Friday, November 14, 2014

2014 NYC Marathon Race Recap- Part 2- The Race

Now that I’ve gone over the pre-race festivities, the question is “How did the race actually go?”

My main goal for the race coming into the week was 2 fold.  First, I wanted to GoPro the entire race and get footage to show what it’s like to run the NYC Marathon from an actual runner’s point of view.  I had a GoPro attached to a chest harness and ran the entire race taking a time lapse video.  I’m still in the process of editing the footage, so that should be up in a bit.  The second goal was to enjoy the race and run it for fun, yet still go under 3:10.  Why 3:10?  That’s my Boston Marathon qualification time.  I know I am not going to run Boston again for some time, but it’s still nice to say I BQ’d.  Easy enough since I have been running all my runs significantly faster and running a 7:14 minute pace was something I knew I could achieve.

So once they loaded us in the starting area, I started talking to some folks and met someone who wanted to do the exact same time as me, and since he ran 3:12 last year, we decided to run together for a while.  Right there was both a good move and bad move by me.  I loved the idea of running with someone since it would keep me in check since I’m notorious for going out too fast, but I never run with anyone else so I knew this might backfire.  However, once we got on the bridge, things seemed to work out.  The fact that there were 40 mph winds pushing us from one side of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge wasn’t helping, but only made me feel like I was going to get pushed over into the water.  They say the first mile on the NYC Marathon is the hardest since it’s all uphill.  I’d agree and the winds added to it.  Once we got on the descent and started getting into Brooklyn, we started getting into our rythmn.  By the looks of our first few miles, we were right on pace.  About 10 seconds too slow after mile 4, so I was so happy.  I wanted to stay loose and not tax my legs so I had enough in the tank at the end. 

One thing I noticed during the entire race was just how quiet the spectators were.  You always hear how great and loud NYC is and everyone says Brooklyn is an 8 mile long party.  I can say, this didn’t happen today.  I know it was windy and cold, but that usually doesn’t stop the masses from coming out and cheering.  There was definitely a disappointment with the crowd.

As the miles ticked by, I started to realize that my strategy of running with someone was not a good one.  The guy I was with seemed a little slower than me, and during every water stop, he physically stopped to get water then sped up.  I know how to grab a cup and drink on the go so it was a fluid motion for me.  But I saw myself waiting for him after every water stop.  Not a good idea.  Also, hills don’t bother me so going up them I stay the course and cruise down the hills.  He decided to significantly slow down up the hills, but then fly down them.  I didn’t like his move but we were on pace for most of the race so it wasn’t so bad.

At around mile 10-11, I noticed he just wasn’t staying with me as much and stupid me slowed down to stay with him.  I felt great and thought it was just some small rolling hills that got him.  At mile 12.5, I couldn’t take it anymore, we were just at the halfway mark and he dropped back.  I felt great, went up the Pulaski Bridge to the Half mark and never saw him again.  Now it was my race.  I knew how to control it.  I looked at my half split and I was 1:36.  One minute slower than goal pace but I was fine with it since that’s about where I wanted to be.  No worries.  Half the race to make up that minute.

As I took the turn up to the Queensborough Bridge I enjoyed the silenced of no spectators knowing 1st Ave in NYC was going to be the explosion I wanted and needed.  I kept passing people and killed the bridge while telling myself to be prepared and hold back on 1st and not to get carried away from the downhill and the fans.  Once that turn was made, 1st Ave came and went and the most disappointed I felt of the day was here.  In my opinion it was dead. Runners were only on the left side of the road and there were no spectators on the right.  So weird.  I knew I was going to see Leo at mile 17, so I went to the side where he was and saw his BIG, and I mean BIG sign.  I saw him 4 blocks before he saw me.  Look here at his sign
No way to miss Leo like this

Riley bracing the cold to come watch me
My family is on the right, though hard to see
Once I passed Leo, I crossed over to the right side of the road where my family would be and had the ENTIRE lane to myself.  I guess the wind kept everyone together but I went to say hi to my family.  I gave my wife a water bottle to give me with a new piece of gum attached so I was looking forward to this.  When I came up to my family I saw them all and saw how miserable Riley looked.  Aww, how I felt bad.

A pic of me from where I met my family

After this, it was only 8 miles to go and I felt great.  I knew I had about 2 more miles of headwind and then the wind would be helping for the final 5 miles.  I still felt good and knew I had the race in the bag.  At about mile 20, I looked at my watch and thought I was going too slow. The wind didn’t bother me the entire race (that I noticed at all), but I saw my mile times slipping but not because I felt bad, just the wind. I tried to pick it up but it was too heavy.  So when the wind didn’t stop at mile 22 I knew I really didn’t have a shot at my 3:10 goal since I didn’t think I could knock off that much time in only a few miles.

So 5th Ave came and I conquered it and now it was time to entire Central Park.  Home turf.  It’s weird.  I kept going past people. I didn’t think there were that many in front of me, but I felt strong and kept going.  Once in the Park it was just going for 2 miles and then a quick exit out of the park and right back in.  Coming back into Central Park was great, but as I was running I had this big pit of disappointment.  Not because I knew I was going to fall short of my goal, but this race just didn’t have the excitement I thought it would.

Crossing the finish line was a bit anti-climatic.  But a finish time of 3:15:40.  With 40 mph winds, it was actually a good race.  I later spoke with a bunch of different runners and they all said the same thing.  Their times were somewhere between 5-8 minutes lower than normal because of the wind.  So can’t really complain about that.

Looking back, the wind was not the issue.  I didn’t run a smart race for myself and strategically limited myself by running with someone else that I didn’t know, and also not taking advantage of the 1st Ave downhill and crowds.  But, the race is in the books and I’m happy with how everything went down.  I’m glad I raced NYC one more time, but will probably not be doing it again for a while. 

Well, race season is over and now it’s time to enjoy cupcake season.

I ran with this guy a lot during the race.  Sometimes I got "too much of a view"

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