Monday, November 21, 2011

NYC Marathon Top 10 List

NYC Marathon – The night before I left for Boston last year I signed up for the ING NYC marathon on somewhat of a whim. I had to attain at least two goals in order to make it a success.
The first mile is super slow, but really cool

1 fitness goal: don’t get burned out during IM training
1 life goal: get new job that will let me take a couple days off for a non-world championship event the first part of the month.
I figured if I went into my summer training with the right mindset and trusted my coach the fitness goal would not be a problem. The life goal worked out great, as I was somewhat beyond my potential in my last job and needed an accounting gig that wasn’t necessarily tied to a fiscal calendar. By the end of October I was thoroughly enjoying some active recovery from Kona and had been in my new job for a couple months, so I was able to sneak away in November for a long weekend in the Big Apple.
I knew it would not be a PR weekend for me, but the chance to take part in a big city marathon and possibly pace my best friend to her personal record was something that I could not miss. Her goals would become my goals and if everything went according to plan we’d have a lot of fun running together.  
Sydnie and I flew out Friday morning settled into my aunt and uncle’s condo on Park Ave when we arrived in NYC. I’m lucky to have a big, generous family who conveniently happen to live or have lived in cities with cool races (NYC, Boston, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Madison, Mora, MN J). Friday and Saturday were spent doing a couple things around NYC, but mostly staying rested with our feet up. It was tempting to paint the town red, but since Syd and I are both pretty mellow most of the time, we are even more boring before races.
Race morning we were up at the crack to catch the midtown buses to Staten Island where we waited until it was time to line up in the starting corrals. As we settled into the runner’s village, one of the UPS volunteers let us camp in his truck until it was go time.
There isn’t a lot to report on our race. Even after returning to Seattle a lot of our friends have asked about NYC. We both come up pretty speechless because everything went so smoothly. The weather was perfect. The crowds were amazing. I did a good job pacing (1:39/1:39 splits J). And Sydnie did an incredible job smashing her PR.
In David Letterman style, here are my top 10 thoughts from running NYC:
1.   Do this race. I always tell people if you’re going to run one marathon in your life, make it NYC. The crowd is amazing and so is the course. Besides, anyone can sign up for it. You might roll the dice with the lottery, if you don’t meet the qualifying times, but it is certainly worth it. DO IT NOW. DO IT NOW. DO IT NOW. For me, Sunday wasn’t about chasing down a PR or any type of placing. But it was still just as important and special.
2.   Running with a friend can be WAY more fun. Sydnie later sent me this quote: “Never underestimate the miles you run and the people you run them with.” I completely agree.
3.   If a UPS driver offers his truck to stay warm in the athletes’ village, take full advantage. Sydnie, Jake, Julie, and I were nice and toasty until it was time to line up.
4.   42.195 kilometers = 26.219 miles. There were a bunch of people with shirts that had 42.195 on them. It seriously took until mile 16 for me to figure out what it meant. I knew a marathon was around 42.2k, but was confused by the exact number. At least my math mind kept busy for part of the race.
5.   Expect crowds. This applies to pre-race, the race course, spectators, and post-race. Although everything is extremely organized for 47 thousand people, it is still extremely crowded. That’s part of what makes NYCM special.
6.   Give your spectators some instruction. The only way I was able to see my cousin and her family in Brooklyn is because I had an idea of where they’d be and they knew what side of the road I’d be on. I spotted my fans around mile 8 in Brooklyn (one of the most electric parts of the course). I was able to sneak in a quick hug to the fam.
7.   Have a plan. If you typically have a race plan for marathons, go with it. But also be sure to have a plan pre-race and post-race.
8.   The longest part of the race will be after you cross the finish line. The walk through Central Park until you get to the UPS trucks carrying your morning clothes is much longer than you’d anticipate. Also, don’t plan on sitting or stretching out. The volunteers (as wonderful as they are) will keep you on your feet.
9.   Favorite parts of each borough: Staten Island – Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, Brooklyn – mile 9 and the crowds along Lafayette, Queens – approaching the Queens borough Bridge, the Bronx – old school hip hop pumped up loud, Manhattan – 1st Ave and finishing in Central Park.
10. Although my focus has changed from running marathons to Ironman triathlon over the past few years, I’ll never forget my first true love. As an athlete, I have way more potential in triathlon, but 26.2 miles is still an incredible adventure. On November 6th I fell in love with the marathon all over again. I guess it’s no surprise. I do every time. 
Thank You, NYC.

1 comment:

  1. Awww...great recap and great race! Would you rather have sit down with the possibility of getting a cramp(or at least that is what they tell you will happen) OR listen to the volunteers and keep moving? I would rather have sit down.