NYRR Join The Voices 5 Miler

This weekend was my first time back in NYC since our friend Hurricane Sandy decided to take over.  My last race out here was the Poland Spring Marathon Kick Off (and what turned out to be the only race that actually happened Marathon Week in NYC).  Don’t remember?  Go over here to read about that race and weekend. 

Anyways, I came in on Amtrak yesterday morning after finding $25 one way tickets through a deal last month.  After getting in around 10:45, I headed to downtown and the WTC area to the Club Quarters which had just reopened as of Wednesday due to Sandy (that’s a bummer for business right there).  After checking in, I hopped on the train to the Upper East Side and picked up my bib and shirt at NYRR.  Long sleeved is always nice and is a welcome change from the long sleeved shirts I normally get from them during the Emerald Nut Run on New Year’s Eve.  After finding an Irish Pub with some college football on and grabbing a bite to eat and window shopping, I headed to church and enjoyed the rest of the night.

This morning brought a 645 AM wake up call even though the race didn’t start until 8:30.  Needing to actually get to Central Park on the 1 train, the line wasn’t fully up and running yet and I needed to be sure to be on the 7:35 train.  Needless to say, my running tops I brought weren’t thick enough; I was wishing I had thrown in one of my thicker layered shirts, but what can you do.  Besides, running with 3 long sleeved shirts on is fun, right?  I brought some gloves with me and my new toy, my Garmin 410 (I bought it last week off amazon.com for 1/2 off with free shipping and another $20 off courtesy of a coupon my mom emailed me.  Thanks mom!). More on my new friend shortly.  After getting to Central Park and wondering, I got in my corral and heard from a few people from NYRR, Cornell/Weill Hospital and Brain Cancer supporters/ survivors representing Voices Against Brain Cancer.  It’s a great organization so head over here.  VABC was started in memory of 24 year old Gary Lichtenstein shortly after he lost his battle with brain cancer in 2003 by his family and supports brain cancer awareness and research.

Shortly after 8:30, we got a double bull horn send off and off we went.  It was reverse of the Poland Spring 5 miler so we headed across the top of Central Park to the east side, down the east side of the park, around the Jackie O area and back up the west side of the park. About 1.25 miles in I stopped to go to the bathroom and lost a minute and didn’t even get in to go.  I gave up and started running again (after the race, I was wishing I hadn’t stopped).  I only picked up water at one of the water stops (which one, either at mile 2 or 3).  I was weaving between people for a good 30% of the race, which I hate doing.  My best advice to people is to know yourself and where to start in a race!  According to my Garmin, I ran in 46:28 with splits of: 9:27 (mile 1), 9:27 (mile 2), 9:05 (mile 3), 9:30 (mile 4) and 8:57 (mile 5).  According to the official results, I finished in 47:27 (thanks to the failed bathroom attempt, but what can you do).

I’m glad to see NYC getting back on it’s feet post Sandy.  There were chopped up and shredded up trees in Central Park, still some shops and restaurants closed down due to Sandy and that’s just on Manhattan.  Stores and organizations are still doing fundraisers and collections for Sandy Relief in other parts of the area that have been affected.  Here’s to hoping these guys get back on their feet sooner rather than later!

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NYC Marathon or Not to NYC Marathon

This time last year, I was prepping to run the NYC Marathon.  To say that I had a blast NYC Marathon weekend is an understatement to say the least.  Fast forward 51 weeks and the East Coast is dealing with Frankenstorm and Hurricane Sandy.  Massive storms and flooding showed themselves leaving NYC and New Jersey hit the hardest Sunday and Monday.  Lower Manhattan saw flooding, Staten Island was hit ridiculously hard and the NYC Subway was shut down.  All during marathon prep week.

After the weather was done showing itself, people were left wondering this: would the NYC Marathon be moved or canceled all together?  There are things that happen on certain weekends every year (the Chicago Marathon Columbus Day weekend, the OSU Michigan football game the weekend after Thanksgiving, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, etc)- can you really not have them at all?  People were left wondering a few things:

  1. Why have a marathon and pull first responders from those truly needing help recovering from Frankenstorm?
  2. How will people even get to NYC with the amount of canceled flights from LaGuardia, Newark and JFK and route restrictions on Amtrak and the massive traffic mess with the NYC tunnels?
  3. With the amount of food, water and gatorade used, why not give it to people who are with out power and thus have no water to use?
  4. Why shut down streets when there’s already difficulty getting around and when power, etc is trying to be restored?

As a runner I can see both sides of wanting the marathon to happen and the calls to have it canceled.  After 9/11 for example, there were major sporting events and community events that went on that pulled communities together and helped with the healing process.  The NYC Marathon could bring people together to help deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.  On the other hand, there’s the issue of having 45000-50000 people taking over a city, shutting down streets and drawing manpower away from cleaning up the city.  You also have sponsors donating food and water to a race in a major city, yet people in other boroughs a few miles away have nothing.

Us runners are crazy, and yes, races are expensive.  People take time off work, pay for flights, hotel rooms, food and race fees ($250 ish for the NYC Marathon alone) and to have a major event caused by mother nature threaten something you’ve trained for 4 months for is mind boggling.  However, how do you ignore the fact that you’re running a race where people were swept away, homes came off their foundations and heat, water and power may be out for over two weeks?  NYRR has donated $1,000,000 to recover efforts, canceled their opening ceremonies and the NYRR Dash to the Finish 5K on Saturday.  They’ve also offered runners the chance to defer until next year through Saturday night and extended expo hours so people can still get in to pick up their bibs.  Mayor Bloomberg has given the OK for the Marathon to go on and NYRR has been hard at work to make it happen.  On social media, there’s a debate almost as hot as politics brewing about whether to have the marathon at all or if NYRR should cancel it.  With that said, what’s your thoughts?  Should the Marathon go on or be canceled this year?

Poland Springs 5 Miler: Not Even A Potential Hurricane Could Stop Us!

Apparently Hurricane Sandy and Frankenstorm thought it could stop a bunch of runners from racing. HA!!  Not so much.  The Marine Corps Marathon went off without a hitch in DC and in NYC, we were all set to go to kick off NYC Marathon Week with the Poland Spring Marathon Kick Off.  All last night and this morning, I was checking social media and NYRR for the possibility that Frankenstorm would cause the Park and Recreation system to pull a quick one and cancel the race.  I woke up around 7 and changed into my gear, ate a greek yogurt and headed out around 7:30 (I really like 8:30 starts when it doesn’t take long to get to the race).  8:05 comes around and I was able to make my way in to Central Park with a bunch of other crazy runners.

Normally, love the NYRR volunteers.  Today, the volunteers were yelling at everyone they could it seemed like if you weren’t running the trail.  They were yelling at people to get to the side walk if they weren’t running or to turn around.  Kind of obnoxious, not going to lie.  I went to the grassy area where Poland Springs was handing out water and free gloves.  Since it wasn’t cold enough to wear them, the definitely ended up stuffed in my capris (yeah, you couldn’t notice I promise).  Went I went back out to the trail, more yelling by the volunteers to get to the sidewalk when 50 feet later, other volunteers were ok with runners being along the corrals and ducking in. Oh well.

At 8:30, the gun went off and 5 minutes (ish) I crossed and off we went.  The race started on Central Park West’s side around 69th street and we headed towards the 80s/90s.  The first mile was really congested.  People had jumped to higher corrals (I can’t complain because I did too), but we had slower runners ahead of us which made for a slower, frustrating first mile.  After we passed the first water stop and mile marker, you knew you were with your right pace of people which is always a plus.  I had 2 clowns in front of me and a few other costumized people.  I kept a steady pace and was able to make up some time from the first mile.  At some point after mile 2, we turned and headed towards the east side of Central Park.  After the mile 2 mark, we had a water stop and then a quick turn- that was not what I wanted to see.  Put the water after the turn! Oh well.  Onward past miles 3 and 4 and I could tell we were almost done.  And that I should have had my yogurt earlier than I did.  We cut across to the west side of Central Park and after a few tenths of a mile, you could see the finish.  I was picking off people (woohoo!), but I was feeling the dry heaves come again. Blah!  All things aside, I finished in 47:39.  Not a bad run for my first post Chicago Marathon race.  I’ll take it.  My legs were stiff for whatever reason.  Afterwards, I found out on Twitter someone had quoted a tweet of mine in an article!!  Go take a look, I’m FAMOUS!  Ok, not really but it’s still pretty cool.

But hey, Hurricane Sandy didn’t win!!  I got back to Philly around 3:15, picked up  a few things from the store and headed home.  The sad thing is, I have to leave for my next rotation tonight 2 hours north of Philadelphia.  Finishing a load of laundry and off I go.  Please stay safe everyone!!

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