Daunted by the howling winds

Today’s run (street): 3.6 miles

I cannot believe that tens of thousands of people ran the NYC marathon this morning. It’s not just that the marathon distance (26.2 miles) does not compute to me (it doesn’t, but that’s for a future post). I’m more amazed that people spent so many hours running the course while facing 20-40 MPH winds. I will admit that those conditions were too much for me to deal with this morning. Feeling like I was running into an invisible wall wore me out and I ended up cutting my run short.

The unrelenting sound of wind whipping through the trees prompted me to dress warmer than I normally would for 46°. Things started out well and I had high hopes for getting in my planned distance. I decided to first run the perimeter of my neighborhood that includes Jericho Turnpike and South Oyster Bay Road. I briefly considered crossing one of those main streets to open up my route to different options.

I ended up staying on South Oyster Bay Road and enduring the cracked and buckled sidewalk that was especially scary because it had a layer of leaves that hid potential tripping points. I made sure I kept my step high to avoid any mishaps. By the time I re-entered the neighborhood from the south, I started to get frustrated with the wind that reminded me of the miserable experience I had at last year’s Long Beach Turkey Trot.

I struggled to make it to the mid point of my neighborhood and planned to make a beeline home. Along the way I saw a yellow recycling bin being blown across multiple yards, trash cascading from containers and leaves flying in every direction. Despite that, I decided to take a detour that added another half mile to my distance. I was disappointed to fall far short of today’s goal, but I didn’t see the sense in battling the wind monster any further.

As I ran, I thought about friends who were waiting on Staten Island for their wave to be called. The news showed thousands of people patiently huddling under makeshift blankets trying to remain warm. Once they were able to go, they faced the same conditions that I did, but would need to run over seven times the distance that I covered today.

Congratulations to my friends who braved the weather and the marathon course. You are probably very tired, but you did an amazing thing. Even under perfect conditions, this would be a tough race. I hope the celebrations will far exceed the pain.

Hill running on marathon day

The long and windy road

Today’s run (street): 4.6 miles

It’s marathon day in NYC and I got an early start on the coverage. I didn’t take advantage of the extra hour’s sleep from DST, because I wanted to have my run completed prior to the marathon pre-show. There wasn’t much drama in today’s race, but it was still fun to watch. I was hoping all my friends who ran it had great experiences. I thought about them on my run knowing I’d be covering far less distance today.

Today was my last chance to do a good training run prior to next weekend’s 10K. I decided to head over to the Greenbelt bike trail and run south so I could take on the long hill along Sunnyside Boulevard. It was cold enough for long pants and sleeves, but I remained comfortable (except when the wind hit me head-on). The Sunnyside hill is just long enough to wear you down because it gets increasingly steeper along the last half mile. I just kept reminding myself that I’d get to run it downhill on the way back.

Today’s run went well and I’m hoping I’ve built my fitness to handle a brisk pace over 6.2 miles next Sunday. This will be a busy week with early mornings into the city. I’m not sure how I’ll handle my taper, but I’ll figure it out. Although the Hope for Warriors course is fairly flat, this weekend’s hill heavy training should yield some conditioning benefit.

NYC Marathon morning run at Bethpage

Today’s run (Bethpage State Park): 7.1 miles

Today is the New York Marathon and I watched the race on TV after my run on the bike trail at Bethpage. It was an exciting finish for the women, with Dado overtaking Keitany’s lead in the last miles through Central Park. On Friday, I made my annual pilgrimage to the NYC Marathon Expo at the Javits Center and brought along KWL who had never attended it.

The Expo was even more overwhelming this year than last and I saw Dean Karnazes and met Marshall Ulricht, whose book “Running on Empty” I’d recently read. It was amazing to talk to this man who set records for running across America, starting in San Francisco and finishing in New York 52 days later.

With Desi Davila – Boston Marathon record-holder

I also met Desi Davila, who finished second in this year’s Boston Marathon and holds the fastest women’s time ever in that race.  Desi was sweet and humble, I mentioned the cover story about her in Running Times and she just smiled and nodded. She told me she was skipping the NYC marathon because she’s training for the 2012 Olympics. I will be rooting for her to make the team!

Today I took advantage of the Daylight Savings Time roll-back and got out early for my run. I planned to take it easy so I could benchmark my condition and see how ready I am for a 10K next Sunday. It was chilly and I wore layers and gloves and I felt pretty good for the first four miles. At around the five mile point I started feeling some weakness. I’m thinking that my base has probably slid back to about 4 miles since Cow Harbor. I slowed down a little to get past a hilly section and tried not to think about the last mile that is the toughest part of the return leg.

By mile six I felt similar to how I’d felt near the end of my half marathon, my spirit was willing but my legs were not. I told myself “just keep going” and I did, although I’m not sure how I managed to get over that final hill.

I may not run the Race for the Warriors next weekend because (as of right now) I don’t feel prepared to run a competitive 10K. I guess I can run it as a training exercise for the Long Beach Turkey Trot the following week. I’ll decide that in the next day or so. I’m hoping that my experience today had more to do with having a slight chest cold than the fact that my conditioning isn’t where it needs to be right now.

Running: street, trail and marathon

Today’s run: 5 miles (street) plus 1 mile (Stillwell Woods)

It was all about running today. NBC’s coverage of the NYC Marathon started at 6 AM and we watched just about all of it. I was very pleased that Shalane Flanagan took second place in the woman’s race and that she also won the US Marathon championship. She’s a great competitor and she ran a great race. The men’s race was disappointing with Haile Gebrselassie dropping out around mile 16 and Meb Keflezighi, Dathan Ritzenhein, Tim Nelson and Jorge Torres all missing podium spots although Keflezighi and Ritzenhein both finished in the top ten. It was fun to spend the morning following the race. The athlete tracking service that allowed you to follow friends along the race failed so I couldn’t keep current with marathoners FS and James. I did manage to see FS through the 5K checkpoint and James through 10K before the system went down.

Before the start of the race I went out for 5 easy miles. It was 37 degrees and sunny at 8:00 AM and I couldn’t have asked for better conditions. I purposely started slowly and picked up the pace after one mile. I toggled between brisk and easy paces throughout the run and I was close to home when I reached the 4 mile mark. Instead of heading to my house I decided to extend the run and added a mile to make it a tidy 5. After lunch we headed for Stillwell Woods and me and my daughter ran a loop on the dirt trail around the big field. We encountered a couple of dogs running off leash that made my daughter very uncomfortable. I strongly suggested to the dog’s owner that he leash the dogs or at least teach them to stay away from people they don’t know. He apologized and in truth his dogs were only playing but it’s not right to assume everyone has a comfort with dogs. Hopefully he’ll consider more training.

It’s been a great weekend. The extra hour from Daylight Savings Time certainly helped make today a full day.