Sunday, December 25, 2011

New York City Marathon Week 2011 Pt. 2

The day of the New York City Marathon wasn't as eventful for me as it has been in the past. As I mentioned in my previous post the week leading up the race was way more fun.

Marathon day started out with The Beatles singing "Come Together" at 4:00am on my radio alarm.  I thought, “yes, come together beat up
body and lets run this bitch.”

This is my 7th NYC Marathon in a row and I would have liked to have
had a better feeling going into this than I did. Instead I was somewhat apathetic. I got dressed and ready in no time, called a cab and
contemplated taking a hit of my roommates’ pot pipe before I left.
"Maybe that will make this more interesting. Naaah, I might leave
my bag on the ferry if I do that" I thought.

So, off to the ferry I went where I ran into my friend John from North
Brooklyn Runners. John was a few pounds heavier and a much slower
runner than me at his best and my worst a little more than a year ago.
John lost about 20 to 30lbs and is kicking my ass all day long without
even trying. Me? I can't even work up enough leg power for speed
training without an injury acting up these days. In fact, I trained for
this marathon without so much as one tempo run or speed work of any
kind. I am officially in the worst shape of my life which, by the way,
is still much better than most Americans even if I'm not a happy

The ferry ride and the bus after the ferry had me running into a few
more key members of NBR including it's founder Aja. Aja is my guidance
system and unknowingly my pacer for most races we run in together. She
runs a steady even pace throughout her races and her form is great. We
used to finish within seconds of each other or at the same time. This
of course is no longer the case so it was just a bitter reminder of
what was to come.

   Sleeping 3 hrs is never a good look for me.

By the time we got to Marathon Village we all split up except for John
and myself. John gave his predicted race time (I had a healthy dose of
reality after he accomplished it) and I half jokingly said I'll see
you in five hours.

   On the ferry with North Brooklyn Runners

          Our fearless leader 

             Fun times                                           

As the race began to the usual sound of the gun and to the tune of New
York, New York I got going. This year I had the uneventful start
which is under the bridge. I could tell from here how it was going to
go as people passed me by as I wobbled myself through the first 2

When we entered Brooklyn I looked down at my feet and was happy my new kicks I never ran in before (NB 860 taxi cab NYC marathon edition) were holding up. Yes, a straight up rookie move I know but I wasn't racing.
I was practically speed walking and it was the only thing that inspired me to get out there that morning.

A few miles later at 6 miles I did my “how do I feel” check in. I felt
like I was dragging to be honest and I knew it was going to be a long
race. By the 8th mile I started seeing familiar faces cheering me on from
North Brooklyn Runners. At mile 12 the team volunteers at the water
stations, so I got another round of high fives there. It was a great
feeling coming in to this area from mile 11 through 13. Bedford Avenue is
packed with loads of crowds screaming "NBR!!!’ People later said they
saw me on Manhattan Avenue in Greenpoint, but I didn't notice them.

I was doing a blistering 12 minute mile here

As I plodded over the Pulaski Bridge at the halfway point I decided
to eat the Pro Bar which I was carrying. I knew this was going to be
a long one for me so I approached this race much like I did with
Ultras in the past, meaning I carry portable food and anything that will
help me get though. I can't tell you what a help it has been for me
through previous trail runs and training. They are packed with 400 wall
crushing calories with all natural goodness that won't leave you
running for the porto john. Check it out -

The Queensboro Bridge. For some it’s the worst part of the race but for me
it's my favorite part. The quiet sound of hundreds of runners’ feet hitting
the ground at 16 on the bridge is down right meditative. If you're
having a good race, you're in the zone. If you’re having a bad day, you're
already walking, I was going so slow I could hardly tell if I was
walking or running. Coming off of the bridge the silence turns into
cheers from onlookers waiting on First Avenue. By 63rd Street I saw my
Special Someone waiting for me with a sign. It was the best part of the
race and I ran over to give her some love right back.

From here on out, First Avenue was all up hill (as is most of the race) and is about the longest three miles of the race for me. In fact by mile 18 I
was seriously considering dropping out. "What, another eight miles to go?
I am so freaking bored, what is the point of all this? I'm going to
finish in five hours? Ugh." Then there it was, a woman holding up a
sign with a picture of a badger on it that said "Honey Badger Don't
Give a Shit!" In case you don't know Nasty Ass Honey Badger is a
nature video on Youtube narrated in a way I can only describe as
"fabulous." I was laughing at this video for two months prior to the
marathon and it was just the thing to shake my mood. I thought yes
"honey badger don't care about marathons, he don't give a shit,” and
with that I was off.

In the Bronx my leg started to give out. My piriformus again. I went
to the med tent to see if they had anything to give me, ben gay or
whatever. You know most marathons carry stuff like that, but not the New
York Marathon. "I just ran a marathon last month and they had all
sorts of stuff, including free packets of Biofreeze they were handing
out." Then it hit me, I have that free packet of Biofreeze. So I ducked
into the nearest porto palace (shit house on wheels) and poured this
packet all over my leg and butt and wouldn't you know it worked. I was
able to pick up my pace a little and keep going. On 5th avenue I saw
my manager from the running store where I work cheering me on and he gave me a power bar. I was again grateful and ashamed at the same time (for my slow pace)

   I had to stop and pose for this one                                      

During my run in the park I was again bored shitless until I
spotted another coworker that dressed like Steve Prefontaine for
Halloween and he was still sporting the mustache.  I wasn't sure at
that point if it was because of Pre or not but I was re-energized again as he
paced me for a mile and I shouted "Stop Pre!" the whole time. Coming
down the stretch I looked for my pretty girlfriend but instead spotted
yet another coworker cheering me on. I didn't expect to see him
there and it threw me off guard. Distracted as I was I missed Kristy
shouting for me.

When I came through the finish line I heard all the congratulations
but I was grateful just to be done. New York Road Runners puts
on this race. This year it was $160 and next it will be much more I'm
sure. Here's what we got at the end:

The last thing anyone wants after a marathon is more gatorade BLEH!

As a result of this race and lack of funds I bailed out on the Las
Vegas marathon and as of right now I don't even feel like running
another marathon. To do well in a marathon you need to be 100% fit and
then you need a good training program to follow. I've been injured for
way too many races and decided to take the winter off from running. In
a way I feel like I'm over it. I ran for fitness originally and now
its led to injury which is affecting every other area of fitness in
my life. This is going to take some time to heal, probably more time
than I expect. Till then I'll keep my fingers crossed and cheer on my
fellow runners while I practice yoga and continue stretching all
winter long.

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