Wednesday, November 11, 2009

nyc marathon: the better half

firstly, apologies for my nyc review taking forever. i got wordy with my pre-race festivities when i had mini breakthroughs from writer's block. i'm ready for this recap to be written already but i struggled with putting my thoughts down. other than that, i've been resting up from the actual marathon, that stupid trail race attempt and of course the nausea. being lazy may have fixed the nausea - it's been two days since my last spell! (knock on wood)

anyway, i'm trying to recall what i can of the race, but i think i had race-brain damage. i don't feel like i remember as many details as everyone else. somehow i've still managed to be wordy again, but i figure this is my "journal" of the race to look back on down the road so i let it go. thanks for taking an interest in the nitty-gritty details - at least i cut to the chase and didn't leave you hanging as to the end result this whole time right? :o)



miles 1-4 (8:13, 7:33, 7:50, 7:56) - practicing patience, the journey is long.

the cannon fired, frank sinatra's "new york, new york" began playing and i was off to the verrazano-narrows bridge. i attempted one quick picture of the start line on my phone before putting it in a ziploc bag and into the elastic pocket on the back of my tank top. i had decided to run with my phone in case of emergency and also in case i had to pull back the pace and needed entertainment (take pictures, tweet, text people). luckily i never needed it for either reason. it was annoying at first in my back pocket, but i got used to it.

most of the first mile was uphill, but it didn't seem that bad. i was surrounded by thousands of other runners and many more beneath my feet on the lower level. i thought about someone's question in the runner's world forum about whether the bridge would withstand the cadence and weight of thousands of people running over it (yeah because trucks don't weigh more, and everyone wasn't running instep). i saw a guy toss aside a brand-new fuel belt and noticed that half of his back was wet, i assumed one of his bottles malfunctioned. there were a couple people jumping up on the barrier in the middle of the bridge to take a quick photo, and people waving to the helicopters hovering near the bridge. it was crowded, but there was still quite a bit of mileage to cover and i tried to not get ahead of myself. i still worried about not-passing out.

soon enough, the first bridge had been conquered, and there were enthusiastic brooklyners greeting the runners as i arrived in the second borough. i ran along, reminding myself to stay relaxed. it was crowded and i focused on not-wasting energy weaving around people. mile 3 had the first water/gatorade station, and i began my standard water/gatorade rotation (water at one stop, gatorade at the next).

in mile 4 the blue wave (including me) merged with the green wave runners. this was a little unfair. the orange wave ran undisturbed on the left side of fourth avenue while the blue wave/right side doubled in numbers with the merge. a few people around me ducked under the caution tape dividing the road and crossed over to orange, but i continued to "conserve" energy (or at least, that's what i told myself i was doing). during this mile i thought "hey, 'only' 22 more miles to go, i ran that in training. no biggie."

miles 5-8 (7:53, 7:42, 7:39, 7:58) - signs of trouble, zoning out.

in mile 5 i began getting cramps in my left side/(fl)abs region. hello body, we still have 21 miles to go? you are too kind, really. they weren't terribly bad as i kept running through them, but they were annoying and a little painful. i took my first gu here, i think it was a blueberry pomegranate roctane. i did notice that the streets were lined with spectators, but i didn't dare take my eyes off the road/runner a few feet in front of me. i felt ok (nausea/lightheaded-wise) for the most part and didn't want to risk it. somewhere along fourth ave i passed a hispanic band that was trying to sing lady gaga's "just dance" in english. or maybe they were doing it in half english, half spanish, who knows. at least i could tell what song they were performing - "yust dance, da da do do ah yust dance".

somewhere in these early miles i skipped a water station thanks to my tour of nyc pavement, potholes and manholes (...from not being able to soak up the scenery). the water stop came up quickly and i didn't want to wrestle to get over to the side for a drink. it was still very crowded, but i maintained my no-weaving rule. the race was young, and i wanted to reach central park on my own two feet. i ran along, pretty much ignoring the crowds of spectators and unique city sites. sorry new york, but it had to be done. as i crossed the 10k chip strips (and all the others after it), i thought about all the people tracking the race and rooting for me.

at some point the course took a right hand turn and it got very congested. i can't remember if it was in mile 8, mile 10, or mile 12... (i know, accurate race recap right?). wherever it happened, the road got narrower (or so it seemed, anyway) and it also seemed to be a bit more residential. at mile 8 i began counting the miles until i saw my parents & j and said hey, only 5 more miles. then i realized i was doing the math wrong since they were going to be somewhere after mile 14. i've never been much for mathematics while running.

miles 9-14 (8:03, 7:37, 8:01, 7:57, 7:53, 7:58) - just running, family sighting.

ok so i'm running out of things to mention since i wasn't really paying attention to the race and there definitely wasn't anything memorable about the pavement. i had some more of that mile 5 cramping, but nothing i couldn't press through. i gu'd again around mile 10 (roughly planned to gu every 5 miles).

even though my parents said they'd be somewhere after mile 14, i began looking for them anyway in mile 12. the crowds were thick, and trying to scan them quickly wasn't easy. the sensory overload was coming on again so i quit looking (for the most part) and hoped they hadn't altered the plan. in mile 13 i found myself semi-scanning the crowds again. i'm hard-headed (we knew that), but didn't want to miss them. i was afraid if i did not see them i would get mad and not run well the rest of the race. i'd made it half-way, and i was still feeling ok for the most part. i wouldn't have minded feeling a little more energetic/springy, but i was still running and, more importantly, not having much nausea/feeling off.

i hit mile 14 and the pressure was on to scan the crowds. luckily they were a little thinner here so it was easier on my eyes (and prevented any dizziness). i spotted my mom and j standing on a bench and they obviously did not see me. i yelled to them and they did not turn their heads. i ran a few feet past them, stopped, turned around, and yelled their names. the people standing in front of them (on ground level) laughed. i probably gave them an annoyed look for not spotting me, but hello i had the hard job here. i waved and turned around to continue on. i didn't see my dad and figured he had gone off to the restroom or to get something to drink. it turned out he had been further up the road and was supposed to wave his hat in the air when he saw me so they could have their cameras ready. with all the runners going by, they said it was hard to pick out your person. i don't doubt that as it was still quite crowded, but i told j it was his fault i didn't break 3:30. ;-)
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33 comments :

  1. I am, as always, impressed with your splits! I love that your family was so engrossed in looking for you that they can't see you standing and yelling right in front of them. LOL. Funny thing about the timing strips, they always make me think of people who might be tracking me too.

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  2. FINALLY! You're driving me nuts, Lindsay! You're so incredibly fast, it's insane. :)
    Can't wait to hear the rest, of course.

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  3. I've given up looking for people in the crowd; in large marathons anyway. They are never where they should be, I don't see them, they don't see me...something always goes wrong. If I hear someone shout my name, I look.

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  4. Even as things started to go wrong, I'm impressed by how many things you did right, from the no-weaving rule to the calm acceptance of an early Gu. We can't control cramps or other similar factors, but we can stick to our races plans and keep our heads in the right place — sounds like you nailed that part!

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  5. The colored waves sound confusing. It's great reading about your strategy/thoughts during the race. I can't wait for the next part!

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  6. I like the hispanic band memory...I think it's funny that you remembered that detail! Girl, you were so consistent and strong. Awesome job and thanks for the great report!

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  7. I’m proud of you girl for an awesome race. And you are really fast. Don’t worry about not remembering much, I do the same because after awhile everything looks the same. Great report and look forward to your next race.

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  8. I bet it was fun (even though you didn't get to enjoy it that much at the time) to be running with such great scenary. It definitely isn't the same as running in a trail or through an empty parking lot like I have been used to so far. My brother is thinking about doing the LA marathon, maybe I'll join him!

    Your splits were pretty consistent throughout, is that normal for you? I am afraid I will be all over the place when I run my half.

    I can't believe you actually stopped and turned around! But it obviously was for an important reason. I wouldn't have felt right finishing the race knowing I did not say hi.

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  9. Don't worry about race reports taking long...that's how they become "epic"...

    I wouldn't get mad at your specator peeps, it's actually much easier for us to spot them than vice versa, especially in a crowded race...

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  10. Wait...there were runners on the lower level of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge also?! Wow, I didn't know that! Glad to see I wasn't the only one who had sensory overload. The overcrowding when we all merged was at mile 8, and as you know, that made things very congested. Fortunately for you, Queen of Speed, you avoided most of the running traffic. I think they need to put up traffic signs for the race, like they have when you're driving. Imagine seeing a sign that says "Slow running, miles 8 to 11?!" OK, I'm kidding; can't wait to read the rest of your lack of detailed because you were zoning out race report! I forgot to mention the choir in Harlem in my report. Were they inspiring or what? (Or did you not see and hear them?!) :-)

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  11. Fascinating commentary on the tour of NYC pavement! You couldn't find a hot guy to run behind so I can get commentary on his @$$? ;)

    "yust dance"!! Hahaha!!!

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  12. I was wondering if you were going to post an actual report on the marathon! Can't wait to read about the second half.

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  13. I'm going to need a more thorough description of the NYC pavement. ;)

    The report is worth waiting for... so far! You're a superstar. Can't wait for the next part!!

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  14. Glad we got part of the report! Can't wait to read the rest. LOL about stopping and yelling for your family!

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  15. WHAT? Keeping us in suspense?

    Great read. I'm looking forward to part 2. Amazing splits....

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  16. LMAO! I would totally blame it on him too! J/K... So far so good... your splits are strong despite the cramps... don't keep us waiting to long for the rest!!!

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  17. I cannot stop laughing and singing the Spanglish version of Lady Gaga in my head!

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  18. Were you following the blue line as well? I stared at it for so long I wondered what I missed.

    And funny, I'm having a hard time getting my thoughts together about this race too - and just because I only started blogging recently. I'm finding its hard to accurately convey discomfort.

    Impressive finding your family before they found you though! ;)

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  19. so.. you stopped, turned around, yelled at your mom and J for not seeing you and you still kicked ass! You're amazing!

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  20. It's so wonderful to get a recap of the NYC marathon, since I want to get there next year! My family would have completely missed me at Boston, had I not seen them and yelled in their face. Thank God for my MIL, as my husband was checking up the sky to see if I was there...I completely know how you were feeling. Finally, it's interesting to me that the mile splits are so different. I see this with most runners, and wonder whether this is what happens to me as well. I typically only see the average pace and try to keep it constant. DO you have a special setting on your watch that shows each mile split vs average?

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  21. Loved your description of the Hispanic band singing Lady Gaga. Funny! I love your long race reports. Thanks for trying to remember the details...

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  22. I hope the nausea stays away!!!

    Can't wait to read the rest of the report, Speedy!!

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  23. Don't apologize--this report is worth waiting for. Thanks for giving us your splits, and way to run your race with your head! Gives me something to work at when I run my half Sunday.

    Can't wait to hear about miles 15-26!

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  24. I'm glad you at least saw your family, even if they didn't see you. It is hard to see runners in a crowd and my hubby always tells me to wear something that will make me stand out, esp. since I'm so short.

    Well done on your first half!

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  25. ok, can't keep up with the first couple of parts, but got through this one. Some damn fine splits thus far girl. Can't wait for the climatic finish.

    "yust dance"...hahaha

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  26. Great report so far. You did a pretty good job pacing. Cant wait to hear the 2nd part, even if we do know the ending

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  27. I love how you are dragging this out.... you know how to keep people in suspense. And how you are making the manholes/potholes sound interesting....

    Now I see what you meant about the inner ear thing being a possibility - with the looking at crowds and sensory overload making you nauseous.

    Have you been to a neurologist? I don't know what makes me say that but something does.

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  28. Man, you write the best reports! I keep checking to see if you've posted the second half! Hurry up already...lol!

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  29. There is nothing wrong with this race report. Very descriptive. Good details.

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  30. I have the opposite problem with my family. They always find me, even if it's too late for a pic. but I almost never see them.

    Sometimes I see people that look like my college roommate, or look like my best friend in first grade, but nope, never see the fam.

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  31. It always amazes me when people can publish reports with mile by mile detail. I do not encode experiences that way. I end up with a vague impressions of the race, never really knowing the when/where of the memorable moments. At NYC I spent most of my time (i) self-absorbed and (ii) looking at the runners and the crowds, so I missed a lot of, well, New York City.

    I enjoyed your report, part one. My own report was delayed because I had a lot to say, but not much to say - if that makes sense.

    p.s. My Husband is the master of taking photos of the person directly behind me. I could fill an album with the runners who followed me in the race, but there wouldn't be a single photo of me.

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  32. I'm enjoying this race report. It's really interesting. I like reading about your splits and how they vary. For having cramps and trying to keep a cool head, your splits look great.

    I'm not sure I would pay much attention to scenery either. It might register as perhaps the blurry background.

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