Weekly Wrap-Up: November 21-27

Yes, I’m thankful for running.

I managed to run pretty well this week (and better than I expected on Thursday). I’ll have a Race Report this week. It’s delayed partly because I was hoping to have a chip time by now, and partly because I kind of wanted to leave my NYC Marathon Race Report up at the top just a little longer.

I got to spend Thanksgiving with my nephews, Jack (2 1/2 years old) and Quinn (5 months). They’re the best. At one point, my Mom was showing Jack some pictures from New York City. His response: “I want to go there.” I’m so proud of him.

Weight Check: 161.4, down 1.3 pounds from last week, and that was before my Sunday run. It’s a Thanksgiving miracle! I think the Turkey Trot helped, and so did my 10 miler on Saturday. I did drink a bunch of Mountain Dew at work on Monday and Tuesday, since I was trying to get a week’s worth of work done in two days, but that still wasn’t good. I tried not to go overboard with the food on Thanksgiving Day, and I succeeded. I also had to drive home that night. It was only a 10 minute drive, but I still needed to be sober, so I drank less beer than I otherwise might have, and that probably helped too.

This Week’s Runs
Day Total Miles
Monday 5.43
Tuesday 5.01
Thursday 4.97 (Charlotte Southpark Turkey Trot 8K)
Saturday 10.01
Sunday 5.01

Total: 30.43 miles

I normally don’t like running on Sunday, but Wednesday morning I had to pick up my parents from the train station, and Friday morning I had to bring them back. I’ll adjust my schedule for my parents, though.

Monday’s run was kind of slow. My legs didn’t feel great for some reason. It got really cold, but I survived.

Tuesday my legs felt a little better, and it was slightly less cold. I stayed away from the hills, so that helped.

Thursday was my race. I’ll post a full report soon, but I was pretty happy with my performance.

Saturday I wanted to get to 10 miles, and I did it. My legs felt OK, I guess, but I ran pretty well and finished strong.

Sunday, it was really tough to go out into my neighborhood to run when it was about 30 degrees outside. I didn’t get out there until after 9 AM, although by then it was probably around 35. My legs didn’t feel great, but this time I’m pretty sure it’s because of the 10 miler on Saturday. I got through it.

I can’t complain too much, I broke 30 miles for the week and got 10 miles on my long run. I’m also amused that my 8K race was my shortest run of the week.

Next week, more miles, I guess, and a race report.

Race Report: 2016 New York City Marathon

New York City is the greatest city in the world.

I’ve half-jokingly said this in the past, admitting that I’m a little biased because I was born there. But after running the New York City Marathon, and seeing how the people of New York showed up, I really believe that it’s the greatest city in the world. (But I still admit I might be a little biased.)

Since this was my second marathon, I couldn’t help making a few references to my first, the 2015 Raleigh City of Oaks Marathon. You can go back and read my race report for that one if you’d like some more context.

My parents and I flew to Newark on Friday. From there, we got a shuttle to the hotel. We stayed in Staten Island, which meant that I could take a shuttle bus from the hotel to the start of the race. If you don’t mind being away from the city, and having a slightly longer trip after the race, I recommend staying in Staten Island. The rooms are definitely cheaper than Manhattan. (We did have a few issues with shuttle scheduling on Saturday, and after the race we ended up having to take a taxi from the Staten Island Ferry to the hotel, but they got the shuttle right on Sunday morning, and that’s really all that counts.)

I ate pasta Friday night at the hotel restaurant. (OK, it was actually the hotel next door, but we could walk to it, and there wasn’t really anything else we could easily walk to.)

Saturday, we went into Manhattan for the expo. We got a shuttle from the hotel to the Staten Island Ferry, got on the subway to Herald Square, and walked to the Javitz Center. Even though that’s the directions they posted on the race website, after studying the subway map, I think we could have gotten there with a little less walking. (Lesson learned for next time.)

The Race Expo was huge!


First I got my bib in a bag with 4 safety pins.


Then I got my t-shirt and pre-race goody bag.


I’m not sure exactly what to call that color, but I’m going with teal. It’s not another blue shirt, but it’s closer than I’d like.

The bag included a nice official program, a small pocket guide, an even smaller course map, cards promoting Fred’s Team (benefiting an anti-cancer charity), Fitbit, and McIntosh apples (the card also informed us we’d be getting an apple at the end of the race, a nice touch), and a bottle of water.

I didn’t really walk around the expo, because I didn’t want to spend a lot of time walking around. Of course, after we left the expo, we got lost trying to find somewhere to eat lunch, and eventually just took the subway back to the ferry terminal where they had some places to eat. I drank the entire bottle of water while we were wandering the city.

When we got back to the hotel, I found out that the shuttle for the race would be leaving at 6:45. I was in Wave 4, which meant that my start time was 11:00. So I’d be spending a lot more time in the Start Village than I expected. Oh well, when you depend on unofficial transportation, sometimes that’s what you get.

We ordered pizza for dinner. I hydrated and stayed off my feet. I got to bed at a decent hour. We had the time change, which sort of helped, but mostly just gave me an extra hour to toss and turn. I got a few hours of sleep in there, though.

I got up around 5:30. I showered, used the bathroom, brushed my teeth, took a pre-emptive Imodium AD, and gathered all my stuff. My parents woke up (they didn’t need to leave for a while) and took a picture that they haven’t sent to me yet. They wished me luck, and I went downstairs to catch the shuttle bus.

On the bus, I overheard a guy from Brooklyn who stays at the hotel where I stayed the night before the race every year, because it’s much easier to get to the start from there than from his home. It’s always good to know that a local chose the same accommodations that I did.

We got to Fort Wadsworth around 7:15 or so. I went through security, and entered the Start Village.


I ended up going to the porta-potties 3 times, so clearly, I had done a good job with hydration. I went when I first got there (no wait), then around 9:00 (5-10 minute wait), and finally around 10:00 (there was one person in line in front of me). By 10:00 the other 3 waves had either started their race or were already in their corrals, so there weren’t many people left in the Start Village, and it was a good time to use the porta-potties.

While I was in the Start Village, I ate 4 Chocolate Chip Clif Bars. I grabbed a small bottle of water that they were giving out. I think they also had Gatorade, which I generally don’t drink pre-race, and coffee, which I generally don’t drink period. They also had bagels, but I decided to stick with my Clif Bars. I’m really cautious with my race day nutrition, maybe more than I need to be, but (knock on wood) I’ve never had any stomach issues during a race.

The forecast was for temperatures in the low to mid 50s, and the possibility of some decent wind from the north, which would basically be a headwind up until we left The Bronx. (Luckily, except for a couple of instances, the wind wasn’t too bad.) So I planned on running in a short sleeved t-shirt and shorts, but I figured I’d need something to wear before the race (and after). I brought my hoodie from the 2016 Charlote 10 Miler and a pair of running pants for after the race, and an old gray sweatshirt for before. I figured I could ditch the sweatshirt and it would get donated to charity.

I ended up wearing my hoodie most of the time I was in the Start Village. I ended up sitting on my gray sweatshirt, because the ground was a little cold and a lot uncomfortable. A few minutes before it was time to drop off my checked bag at the UPS truck, there was an official photographer wandering around taking people’s pictures. I took off my hoodie (I wanted to show off my bib), and realized that it was warm enough that I didn’t really need a sweatshirt. So I put my throwaway sweatshirt in the bag check bag with the stuff I planned to keep. The throwaway sweatshirt lives to see another race.

My sister sent me a video of my nephew telling me to “Run like the wind!” I appreciated the well-wishes, even if he wouldn’t be able to run after me like he did last year at City of Oaks.

At 9:50, the elite men and Wave 1 started, and I got this picture of them on the Verrazano Bridge. They look like ants before you zoom in.


I put on some sunscreen and put the bottle in my bag check bag before dropping it off. Then it was about time to walk over to the corrals. It was pretty crowded.


From there we moved out on to the Verrazano Bridge.


(OK, there won’t be any more pictures for a while.)

Someone sang the National Anthem. After it was over, I realized I forgot to take off my visor. I know, I was a Bad American. In my defense, it was only the second time I wore the visor at a race.

They shot off a Howitzer to start our wave, which was very loud but also pretty cool. They started to play “New York, New York”…and then abruptly cut to Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.” I was disappointed, they’re supposed to play “New York, New York.” Oh well.

At 11:08 AM, I crossed the starting line.

One note before I get to the actual race, I had heard that the tall buildings would make GPS go haywire, and someone suggested that the best way to deal with it was to set your watch to manual mode and hit the lap button at each mile marker, so that’s what I did. All the miles were very well marked, and most of them turned out pretty close, with one notable exception.

Also, I’ll break it down by borough. I’ll keep the Verrazano with Staten Island, but the rest of the bridges will go with the borough they lead in to. Well, except for one bridge that deserves special mention.

Miles 1 and 2: Staten Island

I got a little emotional at the beginning. I was really running a race in the city where I was born, with over 50,000 runners. Right then, somebody nearby stumbled (but luckily didn’t fall), and that was enough to jolt me back to reality. Also on the bridge, there was a lot of discarded clothing. I managed to avoid running on any of it.

The first mile, going up the Verrazano, is one of the only times you can go up a hill without noticing it. I still tried to take it easy, and I think I succeeded, with a time of 11:56. On Mile 2, we went back down, and pretty much everybody had their fastest mile of the race, myself included: 10:42.

It was pretty windy on the bridge, and I realized that I didn’t do a very good job pinning my bib on my shirt, because it started flapping. I put my hand on my bib to hold it in place as I ran, because I was afraid I might lose it.

Mile 3 to 12: Brooklyn

Brooklyn was just two giant parties, with a small gap in the middle where we ran through the Orthodox Jewish neighborhood. That neighborhood wasn’t completely empty, but there weren’t nearly as many spectators as the rest of Brooklyn.

As much as I appreciated it, I had to be careful not to get too pumped up by the crowd. Early on I got a few high fives and had some fun with the crowd, even yelling to a guy in a Jets’ shirt, “Beat the Dolphins!” (Spoiler Alert: They didn’t.) But eventually I moved towards the middle of the street. I could still see and hear the crowd, but I was still able to keep myself from getting too excited.

My times through here were 11:22, 11:27, 11:38, 11:30, 11:24, 11:38, 11:50, 11:29, 11:38, and 11:35. Fairly consistent, nothing too crazy. The 11:50 was the mile with the biggest hill. Brooklyn wasn’t exactly flat, but for the most part, I didn’t think it was terrible.

I had Gu at Mile 6 and Mile 10. I drank either water (with the Gu, and at the mile markers before and after I had Gu) or Gatorade (all the rest). There were Aid Stations at every mile from 3 to 25, and I stopped at all of them except one (more on that later). The Aid Stations were very clearly marked, and they also marked where the Gatorade was and where the water was. Typically it was Gatorade first.

Miles 13 and 14: Queens

We hit the halfway point on the Pulaski Bridge between Brooklyn and Queens, and my time was 2:30:59. I have to admit, I was a little disappointed. I felt like I had been running well, but I would have to reverse split in order to break 5:00. I started thinking about my goal of 5:10, and I still thought that was reachable.

Queens was pretty cool. Short, but there was still good crowd support. My times were 11:30 and 11:43. I had Gu at the beginning of Mile 14. I wanted to be ready for the 59th Street Bridge. (Spoiler: It didn’t help.)

Mile 15: The 59th Street Bleeping Bridge

This is where I made a terrible mistake, although it took a few miles before I realized it. I decided to be stubborn, and I ran all the way up the bridge. This was a very bad idea. It was long. It was steep. And it ended up taking a whole lot out of me. My time ended up being 12:46, and even though it was my slowest time to that point, it was still too fast. I really should have walked some of it.

The wind was pretty bad on the bridge, so I grabbed my bib to keep it from flapping around. Another runner looked at me and thought I was grabbing my chest, like I was having chest pains. I laughed and reassured her that I was just holding on to my bib. After that I used my fingertips to keep my bib in place, and it didn’t look quite as ominous.

Mile 16 to 18: Manhattan, Part 1

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

OK, first, when I came off of the 59th Street Bleeping Bridge, I turned on to 1st Avenue. And when you turn on to 1st Avenue, there is this wall of sound, this absolutely incredible cheer from the crowd, and I was completely overcome with emotion. I don’t know how I held it together through there. It was one of the most amazing things I’ve experienced in my life. That was the moment when I knew this would not be my last New York City Marathon.

A week after the race, I watched the video at the end of this blog post, and even though the video has music and you can’t actually hear the cheers, I still got goosebumps when he showed the turn onto 1st Avenue.

Once I got through there, I knew I had to start looking for 86th Street. My parents were going to be waiting for me between 86th and 87th Street, just outside of a Subway. (Side note: With all the great delis in New York City, why would anyone buy a sandwich from Subway?!?)

At the beginning of Mile 17, though, I started to feel it. My legs were just about dead. And that’s when I realized that I had screwed up when I tried to run all the way up the 59th Street Bleeping Bridge. Oh, and I still had 9 more miles to go on my dead legs.

At 17.3, I took my first non-Aid Station walk break, but quickly started back up again, because I was getting close to my parents.

At 17.5, I spotted my parents in the crowd and ran over to them. I hugged them both. I’m sure they had some very nice things to say to me, but I just couldn’t register any of it. I waved and kept running.

From that point on, I took a lot of walk breaks. My times through here were 12:48, 12:50, 13:01. Yeah, not good. By the way, the 12:48 for Mile 16 was the mile that was the farthest off, coming in at 0.91 miles on my Garmin. I guess the wall of sound messed with the GPS signal. Also, I had another Gu at 18.

Miles 19 and 20: The Bronx

During Mile 19, I walked up the Willis Avenue Bridge. As I started jogging the downhill, I saw it. The sign that said “Welcome to The Bronx.” And I got emotional again. I was born in The Bronx. I was home. That was enough to get me to pick up my pace ever so slightly. OK, Mile 19 started in Manhattan and included walking up the Willis Avenue Bridge, so it was 14:40, but Mile 20, completely in The Bronx, was an improvement, 13:54.

(I feel obligated to note that where we ran in The Bronx was nowhere near where I was born, or where I lived for the first 3 months of my life before my parents moved us to the suburbs. Still, it’s the borough where I was born, and that means something to me.)

Mile 21 to the Finish: Manhattan, Part 2

Manhattan doesn’t have the sentimental value for me that The Bronx does, so my pace got a little worse. Miles 21 to 23 were 14:41, 14:43, and 15:05. I walked quite a bit through here. I did have my final Gu at 22. 5th Avenue is a slow climb, so that didn’t help.

I knew 5:00 was long out of the question, as was 5:10. But I figured I could still get a PR. Then I got to Mile 24, looked at my watch, and started doing the math.

Oh, crap. I might not even get a PR.

Just after the aid station at the beginning of Mile 24, I started running as fast as I could. At this point, with dead legs, that wasn’t exactly fast. But I had to at least give it a shot. With the aid station and the late start, it still took me 14:15 to get through the mile, but it was an improvement.

On Mile 25, I skipped the last aid station and kept running. I got my time down to 12:20, my fastest since Mile 14. My only regret is that I was so focused that I really didn’t notice Central Park.

I didn’t have much left in Mile 26. There were hills, which was pretty cruel. At some point, I passed the 5:24 mark, but I managed to keep running, even though I knew I wouldn’t hit any of my goals. For the mile, my time was 12:46. Oh, and this also turned out to be the longest mile according to my GPS, 1.05. I’m not exactly sure how that happened, but that’s just mean.

Speaking of mean, there was one last hill before the finish. According to Garmin, it was .22 from the Mile 26 marker to the Finish Line, and I ran it at a 13:33/mile pace. (My distance for the entire race on my Garmin was 26.38 miles.)

I crossed the Finish Line and managed to smile.


I like the picture on the left better, even if it’s just before the Finish Line. In the picture on the right, if you look closely, my foot is on the Finish Line, but it’s tough to see. I wish Cass and Julia had moved just a few steps forward before stopping to celebrate.

(Yes, those are official race photos. I was a sucker and bought the package.)

First, I got my medal, then a heat blanket, then a post-race goodie bag. It had water, strawberry Gatorade, a vanilla protein shake, an apple, some pretzels, and a PowerBar Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Bar.

I pretty quickly got out my phone to check the race app to get my official time: 5:28:01. I was still a little disappointed. (I was also disappointed when I saw that the Jets lost to the Dolphins, 28-24. I actually cursed out loud when I read that, but I don’t think anybody noticed.)

I kept walking to the bag check area, and got my bag. I then stopped to drink the Gatorade. I took out my car key, which I brought with me even though my car was parked over 500 miles away, because I had to take a picture.


That’s actually light from a streetlight. By the time I got a chance to take the picture, it was after 5:00, and with the time change, it was getting dark.

I then picked up my stuff and walked to the exit from Central Park, around 81st Street. It took over half an hour to get there from the Finish Line, but the walk was probably good for my legs.

I crossed Central Park West and found my parents. I sat down in a nearby bus shelter, drank my water and ate my apple. The apple was a really nice touch, and even better, it was a McIntosh, my favorite kind of apple. At that point, it was the most delicious apple I’ve ever tasted.

(As for the rest of my goodie bag, the pretzels and protein bar made it home with me – the protein bar was meh, the pretzels were pretzels. I remembered the protein shake Tuesday morning as I was getting my stuff packed to fly home. I’m lucky I did, because I’m fairly certain the TSA wouldn’t have let my protein shake through, so I drank it before I left. It was OK, I guess.)

My parents had scouted the area before I got there, and it looked like it was mostly residential, and there wasn’t really a good place to eat near by. So we decided to get on the subway and head back to the Staten Island Ferry terminal, where they had some restaurants.

I saw a video at some point in the week before the race showing people trying to navigate the stairs down to the subway after running the marathon, and it was painful to watch. I was nervous as I approached the stairs, but I found that, as long as I took it slowly, one step at a time, I could handle it. Also, they let any marathon finisher ride the subway for free, which was really cool.

I went to a sports bar in the ferry terminal and ate a cheeseburger and drank a beer. The beer was a Flagship Metropolitan Lager, from Staten Island, because I had to have something local. Objectively, it was a decent beer, nothing special. Subjectively, after 26.2 miles, it was delicious.

During the race, I didn’t have any issues with my ankle, with the joint leading to my big toe, with chafing, or with my stomach. My hydration and nutrition strategy seemed to work out OK. I don’t think I really “hit the wall,” my legs just got really tired. I never cramped up or anything, and I was always able to keep moving, even if it was very slowly.

Here’s a better picture of the medal.


Like with my City of Oaks medal, I decided to use a Gu packet for scale. This medal is slightly smaller, but it feels heavier. It’s pretty solid, definitely thicker.

So, it’s now been 2 weeks. What does it all mean?

Last November, if you had told me that my second marathon would be over 3 minutes slower than my first marathon, I would have been pretty disappointed, and I probably would have wondered if there was an injury involved, or if I had found a course that was actually more difficult than City of Oaks. Well, there were no injuries during my second marathon, and the course may not have been easy, but it wasn’t brutal like City of Oaks.

Now, as I write this, I’m not really that disappointed. Sure, there’s a little bit of disappointment, because I know I screwed up. But I know what I did wrong, and I know I can fix it.

The biggest difference between last year and this year, though, is something that’s been bothering me about my performance in City of Oaks. I’ve realized that after around Mile 19, when it started raining, mentally, I pretty much checked out. I didn’t even attempt to run up any of the really big hill at Mile 21. When I got back to Hillsborough Street, and I had to turn right even though I knew the finish line was off to the left, I walked because I was frustrated. I had 3 miles in a row where my time was over 15 minutes. My slowest mile in New York, Mile 23, was 15:05, and that was my only mile over 15 minutes. Unfortunately, I had more miles in New York over 14:00, and that’s why my time was slightly worse. But I ran at least a little bit, even if it was just a shuffle, during every mile in New York. I don’t think I can say that for City of Oaks.

In New York, my legs may have been tired, but I always felt strong mentally. Granted, the amazing crowd support certainly helped. Lack of rain also helped. (After 24 races and 23 race days, City of Oaks is still the only race where I’ve gotten rained on.) But still, I had this determination, especially near the end, that was missing in City of Oaks. My time may not reflect it, but I really think that, outside of the 59th Street Bleeping Bridge, I ran a better race in New York.

Finally, I’ve touched on the crowd support, which was really incredible and definitely helped, but I haven’t said much about the volunteers and the race organization. Both were outstanding. With over 50,000 runners, there are a lot of moving parts, and as far as I can tell, everything ran smoothly.

So I really do think New York City is the greatest city in the world. And I’m eventually going to get back there and run the New York City Marathon again.

Vital Stats

Full Name of Race: TCS New York City Marathon
Location: Starting Line on the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, Staten Island, New York
Date and Time of Race: November 6, 2016, 11:00 AM (Wave 4) (Actual start: 11:08 AM)
Bib Number: 63359
Official Finishing Time: 5:28:01, 12:31/mile. 42,659th of 51,390 Overall, 26,217th of 29,928 Men, 4,701st of 5,188 in Age Group (Male 40-44)

Weekly Wrap-Up: November 14-20

I feel like everything that happened this week conspired against me to keep me from finishing my NYC race report. It wasn’t a terrible week, just busy.

For the first time in what seems like years, I have a cold. Mostly it’s just a runny nose, although occasionally I get enough phlegm for a good cough. It’s still pretty mild, though, more annoying than anything else. Most importantly, it hasn’t affected my running.

Smoke from the wildfires in the North Carolina mountains made it to Charlotte this week. I noticed a big difference in my run on Tuesday. It even forced me to go with the treadmill on Wednesday.

I have a new pair of shoes, one last pair of Brooks Adrenaline 16s. Getting them was kind of a hassle, but I got a great deal. Since the 17s are out, they were marked down to $90, and then I got a $25 store credit on top of that. $65 for a good pair of running shoes is really cheap. Also, I learned something interesting. The full name of the shoe is the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 16. (I already knew that part.) I normally leave out the GTS part, because as far as I know, there aren’t any other Adrenaline models. Well, this week I found out that GTS stands for “go-to shoe.” Considering Adrenalines are the only shoes I’ve ever worn, I can’t argue with that.

Weight Check: 162.7, up 1.8 pounds from last week. Yeah, that wasn’t good. I was really tired this week, possibly due to my cold, and work was busy, so I drank a lot of Mountain Dew. Yesterday, I went to two parties(!), and over the course of the day drank 3 beers and did a whole lot of grazing. So, not a good week. And this was the week before Thanksgiving. Well, I’m still not overweight, so there’s that.

This Week’s Runs
Day Total Miles
Monday 5.26
Tuesday 5.01
Wednesday 4.81
Friday 3.17
Saturday 8.76

Total: 27.01 miles

Well, that was an interesting way to get to 27.01 miles. I was kind of hoping to get closer to 30, but all things considered, it’s a pretty good set of runs.

Monday, I tried to remember my old 5 mile route through my neighborhood that still took me up the really big hill. I didn’t quite have it right, but I ended up erring on the side of longer distance, so it’s OK. That big hill was kind of tough, since I hadn’t really run up any big hills since New York City. Still, I ran pretty well overall.

Tuesday I learned that air quality alerts are no joke. I was really struggling, and ended up 20 seconds per mile slower than Monday, even though my legs felt OK. I ended up staying in the flatter parts of my neighborhood, and managed to get up to 5 miles.

Wednesday, I went to where the air is clean and the running is mentally excruciating: the Y. I ran pretty well, even if I didn’t enjoy it much.

So remember when I said my new shoes were a hassle to get? Well, I went out to buy them on Tuesday, but they were out of stock. They checked with their other stores, and found a pair in my size. They said they’d get it in to the University store later in the week, and they’d call me when it came in. It wasn’t there on Wednesday. Not a big deal. It wasn’t there on Thursday. This was a bigger deal. It meant I’d have to go to the office on Friday (which I almost never do, I just work from home normally). I still wanted to stay inside, so I figured I could get up at 5, go over to the Y, and get back around 7, I could get to the office by 9. The problem is that I didn’t change my alarm, which I had set for 6:30 on Thursday since it was a rest day. When my alarm went off, I realized I’d have to do a very abbreviated neighborhood run. On the plus side, I got out there at 6:38, and it never takes me just 8 minutes to get from bed to running, so there’s that. The run itself went better than I expected. I think the air quality had improved very slightly over the course of the week, although it still wasn’t great.

Saturday I got up and drove up to Freedom Park. I figured if I ran to 7th Street and back, that would be just over 4 miles, and then to Park Road Shopping Center and back would also be just over 4 miles. So, 8 miles. I managed to add a little bit to my run to get it up to 8.76. I could have gone a little longer, but I needed to get home and cleaned up before the day’s two parties. Also, on the last .76, I ran at an 8:59(!) pace, so I’d say that qualifies as a strong finish.

Next week, I’m posting my NYC recap on Monday, running the Southpark Turkey Trot 8K on Thursday, preparing for my parents to visit, and I’ll try to fit in a few other runs. We’ll see how it goes.

Weekly Wrap-Up: November 7-13

Well, from a running and recovery standpoint, the week went well. I got to see my aunt, cousins, and my cousins’ kids on Monday, I had a safe trip home on Tuesday. I got to see my nephews (and my parents too, but I spent last weekend with them) this weekend. And I got to watch a little bit of the Charlotte Marathon on Saturday. Let’s just not talk about Tuesday evening.

With my runs this week, my first pair of Brooks Adrenaline 16s are now at 401.0 miles, and so they’ll be retired. I don’t want to do a separate post for them, so I’ll just say that they lasted me from May 15 to November 12, and while I never did any races in them, I did bring them to Portland in August, so there’s that. They helped me get through my training for New York City, including what ended up being my longest training run of 18.76 miles. And they were the shoes that I was wearing when I fell down. They had an eventful life, but they’re in remarkably good condition, so they’ll live on as my walking around shoes.

Weight Check: 160.9. That’s up exactly one pound from my last official weigh-in on Friday, November 4, before my last training run. I spent time with my extended family (both while I was in New York and this weekend when I was back home), so there was plenty of beer and food. And when I went back to work on Wednesday, I was in catch-up mode (I had been gone since the previous Thursday) and didn’t get a whole lot of sleep Tuesday evening (Like I said earlier, let’s not talk about it), so I drank a lot of Mountain Dew. Still, 160.9 isn’t bad.

This Week’s Runs
Day Total Miles
Thursday 4.01
Saturday 6.01

Total: 10.02 miles

I don’t have a training plan, and I’m not sure I’ll have one again until the next time I train for New York City. So for now, I’ll just put my total miles each day in the table.

I should probably talk a little bit about my recovery. As you can imagine, Monday was the toughest day. I love my cousin, and appreciate her inviting us to visit and then stay Monday night, but I really wish her house didn’t have so many stairs. I had general soreness in my legs, primarily my quads. Climbing stairs was about as difficult as walking. Going down stairs, however, was really painful. I took some ibuprofen, and that seemed to help.

Tuesday was better. I felt soreness, but it was much less than Monday, and it didn’t seem to slow me down. Going down stairs still hurt, but it was more manageable.

Wednesday my legs were still a little tired, but I went back to work, so I was able to walk around a bit. Other than my legs getting a little stiff after sitting for a while, I was OK.

Thursday, I had my first post-race run. It went better than I expected. My legs were still a little sore, but they didn’t feel like they were beat up. Also, it had cooled off, and this was the first time I ran in long sleeves since April or maybe even March.

Friday was a rest day, and my legs felt pretty normal.

Saturday morning, I got up and drove to Freedom Park. I ran around the park a bit, then up the greenway to 4th Street so I could watch the Charlotte Marathon go by. I got there about 5 minutes before the leaders got there.


The bicyclists almost got in the way, but you can see the leader in the red shirt and black shorts. I can’t read his number with the glare, so I don’t know how he ended up doing. This was just before Mile 2.

After the crowd support in New York City, I wanted to stick around to pay it forward to the Charlotte Marathon (and Half Marathon) runners, but I had to get home and get cleaned up so I could spend the day with my nephews. (They’re the best.) So I ran back to my car and ended up with 6 miles, just enough to give me double digit miles for the week. I was really happy with my pace.

This week, I should finish my Race Report for the New York City Marathon. As far as running goes, we’ll see how I feel, but I’d really like to get back up to 5 days of running.

Weekly Wrap-Up: October 31-November 6

Yes, even though it’s now Friday, I’m still going to do a wrap up of the previous week. I need to rely on my notes for anything that happened before I left for New York, though.

I’ll save any comments about how I feel physically post-marathon for either the race report or next week’s wrap-up.

Weight Check: For my official weigh-in, I’m gonna go with Friday morning, pre-run, and that’s 159.9, unchanged from my last official weigh-in. I got down to 159.3 after my Friday run, so I’m going with that as my Race Weight.

I didn’t take good notes on my eating. I think I limited myself to one can of Mountain Dew each day I was in the office (Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday), not many snacks, and one beer on Wednesday night and Thursday night. So, not too bad.

This Week’s Runs
Day Scheduled Total Miles
Monday Easy 5 5.02
Tuesday 1.5 mile warm up, 3 x 1 mile at Marathon Pace (11:00/mile) with 1:30 recovery, 1.5 mile cool down 6.31
Thursday Easy 4 4.01
Friday Easy 3 3.11
Sunday 2016 New York City Marathon 26.2

Total: 44.65 miles

My notes for Monday just say nice weather (it was 55) and my legs felt OK, so I have no idea why I ended up with .02.

Tuesday was my last workout run for a while, but at least it wasn’t too complicated. The weather was crappy (63 and humid in November?!?), but I don’t think it affected me too much. My splits on the intervals were 10:46, 10:27, and 10:14, and my legs felt OK.

Thursday my legs felt fine. I had been doing my 4 mile runs on the treadmill, but for reasons that I don’t remember, I actually did this one outdoors. I made the comment that the weather was pretty close to what I’d see in New York City, and I was pretty close.

Friday was my last run, and as I expected, I had to make it a 5K. Not a great run, not great conditions (62 and humid), but I got through, and officially ended my training program.

Sunday was The Big One. 5:28:01. More details to come in my Race Report. Early next week, maybe? It’s not a PR, but I’m OK with it. I’m still going back to run it again and get a PR, though.

For whatever you want to call the week of November 7 (Normally I’d call it next week, but it’s now Friday, so…?), my plan was to rest until Thursday (which I did), then go out again on Saturday, and ideally end up with at least 10 miles so I can stay in double digits.

I’ll be back with another weekly wrap-up in, uh, 2 days.

I’ll Be Back

So, I’m back home. I don’t have much time, but I wanted to pop in just to say that I made it through the New York City Marathon in 5:28:01. Sadly, that means I won’t be able to change the banner, as City of Oaks is still my marathon PR. I’ve already decided that I’m going to run New York City again, but probably not next year.

The Race Report is going to take some time. I’m feeling better about the race than I thought I would, considering I missed all 3 of my goals. I’m still slightly disappointed in my time, especially since I know this one was my fault. On the plus side, I know exactly what I did wrong. I’ll go into more details in the full Race Report.

One thing that I have to say, the crowd support was absolutely amazing. It was so much fun running through the city, even on the miles when I wasn’t feeling so great. I shouldn’t really be surprised, but I’m proud of how New York City showed up on Sunday, and I’m proud to say that I was born there.

That’s why I’m determined to run NYC again. I know I can fix what I did wrong, and the spectators were the best.

Final Thoughts Before NYC

As I write this, it’s less than 3 days until the New York City Marathon.

First, the easy part. The race will be on ESPN2. Coverage starts at 9 AM, the elites start at 9:50, I start at 11, and the odds of me getting on TV are pretty slim, but if they show anybody near the back of the back, you might see me. (I’ve never actually watched a marathon on TV, so I have no idea if it’s exciting or boring. I suppose that, like most other types of sporting events, some races are more exciting than others.)

If you want to track me, my bib number is 63359. Here’s a page on the race website where you can download the official app and use it to track me (or anyone else you know who’s running), or you can just go to the website during the race and do your tracking if you don’t feel like downloading another app and you’re going to be at home anyway.

I’ll definitely post updates on Facebook, and while I can’t make any promises, I’ll try to post some stuff on Twitter and Instagram (@pjsmith73 in both places) for anyone who isn’t actually friends with me on Facebook. (I won’t be posting anywhere during the race, though.)

Even though my car will be safely parked 500 or so miles from the finish line, I’ll still have my car key with me for the required post-race picture.

OK, on to the hard part, my actual thoughts.

Even after over 3 months of training, I still don’t have a clue how this race will go. The good news (well, sort of) is that the more I look at it, the more I think I underachieved at City of Oaks last year. (I finished in 5:24:37.) So in theory, I’ve got lots of room for improvement. The bad news is that my average pace on my training runs this year has been slower than last year, about 25-30 seconds slower per mile. Yes, the summer months were brutal and much warmer and more humid than last year, but October has been pretty nice, and my paces are still slower than last year.

I think if things go fairly smoothly, I can finish in around 5:10 without a crazy amount of effort. That’s almost a 15 minute PR, and nothing to sneeze at. But man, I’d really, really like to get under 5 hours. I’m close, and I feel like if I was in the shape that I was in for the Charlotte 10 Miler in February, I could do it.

The problem with shooting for a sub-5:00 marathon is that if I can’t do it, the last 6 miles of the race will be really painful. If I shoot for 5:10, I’ll probably be OK. So, I don’t know.

Part of me thinks I should just go out there and see how I feel. Well, I felt fine for the first 11 miles of the City of Oaks Marathon, and that went south pretty quickly after around Mile 15 or so.

New York City may not be “flat and fast,” but as far as I can tell, it’s not a brutal course like City of Oaks. The bridges are tough, and there are some hills in Central Park right near the end, but it seems like it’s still a fairly reasonable course. (Reasonable for a marathon, anyway.)

The interesting thing is that over the past week, I haven’t really felt nervous about the race. There’s maybe a little bit of worry about getting to New York, and getting to the starting area on race day, but I file that under general travel anxiety, pretty normal for me. I wouldn’t say that I’m actually excited about the race. There’s still time for me to get either nervous or excited, though. More than anything else, I feel this mixture of wonder and curiosity. How well can I run? What am I capable of? It’s kind of a strange reaction, but I’ll take that over a complete and total freak-out.

This is my dream race. It’s in the city where I was born. More than anything else, I want to reach the finish line feeling like I did everything I could to honor this race. And I’d really like to have some fun out there. All of that is pretty vague, though, and I really should have some concrete numbers. So here are my goals.

Goal A: Under 5:00
Goal B: Under 5:10
Goal C: New PR (Under 5:24:37)

I know Goal A is aggressive, but if I have any doubts, I’ll drop it pretty quickly and shift my focus to Goal B. And if I get a PR, I get to update my banner.

I’ve put in my training miles and overcome obstacles, I’ve completed 26.2 miles once before, I know I can do it again. I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.

Central Park, here I come.