Friday, November 8, 2013
my 11th nyc marathon is officially in the books! this finish was especially meaningful to me because it's the first marathon i've run in almost a year - since the roxbury marathon in december. and that had been basically a long training run in the midst of my crawl back from the chronic compartment syndrome that had sidelined me since last summer. the long island marathon back in may, 2012, was officially my last marathon. but what a difference a rebuilt mileage base can make! i've spent the last 5+ months rebuilding my weekly mileage, with some occasional speedwork at the track thrown in.
the payoff from the slow, steady recovery was covering the entire distance without pain and without having to walk. even though this was my slowest nyc marathon (but not by much), i ran it at a pretty even pace. my 2011 nyc marathon, which came in a few seconds faster than this edition, included a 1:46 first half and a major slowdown (with some walking) in the second half (2:09). this time around i ran pretty even splits - a 1:55 first half and a 2:00 second half.
as for the logistics, i was on the 5:30 westchester road runner bus that left from white plains high school. i've taken that bus ride to start in staten island for almost the last 10 years! undoubtedly the best part of that commute to the start is the on board bathroom. in response to the boston bombing, there was a strong, very visible police presence (including bag checks) on the way into fort wadsworth. even with heightened security, however, there wasn't much of delay getting to the athlete village (aside from the sheer volume of runners).
once inside it was sort of eerie not having to check a bag. all i had taken with me was a mylar space blanket and the fanny pack that i would run with. the space blanket was a life saver because i had it wrapped around me until i was actually on the bridge - whereupon i immediately swapped it for a discarded windbreaker! it wasn't cold per se, just uncomfortably windy and overcast. i actually continued to wear that windbreaker over the bridge and into brooklyn!
the highlight of the nyc marathon is running the streets of brooklyn (which constitute the largest segment of race miles in any of the boroughs). i also look forward to seeing my mom cheering on the runners as we turn the corner of bay ridge parkway onto 4th avenue. of all my nyc marathons, she's only missed cheering at 2 of them. my 5k split (which included a bathroom stop and picture w/my mom) was just over 27 minutes (an 8:43 pace).
by the 10k split (53:39), almost at the end of the run down 4th avenue, my pace had inched down to 8:39 - and by 15k (1:20:23) it had fallen one more second to an 8:38 pace. but that was the extent of my sub 8:40's because the rest of the miles would continue to inch upward into the mid 8:40's (20k: 1:48:50 - 8:46 pace) and mid 8:50's (30k: 3:45:52 - 8:54 pace). from the 35k mark to the finish i ran a steady string of 9:00/9:01 miles. at no point did i consider walking. but perceived effort is a strange concept.
for the last 4 miles i imagined that i was running faster - an illusion brought on because i was passing runners on 5th avenue and in central park. i was not running faster, they had simply slowed down (or started to walk). regardless, it was still a great feeling (as illusory as it was) to think that i was speeding up as i approached the finish line! and, actually crossing the finish line never gets old - it's always a rush!
i had expected that we would have gotten the ponchos (in lieu of baggage) much sooner than the exit points beyond central park. once again it was a space blanket that came to the rescue as i joined the long line of finishers shuffling out of the park. by the time a volunteer wrapped me in the poncho, i was in full shiver mode! but that didn't last long thanks to the fleece-lined poncho... and my bag with dry clothes was on the wrr bus parked 5 minutes away at lincoln center.
afterwards, i went to the taconic road runners post-race party to rehydrate with a couple of great captain lawrence fall seasonal beers and some sandwiches. this trrc club party has become an essential post-race tradition, although the location of the party changes from year to year (this year was the first time the party was south of central park). there really isn't a better way to start kick off the marathon recovery process :D
now, since i've finished my 9+1 for 2014, it seems very like there'll be nyc marathon #12 in my future :D
here's a link to my nyc marathon photos.