The last "long" run
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 weather.com and accuweather.com.
6 days to go...