11.22.2009

Wrapping up the NYCM

We’re still not done with the NYCM! I never got to post my playlist prior to the race and immediately afterward I was too consumed with my five-part race report to write up the ol’ list of play. [Side note: FIVE part? Geez, I wouldn’t think that was necessary unless I wrote it. Screw self-editing, right?]

I slapped together my playlist at the last minute—literally. In the last hour before I went to sleep on Saturday night I took out all my race day stuff and added two hours worth of music to my last Half-Marathon playlist (i.e., Grete’s Great Gallop). I’m not proud of it, but it was the only time I had.

Funny thing is that the music worked out really well during the race. I only listed to about two-thirds of the thing (accounting for pauses to check my pace), but I was really happy every time a song started. Perhaps I have been over-hinking my music selection—Marcy haunts me from beyond the blog-grave!!
  • Proud Mary; Tina Turner
  • Brandy Alexander; Feist
  • Bennie and the Jets; Elton John
  • Ulysses; Franz Ferdinand
  • Boston; Augustana
  • Chocolate; Snow Patrol
  • Under Control; Parachute
  • Lucid Dreams; Franz Ferdinand
  • Bulletproof; La Roux
  • Tears Dry On Their Own; Amy Winehouse
  • Heavy Cross; Gossip
  • Losing Touch; The Killers
  • PYT; Michael Jackson
  • Spaceman; The Killers
  • Always Where I Need to Be; The Kooks
  • Lisztomania; Phoenix
  • No You Girls; Franz Ferdinand
  • Tick of Time; The Kooks
  • Dog Problems; The Format
  • Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground); The Jacksons
  • Heads Will Roll; Yeah Yeah Yeahs
  • Jump In The Pool; Friendly Fires
  • Resistance; Muse
  • Can You Feel It; Michael Jackson
  • HAPPY Radio; Edwin Starr
  • Paris; Friendly Fires
  • Blinded By the Light; Manfred Mann's Earth Band
  • Barracuda; Heart
  • Canned Heat; Jamiroquai
  • I Saw It on Your Keyboard; Hellogoodbye
  • Human; The Killers
  • My Moon My Man; Feist
  • Read Between the Lines; KSM
  • Don't Stop 'Till You Get Enough; Michael Jackson
  • Uprising; Muse
  • The Love You Save; Jackson 5
  • I’m Bad; The Last Vegas
  • Zero; Yeah Yeah Yeahs
  • I Kissed a Girl; Katy Perry
  • Beat It; Fall Out Boy
  • American Boy; Estelle
  • I Don't Feel Like Dancin'; Scissor Sisters
  • I Want You Back; Jackson 5
  • This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race; Fall Out Boy
  • Reptilia; The Strokes
  • Times Like These; Foo Fighters
  • Shockwave; Black Tide
  • Let's Dance to Joy Division; The Wombats
  • The Pretender; Foo Fighters

Onto lessons I learned from the NYCM, now that I’ve had time to decipher them:

  1. I really did try to have faith in all the training I had done—and while it might not have produced a 3:40 finish time, I still finished very strong and repeated my PR. So the strategy worked! I will be keeping this in mind for future races.
  2. My hamstrings were mysteriously NOT fatigued. I thought it was just a post-race fluke, but then the week of recovery they were never sore. I’m not sure why this happened. I need to investigate this. I’m wondering if I didn’t use them enough during the race.
  3. I really liked my training schedule. It worked well with my work/life schedule yet managed to incorporate an extra day of running. The only thing is that I stepped up the mileage without setting my alarm clock earlier—so toward the end I had to cut runs short since I was running late.
  4. I used to like Tempo runs, but now that I’ve gone through a training cycle having to do Tempo runs outside I no longer like them. In addition to having to run these outside, I lowered the pace for Tempo runs A LOT. I may have been too ambitious this time around, but should be OK using these paces for the next training cycle.
  5. I knew my stomach was sensitive in the morning, but I never realized just how sensitive it was until I moved out of the gym, far away from any bathroom. I may have to start drinking coffee first thing in the morning just to get the constitutional out of the way before I start running.
  6. The NYCM forces you to get to the starting line early. Ridiculously early. I’m normally a “just in time” type of runner, getting to the starting corral within minutes of the gun. So sitting in Ft. Wadsworth for over an hour was very different. But all that time let me prepare correctly, both mentally and physically.
  7. Focus! I doubt there is any runner who can’t stand to focus a bit more, but I felt I had an incredibly hard time on the course focusing on my race. I suspect this was mostly due to the huge crowds. However, I think I could stand to devise some kind of mental process to stay focused during a race.
  8. I can’t forget to stretch. My IT bands got really tight toward the end of the training cycle—and that is purely because I wasn’t taking enough care of them. Now that I’ve had time to rest I’ve been able to stretch more before and after runs and use heating pads to help loosen the muscles—I need to carry this through to the next training cycle.
  9. It was strange, but I was very sore after this race. After Newport and the Pig I just kinda sprang back to life the next day, but I was tapped out by the NYCM. I didn’t get back to 100% until the following Thursday. Not sure what lesson to take out of this, but it’s worth keeping in mind.

Last, but not least, my time. I still don't have a resolution on that. I've sent pictures to the NYRR and long emails explaining what I think happened, but they're still trying to figure out what to do. There will be a final update on that, one day.

11.20.2009

Turns out we were right

We all know that running not only makes you healthy, but also makes you happier. Apparently there is now scientific proof that there is a physical component. Researchers at Princeton found that when rats were given a running regimen they were neurologically less stressed than rats who were not. It's a pretty cool story that you can read here: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/11/18/phys-ed-why-exercise-makes-you-less-anxious/.

11.14.2009

The Race of Races, Part V of V

Exit Strategy

I couldn’t control it. I found a barricade not 20 feet after the finish line, hunched over, and started sobbing. “I did it” ran through my head. IdiditIdiditIdiditIdiditIdiditIdiditIdidit.

I had just run the New York City Marathon AND I had come back to good terms with the Marathon distance (I consider The Flying Pig a misfire in Marathon execution). I never let myself enjoy this bliss immediately following the finish line, but damn it, I was going to do it this time: tears of joy mingling with drops of sweat. It was awesome.

I gathered myself up and starting moving up West Drive. There was still a long journey through the finishing chute before getting out of Central Park.

The first station was the medal. I went to the back of the group of medal volunteers and pointed to one young woman who was happy to put up with my stink and sweat and place a medal around my neck. It was heavier than I thought it would be.

Then came the finisher photo station. I understood that you have to take the picture before you load up with food and water, but the only thing I could think was “WTF, why is this here?” I took another minute to collect myself—the medal triggered another wave of emotion, that, and I couldn’t bear the thought of having to stand still for a photographer.

That’s when I got the first tap on my shoulder. A medical volunteer asked if I was ok. She had good reason to ask, I had just crossed the finish line of a Marathon and was hunched over and shaking. She insisted that I go to the medical tents. I had to stand up to show her I was in full control of myself and tell her that I was just having an emotional moment. “It’s been a hard four months,” I told her, but I really did appreciate the concern.

I waded to the back of the photographers and got on official finisher’s snapshot:



Stayin' classy.

Someone handed me a heat blanket and someone else put a sticker on my chest to keep the blanket in place. I wasn’t cold yet, but I imagined that it would set in pretty soon.

I continued to wade through the crowd. I grabbed a recovery bag and immediately busted into the water bottle in it. My stomach cringed at the thought of ingesting anythign solid.

Then I saw the first UPS truck. It was for runners with bibs numbered 60,000-59,000. Then the next truck was for runners with numbers 58,999-58,000. My bib was in the 27,000s, halfway through the menacing mob of runners before me. For the next 33 UPS trucks I shuffled with the mob for 50 feet and then rested, walked and rested, walked and rested. Each time I hunched over to rest a volunteer tapped me on the shoulder to ask if I was OK. Each time I said “thanks, I’m fine; it’s just a long walk.”

Eventually I came up on the 27,000 truck and got my bag. I was surprisingly agile and able to lower myself to the ground and change into my Crocs and pants easily—oh Jesus were my feet happy. I put on a dry t-shirt and jacket and put my heat blanket on over that (the chill was starting to get to me). The couple that was changing next to me mentioned that they had run London and Berlin and Paris and none had the ridiculous commute to the start or the long procession after the finish, but they quickly followed that by saying that hands down the New York spectators are the absolute best—and really, isn’t that what counts?

I followed the mob out of the park onto 81st Street and Central Park West (mind you the finish line was at 67th Street). The flow of runners coming down Central Park West was powerful, like the tide rushing out to the sea. I had to slowly break through the masses to continue on 81st Street to look for Wifey, Mom, and MBF in front of the Hayden Planetarium.

Sure enough, after breaking through the mob I spotted Wifey walking just 30 feet in front of me off to left. I called her name. No response. I called louder. No luck. Finally, as she sped off (or I just gave up hope on chasing her) I yelled out her full name. That got her attention (her full name is pretty unique). I gave her a big, big hug and kiss. She flooded me with everything that happened that day. She called over Mom and MBF, and they all hugged me and started texting friends and family that I had finished safely and snapped a couple pictures, including my favorite:

11.13.2009

The Race of Races, Part IV of V

Manhattan/the Bronx/Manhattan

Mile 15: 8:26
Mile 16: 8:34
Mile 17: 8:47
Mile 18: 8:41
Mile 19: 8:36
Mile 20: 9:02
Mile 21: 9:00
Mile 22&23: 17:28 (8:38 pace)
Mile 24: 9:30
Mile 25: 9:36
Mile 26: 9:04
Mile .2: 1:42 (7:45 pace)

The Queensboro Bridge was not that bad. Actually, after running on mostly flat land in Brooklyn and Queens, the long climb was a welcomed change. Also, I was extremely confident going in because—as I told someone else while going up the bridge—this was my bridge. I did long runs on this bridge. I did hill repeats on this bridge. If there was anything I was ready to handle, it was this bridge.

Unfortunately, the stitches kicked in again and I had to hold back my pace. So while I was passing people left and right, I knew I wasn’t going at my best speed.

Then I heard it: the wall of sound. You hear about it in Marathon lore: the silence of the Queensboro Bridge (no spectators allowed) is followed by the Marathon’s first pass at Manhattan. It started as a distant hum until I came into the hairpin turn off the bridge where I met it face on. The crowds greeting me out of the bridge were easily six people deep. I turned again, this time onto First Avenue, and the noise filled up everything.

While the crowds were loud and fierce I realized this was the first time since Mile 1 that I felt breathing room on the course—so the crowds were a sharp contrast to the relief I suddenly felt.

Once I got into a comfortable pace I started pushing the speed. But stuff was starting to feel funny. I could feel that my IT bands were not happy and extremely tight. I also got a weird feeling in my left calf/shin. It was something I had never felt before and it most definitely was not a shin split—I’ve had those before and this felt very different. It was as if the outside muscles of my left lower leg were wound up tight and each step tightened them more. It wasn’t bad enough to stop, but enough to make me worry for a while and prevent any speeding on the last flat section of the course.

Holding true to what many others have said leaving Manhattan and entering The Bronx is hard. First, the bridge is full of pot holes and only two lanes wide. Second, I was just in Manhattan, within a mile of the finishing line, and even though I had run three miles away from the finish already, it didn’t hit me until I had to cross a river and enter an entirely different borough that I still had a long way to go. The worst though was that upon entering The Bronx I got the feeling like I was not welcome (at least contrast to the rest of the course). There were sparse crowds and the people just look at the runners. There was very little clapping and lots of WTF facial expressions. Let me tell you, I was very happy to leave The Bronx as quickly as I entered it.

Once back in Manhattan—in the heart of Harlem—the crowds were strong and lively. The course flattened out again and I tried to just focus on the last couple of miles to the finish. I was frustrated because I couldn’t get up to speed without sparking a stitch or bumping into somebody (yes, it was still crowded at Mile 21). I could feel the wear on my legs; by now the pain from my IT bands had become numb and my calves were starting to complain—and my calves do not complain until it gets bad. But while I was physically tired, my mind was still throwing logs on the fire.

Then came the last three miles. The dreaded Fifth Avenue Mile started at his point, the sneaky incline that has claimed many a Marathoner before entering hilly Central Park. I felt the drain instantly. After 110th Street I don’t remember seeing or hearing things as much as sensing them. The sun peeked out from behind the clouds and lit up the stern Fifth Avenue facades and golden leaves dangling overhead. It was a flurry of colors mixing together.

The crowds were deafening and so swollen they were spilling onto the street. They were shouting any name they could get a hold of—and of course I didn’t have my name anywhere, so I imagined that someone in the crowd was calling out “gray shirt!” because that’s what I was wearing and someone out there knew that I needed a shout out too.

The turn into Central Park was brief and abrupt. I had to slow down because of stitches, but I was constantly talking myself out of stopping. I cannot tell you what was driving me, because I wanted to stop and I almost did stop a dozen times, but something kept me going. I guess most people would call this heart, but I don’t like that word. The feeling is too complex to be bottled into one word that reminds me of Valentine’s Day. So it will go unnamed for now—which, quite frankly, only makes it feel more special.

Exiting onto Central Park South I stayed toward the left side of the course. Mindy, Mom, and MBF would be there at Central Park South and Seventh Avenue. I held on for them: I couldn’t bear to see anything but joy and cheers from them. Sure enough I spotted the bright yellow signs from half a block away and they did not fail:

video

They were all so happy. I let out a little sob of pain/happiness and plodded away from them. I couldn’t fail now.

The 800m mark passed and then the 400m mark. I know there was a hill before the finish line, but I don’t remember climbing it. The finish line was a sea of colors and sounds and seeing it unlocked that last reserve of energy—the one that is tucked away so deep inside of you that you have to run 26 miles to find it. My plodding became running, then my running became sprinting, and my sprinting gave way to catharsis as I crossed the finish line.

3:50:23 according to my watch. Within four seconds of my PR and 13 minutes better than The Flying Pig.

11.12.2009

The Race of Races, Part III of V

Staten Island/Brooklyn/Queens

Mile 1: 9:35
Mile 2: 8:19
Mile 3: 8:46
Miles 4&5: 17:41 (8:49 pace)
Mile 6: 8:35
Mile 7: 8:29
Mile 8: 8:37
Mile 9&10: 17:32 (8:44 pace)
Mile 11: 8:38
Mile 12: 8:33
Mile 13: 8:36
Mile 14: 8:28

The view from the Verrazano, as promised, was unforgettable. Two-hundred feet above New York harbor, Brooklyn ahead, the Manhattan skyline washed out in gray due to the overcast, all set to the tune of roughly 30,000 feet slamming the roadbed. I tried to pick out the Time Warner Center (the most visible landmark near the finish line of the Marathon) and quickly decided that I shouldn’t be doing that one mile into the race.

The stitches came on quick, within the first mile. But this, as I said all through training, was good. If the stitches had to come at all, I would prefer they come as early as possible so that I could deal with them properly. They never became full-fledged, race stopping stitches, but they were enough to keep me in check for the first couple miles.

The crowds came on quick too. The second you hit Brooklyn there are people to greet you—and except for the Queensboro Bridge, there is essentially no break in the crowds for the next 22.2 miles.

As I promised myself I trusted my training and did not start pushing hard from the get go. I avoided bobbing and weaving around runners. I basically found the blue line and stuck to it. But there was a problem with this strategy that became apparent once we merged with the green starters at Mile 3. The amount of runners on the road prevented anyone from running a fast race.

I checked my watch during those early splits and thought that there was no way for me to hit my goal pace unless I starting swerving around people. I told myself to calm down, have faith that the pack would thin out in the next couple of miles, and to not do anything crazy.
Meanwhile, the spectator crowds were fantastic. Flags were waving everywhere, boom boxes played out from apartment windows, there were more bands than I could remember. It was a gigantic spectacle—and a gigantic distraction that I had to keep on ignoring in order to stay in good shape.

Staying on the blue line meant that I kept toward the center of Fourth Avenue those first several miles. Only once or twice did I wander to the edge to slap a few hands or feel the roar of the crowd.

I was doing a great job of staying focused and breathing correctly and keeping my form in check. But even with all that I gave up my hopes for a 3:40 finish at Mile 8.

This Mile marker was the first sharp turn after getting off the Verrazano and where all three starts converged. I got stuck on the inside of this turn and slowed down to a jog—and that’s only because I refused to walk. Yes, Mile 8 of a Marathon and the runners were so dense that it could slow you down to a walk. After that the street got very narrow, adding to the difficulty.

I looked at Fenny and knew I had to pick up the pace. But then I looked forward and knew there was no way to do that. I stuck to sides where runners were able to circumvent the mass in the middle, but every split proved that I had met the speed limit for this race. Now I just concentrated on getting to the finish line in one piece, without flaring up the stitches that were still coming and going (yet never getting to full strength).

The rest of Brooklyn went by in a blur. I didn’t recognize any bit of Williamsburg although I had run Bedford Ave about two dozen times over the past years. As I approached the Pulaski Bridge I was happy, not just because it was the halfway point, but because it meant the departure from Brooklyn and the start of my home borough of Queens—and knowing the streets in this neighborhood, they would be much wider and much easier to maneuver. The Pulaski Bridge also meant that I’d be seeing Wifey, Mom, and MBF in a little more than a mile.

Sure enough, a couple blocks into Long Island City and streets were wide open. Forty-Fourth Drive looked like the Champs-Élysées compared to what the course went along in Brooklyn. When I rounded the corner onto Crescent Street I looked immediately for the Comfort Inn—the landmark that my cheer squad would be waiting across the street from. Uncontrollably I felt my pace quicken as I was excited to see them and get in one last rush before the Queensboro.

I hurried through the water station, opting for my water bottle instead. And a few seconds later saw the yellow posters saying: “Left, right, repeat!” and “See sRod Run” (Mom took this opportunity to advertise my blog. If I’ve gained any new readers because of this, please let me know. Mom would be happy that her work wasn’t in vain.)

I started waving my arms in the air and hooting and hollering—I’ve been accused of missing people too many times to screw this up. Once I saw their faces and realized they saw me I got louder and even started skipping/hopping in the air. (Maybe not the best idea before facing the hardest climb of the race, but hey, I was excited.) They returned the shouts…and so did the fifty people around them, which totally caught me by surprise, as if I momentarily forgot there was a crowd three people deep surrounding them.

Coming off that little burst of energy I turned the corner and faced the Queensboro Bridge—what I had prepared for as the hardest climb of the race.

11.11.2009

The Race of Races, Part II of V

Encampment

At 9:20 J returned from her coffee hunt. They had just started calling the wave two runners, and like pulling out the plug from a full bathtub, the whole crowd emptied out the field and began moving toward the corrals. I took a couple sheets of paper towel from J—who was brilliant and packed a whole stack of paper towels (this is now on my packing list for race starts)—and ran off to bag check and the port-o-potty for one last nature break. Fortunately, the weather was warmer than I had prepared for (low 50s, light wind, heavy overcast) so I shoved my track pants and gloves into my check-in bag and stayed with just my too big sweater.

J had warned me that the corrals were further away than we thought, so after the port-o-potty I headed straight for the back of the start area. Indeed, these corrals were far. I started eating an apple after the going to the bathroom and managed to finish it by the time I got to my corral—perfectly timed, because I was one of the last to get in before they closed wave two.

Once inside the corrals the atmosphere completely changed. Outside the corral was a restrained patience—a sense of preparation. Inside the corrals there was no more preparation (because if you weren’t prepared by now, you would never be prepared). Here, people were ready to race; they were jumping in place, stripping off clothing, eagerly looking for any sign of the herd moving toward the starting line.

I ducked into a port-o-potty just in case there was anything left (this was the third visit of the morning--yeah, I was cleaned out) and hopped back into the mob. The fences of the corrals were six feet tall and covered in green mesh so that you couldn’t see in or out. But you could certainly hear the growing crowd of wave three runners outside eager to get started themselves.

Then I heard the cannon.

It was an explosion akin to distant thunder: deep, ominous, powerful. The crowd shifted forward in response. At the head of the corrals was a sharp right turn through where normally a fence is 364 other days of the year. I could see the buses—the crude, but ultra-effective barricades outlining the last couple hundred feet to the start. I could hear Frank Sinatra’s New York, New York pumping over the speakers. I rounded the corner of the buses, with the expressway tolls to my back, helicopters hovering overhead, the roar of runners filling every inch of space. I was square on facing the Verrazano—tall and imposing, with a mass of runners like no other covering it from end to end.

A rush of emotions grabbed in those last final feet before the start. This was it, the race of races--everything from the past four months, from the past twenty-six years, had led me to this very moment.

The NYRR announcer was on the speakers as I crossed the starting line. He said something I will never forget: “New York is the sports capital of the world! The Yankees are in the World Series. The Giants are playing the Eagles tonight. The Jets are playing the Dolphins today. But right now the whole city—the whole world is watching you!”

11.10.2009

The Race of Races, Part I of V

This is a long one; so long that I had to break it into five parts. Granted, only two parts are actually about running the race, but there is so much involved in the before and after of the NYCM that I couldn’t just skip it. As always, this report is more a reference for myself--a rehashing of the 1,000 fragment memories I collected that day--than a critque of the race.

Fantastic Voyage

The journey of four and a half months had led me to a stranger’s garbage bag in the middle of a muddy field at the base of the Verrazano Bridge. I laid there in old track pants and a sweater two sizes too large keeping my eyes closed trying to make up for the lack of sleep the previous night.

I could hear the couple next to me speaking some language I didn’t recognize. The group on my other side was American, but their conversations were hushed by the covers of their sleeping bags. The lone man off to my left was quietly getting ready applying generous amounts of Vaseline to all parts of his body.

I opened my eyes and saw a helicopter flying low, hovering under the overcast like sting ray in a shallow pool. The field, still damp from the rain the night before, had become a muddy mess thanks to the flood of 43,000 runners, untold numbers of volunteers, UPS trucks, food and water stations, and perhaps the largest collection of port-o-potties ever. The announcements cycling over the PA system in six different languages had just notified the close of the first wave corrals and the quickly approaching opening of the second wave corrals.

I had woken up at 5:10 that morning. After taking care of business in the bathroom, drinking water, and getting into my race clothes, I woke up Wifey to pin on my race number. Then I quickly slipped into my track pants and sweater, grabbed my bags (one bag to check-in, one bag filled with breakfast), and kissed Wifey, Mom, and Mom’s Best Friend (MBF) goodbye—it would be about seven hours before I would see them again at the half-way point.

On the stoop of my building I was happy to find that the rain had subsided overnight and it wasn’t too hot or too cold. Once the door behind me closed and locked I realized that was it, I had no key to the building and there was no turning back: I was going to run the NYC Marathon. I put on a goofy smile, let out an eager “hello” to my deserted block, and headed off to the subway.

I got to the subway at 5:40 for the 5:50 departure out of my station—I didn’t even think the subway ran on a schedule until I had to plan this early morning trip. I saw a couple of stragglers from Halloween just coming home, one of them too drunk to avoid bumping into the poles on subway platform. I settled into my seat, fruitlessly trying to recoup some sleep, but at each new station I would open my eyes looking for Marathoners boarding the subway.

While on the subway I made my only mistake of the whole trip to Staten Island. Instead of transferring trains where I was going to I stayed on the subway and kept going south on the N. Little did I know that the N was under construction that weekend and was being rerouted into Brooklyn before reaching South Ferry. Fantastic. At Canal Street I had to wait 20 minutes with a growing group of runners waiting at the platform for the train that seemed to never come.
Finally, the train did come--and it was filled with other runners, which must have really thrown off the people in Halloween costumes just wrapping up their night out.

Even though I had lost time waiting for the subway I still managed to get to South Ferry as they opened the doors for the 7am ferry—so I was still on schedule. I made my way onboard and found a good spot away from the cold breeze toward the far end of the boat, not too far from the Jamaican contingency which seemed to be having a party all the way to the starting line.

I struck up a conversation with the pair of runners who sat next to me. We shared notes on this race and others and a happiness that the weather was turning for the best. At one point, the whole boat broke out into “Happy Birthday” for one runner—the amazing part was that the song instantly spanned countless cultures and languages in the matter of a couple of bars of music.
Once docked at Staten Island I shuffled along with the crowd to get to the shuttle buses and suddenly found myself right next to The Laminator! We knew we were both shooting for the 7am ferry, but without cell phones we had no way of meeting up. It was a relief to bump into someone I knew to share this surreal experience.

On the shuttle I talked with The Laminator and his friends, some of which were seasoned Marathoners, some were doing this for the first time (how spoiled to have NYCM be your first Marathon!). We arrived at the village at roughly 7:45am and faced yet another mob of runners (this one about a quarter mile long) waiting to be checked into the starting area at Ft. Wadsworth.

Once inside the security checkpoint we disbanded into our respective bib colors to parted ways to find our start areas. I went off with The Laminator and his friend J to the blue start, which was adjacent to the checkpoint we had just cleared. We found a patch of dry grass and spread out J’s garbage bag to cover the area.

After a quick bathroom break (during which I learned most of the port-o-potties were out of TP) I sat down on the garbage bag and took in a deep breath and began to wait. J soon went on a long mission to find coffee and then The Laminator hurried off to his wave one start, leaving me alone on the garbage bag eating the peanut butter sandwiches Wifey had prepared.It was amazing to just sit there and watch the swelling crowds—it really was a non-stop flow of people entering the fort. Eventually, I laid back and tried to calm myself down. I would need my energy for all the challenges in getting to Central Park. But, fortunately, I already had successfully cleared the first challenge of the NYCM: getting to the start.

11.05.2009

A surprisingly long recovery

Today is the first day that I'm back at 100% post-Marathon, which, for me, is crazy. I don't remember ever taking this long to fully recover after a race. Yesterday I went to Chipotle for lunch. It's about a 5-6 block walk each way. By the time I got back to the office, I was pooped--yes, tired from about a mile long round trip.

It's therefore almost needless to say that I've been pooped every night this week. I started to write a race report but only got two paragraphs in before calling it a night. Let's hope tonight is more productive.

11.02.2009

New York, we have a problem

Oh New York, how I underestimated you. Deep inside I really thought all the hype about the race was just that: hype. I was so very wrong. The moment I turned the corner to face the starting line--the Verrazzano standing tall in the background and Frank Sinatra singing "New York, New York"--I was done.

However, there appears to be a problem, a big one: my timing chip did not work. I don't understand what happened because it worked when I picked it up at Expo and I've successfully used D-Tags a couple times now. But no one received updates while I was on the course and I'm not listed on the results page (name or number). I've already emailed NYRR to see WTF is up with this, but as you can imagine, things are a bit hectic over there.

So for now I'll have to use Fenny's time: 3:50:26.