Saturday, November 8, 2014

TCS NYC Marathon race report; Guest blogger & 4 time finisher, Sean Pinney

Guest blogger of the day is my good friend Sean Pinney.  Sean just finished up his fourth NYC Marathon and this is what he has to say about the race.  Thanks for the write up Sean and again, congratulations!  Enjoy!


Although this was my 4th NYC marathon, it was the first I have run in 11 years. What I remember most about it was the wind. It was present throughout the day. From the time I picked up the bus at the Meadowlands until I finished, the wind never went away. The staging area was just brutal. For safety reasons, they could not put up the tents so we were all huddling together without any protection. One guy actually crawled into a plastic trolley being used for clothes donation to hide from the wind.

Running across the Verrazano was like running in a wind tunnel. I wanted to run in a pack to get protection from the wind, but I started at the tail end of the third wave and was exposed. The wind was unrelenting and was blowing us sideways. Those were 2 long miles.

A highlight for me was running through Bay Ridge. I was on the green start and it took me on a different route through the neighborhood. It was a great pleasure to run into co-worker who was waiting to cheer me on. I saw her, ran over and smiled. I gave her a high five and then kept on running, making the turn onto 4th Avenue. 

The fans in Brooklyn were fantastic. They were packed several deep along 4th Avenue and cheering loudly. I loved hearing all the bands, in particular the one playing “Danger Zone” from Top Gun, and another who was playing something from Rage Against the Machine. That definitely got the blood pumping. 

I also loved running through Brooklyn because of the diverse people from one neighborhood to the next. Going from 4th Avenue to Lafayette and on to Bedford Street, the look and feel changes. I saw a woman in Williamsburg wave hello to a Hasidic man who did not wave back or respond in any way. In Greenpoint, there was a group of friends on a balcony who were in great spirits and probably had already consumed a great amount of spirits as well. Running through Brooklyn there would be times when the wind would disappear for a while only then to come back and hit you in the face. I just smiled and kept on going.  

My right knee started hurting at the 9 mile mark. Prior to that, I was running perfectly consistent 10 minute miles in order to conserve my energy. After my knee started hurting, these miles began to stretch out a bit. I made the halfway point at the Pulaski Bridge at 2:13, which I was pretty happy with. I was feeling good and still had lots of energy. I had plenty of gas in the tank. My knee still hurt a little, but my legs weren’t too bad. I figured I would make 4:30 at this pace and would be happy with it.

I was very nervous about the Queensboro Bridge. I was afraid that the winds would be like headwinds going across Verrazano. Also, the Queensboro Bridge was my nemesis in 2003. I had unexpectedly hit the wall back then between mile 15 and 16. It crushed me. This year, I was mentally geared up to get across. It turns out that there was little wind going across and I was psyched that I made it without any problem at all.

I turned the corner at 16 and smiled because I knew I would make it and would finish strong. I felt that way until up until the Willis Avenue Bridge. Crossing into the Bronx, my legs began to get sore and cramped up at the 21st mile. I had to walk a bit and stretch them out, but was able to start jogging again. It was great to make it across the Madison Avenue Bridge and be back on 1st Avenue. I got hit again by the wind and just smiled and kept moving on. What else could I do?

At the 23rd mile, I passed by Mount Sinai where I work. It was good to be back on familiar territory where I spend my days. I turned back into Central Park at 90th street and felt tired, but good. Then when I was running downhill, I had to stop because the pounding really hurt my knee. Who walks on downhills???

I finally ran out of the Park and turned onto Central Park South. The crowds were still packed 10 deep and cheering loudly. My knee was a little sore and my legs were tight. I had to shorten my stride, but I felt good and very excited to finish. I made the turn at Columbus circle and pushed for home. I made sure I got my arms up as I crossed the finish line. I did not feel exhausted or drained as I had in years past. It was probably because I ran slower than in the past. Final time 4:45:03.

I loved getting the finisher’s medal, wrapping myself in the Mylar blanket and feeling that immediate warmth.  Finally there was something that could break the wind.  Walking from the finish back to my car on the east side, people would stop and say “congratulations.” People always say New Yorkers are mean, but they really are nice. That’s what makes the NYC marathon a great experience. When else are New Yorkers going to stand out in the cold and cheer for you?

There were so many great sights and memories along the way. I came across people running their 30th marathon and looking strong. I saw a guy who was dribbling a soccer ball the entire way. Apparently there was also a guy juggling and another bouncing a basketball, but I did not see them. Everyone running was having a great time.

Some of the great signs I saw:

Toenails are for wimps.
You look great.
In your mind you are a Kenyan.

The phrase I heard the most from the crowd, “You got this!”  Running the NYC Marathon is always a blast for me. It’s a great way to experience the city and to see different neighborhoods. I cannot wait until I run again next year.

A powerful book I'm excited to read, 4:09:43 @higdonmarathon

I've been meaning to pick this book up for a few weeks.  It is written by Hal Higdon and is a look at the Boston Marathon bombing as told through the eyes of the runners that were there.  It looks to be a short read and I'm sure it's powerful.  I will let you know how it goes, but I have heard good things. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

11/06/2014 TCS NYC Marathon race report with Jeremy Basis

Here is a race report from my good friend Jeremy Basis.  He just finished up his first marathon in NYC and this is what he has to say about the race.  Enjoy and Thanks for the report Jeremy!  Congratulations on your race!


My 2014 NYC Marathon Experience

I woke up at 4:30am after a night of restless sleep in Wayne New Jersey.  I slept there at my friend Seth’s house the night before the Marathon. Seth and my other friend Vincent were running the marathon as well. We ordered a car to drive us to Fort Wadsworth, the staging area for the start line of the NYC Marathon.  It was cold and dark as night when we left and reports of a cold and windy day were sending this already anxious and nervous first time marathoner into a state of panic.  We arrived at Fort Wadsworth at 6am.  We were to be in the final wave of the day at 10:55am but everyone needs to get to the staging area early due to road closures.  Consequently, for the people like myself who were in the final wave, it meant a five hour wait for before we even toed the start line.  This was just one of the many tests of our physical and mental fortitude which we would encounter that day.  We huddled around and tried to stay warm while passing time by uploading pics to Facebook and receiving messages of support from all of our family and friends on social media and text message.  It led me to wonder how bad it was for marathoners before there were cell phones and social media during the pre race.

Once the anxious five hour wait had come to an end, it was time to enter my coral and head to the start line.  It was at this point when the energy started to build for me.  I was so excited to finally get moving and warm up.  As we moved closer to the start and heard the national anthem from the distance, we realized we were only seconds away.  Then Sinatra’s “New York, New York” was glaring and the excitement was higher than ever as we stood at the start line on the Staten Island side of the Verrazano Bridge… it was go time!  I’ve driven over the Verrazano hundreds of times in my life, but today I was getting a different view as I ran the two miles into my hometown of Brooklyn where I grew up and spent the first 27 years of my life.  As a New Yorker for most of my life, I had never went to watch the runners on Marathon Day so I never knew what it was like until this day.  It was the most amazing New York experience I’ve ever had.  Running from borough to borough and getting a taste of the different ethnic neighborhoods was a clear example of what a melting pot New York is.  These people were total strangers but on this day they treated runners like family.  They hand you tissues and pretzels and give you high fives along the way and it really picks up your spirits when you are feeling like you can’t go on anymore.  I started feeling that way after mile 11, which was a bit odd because I had trained hard and done all I was supposed to do.  I suppose the 5 hour wait and the windy conditions took a huge toll on me and the infamous “wall” came early.  I had a moment of extreme worry about how I was going to push through 15 more miles in this state.  I am not the most talented runner but one trait that I know I possess is I won’t stop until the job is complete.  So I just kept moving and inching towards my goal refusing to listen to the doubt that was trying to take me over.

It felt like days had passed and the sun was starting to set on the day, but the energy was still high in Central Park as I came up on the final 800 meters of the race.  My body was in extreme pain, my mind was exhausted and I had experienced every kind of emotion possible over the course of the race.  One of the things I like most about distance running is that it’s exactly like life.  You go through ups and downs.  At times you feel on top of the world and other times you feel the world is caving in on you.  Either way you must press on.  When I finally hit the last bend around and had the finish line in my sights I had never in my life been so emotional.  Tears were pouring down my face and I couldn’t believe it was finally over.  I would tell anyone who is into running and has a goal of doing a marathon that the NYC Marathon is a great race to add to the bucket list.  Beyond finishing my first marathon, I am proud to have run for Team JDRF and raised $4,000 for Type 1 Diabetes research.  This is a disease my brother Austin has been living with since age 9.  Two years ago today, I was not a runner.  I actually did my first road race on Thanksgiving Day 2012.    I didn’t realize at the moment I had crossed the finish line what I had accomplished, but now as I sit here a few days later I am starting to understand that I just completed the New York City Marathon and NOBODY can ever take that away from me! 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

11/05/2014 My run at the OffCourse workout, @athleteonfire #offcourse

The other day I previewed a workout I saw on AthleteonFire.  It looked awesome and I just wrapped it up.  On paper, it doesn't look horrible.  However, when you do it, it kicks your a$$ a bit.  I like the addition of a time goal.  I won't say it's a constraint, but merely a goal.  It is awesome and total body.  With an absence of equipment, I found it even more appealing.  Give it a try and let me know what you think.

I am not sharing my time with you, but will say that the 20 minute mark is still a goal.  Hey, nobody said it would be easy right?

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

11/04/2014 5 miles, no carbs, slowly dying

I think the no carbs thing is finally beginning to hit my workouts/runs.  I just finished up a 5 mile run that took a lot out of me.  I averaged a pace of 9:07/mile.  That is a little slow for me, but I was running simply for comfort at the beginning.  I did not worry about pace or even look at my watch until I was 4.65 miles into the run.  

I do not care how long it took, but find it interesting.  Even up until a couple weeks ago, my long runs of 8, 10, 12, 15 miles were all done at faster paces than today's.  However, I had glycogen stores back then.  Also, I was taking in carbs as I ran to refuel.  No carbs, no refueling, no major energy sources.  It will benefit me in the long run though.  Learning to run depleted is a great way to further your paces, thresholds, and efficiency.

It was also great to be out there as it is sunny and about 65 degrees with no wind.  I will hold on to mild weather as long as possible.

Monday, November 3, 2014

11/03/2014 NYC Marathon Congrats and a combo workout, strength & cardio

I am feeling reinvigorated after watching the NYC Marathon yesterday.  It is always inspiring to watch the runners battle, hear their stories, and see the faces of exhilaration when they are running/finishing.  If you watched any of it or live in the tristate area, then you know yesterday was brutal in regards to the wind.  I cannot imagine the feeling being on any one of the 5 bridges during the race and getting hit with those winds, let alone simply running the whole time in wind.  

I applaud and congratulate all those runners, including my friends, Sean Pinney and Jeremy Basis.  Both completed NYC yesterday, with Sean running his 4th NYC and 5th overall marathon and Jeremy getting his first marathon medal.  Great job guys!

I started today's workout with a 5 minute jog to warm up.  I then did 2 sets of the strength circuit I did the other day, however, I did it in reverse order.  I started with lunges and worked my way to the pushups, again doing about 45 seconds of each exercise before moving to the next with virtually no rest.  I rested one minute after the circuit and did it a second time through.  

When I finished up the circuit, I immediately ran 5 miles at 8:30/mile pace.  In total, the whole workout took me 1:03:30.  It felt good to strecth a workout to that length.  I rarely do combo workouts and I am not sure why.  It's probably because of how little strength stuff I had been doing.  I look forward to a regular Monday and Wednesday strength workout plan and I am going to vary it weekly.  

Wednesday, I am starting from scratch as far as the exercises go and the following Monday I will reverse it again and also do the cardio first, finishing up with the strength part.

An awesome workout without equipment, from @athleteonfire @offcourse

Check out this workout I just found on one of my favorite sites, AthleteonFire.  It is the epitome of a workout made for me.  All continuous exercise, no equipment, kicking your a@$ to complete it.  I cannot wait to try it for my Wednesday workout.  Enjoy!