Posts Tagged ‘nyc marathon’

Today was my last run over 10 miles before race day, and I decided to run the last 13 miles of the course. Conveniently, and as you all know, I live within running distance of the Queensborough Bridge, which is just past the halfway point for the marathon. It ended up being one of the easiest runs of my whole training season-it was so easy it almost felt like cheating. 

The temperature was a perfect 47F, and I wore shorts, a t-shirt and my gloves. As far as gear, I filled four water bottles on my fuel belt, and of course little G was along for the ride (I figured he’d protect me as I ran through the Big, Bag Bronx). I also tucked my BlackBerry into one of the pockets on my RaceReady shorts, as I was venturing into unfamiliar territory, and because I wanted to take pictures (for me, for you). 

At around 12:30, I set off. Over the bridge, no prob (except I was so leaden I ran 11’s the first 3 miles). Up First Avenue, I tried to imagine the roaring crowds everyone talks about, but it was difficult given that I was maneuvering around the Sunday brunchers who were clogging the sidewalks. Finally I gave up on the maneuvering and ran in the bike lane; this was highly preferably and it’s when I hit my rhythm at around consistent 9 minute miles. (Photo: First Avenue & 86th Street)

Up I ran, pleased at how quickly the miles were ticking off. My mind was astoundingly blank, given all the stress I’m feeling from work, and all the chores and (work) emails that await me at home. 

Before I knew it I was at the Willis Avenue Bridge. Compared to the 59th Street Bridge, this is a baby bridge. The surface of it is metal grating, which I noted because that will be hard to run over on November 2nd (today I ran on the paved pedestrian walkway). (Photo: Willis Avenue Bridge) 

So, with little fanfare I entered the Bronx. I somehow made a wrong turn and had to stop and ask a couple of beat cops directions; they clearly thought I was nuts. On I trotted, across 138th Street (a bustling community hub of a street, I enjoyed the people watching here) to the Madison Avenue Bridge (another baby bridge) which deposits you right onto Fifth Avenue. I turned left, and ran through a very spiffy Harlem, the brownstones really shown to their best advantage in the resplendency of early Fall. Marcus Garvey Park, from what I could tell, is a little jewel of a green space. (Photos: Madison Avneue Bridge & Marcus Garvey Park)

Next, the big scenery switch was at 110th Street, where I began to run along the east side of Central Park. It was cool to note, the whole route, all the “Marathon Course” banners hung from the lampposts. I felt like I was running along a historical trail. I had to stop at the Conservatory Garden, which spread greenly and primly out from behind its wrought iron gates like something from Versailles, or Buckingham Palace. I’ve never seen it before, and it was small treasure to still be surprised by the park where I’ve run so many miles.  (Photo: Central Park Conservatory Garden)

Tourists, tourists and more tourists with their foreign dollars keeping our city afloat, meandering inattentively and jamming the sidewalks and rec lane. I darted between and around them, my blank mind keeping me from getting aggravated. Into the park at 86th Street, where I was one of just a smattering of runners headed clockwise; the hordes were pretty much all running counter. I appreciated the light as it shifted between the still-leafy trees, slashing across the road in front of me. Then, down along the loop to the corner near the Plaza Hotel. I headed west on 59th Street, then jumped back into the park right before Columbus Circle, and ran up to Tavern on the Green, picking up my speed on those last few hills before what will be the finish line. (Photo: Central Park, heading south along east side)

I clicked off little G after 13.61 miles, which took me 2:09:38. This is about 12 minutes slower than I hope to run these last miles on race day (I heart the negative split), but nevertheless a good effort at a 9:38 pace, not to mention a huge boost to my mental preparation. (Photo: Tavern on the Green)

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The Berlin Marathon marked the beginning of the Fall season, it being the first of the three World Majors (Chicago and my NYC follow) that occur in the second half of the year (Boston and London are in the Spring, which you should all already know)… Haile owns this race, having set the world record there last year; and now he’s gone and set another world freaking record while also ensuring himself a spot in history as the first man to run 26.2 miles in under 2:04. Hubba hubba, who needs the Olympics?… I am psyched to see Irina Mikitenko win again, I watched her win London last year on my computer…  The elite field for NYC is nothing short of spectacular, Mary & Corps have really outdone themselves this Olympic year…. As I mentioned earlier, my girl Kara will be debuting her 26.2 mile chops… Also joining will be Paula to defend her title, 2007 World Marathon Majors winner Gete Wami, 2008 Boston Marathon winner Dire Tune, the majestic Catherine Ndereba. Among the male elites, I am most excited about Paul Tergat, Marilson Gomes dos Santos, and Abderrahim Goumri (he came in second after Martin Lel last year)… With each new name the NYRR’s releases, I feel a pang that I won’t be at my usual spot in Queens to watch these inspiring athletes flash by…. I ran my last 20-miler of training on Sunday, actually logging 20.33 miles in 3:09, wow. Ideally October 12th would have been my last 20-miler before taper, but I am determined not only to run the Staten Island Half-Marathon, but to race it… As my training winds down, I can already sense the post-race blues which await me. My friend and colleague EG recommended I read A Race Like No Other to get myself psyched for race day, since oddly I’ve begun to lose enthusiasm for this race I’ve been dreaming about for over a year… Has anyone read A Race Like No Other yet? I know I sent out some free copies… The reviews have been very positive, with an excerpt in this month’s Runner’s World, and an early mention in the New York Post. Library Journal says the book “is poetry for runners; pulsing and energizing in its immediacy, and as raw and persistent as its subject.” Now if only I could get someone to say that about Pigtails FlyingBenjamin Cheever writes in his review in The New York Times that Liz Robbins “packed her book with scrumptious details…” I expect more book coverage as marathon madness heats up in the city; early last week I received my info booklet in the mail, and today I saw my first subway ad as I headed down into the E/V at Fifth Avenue to go to acupuncture… My little G was a perfect running buddy yesterday, it amazed me when I ran past the point in the route I’d always sensed, viscerally, was the 10-mile point. I looked down at little G, who told me: 9.95 miles! See, he and I already have a special connection…One of my industry contacts works support crew in ultramarathons, even though she herself specializes in 5- and 10k’s. She passed me an article by Sunny Blende from the September 2008 issue of UltraRunning magazine that explains why I sweat more now than I ever have before during my runs: “you will sweat sooner and more as you increase your miles and become more fit.” Sweet!… Husband spent the weekend at the Pennsylvania house, leaving me pining away for the mountains’ Fall foliage. Fittingly, Manhattan User’s Guide has raked together all the links we need to get our peep on… And, will someone please give me a massive pile of cash so I can redecorate my apartment entirely from West Elm? Browsing this catalog is like staring at Clive Owen behind glass–he’s right there, and so, so gorgeous, but I just…can’t…touch.

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… a free copy of the new book about the New York City Marathon A Race Like No Other to the first person to post a comment correctly identifying the source of my post’s title.

Last night. 10 thru the dusk and the dark of Central Park. Saw fewer than the usual amounts of suspects, but I did get a quizzical nod of greeting from AL, an old NYU student of mine and a razor-thin, fast runner who skulks about downtown with effortless cool. He’s run the New York City Marathon before many times (he blows me a kiss as he runs by my cheering station in Queens), and it’s always a pleasure to cross paths with him.

My 10 turned into a zoomy, jerky (imagine if a lead-footed, last-minute-breaking cab driver were your pacer) 9.4 miler–one full loop plus two lower loops, since I took a wrong turn (the dark disorients me) and ended up running the bottom of the park three times. I hate the goddamn bottom of the park. At one point a raccoon scuttled across the road, which was something. A little more than something was the casually sparkling panorama of the Upper West Side. When the trees parted in the East 80’s, I could see all the way across the reservoir. (Time: 1:21:08.)

This morning. 5 miles across the 59th Street Bridge and back. I left at 6:15 AM and it was still dark, I couldn’t delay any longer as I’ve a big day at work. While stuck at a light in Queens Plaza for a full minute, a cyclist who pulled up next to me struck up a conversation about my training and his races. It was a little surreal–in 45 seconds he had my Fall race schedule and I knew his half mary PR. His pugnacious face and Irish accent only added to the pleasant oddness of the moment. As far as workouts go, this one was a pretty mundane recovery run. I finished in 52:05, although at first when I went to record the time, I thought I’d run 50:52 as I was looking at the digital display upside down. That’s one way to get faster, I suppose!

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Sweetness.  $136 later, I am officially registered for the ING New York City Marathon.  The message that came up after I clicked “submit” read:

You have a confirmed spot in the 2008 ING New York City Marathon!

Exclamation point, indeed.  I’ll let the NYRR’s lift it up, since after all my striving to guarantee my entry to this race, now that no one can refute me my rightful place on Staten Island on November 2, 2008, all I can think is: since that’s done, may I go to bed now?

Normally, I’d be much more energetic in my excitement over this unimpeachable, indubitable, undeniable notice of my participation in this race.  But, I am completely wiped out. Flattened with exhaustion, poor nutrition, and lack of exercise.  No running since Sunday, you see, and a grim amount of working over the past three days (30 hours, to be exact*).  It’s nearing 8pm, and I could lay down on my bed and sleep straight through till dawn. I’m not complaining. Nope, none of that here. But, every time I find myself in this situation (i.e. flattened), and I opt to “take it easy” because I’m feeling depleted, and not go for that scheduled run, I end up exponentially tired.  I know better; I know the costs to myself, those around me, and the quality of work I produce when I neglect my basic self-care trinity.

I did have enough energy to celebrate when my April issue of Running Times showed up earlier this week. My hero Kara Goucher is on the cover, and half the issue is dedicated to the Women’s Marathon Olympic Trials.  I delicately set my RT aside to read when I could savor it, but  I broke down this morning and toted it with me during my commute.  Straight to Kara’s profile, but lo!  Oh thrilling discovery!  RT flopped open to a Brian Sell centerfold!  (I swear I read this magazine for the articles.) A double-sided poster, one side him gritting it out on the course, the other him jubilantly wrapped in the flag at the finish.  Exclaimed out loud with joy and amusement, right there on the 7 train, with all sorts of cranky worker bees around me.  My outburst was loud enough that I even startled the droopy-eyed ipoder two bodies over. Brian Sell and Kara Goucher? Too much for me to handle before my morning cuppa.

The remaining ten minutes of my commute were hijacked by thoughts of Brian.  Did he get to approve the photos beforehand?  Was he amused by the centerfold?  Did his agent insist on it? (No, that doesn’t sound right.)  Got to work, tons of work, but was compelled to google Brian.  Most of what came up was timed around the Trials, like this post about how he went to work two days after his marathon. Refreshing, that. Someone else is set upon with tasks the second they arrive at work.  (I had tasks too but decided to scuttle them for five minutes so I could google lovely Brian. *Must adjust hours worked to 29 hours 55 minutes.)

Foot update: Toenail still black.  Right arch still sprained but feeling less achey today.  Need to apply The Stick to right calf.

Off to walk dog. Then to bed. Sweetness.

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