Monday, November 3, 2008

0 Weeks to NYC

Thanks to all who came out and supported Ryan and I. Thanks, also, to Tom McGrath for driving us to the start at 6:00 A.M. Which is a good place to start my story......

We hit the road at 6. The car ride over was as smooth as possible. We stopped for some coffee at a 7-11 where Ryan's dad knew all the cashiers by their first names--which were unpronounceable. Tom navigated his car like Magellan through random streets until the bridge was in view. Ryan and I walked about two blocks and into the start area. Way easier than I anticipated.

Fort Wadsworth was an impressive operation. The sheer massiveness of the event, with an even more massive bridge in the background blew me away. I guess most of the 38,000 runners and the several thousand volunteers arrived before we did but it did not matter. Ryan and I sat around in a parking lot for about an hour and chatted with some guy from Colorado who was looking to run around 2:30. I couldn't find his results.

At 8:30, I needed to leave Ryan and go to my start corral. I found my zone and just sat at the front. After a while the corral filled up with Germans, Italians, Spaniards and one guy from Orlando who truly sucked. He asked one severely hot Swiss chick for her phone number about twenty minutes before the gun. Anyway, at 9:30 they opened my corral and everyone sprinted about 400M to the actual start. I some how found myself standing about thirty yards behind Paul Tergat and right below mayor Bloomberg. At this point, I met up with my friend Paul Tuffaro. The last time we toed the line together was at NCAA's five years ago. Paul and I laughed for a moment, I felt completely awesome, not worried about racing. And at 9:40 the cannon blasted us over the Verazzano Bridge.

I felt a huge rush at the start. You run up this huge bridge and the ocean is on your right and all of NYC on your left. My first mile up the hill was about 6:40, the next mile down the bridge was 5:25. I felt freaking great. There were tons of people at the bottom of the bridge and I tried to keep my pace slow. I got passed by a good number of runners in mile three. The race turned up 4th ave in Brooklyn and we cruised for several miles. I didn't try to run with any one pack, just keep the heart rate as low as possible. At 10k (37:XX) I took a gel and did a little status check. I felt good, so I kept that pace.

Brooklyn kicks ass. The neighborhoods were crawling with different bands and parties. I really enjoyed this part of the race. Flash forward to mile 13. This was the first hard hill and where I passed a grip of people. I hit 13.1 at 1:19:17. Awesome. It felt so easy I really thought I had a chance to negative split.

The next challenge was the Queensborough bridge. A real gut buster. I passed 16 miles in 1:37 and I figured that 2:40 was possible but a challenge. I was right, the challenges started right after mile 16. Once you get into Manhattan, the crowds get huge and loud. People start getting excited and I got passed by a few Italians who were waving at the crowd like they were Gomes-DeSantos. I made sure to put them in a hole over the next two miles. I started to really fatigue going up 1st ave. Miles 17-20 were just horrible. So I was really surprised when I got to 20 in 2:01:40. I was still at sub 2:40 pace!

But all that enthusiasm on 1st ave took its toll. I really ground at my gears in the bronx, there are two bridges and the hills really beat me down. By the time I got to mile 23, I was running 6:30's. I wasn't dying but I was hanging on by a thread. Then you have to climb about 100 feet in half a mile to get into CP. This dissuaded any final 5k heroics. By the time I got to the park, I knew I was easily sub 2:45 and I really didn't care how I finished. I looked at the crowd and tried to forget how much my feet hurt. My finish wasn't strong but I didn't slow down over the last two miles. I was proud of that. 2:42:59.

In summary, here is what I learned. The marathon is 95% preparation. You need a goal, a plan and then follow through. Still there is another 5% that you have to produce on race day. I didn't nail my last 10k. I really had no idea how hard it could be at the end, now I know and hopefully next time I will raise the bar a bit.


RM said...

Jake, here's the good/bad news for our friend Jeremy (who was looking to run 2:31ish):

Jeremy Schwartz, 34M, CO:
5k 18:19 10k 36:30 1/2 1:17:48

Then the story turns out worse than mine, which doesn't make me feel any better:

FINISH 3:15:54


It's interesting to hear the different perceptions of the race. I thought most of the race was ugly (even before my day turned south). Some of the areas were cool, a lot of ups and downs in energy. The only part that put a smile on my face late in the race was in Harlem when they were playing the Apache Dance by Sugar Hill Gang (made famous by the Fresh Prince).

The long grind into the Park was rough, and all I wanted was to feel good going into CP but it was not to be.

And while it's not a dig at me, obviously, it's a funny line nevertheless: "the marathon is 95%preparation. You need a goal, a plan and then follow through." I think that's where I went wrong. Had the goal, have the speed, didn't have the prep...

Ben said...

great job Jake. I'm definetely stealing a lot from your training this summer - it was very helpful to see how well it worked for you. just 24 weeks to go until boston! ; )

Alex said...

Hey Jake. AWESOME race. It sounds like you had the debut marathon every dreams of having. I'm sure you down-played the agony of those last few miles but it was great to hear about all your hard work paying off.

So what's next for you? You're in amazing shape now - thinking about stepping onto the track?

Johnnie Cochran said...

Track? Help me Jeezus. I am going to take it easy for a while and then I will plan my assault on a something shorter, maybe a 10 mile or 1/2 marathon PR. Maybe another marathon, but the literature stresses that marathon PRs come within your first few races, so I want to hold off on running another until I get some more speed.

Here are some fun numbers--
Consecutive days running:167
Mikes logged: 1874
Avg p/day: 11.2
Old 1/2 Mar Pr: 1:19:06 (1st try)
New 1/2 Mar Pr: 1:15:59 (2nd try)
1st half of NYC: 1:19:17 (3rd try)
2nd Half of NYC: 1:23:42

fbg said...

Jake, you logged 1874 Mikes?!? That's surprising, but then again, you have lived in Vermont for a while now.

gladfelter said...

That's pretty sick - nice work Jake!