Sunday, November 15, 2009

New York Marathon 2009

I traveled to New York to run the marathon a couple of weeks ago. I put myself in the lottery to gain entry early this year before I had decided what I wanted to do for the fall big run. By the time I got entry I was already in the middle of training for the Palo Duro 50k. Since I was not sure if my employment situation would allow me the time off to do this on the following year, and deferring the entry does not refund this year’s entry fee, I decided to take advantage of the relatively cheap airfare and make a weekend trip if this. I did not tell too many people about this plan considering it sounds crazy to try and run a marathon two weeks after the 50k, and also to leave me the option to silently back out in case I didn’t feel up to it. I was going to treat this as a training run for my next 50k in December. This was to be my second time running the NYC marathon (first time report).

To get to the race start, I was assigned to the 5:30am bus to get me to Staten Island, where I waited for the 10:20am race start. Dunkin Donuts was there handing out head caps, and that turned out to be a needed thing to keep me warm. I sat on the curb reading the New York Times on my iPhone until there were too many people around to get an internet connection. Then I wandered around and found they had a pretty good Blues band playing for entertainment. A couple of runners made a spectacle of themselves dancing to the band, and relished in the attention as dozens of other runners snapped their tourist picture.

I waited until the last minute and shed my warm clothes before leaving the drop bag at the UPS truck. Everyone else did the same, and so the mass bottlenecked as everyone tried to get into their assigned start corral. The race was split into 3 waves. Each wave further sub-divided into a set of corrals designed to group people by pace. I never made it to my assigned corral. A few minutes before the start, officials let down the barriers between corals and everyone inched forward to the start. As we left the fort, there was a poster with a course map and many people touched the finish line for good luck as they passed. Then we entered a corral whose barriers were defined by strategically parked shuttle busses. There was a 20 minutes wait, then an air horn signifying the race started, and people started inching towards the start line.

Once across the start line, we ran across the Verrano-Narrows Bridge, which covered most of the first 2 miles. I carried a point-and-shoot camera strapped to my water bottle, and snapped some pictures to preserve the memory. I did not have any goal for this race except to finish and not walk to much. I did not wear a watch, and was never sure how far behind the clock my chip time was due to the time it took me to get to the start after the gun (turned out to be almost 20 minutes). This was a fun run for me, and so I concentrated in taking in the experience, free from the burdens of maintaining a target pace. I looked around to note the communities we ran through, the spectators who lined the course, and the runners from around the world who came here to run. The thought that kept me moving came from this persons blog post about a common friend. I "get to run" this. Every day is a gift, and for this run every step a celebration that I can do an event such as this.

The miles flew by, and before I knew it I had reached the halfway point. Later from the marathon chip time splits that were recorded every 5k, I would learn I maintained a consistent and decent pace to this halfway point except for the miles I stopped more often for pictures. I slowed down in the second half and eventually averaged and overall pace one minute slower than the 1st half. This placed by time almost at the median between my personal best and personal worst marathon times. I am happy with that considering I did not train specifically for this race.

The slideshow below shows some of the pictures I captured during the race. to see more, click HERE for the full picture album.

full screen slideshow

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks John, I especially liked your self photos - you looked good although a bit serious, but then again you had just completed the NYC marathon - nice!


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