Tuesday, November 3, 2015

NYC Marathon race recap

This past Sunday was the NYC Marathon.  After last year’s race, I had no desire to run this race again.  Since the wife and I lived on the course for the past few years, we decided last year would be my last marathon for a while, and it was a great way to go out.  But when you’re drinking one night in February and an email comes in saying it’s the last week to register for the lottery, all decisions and inhibitions go out the window.  And realistically, I haven’t gotten into the lottery ever, so I didn’t think there was a good chance for me to get accepted.  So of course I registered.  And what happens is of course I get an email saying congratulations, you’ve been accepted in the 2015 NYC Marathon.  Great, just freaking great.

So let’s fast forward a few months since the spring and summer is my triathlon season and cut to end of summer and fall where I was training for NYC.  After moving out of NYC earlier this year, I still haven’t been able to find my “long” training runs so I have not been able to put in a good solid block of training in a while.  Setting up for excuses already?  Nope.  Just trying to lay a foundation here.  Other than that obstacle, my training was pretty good.  My weekly runs were crisp, fast, smooth and nothing to complain about.  My long run days weren’t the best runs, but at least they were on the pace I wanted to achieve.  However, as training went on, I was only able to get in 1 training run of each 18 miles, 19 miles, and 22 miles.  I usually do at least 3 runs of 20 plus miles heading into a marathon.  This year, it just didn’t work out like that.

As November 1st approached, it was race day.  Though the night before was Halloween and I had fatherly duties to attend to like teaching Riley how to trick or treat properly in the burbs.  My little fighter pilot did well and his candy take was impressive for a short amount of time 
My little fighter pilot walking his Plane, Thunder

I’ll save the normal pre-race stuff since it’s the same for everyone across the board.  Take the bus to Staten Island, wait 3-4 hours, strip down, pee on the side of the road, gun go off, Sinatra’s “New York, New York” plays, blah blah blah.  Every race report about NYC will have the same stuff.  Nothing special there.

Going into the race, I really wanted to break 3 hours for the day.  That equaled a pace of 6:51/mile.  All of my training was faster than this so I figured I was in decent shape.  Having doing the race last year, I knew what to expect and knew how to navigate the difficult parts of the course.

For the most part, the race was really really uneventful.  I didn’t realize it last week, but running through Brooklyn was soooooooo boring.  It is basically one long 8 mile stretch on the same road.  Nothing to keep you engaged with change of scenery, scrowds, hills, etc.  Just flat and straight.  It was right around mile 8 where I said to myself, things are looking really good but how bored am I?
At the half way mark, I was under goal pace and felt great which was very promising.  As we entered Queen, the temperature for the day kicked up to 60 degrees and became pretty hot.  Not ideal race conditions.  Having cramped up last year and a few times this season, I took in liquids every stop (every mile) and had my Base Performance Salt to keep me in check.  At the start of the Queensborough Bridge, it felt like I had too much in my stomach. Last year I attacked the QB and felt great doing it.  This year, the bridge just felt like it never ended.  I can’t believe how long this thing was.  Did the bridge grow?

Coming off on 1st Ave is usually a great time.  Last year was quiet, this year was loud.  I went over to the crowds since I felt I needed a boost of energy but I just couldn’t capitalize on it.  My energy levels were shot.  At mile 18 I just didn’t want to do it any more.  The wife’s brother and his girlfriend were the only spectators who were going to be on course for me that day.  The wife had to work and no one else was around.  They were right at the mile 19 mark and I fought my hardest to make it to them.  I did and about 2 blocks after seeing them, my body just said, thanks for the year, and “let’s go enjoy the offseason”

I just didn’t have anything left in the tank or in my legs.  I slowed my pace a little to catch my breath and mentally get back in the game, but it didn’t matter.  At mile 20 I was still under goal pace, but not having enough long training runs in me, I just couldn’t push any more.  I didn’t hit the wall for the race, I hit the wall for the year.

So for the final 5 miles I started playing the math game.  Since I knew I wasn’t going to hit the 3 hour mark, I said, ok let’s just get a BQ.  This allowed me to walk a little and have about a 5 minute allowance of walking for the final 5 miles.  That’s doable.  Yet, as the distance crept up, so did my walking.  I have never walked this much in all of my races combined.  I was running for 3 minutes, walking for 1 pretty much every mile for the final 4-5 miles. 

I wish I could write something on how I enjoyed the race, overcame adversity, or anything like that.  But I didn’t.  I was in such a fog that I just wanted it to be over.  It was the offseason or bust for me.
So I crossed the finish line in a time of 3:19, which was worse than my time last year, but I’m ok with that.  I didn’t hit my goal, I didn’t do anything I wanted to, but sometimes it just doesn’t happen.  I didn’t put the miles in and that’s my fault.  Normally, I would be upset, but I’m ok today.  I’ve learned a lot this year about my body, my mental approach to training, and what I enjoy in a race.  It just so happened that my enjoyment ended at mile 19 of a race that had 7 more miles to go.

Either way, the NYC Marathon is in the books and I say this gracefully and with respect, I won’t be back.  At least not for a few years.  My marathon days are over for the time being

The part of the race I felt good.  Looked good in my Fusion gear and Skora Tempo's

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