Wednesday, 8 November 2017

November 5th 2017 New York Marathon

42km (I ran 44km) 3:12:47  111th of 3730 50 - 54 Age Group  2111th of 50647 Overall 

My end of season lap of honour was around the five boroughs of New York. It started on Staten Island, over the bridge, the length of Brooklyn and into Queens, another bridge onto 1st Street and right up to the Bronx then back down into Harlem and finishing up in Central Park. One of the most iconic routes in the world I reckon and I had three friends out here joining me for the city tour and general R&R.
Of course I was woefully under prepared for a serious crack at a marathon. I had crammed for Kona then pretty much had my feet up trying to shed the fatigue ahead of the Big Apple city tour. Seven days before the race I attempted a 20k run to test my legs and ended up walking; not particularly promising.
Still, I was excited to be on the start line perhaps not as respectful of the distance as I ought to have been. The logistics of getting 50,000 runners onto Staten Island are colossal but it was like a well-oiled machine with no fuss albeit there was 3 hours of hanging about as they closed the bridge to traffic in preparation for the start.
I was in wave one and corral one as I had entered with a decent ‘good for age’ time from London last year but due to being too relaxed I was drinking coffee and eating a bagel when they closed the corral for the wave. The consequence was that I would run in wave two with a slower group of runners.
The upside of my school boy error was that I set off and for the first five miles I was in the front running pack as we hunted down the tail of the previous wave (the downside being I had to run an extra 2k to get around everyone)!
That was great fun until we did hit the wave one walkers and then I spent the next 10 miles frustratingly weaving through the field. I suppose it did distract me in a good and a bad way. I wasn’t paying particular attention to my heart rate, just running on feel and dodging the wall of walkers. The table of my race splits tells the story.

I knew I hadn’t done the work to run well so it was just a question of how far I would get before I imploded. You can see that it was a little after half way that the wheels started to fall off and then as my legs progressively turned to concrete I got slower and slower and slower! The last five miles were probably more painful than the last five miles of the marathon I had done in Kona three weeks earlier.
It would have been very easy to just spiral into a walk, that chimp was being very noisy. I had set my goal on getting a ‘good for age’ time so I would have the option to enter the big city marathons without having to go through the ballot system. Boston was under 3:15 and London 3:15 -> I figured under 3:15 would get the job done.
I went through half way in 1:30 so had plenty of ‘spare minutes’ to play with but as my running unravelled it was starting to look close. Coming into the last 5 miles I had to lock the brain down, give myself a good talking to and go into Ironman mode, a trance like state of pain denial or disassociation as its referred to in the text books.
I knew I had really battered my legs but with no more racing this year I was ok with that. Walking like a robot for the next seven days was kinda funny, at least to those that saw me wincing as I navigated up or down kerbs; stairs were a whole other level of pain!
It was a fantastic way to end what had been a challenging season, a long weekend hanging out Mary and good friends eating too much, drinking too much and running too much.
A couple of weeks of chilling out then the serious business of getting into winning shape for RAAM starts!

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