
camera failed, but maybe someone out there has a better one?
was nice to see some familiar faces. KeepRunningGirl came down even
though she wasn't racing, probably to absorb some Loopster mojo for her
50-miler. And 50Stater (Omar) popped in to get his state count to 20 (I
believe). He is doing 3 marathons in 5 weeks I think!
we met up with Fenwick Razzleberry, Christine.Eliz and Jen.M.Yee (all
new meets for me)! It was great to meet them, and of course they were
exactly like I expected them to be (osom). We braved the cold and rain
and headed downtown for a tasty lunch. We talked about the weather and
what to wear and race strategy - the usual. And probably a bunch of
other cool stuff that I forgot about. And the obligatory photo op.
was staying in New Jersey at my brother's house, and he dropped me off
at the start, which amazingly was very simple! The site does not
encourage it, saying you have to take the assigned buses or ferry, but I
would have had to be at the bus before 6AM. Instead we drove right up
on side streets after 7:30 and I got out a block away from where the
buses were unloading. Piece of cake! It was low 40's and VERY windy so I
was bundled up in throw away sweats, gloves, hat and a garbage bag.
found my way in through security, where we had to take off our watch
for the metal detectors. It was smooth and everyone was in good spirits.
Still lots of time to kill before my 10:05 start. Seemed like 1/3 of
the runners were international types. It was cool to see the flags and
uniforms and hear all the languages. Everyone was excited to be there! I
got some free coffee and bagels and a banana and relaxed for a while.
But first, let me take a selfie.
other Loopsters were nowhere to be found, due to later start times, so I
just chilled. Or tried not to. Eventually we moved into a corral and
started stripping down as we walked onto the bridge. Nervous chatter and
lots of smiles. The bridge is a unique and cool start to the race. And
the ridiculously gusty winds made it quite the adventure! I was near the
front of wave two, so once we got going, I had plenty of space and
enjoyed the parade! People were holding up their phones and filming the
start or taking pics as they ran. It was fun! Kind of like this:
wind on the bridge was insane. Gusts would literally move me over by a
foot or two, or knock my foot into my other leg. A few hats got blown
off. I was trotting and laughing and smiling. The view of Manhattan was
incredible. Most people were too serious, but I was having fun, even put
my arms out like an airplane for a while. Just enjoying the moment and
trying to go slow on the uphill first mile.
My goal was sub 3:40 (8:20 pace). I wanted to try and start slow to
delay the inevitable bonking, since my training was less than perfect. I
averaged 35 miles/week for the last two months, so I didn't really have
the endurance for 26.2. But I was close. I figured I would just run
easy as long as I could, have fun, and hope I didn't fade too bad. Of
course my "easy" long runs usually turn out to be about 8:00 pace
because I have a hard time backing off....
I don't have
all my splits because after the race my Garmin decided to delete them
all. But I was watching during the race, so I'll give my best memory of
them. Plus I have the 5K splits from the website.
crested the hill on the bridge before mile 1, and I was just over 9:00
pace. Yay! Good job! Then mile two was coming down the bridge, and it
was steep! And the wind was more behind us then blowing at us, so mile 2
was 7:40. Oops! I was trying to relax and go slow! Promise!
now the sun was out and the 45 degrees felt pretty nice. I ditched my
hat, extra shirt and gloves by early in mile 3 and was down to shorts
and a tee, plus calf sleeves. I was very comfortable and was surprised
by all the clothes people continued to wear for the whole race. Temp was
perfect. I never got hot or sweated much, but wasn't cold either.
was awesome. People lined every road and cheered. A lot. They really
made it fun and easy to enjoy the run instead of thinking about silly
things like fatigue and pain. As I tired, all I had to do was
acknowledge people with a smile or nod, or stick my hand out for high
fives, and I would get instant bursts of adrenaline. I probably slapped
hands with over 100 people. It always picked me up.
5K in 25:15 or 8:07 pace, which meant I was now running sub-8. I would
try to relax and ease off, but 7:55 felt pretty easy. The next 3 5K
splits to 20K were at 7:55, 7:49 and 7:55 pace. Just cruising. I hit the
half in 1:44:10 or 7:57 pace. Awesome. There's a camera guy! Woooo!
winds were occasionally gusty, but not too bad. I did tuck in behind
runners frequently to draft, but never for too long because I didn't
want to be creepy. I looked for KeepRunningGirl near her home in
Brooklyn but there were just too many people. The sights and the bands
and the people made it very fun, even when the fatigue started to set
in. By mile 10 I was already feeling tired in the legs. It took some
will to keep up the pace. There were a few little hills to get over, and
the ups would make me feel like I was fading, but then the downs always
replenished my mojo, and my pace would return to about 8:00.
Queensboro bridge at mile 16 wasn't as steep as I feared. I just took
it down a notch and powered on up. Getting tired. but still moving
along. The views of Manhattan were great again. And then we got to go
down and I looked forward to 1st Avenue and Manhattan.
the crowds there were almost silent! I tried to wave them up to a
frenzy, to little effect. It was the only disappointing part of the
race, since I had heard it was so loud there. But it did pick up later.
Ritz told me later that the crowds were MUCH quieter and smaller than
normal. Still pretty great though.
20-25K were 8:13 pace
but that included two bridges and ended at the top of Queensboro bridge.
25K-30K was 7:58 pace. Still got it at 18.6 miles!
windier in Manhattan, as the tall buildings made for wind tunnels. I
was definitely very tired and my legs felt heavy, but I just kept
plugging. My Garmin got messed up on the bridge so I was checking my
real time at the mile markers as I was within seconds of 8:00 pace. 2:08
at 16, 2:16 at 17, 2:24 at 18, 2:32 at 19. Then another bridge into the
Bronx. It wasn't much, but I was fading. Hit 20 in 2:40:20. 8:01 pace.
was virtually a repeat of my Boston splits, where I was sub 8 through
18, hit 20 at 2:40, and then fell apart to finish at 3:45. But I felt a
lot better today. I hadn't walked at all and didn't really want to yet.
And I had kind of promised Ritz I wouldn't walk in Central park, so
there was that. But I was slowing. Mile 21 was about 8:35 and mile 22
was close to 9. I did walk through one water stop there to get one last
good drink of gatorade. I had fueled pretty well today. Good breakfast, 3
GUs, lots of gatorade. Seemed to be working. 30-35K was 8:38 pace.
got to 5th Avenue and it was a mile long hill before getting into
Central Park. And the hoped-for tailwind now that we were going South
seemed to have turned around. Worst winds of the race. One gust at an
intersection was like 50mph crazy! At this point I wasn't looking at my
pace. I was just committed to keeping running, and not walking. And that
helped me pass a lot of people. I slowed, but I was still moving OK and
felt like I was going to do this. And I knew my family was in the Park
waiting for me.
DW made me a sign. And my parents drove up from North Carolina for the race. For 30 seconds of seeing me trot by. Crazy.
FINALLY crested that long 5th avenue hill and got into the pleasant
Central park curving road and some downhill. I was past mile 24 now. I
knew I was going to beat my goal and get a good time. I just needed to
hang on and get it done. Because I was really fricking tired! Still, no
real blisters, no cramps, no chafing. Just very sore muscles. Then I saw
the family and swung over for some high fives. I didn't want to stop
for even a hug, because I was worried about cramping or losing the
little momentum I had, so I kept on plugging.
there was only about 1.5 miles to go, and I just had to keep on
swimming. One step at a time. I didn't feel good. I didn't look good.
But I was happy.
to 40K was 8:54 pace, and the last 2K were 9:29 pace. Yes, I was fading
fast. I actually started to get blurry vision in the last mile, and
foggy brain, and tingles in my back. I thought maybe I would be that guy
who collapses at the finish line. So I slowed down more to be safe and
just shuffled to the finish, where it all got better. I had seen these
finish roads often on TV over the years, and now it was me turning that
corner, me climbing that little hill, and me throwing my arms up at the
8:15 pace. Considering the hills, the winds, and my minimal training,
that was an A+ result for me! I was ecstatic. May be the most fun I've
ever had in a marathon. Placed 5,655 out of over 50,000!
survived the long walk to the poncho and met up with my family. We
walked to a friend's penthouse not far away, where I was able to shower
and relax. My legs were not bad for post-marathon! I ended up walking
over a mile that night and felt fine. After a bit, DW and I met up with
the NYC Dashing Whippets party. Because I was not coming to New York
without seeing Ms. Ritz!
Had a great burger and a beer, and ran into this Loopster.
Ms Ritz hung with us for a while and shared her race story. Always so
much fun to be with her. And I got to meet her husband too. Bonus!
All in all, a wonderful weekend! Thank you Big Apple! Hope I can do it again sometime!