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First off, about a week and a half before the race I was asked by Choose Cherries if I would represent them in the marathon . I accepted and planned the outfit (red top and red hat) for both myself and runnin around uptown. Fast forward, this is what I ended up with (instead of team red it’s team pink!):

Perhaps I should have known the day would be interesting when approaching the subway, I noticed a bunch of cops and a person covered up with a sheet. Yep, dead guy right at the subway entrance (found out later it was a jumper). Gah.  Fast forward, around 820 I did a last port-a-potty stop before dropping my stuff and heading to the corrals. One problem: we hear as we’re being directed in a giant circle, that the corrals have closed for wave 1. Shit. I didn’t care too much but I knew my family didn’t have tracking!  Since I was at the front of “wave 2” I asked a volunteer to use a phone and was told “oh, I don’t have one.” One minute later she pulls out a phone. Ugh. Special thanks to Leo for letting me borrow his phone! Finally after standing for a good 45mins (perfect before 26.2) we get to the starting line and the canons go off. Finally, my journey begins.

Being at the beginning of the wave made for a quick start which made for instant pacing to come into play.  Brooklyn, just like last time, whizzed by and that first 10 miles went as planned.  Paces were in check and nothing felt off base (and when it did speed up or slow down one of us would pull in the reigns).  Having strategically placed family around the course helped as well (miles 5 and 8 in Brooklyn, friends at mile 14 right before the Queensboro).

Mile 8(I get cold easily so the arm warmers were perfect!)

Going over the Queensboro we still were right on target. Random: some British guy asks “what bridge is this” and upon response goes “this isn’t a very nice bridge is it?”.  And then it started upon approach in Manhattan as AC had to stop briefly.  First Avenue was a blast with rows of people and passing family once again.  Then it was my old running team.  And I remember hitting the Bronx and feeling like someone had punched me in the gut.  My stomach was not in good shape.  I remember turning to AC and just saying “ow.”  Up to that point, I had 2 packs of sport beans (nothing unusual) and water (one mixed with small amount of Gatorade).  Somewhere around mile 20 or so the 3:40 pacer passed us and I knew – things were not exactly going as planned.

Heading back into Manhattan I made a quick pit stop which may have been a saving grace.  I still felt a little queasy but not as bad as the Bronx.  I remember AC feeling pretty much the same (no need for detail on what was said).  Heading up 5th avenue was definitely a triumph – it definitely helped to have someone to be there to keep me moving.  It was not the hills but the hope the stomach would simmer down.  Hitting the park I felt a lot better (may have been an orange and not drinking anything for a few miles?).  I was able to bring it together and pull AC along through that brutal stretch (I remember saying something to the effect of ‘you’re a fighter’ ::cue Christina Aguilera). We passed a lot of people in the park which definitely felt good.

I saw my mom exiting onto CP South and knew a sub 3:50 was in the bag.  I looked at AC and said “let’s go get you a monster PR.”  And that we did.  Finishing in 3:46:54 I scored a 20 minute course PR and AC had a 17 minute PR (her 2nd marathon).

Marathon #9 in the books

Go team red...err pink!

I’ve preached to the choir that the marathon can be a crap shoot.  One day it can be an amazing perfect experience but the next it could be not so good.  I also look at each one as a learning experience.  This one was a mental push.  Though the splits are UGLY, I choose to be ignorant to that.  I choose to look at the mental push and fight at mile 23 to pull it together. I choose to look at the fact a 3:46 is not satisfying.

The day after at the finish line - a lot more coherent!

I also think it was an amazing experience having someone to share the full 26.2 with (thanks again AC!).  I did that for my first marathon in 2004.  It’s tricky to find someone on the same page.  However, we trained and ran races well together so it made it no problem.  We knew each of our strengths and weaknesses (it really helped me through Harlem and I think vice versa in the park).  The pact?  Who cares if you can walk on November 8?

I have to say I actually feel the least amount of post marathon aches I’ve ever had (knock on wood).  Most of my pain has been in my neck.  The legs feel like they went on a  long run . However, I do know there was no BQ or under on this day – maybe a minute or two?  As I told AC, was it worth it to feel incredibly sick over that?  Perhaps a few of you out there disagree but honestly it wasn’t going to make much of a difference on this day.

What would I change?  I need to work out the nutrition kinks.  I think it may have been a case of too much hydration that made my stomach heavy and the nausea (especially since it disappeared once I stopped taking water).

Moving forward? Recovery and I’m looking forward to a marathon free 2011.  Yes, that’s right folks.  No marathons.  Next year is a year of speed.  A year to work on finding that next gear which I think will propel me through that mental wall to get to that next level.  I’ve already signed up for the NJ Half as a goal race in the spring.  I’m excited to find more races to complement that (and find a new team as a home).

Congrats to NYC bloggers that completed the marathon as well.

I’m sure there will be more thoughts to come…

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3:46:54

Report to come.  Still processing – didn’t go quite as planned but a great day nonetheless.  I’ve signed up for the NJ Half in May as a goal race to set a monster PR.  Other than that? Give me time, I ran NYC yesterday.

Until the report here’s some pictures from brunch on Saturday and post celebration beers tonight at Gingerman.

@Chanthana and I

@willrunforbeer and I

@pushthruphilly's sign for NYCM.

@mdwstrnrunner and I - we do clean up occasionally.

@AlexPaul and Anh at Ginger Man for post race beers tonight

@susanruns and @NYCe

@susanruns and @NYCe

@SharonPaige pre-killing her first marathon

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What does it mean????

Each marathon has its own purpose.  There’s something special to it.  So what about NYC Marathon 2010?  What makes it stand out?  Of course NYC  is the first marathon I’ve ever done and what really started this whole run up to now.  It’s funny to look back now.  In 2004 it was the springboard to finding my old team and now it looks to be a springboard to the next chapter in my racing life.

I guess in a way everything has come full circle. I’ve met a lot of people in those six years,  It’s pretty awesome how the year of 30 will end in my home base.  I’d like to say I’ve got the hang of this but holy schnikes, I’m still a nervous wreck.  Dare I say even more than pre-Pikes Peak?!  It’s weird.  Exciting.  Perhaps it’s the fact I actually tapered for this race too (hello, bouncing off the walls). My last run was  my bread and butter route : the bridges route.  This is it kids.  Without further ado, I’d like to throw out a few thank yous to those that helped me get my butt to the starting line this weekend.

Legs.  Thank you for putting up with me for the past 11 months.  You tried to cry a bit in between but overall held up well.  Time for one last throw down this weekend.

The AM Crew – ES & MP – thank you ladies for meeting me for bridges and east river runs bright ‘n early (well not so bright anymore – where is the sun?).  I always looked forward to these runs and generally made the day much more tolerable.  Not to mention the company is always delightful:)

The Tuesday Speed Crew – Thanks guys!  It’s been awesome to have a group of people to train along with as well as whine with during core.  Special shout out to Steph – she was my speed equivalent most nights.

SpeedySasquatch – THANK YOU for being out there to support all of us.  Your generosity is not lost on me and I can’t wait to see you at mile 14.  Even if the core part would get painful, you have your reasons to do all of it.  I still remember doing that first workout way back when – everyone else went for a general run except for 3 of us to endure the first of many speed workouts:)

The twitter and blogger folks – you know who you are.  Each of you have brightened my day and kept me focused towards the goal of November 7.  Some of you have become real life friends but to those that are on the screen your importance is not lost.

Last but certainly not least, runnin’ around uptown.  Waaaaaaaay back when we were freezing our butts off in the winter, we made a pact that come November 7th we would run 26.2 together.  We’ve endured the heat of the summer with long runs in the city, down in Philly, the trails in NJ, the bridges…and everything else in between.  So I guess now it’s just 26.2 more?  Let’s hope we don’t hate eachother after this;-) ha.

It’s game time folks (orange bib 16753 if anyone cares).  All that’s left is a day and it’s time for a little jaunt through the GREATEST city in the world.  Let’s do this!  See you at the finish line!

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MCM 2010

This past weekend I traveled down to Washington DC to visit friends and spectate the Marine Corps Marathon.  I’ve said it before but I love this marathon.  Anyway, here’s a few photos from the expo (where I met  a few tweeps) and the race:

@deefsu's sign for the marathon:)

@runnerchick28, @readwriterun, @deefsu, me, @bklynrunner

@jenzenator and @southbaygirl

@followjoceyln and @tinyjenna

@speedysasquatch, @russianbear, @operationjack

@EdMarathon and @rundigger

@ultrarunnergirl and I

me, @jessetchen and @speedysasquatch

@ultrarunnergirl and @MsV1959 with the Marines

@MsV1959 getting interviewed by Fox5

 

@MsV1959 and @southbaygirl

Kids dancing at the marathon!

 

 

Marines running the marathon

Where's waldo?

@tinyjenna at mile 17

 

The view from mile 17

And now I’ll return to taper-me-silly:)

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Dress Rehearsal

Yesterday marked the last long run until November 7th.  As part of the mental preparation I spoke about in my earlier post, this long run was all about getting intel on the course.  I met up with MP for the last 17 of the course starting all the way in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. Right away the excitement was there with the marathon route banners up (which definitely helped in Queens and Bronx). The weather? Can I bottle some of that for November 7th?  Cool but not cold.   Little wind. Nice.

The run took us through the Hasidic part of Brooklyn as we saw the men dressed for Sabbath (including the rockin’ hats).  Turns out the NYT had an article on these hats: they’re over 8 grand! Woah. Running along Bedford Ave we passed many enjoying brunch and the crisp autumn day. It’s enjoyable to watch people on a weekend.  It’s definitely a much happier environment.  Heading up the Pulaski Bridge I noticed the 13 and 13.1 mark. That will be my half way point in a couple weeks.

Heading into Queens it’s pretty desolate.  We didn’t see anyone until we looked ahead to see a guy being held by 2 guys accompanied with lots of screaming.  We stared ahead and 2 guys started to advance on us.  Right away we turned and that’s when I made the comment we were in an episode of Law and Order.  Only problem is this was real.  Eek.  Finally we reached the Queensboro and bid adieu to Queens.

First Avenue brings back memories to me as I used to be an UES resident.  It’s remarkable how fast places close/reopen/etc.  I took note of the incline on the road in the 70s.  Nothing horrible but at mile 17 one needs to be alert of that and not mentally think they are slow for no reason.  The 80s marked my true old stomping grounds.  My old bagel shop, bakery (best black and white cookies in the city), grocery, etc.  Harlem came next and that’s when the cat calls started.  Ah Harlem gotta love it.  Those were accompanied with “win it in 2 weeks.”  I gave a fist pump to him.  Heading into the Bronx I remember what this felt like.  It was very difficult to mentally think there was another borough before finishing the darn thing.

Back in Manhattan it wasn’t bad until 110th and 5th.  That’s where a real solid incline starts and the mind will really need to work overtime to keep the legs moving.   I started to kick it up a notch as the last 4 miles I progressively sped up.  Mentally I want this to be there race day.  Running around the park I started to visual what 2 weeks from now will feel like.  What that pain will feel like.  Visualize the crowd.  It’s going to be amazing.

Heading towards Tavern on the Green I picked it up to a final gear and with a giant smile crossed the fictitious finish line for the day.  I’ll be back for a true finish in a couple weeks.  Overall the pace was a shade over 9 with the last 4 dipping down into the 830s with a final push at an 8:10 clip.  All in all mission accomplished.  A confidence builder and I didn’t beat myself up in the process.

Bocche Ball in Central Park

Refueling at Whole Foods. Honeycrisp Apple the size of my cheek!

Today was an off day.  I headed up to Tallman State Park with AC for some easy hiking to enjoy the fall foliage.  Hooray for the taper.

AC and I with the Hudson in the background.

Pretty fall foliage

Sunset on 10/23 from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade.

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Almost showtime…

We’re 15 days til showtime, NYC style. The excitement is starting to build as this will complete my year of 30. My last long run is tomorrow as MP and I will complete the last 16 of the course. If that doesn’t pump one up, not sure anything will!

So Meals for Miles brought up the always present question: goals!

It may sound hokey but finishing and wanting to do another 26.2 is #1. It sounds simple but after completing my Chitown cycle me and running weren’t friends for a little while.  Never want to feel like that again!

#2. Time? I always set A,B.C goals.  It leads itself to creating concrete times.  A goal? 3:35. B goal? Sub 3:40. C goal? Sub 3:50.  Will I be upset if something happens and I don’t meet these goals? Sure but I know after 8 of these sometimes it just isn’t your day (see steamtown, Chicago and Philly).  The marathon is about everything coming together on that day.  It’s hard but it truly is an amazing feeling to be clicking on all cylinders.

#3. Celebrate the year of 30. I ran NYCM in 2004 just a year and a few months after moving here. I didn’t know many people. This year I’ll have friends, family, coworkers along the course! It should be pretty awesome:) I’m pretty psyched this is how my year of 30 will finish.

Taper is in full effect. I’m trying to keep the hip tendonitis quiet and keeping the mind rested. I find this time period when I cleanse the body and mind. It’s a tricky balance as anyone that has suffered through the taperworm knows:) I’ll throw in some pace runs to keep the legs fresh but as my dad astutely has said “you can never run too little during a taper.” (I can attest as last year the week before MCM I didn’t run the week beforE!)

Suffice to say it looks like work will be nutty again before the race. There’s one solid way to stay preoccupied:) I’m typing this on my way home after another 12 hour day (finished today). Runners kitchen wrote about that balance but man it’s gotten harder as I’ve worked my way up the corporate food chain!  Hence the blog silence.

11.5 miles this morning – great company, good conversation, and the  miles flew by with a bridges and east river run.

As for that topic about a certain race in April, I think it’s been beaten to death. It’ll be what it’ll be.

Keep runnin’!

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5 bridges

For those that have had the honor of running with me you know when I do my long runs they are anything but ordinary.  Anyone can go run loops of Central Park or run along the West Side Highway.  Ha.  I go all out in plotting routes to include varying routes and degrees of difficulty.  Today as I set my sights on the final 20 miler of 2010 (is it true? No more marathons this year?) it was time to conquer the bridges.  As my blog name suggests, this 20 miler set out to conquer the bridges.  As an added bonus, the nor’easter left behind some rather gusty, blustery winds.  Fortunately for our crew we didn’t have enough time to do my original route to include a loop of Prospect Park too.  Oh boy!

Today AC and MP joined me on this journey.  It set off innocently enough as we headed east to bridge #1: the Queensboro aka TK’s bridge.  We hit every single light on the way to the bridge which made me comment on how I was glad we were reversing the route.  As we ran along Central Park South I thought about how I’d feel there in just 22 days!  I also noticed the slight incline.  Seriously NYC loves to throw in the inclines everywhere.

The whole run my legs seemed effortless to move.  After the Queensboro we maneuvered our way through Queens (harder than you think!) and headed onward over the Pulaski and into Brooklyn.  The smells of brunch in Greenpoint and Williamsburg made it tough to keep moving on towards our third bridge: Williamsburg.  Both AC and MP had never run over it – two cherries were popped, eh;)  The wind created some fun spots as it blew you silly and made us look more like cartoon characters trying to run and going nowhere (think Scooby Doo).

Dodging the tourists on the Bowery we headed towards the Manhattan Bridge to go to Brooklyn and returned the favor by taking the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan.  The Brooklyn Bridge was a true frogger event between tourons, the Breast Cancer walk and bikes.  I nearly took out two or three people with a bike coming close to taking me out.  The usual experience midday on a weekend.  Note to those looking to run over a bridge to Brooklyn: take the Manhattan if you can, it’s pretty empty.

remember this game? I was living in it!

The last section of the run was the windiest.  There was absolutely no protection from the water with the wind directly hitting us for about 10 miles. It was brutal but one of those things you know that will come in handy on race day.  I’ve always held onto runs that were tough and make me dig a little deeper.  For Boston, it was that brutal February morning I ran 20 on icy roads.  As we hit the WSH, I wanted to throw down some MP miles.  The last 4 turned into 8:20-8:30 pace (a little slower) but given the wind issues I’ll take it.  Legs felt amazing and honestly as I sit here tonight they feel really good.
Here’s the route:
View Interactive Map on MapMyRun.com

With 3 weeks to go, I have to say I’m encouraged.  I think things are coming together at the right time and hopefully this translates to peaking on race day.  I feel like something just started to click after that little dry spot.  Hard to believe but this is my last 20 miler of 2010 (out of oh so many!).  The plan now is to stay healthy, keep the legs fresh, eat sensibly and prepare mentally for November 7th.  After 8 encounters with 26.2, the mental aspect is so unbelievably large (this is a post for another day).

Tomorrow I’ll head out for an easy recovery run in the park by my parents’ house where fall foliage is starting to show. 

Do you enjoy varying your routes?  Even if it’s a short run do you try to mix it up?

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