Monday, November 08, 2010

The Lead Up

I started earlier this year way out of shape. I'd put on about 20 pounds over the winter, and was the heaviest I'd ever been. Through February I'd run a grand total of 2 miles. I started off slow with 30 miles in March, and then 72 in April. I continued to build a base until starting marathon training in earnest in July. By the time the marathon came I'd run 829 miles for the year. And I was 25 pounds lighter.

I'd been real careful through the whole cycle and felt no pain in my legs at any point. I slowly added distance, and then only added in speed in the later months.

Unfortunately, in the last week I've had some trouble. I started feeling cramping during the day, particularly in my left cramp. I wasn't sure if it was from pushing too hard in my last track workout, or just "taper madness" as I eased down on the running. (And started obsessing about the marathon!) Either way, I didn't feel so confident in the last week. Well, I wasn't going to cancel at this point...

Saturday I carb-loaded. (Like I do every day!)

I spent Saturday night trying to figure out what to wear. I ended up finding my old marathon shirt from 2007, with my name on it. I got a good idea for "sleeves" to use knee socks. (Or what I'd call tube socks.) I cut off the tips so my hand could go through, and used gloves for my hands. But these stayed up much better than sleeves cut off from another shirt.

I obsessed about socks and shoes. I ended up using a new pair of Asics Nimbus socks, and went with my old Nimbus shoes. I was worried that the new ones had caused me problems - and I still think they may have hurt me. So I went with the old ones which had just under 350 miles on them.

Sunday morning I got up at 4:45. Showered, had coffee and oatmeal, and got ready. It was a new month on the Jewish calendar, which calls for longer morning prayers. There were actually services in the Athletes Village, but I didn't think I'd get there that early. The earliest I could pray at home was at 5:41 and so that's when I started. I was out of the house shortly after 6.
I should mention that I was assigned to a 6:15 ferry to Staten Island. I remembered from last time that the ferry situation is a complete mess, with nobody checking what time you're supposed to be there. (How could they anyway? It's public transportation.) Also, for me to get to the bottom of Manhattan at 6am is very difficult. The subways don't run so frequently at 4am. (And c'mon, 4am for a 10 o'clock race!!) As it turns out, even at 6am the subway was a mess. I drove into the city to miss all the local stops in the Bronx. I ended up still requiring 3 trains, and then a shuttle bus to the ferry.

At the ferry station I overheard people saying that it was so crowded at 6, the people had to wait over a half hour to get on a ferry. I smiled inwardly as I got on a ferry in less than 5 minutes.
On the other end there were shuttle buses taking us to the start line. Once again it was so much better doing this at 8:20 versus 7:20 (or 6:20!). I still had to wait in the cold exposed area, but it wasn't too long.

I ended up getting to the athletes village about 8:50. It had taken me about 2 hours and 45
minutes to get there from home. (It would end up taking me just 5 minutes longer to get back to the Bronx by foot.) I was very happy with that, since it was a cold morning.

A little hard to see, but it was in the 30's at 7 - which is when they wanted me to get there. It was around 45 degrees by 9, and the sun was out. Much more comfortable.

I hung out by the baggage trucks and had a second Clif Bar. Within a short time it was time to head to the corrals. I checked my bag and went to the portapotty. There was an announcement that there were 5 minutes left to the corrals being closed. I was next in line. I went in, and thirty seconds later they announced the corrals were closed. Damn. I rushed over anyway.

Well, there was a line extending out the back of each corral. That was good enough for me. I ended up merging with my corral. I was in a lead corral (for the second wave) but ended up being behind a couple of thousand runners. Fine with me - I wanted to start slowly.

I had on a sweat suit, which was good because it was cold. I saw some snuggies there - still not sure if that was a good idea. Easy to get off, but they're open in the front. I had cut up the seams of the sweatpants to make them easier to remove with shoes. It worked out well for me.

Anyway, at 10:10 we headed up towards the start line. After a few announcements, the canon went off, and the familiar strains of Sinatra's "New York, New York" start playing. We were off...


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