Well marathon season came and went with one marathon this fall. Last year if you are wondering I did three marathons in two months (Baltimore 4:12, NYC Marathon 4:18, and Philadelphia 3:40), this year I wanted to focus on one marathon, and really give qualifying for Boston a go. I chose New York City because I wanted to do it again, because last year I was coming back from vacation, and I don't think I trained that much the two weeks before the marathon. I also died on the Queensboro Bridge and I wanted to prove to myself that I could do better than I did last year and make it further than that Bridge before I die. Also my friend, Matt, wanted to run it and I thought it could be a pretty cool weekend in NYC with Matt, since he loves the city.
Well this weekend went much better than last year. Matt picked me up a Sheetz on Saturday morning, I wanted to get my free Mocha and some money out for NYC. We left Sheetz and on the way to NYC, we went through the Lincoln Tunnel and parked somewhere on 10th avenue and 46 street, or somewhere close to that. We walked to the Javits Center for the expo, picked up our race packets and shopped around, I didn't buy anything, and then we left. We arrange our bags, so are we were caring is are clear bags, for the bagged check for the race, and really nothing else. I took a pair of shorts, shirt socks, racing shoes, sweat pants and sweat shirt (to donate to charity). I had on a pair of sweat pants and sweat shirt to, and that is what I planed to wear after the race. We were staying at this place, that Matt found for service men and women (Matt is a staff-sergent in the Army if you were wondering). It was basically a very big house in Manhattan, and you rented beds at a very low rate (it was $45 for Matt per bed so). I will be honest with everyone here it was no Marriott (basically my wife would hate that place, but I can sleep anywhere and it was nice an very affordable).
We could not check in until four so we watched some college football at the house, and waited till four to check in. We checked in and unpacked then went to a local Irish Pub to watch the first half of the Penn State game. After that we went to some Italian place from a pasta dinner , the place was across the street, and we met some other runners there, and chatted with them for sometime. After that we went back to the hotel finished watching the Penn State game (if you don't know Joe Pa won his 400th game), and we met some other people running the race, and they were from Mechanicsburg. We chatted with them for a while, and made some arrangements to meet them in the morning. Then the showers and straight to bed.
Slept well that night, woke up at 5:00 am, double checked my bag, put the sweat pants and sweat shirts on and went down stairs to meet Mike from Mechanicsburg. Mike had a bagel and a trash bag ready for us, we hit the street and headed to the NYC Public Library were the buses to take us to Staten Island. It was about 5:30 when we got on to the bus, the bus was full so we didn't really get to sit next to each other. I didn't catch the name of the person I sat next to, but he lived in Princeton, NJ and is originally from Holland, and had a sore back, and complained about it. After the bus ride we arrived at Fort Wadsworth on Staten Island, We headed off to the villages we were staying. Mike wasn't in our village, he was in the orange village and Matt and I were in the Blue village we said good bye and we went to the separate villages. Matt and I went to the Coffee tent and the PowerBar tent. I had a small cup of coffee to stay warm and drank some water and gatorade to stay hydrated. Matt engineered a chair out of a few skids we sat there in our trash bags trying to keep warm until about 8:30 until I needed to get in the corral for the start. I was in the first wave and Matt was in the third wave so we started about an hour apart from each other.
I had to go the bathroom a few times in the corral, thankfully they had port-o-pota in the corrals. They dropped the ropes and let us start walking to the start lines. (I don't want to sound racist or insensitive to people from other countries, I do love everyone, and I love to see everyone there, so please don't take this as a negative comments because it is not suppose to be) "I feel like a foreigner in the corral", I am surrounded by people from South Korea, England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, France, Holland, Mexico, and many other countries I loved it no one was speaking english with an American accent. I did walk by someone with a "Liverpool Runner's Club" shirt on so I held on to my Garmin Forerunner 305 really tight until I passed him (I'm joking here, and I know only the English got that joke)
So I made my way to the starting line, they played the national anthem, we listen to Deanna Kastor, the Chilean Minner #11, Mary Wittenberg (NYRR President and race director) and Mayor Bloomberg all wishing us luck or something I wasn't really paying attention I just wanted to run. They fired the cannon and started playing "New York, New York" and we were off, it took about four minutes for me to get to the start line it was a slow go weaving around people up the Verrazano-Narrow Bridge, the bridge is about two miles long and my time at mile one was 8:03, much to slow to qualify for Boston, but I didn't want to race back right away, I told myself do go off and try to make up the time in the next mile. I did speed up the next mile was around 6:55, and we were in Brooklyn. The crowd is great in this race, many people cheering us on by yelling "Get Out of Brooklyn", "Get Out of Here", "Forget About It", and many other Brooklyn sayings. We ran up through 4th Avenue I was counting down the street as the number went down (it started at 92nd and went all the way down to 1), and kept telling myself keep this pace. My Garmin was saying I was running around 7:20 or 7:25 I'm not sure, a Boston Qualifying (BQ) is a 7:15, and I knew if I could keep this pace, I was lowering my average pace according to my watch by about a second every two miles or so. I got to the Pulaski Bridge and I made all those wonderful people at the beginning wish come true, because I got out of their Borough.
I was in Queens and feeling pretty good, I know we have about three miles in Queens and then the dreaded and very painful Queensboro Bridge. I know many people think this bridge cannot be that bad, but the world record holder in the marathon, Haile Gebrselassie, quit after that bridge, and then retired from running, which proves the bridge makes people quit!
Well I made it through it and got onto First Avenue. On First Avenue I changed my name to Jared and became British, because all I heard was "GO JARED" (I though it was for the former fat guy, who told everyone they could loose weight by eating Subway Sandwiches, but I didn't see him and he finished way behind me so I am thinking it wasn't him), and a whole lot of British Flags waving (this is way I changed nationality briefly), so I rode the wave of First Avenue and kept pushing my self up the hills to the Bronx. In the Bronx I turned back into to Keith and back to an American, Thank God. The Bronx is only a two mile run, and there isn't much to it, the crowd of course was great, but in this part of race I notice my time slipping, and really noticed my legs starting to hurt, I didn't know what to do, but I kept pushing.
I made it out of the Bronx and back into Manhattan, and I noticed there was a hill on 5th Avenue for about two miles. I was really sore and looking for anything at this point to get me though the rest of the marathon, I got to a water station a grab two gatorades and a cup of water I walk though the water station, I knew at this point I wasn't going to do it, I wasn't going to make Boston in this race. I got out of the water stop and started running again. I told myself even if I don't make Boston I will set a PR and hopefully make it under 3:20. I got into Central Park I told myself it is okay to walk through the water station, but don't take to long, and start running again when I was finished. I finally got to Central Park South the crowd was loud, and my legs were sore, and starting to cramp up. I started seeing the signs 1/2 mile (800 meters) to go, I had to keep going. The next sign was the 400 meter then to 26 miles, then 300 meters, 200 meters, 100 meters and then finally finished. The final time was 3:15:36. Not a BQ but a time I can be proud of.
I was really sore and I knew I had a long ways to walk to get my bag at the end of West Drive. I got my medal, my nice bag of food, and then a space blanket (or whatever you call those things). I then kept walking and walking. It wasn't as crowded as it was last year, I presumed that is was because I finished earlier. I made it down to were my bag was picked it up and called Lisa. I told her all about the race, and she told me all about Bex. I called a few more friends and was waiting for Matt to finish. I was walking around to prevent from cramping up listening to the "No Agenda Show" with John C. Dvorak and Adam Curry. By the time the podcast was over Matt was finished and we met up at 76 and Central Park West. Then came the long journey to the car somewhere on 10 Avenue and 42. It was a long walk and we mostly just bitched about the Queensboro Bridge and Fifth Avenue climb. We stopped by a pizza shop got a few slices and then to the car. Got the car and we went home. That was my weekend in NYC, a failed attempt at Boston, but a good time, and something to be proud of. I don't many people that qualified for Boston with a time of 3:10, I am sure I know a few, but I do still believe it is in my reach, it is possible and I have to keep training.
I started this journey just a little over two years ago at the Harrisburg Marathon when I finished with a time of 4:40:48. I have come a long way from that marathon, and maybe if I chose a flatter course I may have been able to do it, but it wasn't my time not this year anyways. I will run Boston some day.