at the end of the day, my target of a 3:30 finish seemed a bit on the optimist side. still, i was more than pleased to have finished my 9th consecutive nyc marathon - even if the 3:51:53 was my second slowest of the nine. it didn't take more than the first mile before i started to suspect that my goal of a bq would be out of reach this race. but i've gotten ahead of myself.
the day began just after 5, with some sourdough bread toast and butter. then i drove over to white plains high school to catch the 6:00 wtc bus to staten island. there i met up with emmy and noonie. we were let off about a quarter mile from the staging area just before 8. the walk to athletes village wasn't bad, but it was pretty windy. once there, there really wasn't much time to socialize. i dropped off my bag at the ups truck and made my way to the blue corrals.
i met up with eliot there and socialized a bit. once the ropes were dropped and the we started our trek to the bridge, i made my way up front. it took less than 40 seconds for me to cross the starting line. it was still windy on the bridge, but that alone couldn't explain my 8:58 first mile! that was a full minute slower than my sub-8 goal pace. the next two miles, 7:40 and 7;56, gave me a 3 mile split of 24:35 - well off my target.
after giving my mom a kiss at bay ridge parkway - she's cheered me on at every nyc marathon, except one - the next 7 miles were mostly under an 8:10 pace. my 10 mile split of 1:21:44 was moving me further and further away from a 3:30 finish. a more realistic target at that point was 3:40 - and even that would soon be a stretch. i seemed to be working much too hard to maintain that pace - and things would certainly get tougher in manhattan.
just after mile 12 i caught up with emmy. she had a local elite start, but wasn't having a good day. i could see she wasn't herself when i realized she was still wearing her gloves! we would run roughly the next 10 miles together. at the half way mark, todd was on the bridge cheering on the runners - he and his girlfriend were hard to miss dressed in pink! just into manhattan, the was the trrc cheering section at 63rd street. is said hi to tom and joe there.
first avenue is always a tough stretch for me. from mile 16 onward, my pace dropped to 9 minute miles (until i hit the wall at 24 miles). still, the objective was to keep moving forward. at mile 17 i spotted kate at the poland springs water station - and gave her a kiss! then, the biggest surprise came up just after the power gel station. i had two gels and was in desperate need of water. amazingly, at mile 18 grant handed me a cup of water and said "hi frank!"
that was blast because up to that point i had an idea of which friends would be at which locations. i had no idea grant would be out on the course! that boost (along w/the power gels) got me over the willis avenue bridge and into the bronx. still, by mile 22 i could feel the wall closing in on me. i told emmy to keep moving without me. by mile 22, marcus garvey park, i would run a pair of 9:46 miles!
the last 3 miles, down fifth avenue and through the park, were a death march for me - 10:11, 10:03, and 10:12, respectively. i crossed the finish in 3:51:53 - about 4 minutes behind emmy. while i didn't find her again until the baggage trucks, i did run into jeanette and tony handing out water and food packets. then the real death march to the ups trucks began. it took me a solid half hour to reach my bag!
afterwards, emmy and i made our way over to the trrc post race party. there was just enough time for a quick beer, some food, and a little socializing, before the walk south to lincoln center to catch the 4:30 wtc bus back to white plains. when i got home there was still a quarter left to the giants game. while the gaints won, the only downer of the entire day was finding out that katie's field hockey team lost 2-1, in double overtime :(
here are my race photos.