Sunday, November 06, 2011

New York City Marathon

I finished in the dark! Well almost - I finished while it was still light, but spent a half hour or more collecting my race bag and then it was totally dark.

Anyway, the New York City marathon was the spectacular event that we all know it to be. When people ask me about my three favorite marathons, I always include NYC. Nowhere else have I experienced the crowd support and the incredible number and quality of volunteers. If you like bands, there are plenty of those too. There’s nothing quite like it.

Here are some more good points:

  • Roads are entirely closed to traffic, all 26.22 miles.
  • The entire event is totally organized: From the Expo to the finish line, nothing is left to chance.
  • The Expo was huge and, at least when we went on Thursday, there were no lines.
  • I’ve never seen so many police along a marathon route. I like ‘em!
  • The only places without spectators were the bridges, where pedestrians are not allowed.
  • It’s not really very hilly. In NYC, the hills are the bridges.
  • There WERE ENOUGH portable toilets at the start. I’ve rarely seen that before. I stood in line for maybe three minutes, and then when our corral was called we went past dozens of empty ones that I could also have used with no line.
  • The weather could hardly have been better, clear and cool.
They could fix this
  • The first few groups of portable toilets had only four or five in the group, and a huge line of needers. What the ...!? Everyone (EVERYONE) knows that many hapless runners will screw up and need a toilet in the first few miles (experienced runners plan to use one no more than 30 minutes before the start). Later in the race there were as many as ten toilets in a group, maybe more, and no line at all.
  • The huge crowd at the end, after the finish, is an embarrassment to the NYRR. Here you finish in your best possible time, and then you spend the next half hour or more standing in line to get your race bag. Arrrgh! That’s unconscionable. FIX IT!
They won’t. The NYC Marathon is what it is, take it or leave it. Most of us take it. If I ever do this one again I’ll arrange not to need a race bag (had a valuable jacket in it), and I’ll bug out right after getting the medal.

My race:
  • Wonderful! All in all, I had a very enjoyable race and a good enough finish time.
  • Time 5:51:58, pace 13:27, four minutes faster than a week ago, number 92 of 157 in my 70-74 age group, marathon number 59. I have completed a marathon in 40 states so far in the eight years since myeloma diagnosis, ten to go. I got faster toward the end, which is a very good sign - I was passing everyone. I really love that!
  • I was part of a group selected for enthusiasm (who knew?) as a cheering section behind pre-race TV interviews. This was fun, but it meant that, except for the bus ride to the start, I was on my feet from 3:30 am to 5+ pm. I was concerned about starting the race already tired, but I was OK. My back got tired standing, but was fine when I got going running.
  • Also, I had run a marathon one week before, three weeks before, five weeks before, and seven weeks before, so I was concerned about the toll from those escapades.
  • At bottom, though, I have no idea whether any of those significantly increased my time. Probably they all contributed. But who cares? I finished, and now have three weeks to rest up for the next marathon, in Seattle. Maybe I can go a little faster.
  • This was the long run for that next marathon, right? I’ll jog a little Wednesday, maybe again Thursday or Friday, and then run with my regular group of friends on Saturday. Take it easy on me you guys. After that it’s taper time already! I hope the trails in the park are still good.
  • Nothing hurts. I escaped injury, as far as I know. The “sports hernia” (not a real hernia) spoke up a little bit, but was never a limiting factor. The only limiting factor, actually, was muscle fatigue. That’s NORMAL. Yay!
  • I feel quite fatigued as I write this. That’s sort of normal too, but I am starting to catch a cold and that may contribute.
  • This morning I woke up with a scratchy throat, and the race didn’t make it better. I will take good care of it tonight, with plenty of sleep, warmth, zinc lozenges, and vitamin C. We don’t have access to chicken soup and liniment (for the chest) now, but we will tomorrow night.
  • My sweeties didn’t get to run this marathon, but they did meet me at mile 16 and again at mile 26. I love that. Turns out there were other friends at mile 26 too, but I was so focused on my sweeties that I missed them!
  • I did get cold. I tossed a long-sleeved shirt at about mile 5, as the temperature warmed, but could have used it again later as the sun dropped low in the west. My mistake - I could have tied it around my waist. But a hot shower at the hotel corrected the problem!
  • I met some new people who are important to me and the E-Race Cancer campaign and Team Continuum. Good people. I like them.
  • There may be a CNN piece about my marathons on their American Morning show, Tuesday, November 15. But maybe not. I’ll try to keep an update here.
That’s enough. Have a good night. I will.

Splits: 13:43 (up the Verrazano Bridge) , 12:17 (back down), 13:31, 24:35 (2 mi), 12:45, 12:14, 26:19 (2 mi), 17:22 (1 mi plus bathroom), 12:48, 12:41, 13:38, 27:37 (2 mi),, 13:03, 18:39 (1 mi plus video retakes), 12:45, 14:29, 26:08 (2 mi), 12:32, 27:35 (2 mi), 12:03, 12:57, 2:35 (0.22 mi), total 5:51:58, pace 13:25. S’OK.

At mile 16, coming off the Queensferry Bridge, spotting my sweeties in the crowd:

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