Sunday, November 04, 2007

NY Marathon

It was a beautiful day for a race, but i didn't run particularly well. This was my worst finish since Chicago in 2005, at 3:22.53, but i did manage to finish within the top 3000 out of 38000 (about 2800). I went through the half at about 3:15 pace, but i crashed badly over the last few miles.

My day started at about 4:30 am, when i got up to put my gear on. I then headed down to the Grand Central subway station to take the train to Bowling Green, from where you can pick up the Staten Island ferry. I made it to the start area on Staten Island at about 7, and then had a 3-hour wait until the beginning of the race. The start itself was chaotic due to construction on the Verazzano bridge, but it was worth the wait. The view from the bridge is amazing.

You run into Brooklyn, then Queens, then into Manhattan, then the Bronx, then back into Manhattan and Central Park for the finish. The course is unique and very much worth running, even if you do it slowly. Although it was a poor race for me personally, it was still very memorable, and I'm glad i had the opportunity to do it.

This part of New York-- mid-town Manhattan and Central Park-- is not all of New York any more than Hollywood is all of LA. But it's pretty fun. It hard to walk down Park Avenue or 57th Street and not feel just a little bit more important than you are. The last couple of days i've had this sensation of being an extra in a Woody Allen movie, watching from the sidelines as the players go about their parts. It's cool, but it also make me realize how anchored i've become the Western ideal. Living for 25 years in Arizona and California has changed my view of the world in ways that i don't really understand myself.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Olympic Marathon Trials

I got to watch the US Olympic Trials for the marathon this morning in Central Park. It was much more exciting than you'd imagine that spectating a marathon could be. They set up a loop course through Central Park, so i was able to see the runners 5 times before the finish. Ryan Hall ran away with the race, which wasn't a huge surprise, but Dathan Ritzenheim in second surprised me a bit. Brian Sell was 3rd. Meb only managed 8th-- he really looked like he was struggling by mile 21.

Sadly, the news is reporting that Ryan Shay died during the trials, only 5.5 miles into the race. I'm not clear what happened. I was not near the incident and there was no buzz about it during the race. I did see a couple of ambulances, but i figured those were for spectators.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Off To NYC

I fly out to New York City tonight for the marathon this weekend. I've probably never been less enthusiastic about a race. I don't really want to go to New York alone all that much, i'm not especially fit, and i'm still a little nervous about the fire situation in southern California given that new Santa Ana winds are supposed to blow in this weekend. Plus, i really, really hate air travel.

Hypothetically, i think the race will be the most interesting that i've run. The big marathons i've run have all had their own unique character. Chicago really showcases the city and they have a runner's course. San Francisco has the Golden Gate and the beautiful city. Boston is Boston. But i expect this one will just have a little more of everything. The elite field is also far and away the best of any marathon i've run.