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Posts Tagged ‘New York City Marathon’

Well, folks. It’s over. I officially ran the ING New York City Marathon this past weekend. My review will come in a few parts, mostly because pictures are on three different cameras. I’ll review the expo, the race itself, and post-race happenings, which may or may not include me walking around NYC dressed as a small homeless person. You’ll just have to read to find out.

I’ll also give an update on how much money I raised for the CPSVP on my last post. I’m still collecting money so I can’t total it yet.

Let’s begin on Saturday. Matt and I met my parents on Staten Island early Saturday morning. In order to get a cheaper hotel room and limit my pre-race day stress, we opted to stay out of Manhattan and close to the start of the race.

Once we got settled, we head to the Staten Island ferry terminal to catch the free ferry over to Manhattan. The SI ferry was great. It cost nothing and offered great views of the city. On our way over I got a glimpse of the bridge that I was least looking forward to running over, the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

Yeah. Jennifer doesn’t like bridges. The smile above is fake.

After stressing over the bridge for about 10 minutes, my family and I walked to the front of the boat and were greeted by beautiful views of the Statue of Liberty and New York City.

After the ferry ride, we navigated our way to the expo hall.

The expo was okay. The room it was held in seemed really small for such a large race. However, while there was also a lack of freebies and small-sized shirts, the entire event was expertly run. There were no real long lines or angry runners; it felt like I was going through customs trying to get my bib and race packet.

We spent an unnecessary amount of time there for one reason: RYAN HALL! Yep. My family was gracious enough to hang around the super crowded expo hall so I could finally meet my elite running idol. He holds the American record at the Boston Marathon with 2:08:41 and he writes a blog that I read regularly.

Oh, what was that Ryan Hall? The secret to being awesome??

Sorry, can’t share the secret. But I will share that we shook hands, pictures were taken, and he signed a program for me. He’s such an inspirational runner that it was so great to see that he’s just as nice in person. Well worth the hour-long expo experience.

After the expo we ventured to Little Italy and ate some good ol’ New York style pizza, which was amazing. Even if the waitress did kind of yell at me for asking about vegetables on my pizza. Guess that’s not cool in the NYC?

When we got back to the hotel for the night, I laid out my race-day clothes and accessories so I could get up and go in the morning. I had a 6 am wake-up call and didn’t want to forget anything!

My next post will be about the marathon itself. I have to wait until I get pictures from Matt and my parents. Here’s a little sneak preview: the Verrazano Bridge wasn’t all that bad, the course was rolling hills the entire time, and I set a new marathon personal record for myself!

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Saturday: 16 miles; 2:55:07
Sunday: 2 mile walk with Scout

Let’s see. Where to begin. This weekend was busy busy busy. Besides sleeping in until 7:30 on Sunday (it was pretty awesome) and not doing anything productive until 10 am that day, I was on the go all weekend.

Saturday morning I got up bright and early for my 16 miler. Scout ran with me for the first 2 miles and then I was on my own. I don’t know what was in me, but the only route I wanted to run was my favorite 5 mile loop around me neighborhood. So after dropping off Scout I grabbed 3 Gu gels, my cell phone, my iPod, my pepper spray, and my Camelbak and headed out on my merry little way. I like my 5 mile loop because it’s challenging yet easy. If that makes sense. The first 1.5 miles is slightly up hill, then it stays flat with a slight downhill through a cute neighborhood before climbing back up and back down until I reach my street again. It’s great hill training for NYC.

I successfully looped 3 times, but I had my fair share of trouble. Besides running past the same yard sales 3 times in less than 3 hours, I…this hurts to admit…forgot to put Secret deodorant on my legs and chaffed really (REALLY) bad.

Let me be girly and explain. To prevent chaffing, I use unscented Secret deodorant around my sports bra and on my shoulders where my Camelbak straps rest. I also apply it on my inner thighs, because I’m not a skinny supermodel and my thighs rub together when I run. Fact of life. Halfway through my second loop I felt the burning and realized my mistake; it wasn’t pretty after that. Every few miles I had to stop and readjust my spandex shorts (I’m sure I scared the yard salers) so my legs wouldn’t touch. A few times I would readjust my shorts, run a few steps, cringe, and try to readjust them again. By the end, I was bleeding some and my inner left thigh was red and swollen. ouch.

To top things off, I helped Matt stain our fence that afternoon. A few times the stain splattered on my wound and it burned. Ohhh did it burn.

I’m better today! It’s all scabbed over and I should be able to run this evening if I wear my longer running shorts.

And as bad as this chaffing burns, it’s not nearly as bad as the injury I faced around this time last year. Sixteen miles was the longest I ran before I suffered a knee injury training for Philadelphia last year and I “ran” an 18 miler on my parent’s elliptical machine. I managed to run 20 miles before the actual marathon, but it was slow and choppy.

Right now, I feel great. My legs quickly recovered from 16 miles and I do believe I could have kept on going. I feel really good about NYC. I’m still not setting a time goal, though. With the crowds and hills and celebrity stalking (must find my new BFF Edward Norton), I’d only disappoint myself and I want NYC to be great. I have many more years ahead of me to reach goals (sorry Matt!), but I might only have one NYC. I don’t see myself entering the lottery again any time soon.

Sorry for the long post! Had to get a lot out. Tomorrow I have a cool new product to share with you that involves ditching my running buddies Dave, Tim, and Jackson. It’s called Audio Fuel and I’m excited to share it with you!

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Tuesday: 40 minute walk
Wednesday: 3.5 miles with Scout; time unknown…too many puppy bathroom breaks
Thursday: 7 miles: 1:13:53
Friday: rest day!

So after I wrote my last post about sticking to my training plan as much as possible until NYC, everything went all weird and my running went off track. Maybe I shouldn’t write about schedules anymore?

It all started on Tuesday when I had a dentist appointment in the afternoon concerning wisdom teeth removal. After 15 minutes of talking about tooth roots and nerves, my body decided it didn’t want to hear anymore and passed out. It was quite embarrassing, but the dentist assured me it happens quite often; however, I call his bluff because he didn’t know where the mini water bottles were. But whatever. Long story short, couldn’t run on Tuesday. Not only did I have a headache after that debacle, but Scout popped me in the jaw that same afternoon and I could hardly close my mouth without pain shooting up my face. Matt and I did manage to go for a nice 40 minute walk with our new little boxer. It was quite nice and put me in a better mood. Those 40 minutes on my feet equaled a 40 minute run, in my mind.

On Wednesday I didn’t want to push it with a long run so Scout (yes, I managed to forgive him) and I went for a walk/run. With the cooler weather we were able to run more than walk, which was nice. Scout is a great running buddy when the temps are below 75 degrees.

Yesterday I felt tons better and went for a nice 7 mile run. It was really windy, but hopefully running against strong winds will get me in shape for running across five bridges during the marathon. It wasn’t too bad, just slow. I actually listened to Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds Live at Radio City the entire run. I’ve been into running outside with music lately. The even tempo of the Dave CD kept my pace pretty consistent and I was done before I knew it.

Tomorrow I have 15 miles planned. First run over 13 miles this season!

Right now I have much more work to do within the next 2 two hours and must cut my lunch hour short.

Happy weekend!

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Two months two months two months!!!

The New York City Marathon is two months from today! Here are the long runs I have left:

  • 15 miles
  • 17 miles
  • 12 miles
  • 18-20 miles
  • 14 miles
  • 20 miles
  • 12 miles
  • 6-8 miles

I want to get two 20 milers in, so I hope the first one works out. I have no more major trips planned, which means my long runs will be either on my favorite local trail or around my neighborhood. I should run around my neighborhood to get used to waning energy and hills, but flat trails are so nice!

I promised myself to keep one or two of my weekday runs outside. This should be easier since the weather is getting cooler and Scout can tag along with me. I’m also going to incorporate hill repeats in one of my runs each week. I accidentally found a killer 4.5 loop around my neighborhood last week that has a steep, long hill. This hill will be perfect for hill repeats since a lot of the hills in the NYC are around a mile long.

So that’s my plan for the next two months of training. I hope it all works out. I know some runs will be cut short and schedules change, but I’ll do my best to stick it through until November 7.

Fundraising
Money! Don’t forget to think about donating to Virginia Tech’s Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention (CPSVP). I started this site a while ago and I’ve already raised more money than I could have hoped for. But more would be nice! The CPSVP’s programs work to end violence and change the world, not just southwest Virginia. The education of a handful of people will lead to change everywhere.

The Virginia Tech Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention is a student-centered cross-disciplinary undertaking that builds on the academic, cultural, and security initiatives that evolved within the Virginia Tech community after the tragedy of April 16, 2007. Since its inception on July 1, 2008, the Center has adopted three thematic areas:

  • The prevention of violence
  • Peace studies
  • Creation of opportunities for the development of new leaders for this Century

The CPSVP will advance the scholarship and practice of violence prevention and peace by:

  • Providing opportunities for student engagement in prevention of violence and peace building
  • Fostering integration of disciplines in the creation of new knowledge and skills
  • Ensuring development of engaged leadership for working with youth at risk

Football
The Hokies lost 33-30 against the Smurfs Boise State last night in the 2010 season opener. Instead of focusing on the negative, lets focus on the positive and channel all positive thoughts to make 2010 THE season for the Hokies!

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Thursday: rest day; two mile walk with Scout
Friday: 4 miles

I’m leaving tomorrow for a weekend trip to North Carolina. I’m very excited as my mom and Doodle (I will not type the “g” word!) have promised to take me to the beach at some point to get a good 10 miles in.

Running at the beach for the second time in a row got me thinking of how much I’ve avoided hills lately, and not only on the weekends. Since the weather has been so hot, most of my weekly runs have been on the treadmill. I could play with incline, but it’s tedious to mess with buttons whilst running. This morning I was clicking through an email sent to all NYC Marathon runners and happened upon a written essay on course strategy. I better get some more hill training in or else I’m screwed more than when that hill at mile 18 of the Philadelphia marathon sneaked up on me last year (I do believe I said some not so nice words about that hill…I wasn’t happy).

Here’s what I’m up against:

By Bob Glover
The Start/Staten Island

At the boom of the cannon, you are off and running—uphill. The first mile is up the incline of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. It actually doesn’t seem that steep, as you have to start slowly due to the crowd. You are full of adrenaline, and you can’t see the slope ahead of you, just a mass of runners. Think of this as a safeguard—if you had a perfect start, you would most likely sprint up the hill and waste a lot of energy that you would love to have late in the race.

The second mile is all downhill. Be careful not to pick the pace up too much here or you will not only waste energy, but you could also overstride and cause an injury as you are not fully warmed up. It is best to disregard your time splits for the first 2 miles, as they are not accurate readings of your pace. Average your time for the first 2 miles for a more accurate reading.

Brooklyn
From 2 to 8 miles the course is fairly flat and can be fast, depending on which way the wind is blowing. There are some slight ups and downs, but not too bad. And it is almost a perfect straight line. The Green and Blue starts merge on Fourth Avenue just before 4 miles. Until mile 8 they are to the right of the median, and the Orange start is to the left. Crossing the median is prohibited. Green and Blue start runners shouldn’t attempt to pace themselves with Orange start runners—at least not until after the 8-mile mark, where all three starts merge.

Use the huge Williamsburg Bank clock tower to guide you to the 8-mile mark near the Brooklyn Academy of Music. A bit past that point, you encounter a few uphills that aren’t too nasty, but after running along the relatively flat sections for 6 miles they can upset your ryhthm. Then, from 8.5 to about 10 miles you get some nice downhills, followed by some moderate ascents over the next mile. From 11 miles to the 20K mark it is mostly down or flat. Look forward to a nice downhill at 20K as you turn right. Then you go left, toward the Pulaski Bridge, and climb more than a quarter-mile, passing the 13-mile mark and the half-marathon mark on the way to the bridge’s crest.

Queens
You then zoom down the other side of the bridge into Queens. The next mile or so is mostly flat, but brace yourself for what lies ahead. You start a gradual climb at about 14.5 miles, then turn left and start the steep half-mile climb up the Queensboro Bridge. You pass the 15-mile mark soon after you start the climb. The half-mile down the other side of the bridge is tough on the legs, as it is steep and you wind sharply to the left at the steepest section at the bottom, where you cross the 16-mile mark.

Manhattan
Now begins the charge through the largest and loudest crowd on the course. First Avenue is straight, but it is not flat by any means. Rather it is a series of moderate ups and downs ranging from two blocks to over a mile. Know when the downs are coming, and use them for relief and to push a bit more to make up some time.

From 60th Street to 70th Street is up, then down from 70th to 74th, followed by up from 74th to 86th, down from 87th to 90th, then a flat stretch to 96th. From there begins a difficult stretch. It is uphill almost all the way to 125th Street, and then you climb almost half a mile to the top of the Willis Avenue Bridge. In addition to the uphills, the thinning crowd makes this section tough as you get farther away from the rowdy East Side bars.

Bronx
Near the end of the bridge, you at last get a downhill, which takes you past the 20-mile mark. This part of any marathon can be tough. Continue down and around to the right where you have a one-block flat segment, followed by a left turn and an uphill on 138th Street. This year the course turns right onto Third Avenue/Morris Avenue, left onto 140th Street, left again onto Rider Avenue, and then right onto 138th Street and over the Madison Avenue Bridge, where you cross the 21-mile mark. Finally, you dip down, then turn left onto Fifth Avenue.

Manhattan, Again
You are now—at last—headed south for Central Park! The crowds in Harlem are very loud and supportive, especially the gospel singers at the churches. The half-mile after 21 miles is flat, then slightly uphill. Don’t get fooled when you see trees ahead. It’s not Central Park yet, but rather Marcus Garvey Park. You go right, left, left, right around it (and the turns are not easy on the legs at this stage!), and at 22 miles return to Fifth Avenue, where you enjoy a flat-to-slightly-downhill half mile to the edge of Central Park at 110th Street. But don’t get too used to it. After you cross 110th Street the route gradually ascends. The 23-mile mark is at 103rd Street, and if you’re struggling, you can tell yourself that from here it is just over 5K to the finish!

However, from here almost all the way to 90th Street is—sorry—uphill. Use 90th and Fifth as a mental uplift. Many local runners gather here before and after training runs, and NYRR’s headquarters is nearby at 9 East 89th Street. Think of it as very friendly running territory. You cross the 24-mile mark at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a location with a large crowd, then roll down a half-mile hill to Loeb Boat House. This is followed by a short but significant incline-nothing uphill is insignificant at this point—that carries you past the 72nd Street transverse. It’s flat and slightly downhill as you approach the 25-mile mark, where you veer left to exit the park via a half-mile downhill stretch—hooray!

You turn right onto Central Park South by the Plaza Hotel and go a quarter-mile slightly uphill, flanked by huge crowds. At Seventh Avenue, you get a long block downhill as you collect your energy for the final assault. At Columbus Circle, you zoom down a 100-yard stretch to the park’s West Drive, then start a gradual ascent that becomes a serious climb at the 26-mile mark.

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