the long island marathon was a last minute switch for me. i had planned to run the seven sisters trail race in amherst, but decided to try for a bq at a road marathon instead. on the drive down to the race i told emmy my plan was to run two 1:45 minute half marathons - an 8 minute pace for the distance. the weather, overcast skies and rain expected to arrive later that morning, was a concern - but outside my control. doug, a good friend of ours, had picked up our race packets at the expo and biked over to the start to give us our stuff.
while emmy had run the long island marathon a few times - most recently a 3:17, in 2006 - it would be my first time at this race. i knew we'd start with the half marathon runners and then they would split off at the 10 mile mark. we'd run a 6.5 mile out and back on the wantagh parkway (down to the sunrise highway) before we made that same turn and went to the finish in eisenhower park. the finish was about a half mile away from the start so the organizers trucked our bags to the finish.
at the start we met our friend ruth, but didn't see dawn - who we thought might be at the race. it was surprisingly humid when the race went off - and that lasted for the first 3-4 miles when it was replaced by light rain! i saw my good friend nick cheering on runners just after 2.5 miles, before the turn on to merrick boulevard. at the end of merrick boulevard, just before the right on to old country road, i saw doug on his bike. he was cheering on his fellow new hyde park team mates. just after mile 6, and the turn onto jericho turnpike, i saw my friend rina.
four friends cheering during the first 10k - wow! ironically, except for emmy in mile 12, those were the last familiar faces i'd see for the next 20 miles! my split at the 10k mark was 48:32 - right on target for a 1:45 first half. but at this point the rain had started and things were getting wet - and wetter by the minute. i reached 10 miles in 1:19:15 and the half marathon course split off to the right. faced with the out and back, i decided to pick up the pace a little - and put on my ipod for some company.
just after mile 11 the only glich in my entire race took place - a bathroom stop. i had spotted the roadside porta-john from a quarte-mile down the road (the balloons attached to it helped). not one person (on the relatively empty stretch of parkway in front of me) was headed toward it. to my utter astonishment - when i reached it, the door was locked! i literally shouted - "is there anyone in there?" and "yes" was the sheepish reply... followed by an equally sheepish runner climbing out of there a minute later.
i took care of business - at what would turn out to be a 2+ minute diversion. mile 12 was my slowest of the entire race - at 9:55! the only positive, emmy saw me coming out of the porta-john and gave me a shout out. i said hi, mentioned that little diversion may have knocked me off pace - and started running again. it wasn't too bad since i reached the half marathon split at 1:46:02 - only a minute and 2 seconds off target. but, unfortunately, now i'd need to run a negative split for the second half to have a shot at my bq.
boston kindly gives you an extra 59 seconds - so my 3:30 is really 3:30:59. all i needed was a 1:45 second half and i could do it. i again picked up the pace to knock off some of that one minute deficit. miles 14 and 15 were 7:35 and 7:52, respectively, for a 15 mile split of 2:00:39 - i was getting back a little of the lost time. i reached 20 miles in 2:41:47 - which left me with a goal of 49 minutes for the remaining 10k - just doable (or so i thought).
as it turned out the last 10k took me 49:27 - a wee bit too slow. my finish time of 3:31:14 was 15 seconds off (and the official time of 3:31:15 added yet another second)! when i reached the cloverleaf to exit the wantagh parkway at 2:58:10 - i only had 4.2 miles left to cover in roughly 33 minutes. these were my final miles: 8:10, 8:01, 7:52, 7:30, and the final 2/10 in 1:31. close, but not good enough :(
i heard the announcer call my name as i finished - that was nice. i was pretty wet - and still raining -at this point. i headed straight to the baggage truck to collect our stuff and waited for emmy to finish. i heard the announcer call her name too, and her 3:44 finish took first place in her age group! since the weather was so nasty, we headed across the park to the find the car (passing up the beer garden in the process). we saw ira and his friend as we looked for the car, he's going to volunteer at greenbelt this weekend.
on the drive home i did a little post-mortem on my race - but wasn't too critical because there really wasn't that much i could have (or would have) changed. while the bathroom stop sticks out as a problem - i don't think it was that big of deal in the final analysis. on the plus side, not only did i run a negative split for the second half, but i ran a 49:27 for the last 10k - which was less than a minute off the pace of my first 10k (48:32)!
bummed at missing a bq - but pleased with the race overall :D
here are my splits:
1:49 48:32 - 10k
0:50 1:46:02 - half marathon
here is emmy's race report.
here are my race photos.