Sunday was my third NYC Marathon. Did you know this? I don’t know if I told you guys.
My favorite tweet of the day (directed at me): “A guy already finished and Snaps is still taking selfies.” (I’m Snaps.)
Long story short, I wanted to beat my Philly Marathon PR of 3:59. That didn’t happen. Not even close. Especially in the last 10 miles.
But 4:21 was good enough for 22,588th place. So there!
It could have been the 20-30 mph NNW winds for a race that runs, for the most part, north. Running over the Verrazano, the wind was so rough at points that it literally would blow one foot into the path of the other (maybe it was coming in through the street level drains?). Beautiful view and a reminder of the awesome power of nature, but not what you’re looking for during a marathon. Especially after you’ve been sitting in the cold waiting to start for three hours.
But honestly, I didn’t really notice the wind while running up Fourth Ave in Brooklyn — or in much of Brooklyn for that matter. Which isn’t surprising. This is where I saw most of my friends along the route and it’s where crowd support is loudest (seemingly) because they haven’t been freezing their asses off for three or four hours at this point. It was also where Cara was waiting with a sign that said “You KEN do it.”
That doesn’t mean the wind wasn’t there, I guess. And it doesn’t mean my body didn’t notice.
I was on pace — or close enough to it, considering the plan involved negative split — up until miles 15. Then I hit the Queensborough bridge. Even after that, I could have made up for that time — and I was trying — but no go. Wheels came off the bus. And I probably would have walked even more if not for the always-amazing Team in Training coaches jumping in and running alongside me (as much as they could, with the NYC Marathon security).
But it’s done. Now I can go get married and honeymoon in Bora Bora.
Don’t know that I’m going to run NYC again. The race itself is great — no better race in the world! — but the logistical nightmare on either end is just too much. Having to get out to a race so far in advance when the weather is like that is no fun. On the other hand, by getting out there early, it felt down right civilized compared to the last time I ran it. The Ferry to Bus to Starting Village to security moved along without problems. Plenty of portolets — hell, I found one bank of them that had no lines and sheltered in there for a bit to get out of the wind.
And while it’s nice to run with celebrities — I passed Tiki Barber on First Avenue — it isn’t nice that New York Road Runners is so happy to make room for celebrity events that it scared the crap out of a bunch of marathoners by whistling at them and yelling at them to move into the right lane so that the NBA Allstars’ Dikembe Mutombo could get a finish lane all to himself after running ONE FUCKING MILE as part of a relay.
The end logistics are a nightmare. You finish 26.2 miles and you’re immediately funneled into lines to head out. Grab your water, Gatorade and food and keep moving. No room to stretch. No room to sit down. Even without baggage pickup, it took 30 minutes (at least) to get out of the park. Did I mention that we just ran 26.2 miles? And that it was 40-something degrees? People were going down on the curb while the rest of the cattle in this chute were moving along. I can’t blame them. And that made it hard for medics to get there.
Oh, and they give you a snazzy free poncho if you don’t check bags. They give this to you AFTER your 30 minute death march, at which point you’re frozen. The only remedy for this, considering all the worries about security and terrorism would be to cut the field of runners down, which NYRR damn well isn’t going to do.
And after surviving that bit, you have to walk DOWN the subway stairs, cram yourself on train, get out to Brooklyn, then walk down some more stairs to get to the up stairs.
But still something every marathoner should do once.