Wednesday, November 4, 2015

2015 New York City Marathon: Race Report

The 2015 NYC Marathon is in the books - my 13th finish (and, coincidentally, the completion of my 9+1 for guaranteed entry into the 2016 edition)!  Like last year, I lined up relatively undertrained - with my average weekly mileage hovering just above 40 (where in most years it would typically be in the mid-50's).  The results showed with a 4:10:05 finish (which was actually 30+ seconds faster than last year's finish).  While my times have slowed over the last few years, 2014 & 15 were the only two years that I didn't manage to come in under 4 hours.

However, despite the relatively identical times, this year's race was very different from the struggle to finish that characterized last year's edition. In fact, this one was notable for the consistent pace - and complete absence of any cramping.  Whether that was due to the compression sleeves I wore (a first for this event) or just better overall conditioning/hydration is an interesting question.  Regardless of the reason, I didn't suffer through the cramping that had previously beset me.

Last year I ran a faster first half : 1:50 versus 1:57+ this year.  While a couple of those minutes were accounted for when I stopped to take a picture with my mom (2.5 miles) and then quick bathroom pit-stop (mile 3+), last year's 1:50 was all the more impressive because of the time lost running into the tough headwinds across the Verrazano! This year running conditions were ideal - and there was no wind to speak of crossing the bridge.

To backtrack for a minute, the only interesting pre-race business to note was the typically heavy traffic getting to the athlete's village.  In a first, I got off the bus early and walk the rest of the way because the baggage buses for the first wave were scheduled to "close" at 8:10!  I hadn't checked a bag for the prior two editions, so the stress of missing the bag check as a result of a bus tied up in traffic got the better of me.  I was no worse for the wear - but didn't appreciate the unnecessary spike in my stress levels :(

Back to the race itself, I saw a few friends during the first half (Greg on the bridge and Hiroshi on 4th Avenue) - and at the halfway point, Taconic was handling the timing (and they snapped that nice picture of me on the Kosciuszko Bridge!).

As for the second half, I didn't have any physical issue to speak of (except a mildly upset stomach that kicked in toward the end of 1st Avenue).  I was more a general sense of fatigue that took over by mile 20 or so.  I kept thinking to myself that I just didn't have any leg speed - at all!  This wasn't a question of slowing down, so much as an observation that I didn't have any real speed at the start and it wasn't about to magically materialize during the last 10k - haha.

Even so, I did manage one sub-10 minute mile (9:50) at 24, in what was a string of 10 minute miles over the final 10k to the finish.  What "sped" me up during mile 24 is simply a mystery!  In an interesting footnote, even though I had no cramping issues, at the finish I got light-headed for a few minutes (a scary first for me).  It cleared itself up on the walk to pick up my bag, but it wasn't a fun experience.

Afterward, I shuffled over to the Beacon Hotel for the Taconic's post-marathon party.  That, as always, was a very fun time.  But the day actually ended on a weird note.  I walked down to 62nd and Lincoln Center - where the return bus was supposed to be - and just wasn't there!!  Long story, short - I got home via the MetroNorth (and then via the kindness of other runners - with a lift to White Plains High School, where my car had sat wondering why I hadn't gotten off any of the buses that discharged runners and their families)! 

I finally got in the door just after 8 PM, a long - but still excellent - day!

Here are my race photos.

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