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Race Result

Racer: Mike Tine
Race: New York City Marathon
Date: Sunday, November 5, 2006
Location: New York, NY
Race Type: Run - Marathon
Age Group: Male 35 - 39
Time: 3:54:32
Overall Place: 10109 / 38368
Age Group Place: 3024 / 8334
Comment: This hurt....a lot! Not enough training, went out too fast.

Race Report:

Original stretch Goal time – 3:15
Revised Goal time – 3:30 (8-min/mile pace)
Actual time - 3:54:32 (8:57/mile pace)

This race hurt more than any race I’ve ever done, although the 2 Iron-distance races are definitely up there. I do triathlons for many reasons, but one reason that I enjoy them so much is that I’m good at all three disciplines, although not spectacular at any one. Running is my weakness of the three, in particular distance running. Still, I had signed up for the 2006 NYC Marathon for two reasons – to motivate a friend of mine into running more (he dropped out before the race due to lack of training), and to raise money for charity (I raised almost $6000 for the International Fund of the Red Cross and the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation). I had also committed to two triathlons in October for this charity goal. Between tapering/racing for these, work distractions, and life distractions, my marathon training took a turn for the worse with about two months to go. My original training goal was to run a few times a week, with at least a medium run during the week and a long run on the weekend. These long runs would gradually increase up to 25 miles with some time for speed work too. What really happened? I worked my way up to 19 miles at a slower than expected pace (but with the excuse that I’d done a triathlon the day before) with not many weekday runs, and certainly none of medium length. As such, I modified my stretch goal of 3:15 to a goal of 3:30 which would allow for what I thought was a reasonable 8-min/mile pace. I even argued my way up to a faster corral at the start so that I would have a better chance of meeting this goal….because I truly had convinced myself that I could.

Race day began very early for a race with a start time of 10:10am. I woke up at 5am to get ready to be at the bus pickup at the NYC Public Library by 6am (the last bus left at 6:30ish)! On the bus for the ride to the start in Staten Island, I ended up sitting next to a guy whose parents live about a mile from my Mom, and whose college roommate lived across the street from me growing up (different town than my Mom lives now so the two aren’t correlated at all); small world. Anyway, I got to the start and scouted out where to drop my gear bag and where my start was. Due to switching corrals, they were on entirely opposite sides of the starting area, about a 10-minute walk, so I did more walking this morning than anticipated. Still, I was able to sit around for awhile, but got up periodically to stay warm. I also alternated between Gatorade Endurance and water throughout the morning to stay hydrated, as well as a PB&J a bagel, etc. As such, as they summoned us towards the start, I had to make a couple of pitstops, but as a guy, that was easier than for the women as evidenced by the line of men along the fence on the way to the start! From here, we lined up for the start, where we waited for about ½ hour more.

Once we started, we all (38k+) headed over the Verazzano-Narrows Bridge. It was an incline, but it felt fine to me. I think we were moving slightly slower than 8-minute pace at this point but I wasn’t worried. I just stayed within myself and gradually moved it to 8-minute pace as space opened. I was running relatively easily during the first few miles through Brooklyn, although my heartrate was higher than I expected at this point (150’s). I convinced myself that it was because it was a race, and that I could hold it for 26.2 miles. I was wrong, but I didn’t yet know it. Through Brooklyn, the bands were great, and the crowds were motivating. I was maintaining my 8-minute pace, but about mile 10, I started to notice a little fatigue setting in, but I didn’t get too worried yet. Then at mile 12 or so, the 8-minute pace guy passed me. I tried to keep up with him, and I did until the ½ way point. But it was getting awfully difficult to keep this pace considering I still had ½ to go! From here I dialed it back a little bit, but not much. But every mile got more and more difficult. By mile 15, I was struggling. At about mile 16, I stopped to walk for a short while on the Queensboro Bridge before I saw my wife and family who had come to cheer me on, and whom I knew would be just before mile 17. The downhill run from the bridge into mile 17 as well as the massive crowds in Manhattan helped keep me looking good until the mile 18 water stop. At this point, I realized I’d have to walk through every water stop. So I did that. I ran to each mile’s water stop, then walked through it. Unfortunately, by about mile 22, even this was difficult. So I walked from the start of the mile to the end of the water stop, which was probably ¼ mile in some cases. But then I’d run to the next one. The last couple of miles I walked even more than this because my quads and hamstrings were absolutely toasted. Not necessarily cramping (although this threatened once or twice), but rather just having no strength left in them. I was leaving everything I had on that course just to get to the finish despite the amazing crowds throughout Manhattan, and the whole race for that matter. My new goal had shifted to 3:55 so I broke the 9 min/mile barrier. Even knowing my family could be watching as I crossed the 1-mile-to-go banner wasn’t enough to get my legs moving. So I walked and ran alternately until I hit the ½-mile to go, then gave it all I had left. Without the yard markers, I truly don’t believe I could have finished at a “run.”

I had absolutely nothing left. When asked to raise my leg onto the 6-inch-high chip-removal sawhorse, it took me a full 30 seconds to do so. I kid you not, I had so little energy left, that lifting 6 inches took that much effort, plus my entire leg threatened to cramp if I moved any faster. Then the long shuffle continued on for the finisher medal and bag pick-up. I was worried since my name begins with a “T” and I was in truck #65. At truck 8, I had to stop and lean against the truck because I couldn’t walk any more. A kind medical assistant helped me walk for a little ways, and then I was on my way (I said he could go). At truck 16, I had decided to leave my few items for whomever wanted them and to just exit the part at the A-H Family Reunion street. Fortunately, I discovered they had inserted trucks 62-67 at this point, so I walked to get my bag, and then exited to 78th Street and Central Park West. At the exit from the park was a medical tent, and I simply couldn’t walk any more. I was shivering from the cold, and my legs couldn’t foresee the walk from 78th to 59th where I was going to meet my family without a rest or collapsing. So I decided better to collapse/rest in the medical tent than on the street. This was my first-ever visit to a medical tent at any race. That’s how badly I’d undertrained and left everything on the course. The person who helped me at this tent was the exact same guy who’d helped me earlier in the walk, by coincidence. After about 10 minutes of rest in a warm tent on a comfortable cot with some pretzels and Gatorade, I said I was okay to go, and started the shuffle back down to Central Park South. Thankfully, they’d given me a 2nd foil blanket at the med tent which kept my lower body warmer, since I was still very cold. But I made it through the crowd to the Essex House to meet my family. I greeted them, thanked them, chatted for a little while, called Karen to see where she was (she was waiting, and had somehow missed me, on Central Park West), and then left to catch a cab back to the hotel. I had to walk a few more blocks to get to a point where traffic was allowed to catch a cab. I finally hailed one, and made it back to the Park South Hotel on 23rd and Park/Lex. I unfortunately left my brand new, Nike running gloves in the cab! Once at the hotel, I retrieved my bag (we’d already checked out), and walked 5 blocks south to the NY Sports Club to shower. Although I belong to LifeTime Fitness, I joined NYSC for a $20 2-week trial so I had a place to shower after the race. I likely could have paid the $15 guest fee as both gyms are members of IHRSA, but I didn’t want to risk it (I’ve been disallowed before). Anyway, this shower felt spectacular at this point. Once warmed and cleaned up, I packed up and after 10 minutes, hailed an open cab to Notaro’s Ristorante on 2nd Avenue, and met my family and Karen for an early dinner before the train back to DC. Although exhausted, I had fun chatting with everyone. But my stomach wasn’t as ready for food as I thought it would be, so I only ate about ¾ of my meal. I was also fighting to stay awake. After a long train ride home, I packed for my morning trip to Bermuda and went to sleep for a glorious 5-1/2 hours.

Footnote: After waking up at 5:30am to catch a flight to Bermuda, my connecting flight was canceled, so I’m typing this report at JFK waiting for my 4pm late flight to Bermuda. I’m thankful for this since I got the last seat on the flight, but it’s frustrating that I should already be in Bermuda. My legs are tightening up every time I sit down, but so be it. Overall, my life is blessed, so complaining about things like this seems silly.