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Sunday, November 06, 2005

NYC Marathon 2005

It was difficult and painful. I completed the marathon searching for answers as to why I found running this marathon so damn hard and painful. My quads started to break down around the 15th mile and I struggled to complete the race. I found myself asking why this should be so hard, when I didn’t have nearly as much difficulty completing Ironman Lake Placid only a few months earlier.

The answer according to my coach is of course, Ironman Lake Placid. He feels that I put so much into that race, that my body just needed extra time to recover, which prevented my from adequately preparing for today’s marathon. I know this must be true, since I found it a struggle to get back into training since late August.

The weather for the marathon was perfect as far as I was concerned. I am sure many people felt it was too warm, by the 60-70 degree temps is just what I liked. This prevented me from being too cold in the morning and was just cool enough so I didn’t over heat. I didn’t even need to don the plastic trash bags I brought with me to stay warm before the start.

At the starting line, I made the mistake of stopping my Polar HR monitor in order to make sure it was reset for the race. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get it to pick up a reading again, since there were too many people around me wearing a Polar transmitter. This meant that I had to walk out from the pack of runners with only a couple of minutes remaining before the race. I climbed around a blue barricade that was funneling runners towards the center of the start and found an empty area to restart my watch.

When I walked back to the starting line, I lined up on the outside of the barricade. This was a big mistake as the starting mats were on the other side of it and I had to struggle back to make sure my timing chip crossed the mat. Other than that minor problem, I set off on a very comfortable pace and was feeling very good.

I tried to hold onto my race plan for the first 10 miles which was to run approximately 7:50 miles. I was actually a bit faster than that for several of the miles, but my HR was close to where I wanted it to be. I really should have gone slower, looking back at my splits. After 10 miles, I tried to start picking up my pace. That was hard to do as the course started to run into several climbs. Rather than go by pace, I measured my effort based on HR. This increased effort didn’t last for long and going back to my Polar HR software I see that mile 13 was the beginning of the end.

Mile 13, is a steep climb over a short bridge followed by the longer climb over the 59th Street Bridge. After that, you have a gradual ascent along First Avenue right into the Bronx. First Avenue really beat me up. The ground is completely concrete and this was very hard on my increasingly painful quads. I started to take the occasional walking break and just went into survival mode.
Two thoughts kept me moving forward. The first was that I came to far to give up a qualifying race for next year’s NYC Marathon. The second was that I didn’t want my friend Larry to catch up to me and tell me “You see, I told you, you should have ran with me. You would have had a much more comfortable race”. Larry surmised that if I went out too hard and was reduced to walking, we would see each other later on in the day. I didn’t want this to happen.

Eventually I made it through the Bronx and the first few 20+ miles seemed to disappear somehow. I started paying attention to the distance again, once I saw mile 23. It was at this point that one of my worst fears came to mind. I passed some gas and suddenly felt a nasty dampness in the back of my shorts. I was terribly afraid that I crapped myself. I didn’t stop to look (or feel with my hand) and soldiered onto the finish.

Finally I crossed the finish line and proceeded to walk with all of the other runners in our Zombie like state towards water, food and baggage claim. The post race meal provided had to be the worst thing I ever received. It consisted of a gooey chocolate protein bar that took more calories to consume than the bar provided. It also had the nastiest most dried up prepackaged bagel ever created. The only thing edible in the bag was an anemic tangerine. I wasn’t even going to consider eating the greenish apple.

For some reason there are no Portosans past the finish line. I started to feel my bowels wanting to give and I was on a quest for a place to relieve them. I started scoping out a bush or some other cover to let my colon rip. However nothing was apparent and I was forced to keep moving forward.

Eventually, I started to exit Central Park and I noticed several Portosans behind a medical tent. I found a momentary burst of speed and flew into the nearest. I entered perhaps the most comfortable Portosan ever created. It appeared as virginal as the day it was born and the toilet seat was in pristine condition. I let my naked butt cheeks grab hold of the seat and my colon let loose with the force of a fire hose. The thing even had toilet paper so I was able to wipe my ass like a civilized human being.

Scatological issues completed, I headed onto the UPS trucks to claim my pre race belongings. The positioning of the trucks was a marked improvement over the last time I did NYCM in 2002. There was much more space around the trucks and my bag was already in sight for me to pick up. I grabbed it, made it to the subway and headed home.

Eventually, I heard from Larry again. He was on his way home and would soon pick me up for a post race party. I was looking forward to seeing him and comparing battle stories and laughing about some of the sights we saw at the Athlete Village in Staten Island. These included one particular fellow with bright red Race Ready shorts that were several sizes too small, the urinal trough and runners wearing a fuel belt with a dozen bottles filled to capacity and a gel tuck in with each for safe measure.

I was feeling pretty good at the post race party for a while. I think it was a mistake though to wash a Vicodin down with a couple of beers and munch on tortillas, cocktail franks and bacon wrapped dates. I started to develop a cold sweat and an overwhelming urge to puke and crap my pants. Fortunately, Larry’s wife took mercy on me and offered to drive me back home.

I now write this story on my personal porcelain throne. It is my 5th trip here in the last two hours. I think I will sleep while sitting on it. It is raining outside and the sound of it hitting my bathroom’s skylight is soothing and peaceful.


Larry smiling on the way to his 20th straight NYC Marathon.

The author and Larry relaxing on the bus to the start. And relax we did. The ride took over an hour.

Some athlete perform special stretching maneuvers to gain maximum speed.

The famous urinal trough.

Larry keeping back with a cold brewsky after finishing in a time of 3:54.


Blogger Brooklyn said...

I'm laughing so hard right now! Quite an amusing race report, mah man. Remind me not to run BEHIND you next year. What was your final time?

10:52 PM  
Blogger Beast said...

For the record my time was 3:41:53. Here are my splits:
Lap Lap Time Dist min/mile
1. 08:10.0 1.013 8:03
2. 07:01.3 1.033 6:47
3. 07:51.4 1.065 7:22
4. 07:46.2 1.036 7:30
5. 07:46.3 1.017 7:38
6. 15:48.5 2.020 7:49
7. 07:53.0 0.988 7:58
8. 07:54.2 1.020 7:44
9. 07:37.5 1.031 7:23
10. 07:49.8 1.065 7:21
11. 07:34.0 0.983 7:41
12. 08:01.3 1.028 7:48
13. 15:30.7 2.096 7:24
14. 08:12.5 1.016 8:04
15. 08:07.4 1.017 7:59
16. 08:16.3 1.016 8:08
17. 09:23.2 1.018 9:13
18. 09:18.0 1.020 9:06
19. 08:52.7 1.024 8:40
20. 08:48.0 1.026 8:34
21. 10:44.6 1.028 10:26
22. 10:50.5 0.995 10:54
23. 10:19.1 1.001 10:18
24. 10:10.1 0.965 10:32
25. 02:07.9 0.224 9:30

9:43 AM  
Blogger Brooklyn said...

Looks like you had a strong first half and that Pulaski Bridge presented no problem. In fact, if i'm matchinbg things up correctly, it looks like you did fine on the bridges and 1st ave. The numbers for the post-bronx portion really tell the story. Sorry about your quads. You feeling any better today?

11:37 AM  
Blogger Derek said...

my female friend m. with the flyers thinks guys have a tendency to go out too fast, while women don't. i wonder if that is true. congratulations on gritting it out. hope you're feeling better today.

1:57 PM  
Anonymous Aristorat said...

You said it, yes you did, Todd J. Colby did say his NYC Marathon PR was faster than yours. With that said, I believe it was the 23rd consecutive NYC Marathon for Mr. L. Lewis. Great comment on the race ready shorts...........next time start off slow and ease off.
And from Aristorat's wife...
I felt very sorry for you and was happy to drive you home, all in support of the marathoners. But if I would have known you took the Vicodin I would have made you stay there and crap your pants on the nice host's couch. Next time just use Kathleen Lewis Stiff & Sore Muscle Massage Cream and enjoy the party.

7:06 PM  
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