Last Saturday I ran the farthest and fastest I have ever run in my life. Running a race is something I had been talking about for a long while, and boom here I finally decided to do it. I joined NYRR
last year in hopes of getting into the NYC Marathon
(which I would have trained for real hard), alas the lottery did not smile upon me, so perhaps this year I will try again. There are a number of ways to qualify for the NYC Mar
. none of which I met, yet.
But I have been receiving e-mails from NYRR
and saw one about the Brooklyn-Half Marathon
and saw it was right in my neck of the woods, I just decided to sign up. Up to that point I had been running intermittently on top of my weight training, probably no more than 2 miles at a time. As a soon to be PT I would not have recommended that I run in this event without proper training. After signing up, I began to run with a little more zeal and got in a few 5-7 mile runs. I was able to recruit one of my old high school football buddies to run - Dan has been training to become a fireman and thus has been running a lot, (spoiler alert!) so it's o.k. that he beat me by 5 whole minutes. His goal was 1:45, mine was anywhere from 2-2:15.
The night before I did manage to carb load with a big bowl of whole wheat pasta. On race day I didn't even eat breakfast, but my fireman buddy hooked me up with half an orange and the ever-important band-aids over the nipples
As the race began on the boardwalk
of Coney Island I tried to keep pace with fireman Dan. Navigating through the thousands of runners at a decent pace was the second greatest challenge of the race (the first being fighting fatigue of course toward the end secondary to my lack of training). At mile 3 right as we got off the boardwalk I was starting to lose ground with my pace rabbit
. First I yelled out for him to "slow down!" which he did not, to which I yelled out "I will catch you if it's the last thing I do," to which an older lady yelled back in quality Brooklyn fashion: "It probably will be."
The running route itself is set up very well; after the 3 miles on the boardwalk you begin a long straight away up the gut of Brooklyn
. I ran by fireman Dan's brother and cousin to ask how far ahead he was and they told me only about a half block up, so I felt alright with that. It was fun because I was able to try to latch on to someone just ahead of me and try to catch them, have small races which kept me going throughout. A little kid yelled "It's Superman!" (I was wearing my Super PT shirt, seen in my blog profile to the right or below), which gave me an extra little boost. As I kept going I stopped at each water station and did walk a little to enjoy the gatorade, which slowed my pace a little I am sure; I was able to maintain an 8:00 pace for most of the race, however toward the end I slowed down and finished with an 8:26 pace.
As I got more and more tired my PT mind set kicked in a little and I started to think about each muscle movement. I felt my hip flexor, especially in my R leg getting tighter and tighter. I actually at one point did a little lateral shuffle in each direction and backpedal to try to clear the constant repetitive forward running motion, which just made sense at the time and did in fact make me feel a little better. As I pressed on getting passed by people of all sizes and experience levels I wished that I had trained a little more. there were some very short people and females passing me by, which can be a little embarrassing, but I did not mind because I know how much they must have trained while I relied on my natural athletic ability (I hope that doesn't sound too chauvinistic, haha).
It was passed on to me later that at about mile 10, entering THE PARK
, a 3-year old child was yelling for everyone to STOP, and his mother said "No, sweetheart you want them to keep going." Quality moment.
I kept stopping at each water station to reflect while I enjoyed the cool refreshing drink, whereas my buddy Dan told me he did not stop for water once (possible 5 minute difference there). I began running alongside a good looking young lady whose name was Amy and works in fashion and was originally from Texas, she was running with a group of red shirts with a foot print on the back. She had fallen behind during the start by literally falling down before the starting line because of the mad rush of people on the boardwalk. As we ran and her pace pushed me she regaled me with her past running experiences, having run the NYC Marathon twice, once being sick and the other time injured and not training properly. That conversation lasted close to 1.5 miles, maybe even 2, until we got to that next dreaded water station where I felt the need to stop and walk with my water, despite my pride I told her to go on without me. I had a pleasant walk for close to 100 yards it felt down to the traffic light after the water station, trying to stay out of everyones way.
I felt rejuvenated as I got to the traffic light and took off for the finish line, hoping there would be no more water stations to distract me. There were some wicked hills in the park but I felt strongest going up hill. I ran by a few people on the floor from exhaustion, and yelled to the EMS
there was someone puking about 100 yards back around the bend, but they did nothing, sad moment. As a former EMT and a medical volunteer for the last two NYC Marathons it was a shame how that EMS'r did not respond to me, but maybe he took off after I had continued running. I wish I could have stopped to help that poor gentleman on the floor but alas, I did not... I knew (or at least thought) he could better be taken care of by the volunteers on hand and I had to try to catch Dan.
Coming around one of the last bends at about mile 12.2 I saw one of my professors which gave me an added boost, always great seeing people you know along the path to glory... As I was coming up on mile 13 (the full distance is 13.1 miles - which slipped my buddy Dan, who sprinted to mile 13 but then was tired for the extra tenth of a mile) I too decided to sprint ahead (when I actually got to the 13 mile marker). At about 13.05 I felt my legs giving out from the sprinting that I had not prepared them properly for, but I sprinted on, yelling like a madman and bypassing everyone else just cruising into the finish line and that brings us to the picture below and the official scoring time was different from that displayed in the picture, mine was 1:50:30 which I am pleased with for my first ever race of that length. In fact the only other race I had ever run previously was a 5K turkey trot which I finished in 24 minutes and did on a complete whim with zero preparation.
Afterwards I had a few blisters only on my R foot which is going to require future investigation since I plan on continuing to train and run. I still have to give many amazing kudos to Stanley Paris
for what he is attempting to accomplish. We did have a problem finding Dan's father after the race, so if you ever run one, make sure you work out an ideal meeting situation.
That's my recap, hope to see you out there running the next one with me!