Saturday, October 17, 2009

One Last Run In New York Before The Marathon

When I first received my materials for Team Run To Remember, I was a little bummed out that I would not be able to participate in most of the "team" activities. There were weekly training runs and periodic meetings throughout the four months and since I was an out-of-towner I would be missing out on these.

I decided to try to come up for at least a few of these events and planned to get to a group run in August, a meeting in September (which I went up a day early to hit another group run) and then today's group run in October - where the team would be running the last 10 miles of the marathon course together.

I wanted to get 30 miles in this week - and so far I had about 16.5, so I was hoping for a little over 13 miles. Since the group was running 10, I decided to get there a bit early and run the 59th Street Bridge into Queens and then back into Manhattan. Coach Brian was more than willing to do this with me :-)

One thing about the bridge - it was windy. It was a 42 degree morning, but with the breeze up there made it feel about 10 degrees colder. I'm glad I wore my Frederick Marathon pullover - since the temperatures were still in the 40s I almost didn't wear it, but with the wind on the bridges I'm glad I had it on.

After the bridge, Coach Brian and I saw the Alzheimer's group. There was actually another group running the last 10 miles of the marathon route as well this was a much larger group with coaches, pace setters and each of the participants wore bib numbers. A little over the top for a training run, but they were out there for the same reason we were - to get familiarity with the course and gain some confidence.

First of all, I must say that running with others really makes the time go by quickly. It did not seem like I ran for over 2 hours this morning. Hopefully during the race I'll be able to find other people around me to chat with...or maybe even try to run with other team members.

I really like the members of the team that I have met. Today I ran with Coach Brian, JM, LJ and MC and in the past runs I have run with Coach Jeff, EE and MM. Everyone I have met on the team is very friendly, wonderful to run with and talk to. It will be sad to not have the team after the marathon in a few weeks...although I can definitely see keeping in touch with some of my teammates.

As for the run, for me it was very worthwhile. I think on marathon day I will be breaking down the last 10 miles into four parts - 1) 1st Ave, 2) The Bronx, 3) Getting to Central Park and 4) Central Park...the home stretch. The first part - going up 1st Ave - is a little over 3 miles. I hear that the crowd support during this stretch is amazing, so this portion should go relatively well. The Bronx is pretty short - a little over a mile...maybe a mile and a half - and I hear the crowds will not be as good here. This will be mile 20 in the race so this will be tough. However, the bridges are not steep and I actually like to run near water and over bridges...since there are two of these in about a 1 mile span I think I should do OK in the Bronx.

Part 3 is getting to Central Park. This is only about a mile, but today it seemed to be the part that dragged on for me. Maybe there will be crowd support on race day...I'm not sure. If not, then 5th Ave from 138th St to 110th St will be a tough mile and a half.

The home stretch and last three and a half miles is Central Park. The first mile or so is down 5th Ave - or should I say UP 5th Ave?? There is a pretty constant incline at this point - the race's elevation chart shows about a 100 ft rise over about a half a mile. Soon after that you enter the park. Once I enter the park I know that I'll be running on adrenaline. For today's run, this was mile 12 and 13 for me and these miles were run at 9:27 and 9:33. I don't expect to run that fast when this is mile 25 and 26, but I know it will be a "pick-me-up" to be in the park and nearing the end.

The stats for me - 13.7 miles in 2:16:32, a 9:59/mile pace. My PR for a Half Marathon was run in a 10:11/mile in the span of a week I have beat my 10K PR and HM PR during training runs. Wow!

One thing I may mention - the second and third toe on my right foot has some pain when I try to bend them. I felt this last week after my long run and it hasn't really gone away. The pain isn't bad - I can still run on it - but whenever I try to bend those toes it definitely hurts a bit and they are tender to the touch. I'll continue to monitor them and have them checked out after the marathon if it doesn't get better.

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