Monday, October 31, 2005

The last "long" run

I'm kind of getting sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. My throat has been bothering me since Wednesday, though I've only had minor sniffles here and there. This morning I'm actually coughing up some phlegm, but I think it's from mouth-breathing overnight, because my chest feels fine, and with a little imagination, my throat may be a little better. (Was that too much information?)

Anyway, on the one hand I'm upset that I'm sick this close to the marathon, and I'm worried how it will affect my performance. On the other hand, there's not much I can do. Everyone tells me to "take something". As a doctor, I've always frowned on that behavior, knowing that this is most likely viral. I think if I'm not getting better in a couple of more days, I'll reconsider.

I did make it out to Central Park yesterday. I was still undecided between 6 and 8 miles, so I decided slightly less than 8 would be fine. I wanted to accomplish two things: 1) go up the big hill in the counter-clockwise (tougher) direction, and 2) run the loop in the clockwise direction, which is how the marathon will end. So that's what I did.

I started with the hill, and felt pretty good. I know a lot of people say that Central Park has tough hills, and that the Manhattan Half Marathon is the toughest because of that. I think because the vast majority of my training has taken place in Central Park, I've unknowingly gotten pretty good with the hills. I notice them, but not that much. I find that I pass people on the hills - usually the same people that blow by me on the flatter parts of the park.

Anyway, that was a short loop, and then I started in the opposite direction from 102nd street on the east side. The marathon enters the park at 90th street, so I was essentially running the last few miles of the course. (Not exactly, but I didn't want to run on the sidewalk of Central Park South.) That was kind of cool, because there are banners attatched to the light poles saying "Marathon Course". I kind of had the feeling that everyone running in the park was running the marathon next week, but I still felt pretty cool seeing those banners. As I rounded the bottom part of the park and headed towards the "finish line", all the bleachers have been set up and I imagined running by them next week with tons of cheering. Earlier in the day the actual finish line was up for a marathon kick off race, but by the time I got there it was gone. It was still pretty cool.

I would have been totally psyched if not for the fact that I was struggling at that point. First of all, I still had another 3 or 4 miles to get back to where my car was. Secondly, I was once again going too fast.

I was trying to run slow, and actually thought I was running my usual 10 minute miles, or maybe a little faster. In fact, by this point I was thinking how my "dream goal" of a sub 4 hour marathon finish was ridiculous. I couldn't maintain this pace for another 20 miles! (I still think it's not too realistic, and I should get it out of my head. I just wish 4:22 was as "round a number" as 4!)

(In case you're wondering why I just don't look at my wrist for the pace, it's because the "current pace" on the Garmin jumps all over the place. It's not too accurate moment to moment, only afterwards. Under normal situations, you can look at the pace at the end of each lap, but in Central Park the GPS readings are often wrong. Using SportTracks I correct the GPS data, and then it gives me the correct splits, which you see above.)

If you look back to mile 6, you'll see a little bump in my time. That's because as I ran past this guy, I recognized him. I'm always on the lookout for fellow NYC bloggers, but it was kind of cool to recognize one of them. I turned back and chatted for a few moments. Since Brooklyn will be at the marathon expo, I'll see him in a few days anyway.

Well after that I suddenly felt energized! (You can see by my last few splits. I had to adjust the last data point to reflect my true distance, so the last split is faster than it should be. It was probably still about an 8:15 pace.) I suppose it's possible that it was because I had just rested for a minute or so. But I think it was from seeing someone at there, and not just being on my own.

I'm a little worried (and sad) that I won't have a lot of crowd support on the day of the marathon. I haven't posted this before because my parents and friends do read this blog. (I think.) I know some of my friends have commitments that day, and my folks are out of town, so I'm not trying to make them feel guilty or anything. But this little episode made me think of it a little more. In the next few days, I'll be trying to rustle up some more friends and family to come out on marathon day.

Speaking of which, I've been obsessively checking the long range forecast. When I started it was sunny in the low 50's. Then there was some scattered showers. Then it was back to a mix of clouds and sun, but into the low 60's. Now we're up to the high 60's! (I know there's no point in looking at these, but I can't help myself!) Here's the latest from and

6 days to go...


Blogger Louis said...

Funny, I'm obsessive about the weather forecasts, too. I check the same sources, plus the National Weather Service. The closer we get to Sunday, the more alike the three forecasts become. It's looking pretty good, isn't it? And no rain predicted for Saturday, Sunday or Monday. That's a very good sign.

Monday, October 31, 2005  
Anonymous DREW said...

I heard somewhere that it sometimes helps to have a gold, silver and bronze finish time. I am trying to come up with some numbers for my marathon in December and it looks like I'm a bit slower than you but you could do something like:
gold : 4:00
silver : 4:15
bronze : 4:30

Or whatever. I guess the point is to have multiple targets and feel good about hitting one of them, even the slowest one means a bronze medal.

Sorry to hear about the lack of support for the marathon. Know that there are many like me who keep up with what you're doing and will be cheering you on in our own little way. Somewhere around mile 20 you can start thinking about how you want to describe your last 6 miles in your post-run report.

Monday, October 31, 2005  
Blogger Danny said...

Thanks. I think my goals would be:

gold: 3:59:59
silver 4:21:59
bronze: finishing while running

and heck, even if I finish while limping, I'll still get a medal!

Monday, October 31, 2005  
Blogger Susan said...

Danny - go to the doctor - get yourself checked before the marathon. I wish I would have - i had the same syptoms and ended up really sick after the marathon. I wonder what my time would have been if i ran the marathon healthy . . . Run to the doctor Danny - run run.

Monday, October 31, 2005  
Blogger Mia said...

stumbled across your blog...

Think of the entire city as your cheering squad and the rest of us bloggers who will be quitely cheering you on!

Since you're the expert, I'm sure that you'll be able to gauge the ability of your own physical state. I have always played/ran through some sort of blasted cold. Something tells me that mentally, you will be more than prepared for the race...

Good luck! Looking forward to reading the post-race report!

Monday, October 31, 2005  
Blogger Jank said...

Best wishes - I'm recovered enough that I'm going to at least start in Staten Island, and have added the forecast for NYC to my Bloglines feeds...

So I'll be cheering, and running with similar time goals in mind. Look forward to seeing your report.

Monday, October 31, 2005  
Anonymous Audrey said...

that IS rough with the friends in family missing. make sure they have their phones on that day (or tell them what time to call you!) you are definitely going to want someone to bask in the glory with you!! and that's another reason it's good to have a blog-everyone here wants all of the details!

Monday, October 31, 2005  
Blogger Scott in Washington said...

My Bronze: Finishing Upright
My Silver: Finishing Upright with my tongue in my mouth
My Gold: Tongue in mouth, not collapsing immediately afterwards.

Thats too bad about the local support issue. I doubt you'll think much about it while you're running. I usually don't. If its any consolation, I'm living out here in small town Washington State and was driving to work this morning thinking, "The new WinCo opens in seven days.. Danny's marathon has to be in five or six days..."

Tuesday, November 01, 2005  
Anonymous Shawn said...

I Danny I stumbled across your blog and I don't know how. First of all thanks for the SportTracks link. Hopefully I can make use of it because theres nothing worse than getting erratic readings and not being able to fix them. Heres some advice that may or may not help you. I've done 100+ marathons and beyond and I can remember almost every detail of my first one. So make sure you enjoy the day and make the most of it. On race day your mind is your biggest competitor, so start thinking positive thoughts. From the last few posts I looked at you seem to be stressing about too many things. Know that there will be pain on race day and have a plan to deal with it. Don't try and race the first half. From your runs it seems as if you are going to need about 60 min for the last 6.2 miles so arrive at 20 miles feeling confident and as fresh as possible - then you can start racing. It would be nice to have a familar face here and there but don't worry you'll have thousands around you. I find that when things aren't going to well if I find another runner who is struggling and try and help them along I don't concentrate on my aches and pains and very soon I'm over my bad patch. Nothing you do now is going to help so close to race day so rest, rest & rest. Enjoy the company, scenery and the day and just make sure you get in before the cutoff. Good luck. I'll check back next week to see how it went.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005  
Blogger Jon (was) in Michigan said...

Hang in there, Danny. I think there's alot to be said for taking something that eleviates the symptoms so that you can rest well and reduce the mental stress of feeling crummy. Making sure you eat right during this time will help your body recover faster as well. And yeah, obviously antibiotics aren't going to help any.

6 more days! Try to resist the tpaer madness. :)

Tuesday, November 01, 2005  
Blogger Michelle Fry said...

I'm doing NY too. I will be sending good wishes your way. I ran my first marathon all by myself with absolutely no body cheering me on. I felt a little sad about it but at the end, I felt extra tough because of it. You are going to kick ass! Oh, and Drew is right, multiple goals are great. Sounds like yours are realistic.

Good luck!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005  

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