11/28/07

Weight training…

"The only reason I would take up jogging is so that I could hear heavy breathing again." Erma Bombeck

I have done many weight training types of well things in my life, such as bringing groceries home from Chinatown (about 5 lbs) about 1 mile, bringing watermelons (15lb+) home from Chinatown again one mile, and well carrying many different things such as work clothes and what not to Central Park during group night runs. But carrying the medals for mettle program medals that I have earned from high school was one of the toughest…this surmounted to about 20-25lbs worth of medals that I have received…all on my back!

But boy…I had always remembered myself thinking I should do some kind of weight training back in high school with the parachute behind you as you sprint off and have wind resistance fight against you…bad idea on our track since the wind would have blown you away…The track was on a plateau so therefore wind was against you all the time.

Weights? Actual weights in your backpack…yeah that idea came around as well, but that is just the same as I am doing now…

I do have to give people caution when trying to incorporate this into your training…Your legs can only take so much at some time, your legs are use to your own weight and may be not use to the extra amounts of weight. Gradually increase and when you feel tired, STOP!

11/27/07

Looking back...

"Jogging is very beneficial. It's good for your legs and your feet. It's also very good for the ground. It makes it feel needed." Charles Schulz

As I lay at home thinking that I am thankful for running this year. I am lucky. I have my legs, I have nothing to primarily worry about and I am safe and free...So I went to my room, took out all of my medals that I had from high school...to give to the medals for mettle program...

Well the medals were for the Medals for Mettle program that my running organization is helping out with. This is where many of the runners give in their unwanted medals that they have no use for and give it to people with mental disabilities or other diseases. This gives them the feeling of them being total winners and the earned ability of what we had felt when we crossed the finish line and received our medals in any of our running events.

I had taken out all of my unused medals that I have earned on the track and they had been in a storage box in my room. Within a shoe box, the 15 lbs or more of medals that I had kept thinking that I would look back at the memories of these medals that I had earned from high school. Yes, they were precious in their own ways, although I believe that there was more of a use if these kids have them than what I had for them. I had kept the more precious ones such as the Loucks games, the Section and Westchester medals that I had earned, but all of the rest were given up. I felt as though these medals can use a better home than a shoe box and the people would appreciate them more than I have or ever will.


Although, little did I know that these medals will have a long journey with me throughout NYC...

11/24/07

The Second: Bedford Turkey Trot

"But to say that the race is the metaphor for the life is to miss the point. The race is everything. It obliterates whatever isn't racing. Life is the metaphor for the race." Donald Antrim

Turkey Trot Galore continues with the one today in Bedford Hills, this one was just a generic run called a turkey trot because it was so close to Thanksgiving. The reason I had done this one was to just meet up as a reunion with my high school friends (I would call them my closest friends and best friends) since we all did track together and we grew up from grade school all together, although we share a closer bond, even though we don’t see each other so often now a days. We are all older, but every time we see each other, it seems as though a day has not passed.

There is a saying, or maybe I’m just making it up, where true best friends seems that way, where you don’t have to be involved with a person’s life on a daily basis, where and when you meet up again, everything seems as though you had never left, as though a day has never passed by and as though nothing has changed since the day that you had left that person.

So I woke up to drive my sister at 4am in the morning to find that the weather was absolutely FREEZING! It was so cold, say mid 20 degrees, where the cold is actually bone chilling. So I drive my sister to the airport only thinking, “WOW, I so don’t want to do this race! Why am I doing this again?” I go back home and go back to sleep to find that I will be waking up again in an hour.

So I head on out to Bedford Hills and can see that the leaves have changed, it was beautiful to drive, although with my heat blasted and my butt warmers on, I clearly did not want to venture out to the race. As I got there early, I could see that only a few cars were there at the starting line. So, I decided to drive the course, a 5K course…come on now, it’s only a 5K. But I felt good, I felt as though I could at least come in contention with my age group. Although this was before I actually saw the course. As I had been preparing for the course all week, the elevation charts of how they described this course as being “the hardest 5 K course in the Westchester Region. This did not disappoint, I was well enthralled and worried about the race course…so I ended up meeting up with my friends at the finish, got my bib and left my car at the finish line and got on the chartered bus to the starting line.

Seeing my friends were a blast (BJ, TL, AD and KG were all there) Oh and so was BD, AD’s father whom ran with me in the Vermont Marathon. I was surprised that BD was taking this race so seriously and had been psyched to doing this race. We stretched inside this school which was warm, because outside was sooo cold and this were TL’s parents and boyfriend came to meet and greet us again. Ahh, it’s so nice to see the parents of my friends, which bring me back. So the start of the race was chilly, and yet again the race start was a net time start, places were according to which place you come in. So trying to gun for a good time, I knew that I had to start in the front, although I did not. I didn’t want to take this race too seriously and I started out with my High School friends. I told them that I would start with them, which I had done, but quickly after the start, I had been gone.

In the middle of the first mile, I kept thinking to myself, “Should I just stop and just run with my friends?” I slowed up a bit and then came to terms with myself that they really wanted me to do well and that they understood that I had been in good shape and had a chance, although at the same time I felt selfish…but stuck to my guns. During the race though I had felt as though my distance pod for my watch had been hitting my frozen toes…Uh, every step I took downhill, it clanked by frozen toes! My shoes were sort of loose as well and I could totally feel as though my shoe was going to fall off.

Wheew! As I reached the straight a-ways, I was almost there…finish strong. It’s only 3.1 miles, come on now, you had just done a marathon that was 26.2 miles. UH! That’s the problem, I had just done a freakin’ marathon and you expect my legs to go faster? HA! Anyways, I made a dash toward the end not really caring what place I came in. As I veered towards the finish line, I could see some old alumnus from my school. (Well I can’t really call them old, since I had graduated before them, but their whole family was distance runners and they won the freakin’ race!)

I ended up in 3rd in my age group not even knowing about it. Staying for the awards ceremony hoping that I would get a medal…incredible huh?


See more pictures here from my friend Amers...

11/22/07

Turkey Trots Galore – Be Thankful for Running

"All of my life I have always had the urge to do things better than anybody else." Babe Didrikson Zaharias
OK…so maybe Thanksgiving is one of my favorite running holidays. Well to come to it, I did 2…yes, TWO turkey trots. With different reasons of course and one was actually on Thanksgiving, the other will come this Saturday. The Rockland one I had decided to do with my sister, because hey, we don't see each other much and well...it's not like we haven't been to that many marathons this year...yeah...two...so we did see each other often...but still it was good to run with her.

The first:
16th Annual Rockland Road Runners Thanksgiving Day 5 Mile Turkey Trot
was surely early in the morning. Packet pick-up and shirt distribution was from 6:15-8, where the race began at 9am and the race course would run for a good 5 miler. After waking up early in the morning (this was my first turkey trot ever! And the usual sleep in for thanksgiving day had been ruined by waking up at 5:50 in the morning, I kept wondering to myself and saying to myself, “why do I do this? Why do I do these races?” But after I had already gotten up, I was ready to go. My father actually took us to the race (us being my sister and I, since we wanted to yet do another race together and know that it is fun.) my parents never went to see any of our marathons, so we thought it was a huge shocker that he was actually going to see us race, although not that huge since our parents were very big supporters when we played soccer when we were little.

We arrived at the Rockland Lake, where it was FOGGY! You literally could not see like 20 meters ahead of you. We got our vintage looking shirts, our bibs and our racing chips, then we rolled back to the car. It was somewhat cold, although looking back it was the per
fect running weathered day. As the race got started, my sister and I started together, I may have had a shot at earning a medal for the race, so I started up ahead. As I whizzed through and weaved in and out of the crowds, the first mile seemed very challenging. It was a great course, but the hill in the first mile really put the tempo of the race. By halfway at mile 3, I deemed done. All I could think about was just finishing the damn race. Although there was a certain karma to the race, it was like a mini marathon in some cases. They had bagpipers at mile 2, and an Elvis guy singing at mile 4 with a sign that says, “Elvis says, Happy Thanksgiving!” It was cute and well the race course was flat after the first few hills, so in essence it was a really nice 5 miler to do. I came within like a minute off of my PR time…which was great, since I did so many races.

The greatest feeling in the world though was when you were running in the dense fog, the sun shining and well the condensation of the fog, the sun and the combination of you running…The condensation had accumulated while you ran, the water droplets co
ndensed on your eye lashes and while you ran, you can see that these droplets were right at your eye…it was pure beauty. I had never gotten that before, almost in a rainstorm like effect, but this was pure grace and the sun while hitting your eyes…it was amazing!
Well…by the time that ended, it was time to head to my grandma’s, family and good eats…HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

11/21/07

A Monday (Wednesday) group run…

"I'm not interested in athletics, I'm only interested in achievement. Fix your goal and work for it." Percy Cerutty

With all the usual suspects from the Monday night group run (DG, JG and JM) we met up this morning because most of us were off from work. We (DG and JG) ran down towards the East side running path and ran down toward the Brooklyn bridge. There we met up with JM along the path although along the way we had seen an ambulance near the track. As we ran down at the slowest pace ever, since we all were coming back from the recovery stages of our marathons, the ambulance went blaring past us. JM was running up toward us seeing the ambulance first. As we met up with her, she told us that she had though one of us, particularly me, was in the ambulance.

It had been my first day back from running and running slow was the recovery stages to get all of my lactic acids out of my muscles. Repairing all of my micro tears and injuries from my past running because essentially I had been training and running so much throughout the year and it has finally come down to resting.

Thinking ahead, I had been thinking about my turkey trots: one with my sister and one with my high school friends as a reunion. It was good to get back into the saddle and just run at a slow pace. I welcomed that and I know that indeed I need rest. My legs have taken a huge toll and now are a better time than ever to let things be and let my body recuperate. Although it had been a leisure run, there were these African American gals that had tried to trip DG and it really upsetted us all once we had heard about it. These kids had no right to do that and really could have gotten someone hurt.

Uh! Kids! What am I? An adult, a person who cares so deeply? Yup, I’m glad that everyone was ok…I ended up going to work for an hour to tie things down with our client, while the crew had their morning breakfast rutual…


...but all in all...same old group...same old feeling...

11/20/07

The Runners High...

"Perhaps the single most important element in mastering the techniques and tactics of racing is experience. But once you have the fundamentals, acquiring the experience is a matter of time." Greg LeMond

Ok, there is a rumor going around that when a runner runs for about 20 miles (could be more or less…) they go insane and get a natural high. Now, if you have ever experienced this experience, say “eh?” (I would say I, but eh? Is a better response in a different tone…so…eh? Nay, eh?)

I would have to say that the natural high would be as equal to the smokin’ high when a person smokes marijuana, but what do I know about that? I have never smoked that before…HA! Ok ok…to tell you the truth, my parents found this out when I was watching a drug free commercial and when the commercial ends, they say, “Consult your kids, ask them if they had ever done any drugs?” So, my mother asked me…and what was I going t do? Lie to them? OK…I’m not such a good kid after all and that was the past. My mother actually wasn’t very surprised at all, she told me that she would be rather surprised if I hadn’t. Thanks Mom! She told me I was always the curious one and that my curiosity would drive me to do…I guess almost anything.

Well to get back on track… The runners high is sort of natural, lighter feeling where your head just get’s a little dizziness feeling, almost like being drunk. Your brain just doesn’t get enough oxygen and you feel all giddy inside. Some people lose feeling, some people feel nauseous, some people feel very weird because they have never felt that way before. But this is the best one yet, some get an uncontrolled feeling as though they are not in control of their body as though they are right next to their body. This feeling is like an “outer body” experience.

Your body just flows, moves with the motion and you really have no control. I have heard of runners high, but during the NYC marathon, this is a totally different experience that I had ever felt before. Maybe it was just because I had been tired, maybe I really didn’t get enough oxygen to my brain…maybe I’m just going insane…am I insane?

Well…I can truly say that after my Philly marathon as well, rounding up around 20 miles, got the same exact feeling and truthfully I didn’t believe that I could get this “out of the body” experience that some people had told me about. Although, truth be told…I felt as though I had been outside of my body. I felt as though each jot of my body, my body had left my physical body. My body had felt as though it was just moving on it’s own and my spirit was running along side of it. It was interesting. It was weird, but what did I care, my body was done! TIRED!

Anyways…I think I’m just a druggy of a runner…always getting high, scoring some miles just to get a daily dosage of running highness…I’m addicted…

…this addict needs to go to rehabilitation…
"I'd say, I gotta go to rehab, I say I no no no..." - Amy Winehouse

11/19/07

Flirting with a sub three...

"Any idiot can train himself into the ground; the trick is working in training to get gradually stronger." Keith Brantly

Can't exactly say that I am to be called a sub three hour elite marathon runner...yet! I had flirted with disaster and yet I was so close. I had no clue really, although I was almost there...Till then, I will just have to live up to my PR to being a 3:00:43 marathon time. Not too shabby at all...

Now to begin with the whole story...

So I wake up at my friends girlfriends place, LS...on her lovely comfortable couch...trying not to wake the two up since their hospitality was amazing. I follow the directions that they had given me the night before to the start of the race. I could see that other runners have been walking to the start as I had...and there are tons of runners viewing out of their cars awaiting to just get out and run! As I round the corner to the infamous museum in sight, you know where ROCKY had climbed the steps, looking for my number at the storage buses so I can return after I had stripped down to my race gear...I wander around to find some of my teammates. I had seen the newly married couple, DG and LG, whom had told me during group runs about this beautiful race. Although, I had been skeptical about the COLD and how that would effect my running. I rather have the heat than the cold, due to the warming of my muscles. I slowly strip down to my running clothes to actually get use to the weather, which was not too cold and wasn't what I had expected, which was rain. So, I finally leave DG and LG and wander my way to the port-o-potties, where I look through all my stuff and find that I had lost my gloves. I am wishing that DG or LG was still there so that maybe they would have found my gloves...So after the Port-o-potties, I go to the exact place where I had stripped down and met the G's...they had left! UH! Fortunately though, the person that had been there had put my gloves to the side and I went over to ask him if those gloves on the floor had been his. He told me that they were not and that he wished that the person whom lost the gloves would come back. I thanked him and told him that it was mine...BOY! In hind sight, I was so happy that I had found those gloves...because it was SO COLD during the race.

So I turn over to turn my baggages in, where I meet up with NC and her friend. Then I meet up with SS and DM a little later on where I take pictures of all of them. They are part of my many teammates whom made it out to run and cheer either the full or half marathon. We make our way to the starting line where their are tons of people, but make my way almost to about 50 meters away from the starting line. OK...7 o'clock, the race is suppose to start...as the wheelchairs were off, the announcer then again to countdown the race start...it was cold, and all I wanted to do is just START RUNNING!

Finally, the gun went off and off we went. The wind blew and the race was on...it seemed as though it has gotten colder as the race went on. We winded our ways around the old parts of Philly first, passing the Philly Mint, passing Independance Hall from a far, and winding our ways to the long stretch of road. The weather was cloudy and I seemed to have a hard time fussing with my camera going into and out of my side pocket thing. I had major issues. As my game plan was to keep a consistant pace and a pretty fast pace. I was rolling though and had met up eventually with a pack that was running sub 3's. UH! Ok...just keep with them and I'll make my mark. I felt good and by mile 6 I could see a bunch of my teammates out there on the course, DL, DM, both EA's. As I rounded the various hills that came about on this course, thinking in my mind, I THOUGH THIS COURSE WAS SUPPOSE TO BE FLAT! it was moderately flat, but not as flat as Chicago though. The first half of the course was very fast. I clocked in my half marathon at 1:28_that was close to my PR pace and I knew that I was going way too fast. I had to keep it up though, knowing that I would only die at the end. I could feel my legs weaken and my mind set a little off. Boy, everything seemed like a blur right now. As I see the half marathon people end and their sign splitting the fulls from the halves. In my mind, I just wanted to swerve over and just end right then and there. I was done, but some how I ended up on the marathon course.

There were various signs on the course saying that this was the last hill on the course...LAST HILL...uh! NOT AT ALL! what are they saying...seriously...what trickery, I didn't like that at all, and maybe that was for the half marathon people, but it was really mean for the marathoners to look at that and say, wheew, flat surface from here on in. REALLY EVIL GUYS!
So great highlights of the race were really none. I sacrificed taking pictures for time, but really decided that at the half way mark and figured how much time I do put in from taking pictures throughout the course. I feel though that it's a good thing that I do this to remember what had happened during the race and I feel that people should share these moments with you. Or rather these moments should be shared with other people whom have never ran marathons before and get the great feeling of running a marathon. Anyways...There is more of that where that came from from choosing running over pictures and thats another blog entry...coming this week when I finally catch up!
So the half way mark was a hair pin turn around here we had started, and did i mention that my hands and fingers were frozen? Yes, it was COLD outside and a bit disturbing that I keep thinking to myself, why do I do these races in the cold? Why am I out here, where I choose to be out in the cold. On the other note, I find that I had tried to dose water on my head (thinking for some reason that I always do this and remembering Chicago and how scortching hot it was...and well...it was just the opposite) What was I thinking? It was SO COLD! My head almost broke into isicles with the wind blowing at me, my fingers frozen and me wanting to take pictures but could not...the fumbling of me and my gloves, my pouch and well...it just was not pretty. Therefor, I sacrificed pictures for a good time. Many people have been wondering about this day that I would do this, although I did decided to squeeze some pictures in...but rather blurry ones of the race.
So, we passed the rocky museum, and on to the last 10 miles of the race where it was in the park. Where you encounter another 3-4 hills and a hairpin turn at the half way mark. Meaning you see the finishers going to the end while you are on the other side wanting to turn around.
It was bad...I mean gloomy day, the park didn't seem that great (I bet on a nice sunny day it must be gorgeous, although it was windy and wet)...and by that point, my legs were done...at mile 16 I could feel the 2 previous marathons in 6 weeks sneak up on me...and the whole year of training catch up. I still pushed, although I could see that the pack ahead of me of sub 3 marathon runners had left me to fend off the wind on my own. I tried to catch up, knowing that it would be easier for them to block the wind and coast a little...but I was unable to catch up to their speed. I let them go and they slowly disappeared. I passed a station of "so called water station" where people were passing out beer...COLD BEER...etc...uh! I hated that. I had been detoxing for this race for 2 weeks and these guys are offering cold beer...it annoyed me...not that I couldn't have any, because I really didn't want any at the time, but that they could have been handing out water instead of cold beer.
As I make the hairpin turn around a town center to inch my way ever so closer to the finish line...I was thinking in my head more to finish and get this race done with. Not PRing, Not sub-3ing...and just getting it done, warm clothes and resting my legs. In my mind, I think that I have a PR in place and the Sub 3 was down the drains...I have slowed down, people were passing me and all I could do was just hang on and keep moving. I had remembered the experience that AK told me about where she had gotten this certain "runner's high" experience where you feel as though your body is on one side and your mind/aura is jotted out and running right next to you. I guess I had had an outerbody experience...but I had been pushing...keep going and keep my legs turning. I knew that I had slowed down, although I needed to just finish, END already...
By mile 24 and mile 25...I knew that I had to run sub 7:30's...I had to give it my all to still have a change to get a sub 3. I tried...tried and tried. As I pulled into the city center right before mile 26, I could see a bunch of my Flyer teammates and the Reservoir Dogs as well...they were cheering...but my face just told it all. I had nothing left. I gave it my all and I could hear EA, DL and DM all rooting for me...Pick it up a notch...turn the gears and shift...
At mile 26, I tried to turn it on, turn on my sprinting gears and go back to my very basics in running....BEING A SPRINTER. But by that time it was too late and I had no idea where the finish line had been...I tried to sprint it out...and with the effort and cheering that I had tried...
I could see that the time had already been at 3:00 in counting...I may have made it up with the net time, although I was too close to the starting line and wouldn't gain that much time in the end.
I had forgotten what I wanted to do at the very end, a fist pump in the air...trying to replicate my NYC marathon finish...but I had nothing left and just wanted to cross the finish line...I did decide to let someone take a picture of me at the finish...and then I could see JG and JM waving their hands in pure joy...they have been family to me, they knew what I wanted to do as for my goals this year and well...I had almost achieved it...and came awefully close to being a SUB THREE Marathoner...
I'll get there...I wanted to leave that goal for next year...(uh! so not!)

11/15/07

High Expectations…

"What a player does best, he should practice least. Practice is for problems." Duke Snider

There maybe a huge disadvantage about running fast. The times that you produce, the fan base that you may have, and certainly the expectations of doing well during a road race are some what intimidating.

I write this because I run for fun and not for other people, but I simply run for myself. There are certain times during the race where I think about most things such as my grandmother, my teammates and other things that maybe bothering me. But running is suppose to be a time where I think of nothing. Absolute balance of chi, karma of nothingness and I am an absolute free willed spirit.

Ok, I do lie; I do run for time. But who doesn’t. We all have that competitive spirit within us. I thrive on have certain goals that I could reach for. I have reached most of my goals this year and it would be kick ass to be an under 3 hour marathoner. I have yet to reach the pinnacle of what I want to accomplish as a runner…but rather really satisfied of what I have set out to do and that was to Boston Qualify. I have never done Boston before and still believe that I am a true rookie at marathon distance. There is much to learn and understand certain tactics, certain training, and just about everything.

So…on a flat course in Philly, if I do accomplish one more goal, then I will be reluctantly happy. If I don’t and run my best and hardest, then I’ll be happy. It’s the end of the road for this year on marathoning for me…I call it quits at 5 marathons and am simply happy about completing the Fall Four (Washington DC, Chicago, New York and Philly, all in that order). I have ran consistently and that is all I really could ask for from my legs. A marathon is tough. It is tough to be consistent. It is even tougher to get a personal record and I have learned that. The whole feeling of a marathon is just an accomplishment all together. It doesn’t matter about your time, it doesn’t matter about if you beat this person or that person. What matters most is that you competed it and that is quite the accomplishment all together. But of course, as runners we run against time and time is of the essence.

I know a teammate of mine that never tells other people that he/she is doing a marathon. He/she does not want people to find out and look at their times…if they run it for fun or for race…is that bad? I mean it’s only human nature for a person to ask about how you did…or rather runners mentality. Also when knowing the person’s usual time, they would wonder if you were injured or just had a bad day, but their concern is looked in a negative way…more on the lines of chastise than concern…too much politics in running.

Anyways, most of my teammates are predicting that I will break 3 this weekend. Most of them are sole advocators and my support group which I greatly appreciate…although there is some pressure involved with satisfying their plee! Hell, I want to satisfy my own plee as well…But I do thank them for always being my supporters and being interested in knowing how I did, the good lucks beforehand and Congrats at the end…

We’ll see if I can live up to their expectations…because I have lived up to my own already…

11/13/07

The Ryan Shay Foundation...

"To exercise at or near capacity is the best way I know of reaching a true introspective state. If you do it right, it can open all kinds of inner doors." Al Oerter

Dear NY ROAD RUNNERS,
As a member of the running community of New York, a member of one of the largest local teams and a member of the NY Road Runners family, I have great pride in the NY running community. I feel as though the running community of our nation had given us a gift to allow the Olympic Marathon Trials to be held within the beautiful city of New York City. The weekend was such a demanding and eventful weekend, given the fact of the Men’s Olympic Trials with a star studded American Professional runners would be running in Central Park and one of the best known marathons in the world, The New York City marathon.

With the recent passing of Ryan Shay and the tragedy that is involved with it, any New York runners pass his memorial (a rock) on daily runs each day. We can all fund raise for his foundation, although many of us would feel more apart of his life and his tragic event if there was something we can pass by and see each time and honor him in a more New York style.

His death is predefined as the very same way of a very similar well known runner from Oregon, Steve Prefontaine or PRE. As each day passes, the shrine may be lost. His flowers will wilt and the rock which bares his name will be slowly brushed aside (by the rubble of winter snow, muddied dirt or forgotten amongst the years).

Although, if we do honor this rock and place a medallion of a plaque right next to the rock, the city of New York, the running clubs of New York and the NYRR will be define the cause. We will show the nation the certain respect and thanks for placing the great race within our city. We will show the nation that we respect our own highly elite runners and most importantly, we will show the family of Ryan Shay and his wife, Alicia Shay, that New York will always be another home to honor Ryan.

I pass by that memorial each time I am running. I stop, lay my head down to give my respects and move on. I do not know Ryan, although I am touched because I had been there when the whole tragedy had happened. I only wish that there is something more we can give to this family than just a rock on the side of the curb which bares his name. I feel the “work horse” that is described of him is not respected in just a rock with a scratched up etched name. I believe that every runner that travels through Central Park would respect and gain inspiration through this plaque piece that describes the “workhorse” that Ryan Shay had been as a true runner.

I hope we can offer some sort of plaque, which I feel that the running communities in NYC would fundraise for. The pride of NY running would come together to honor Ryan and hopefully we can all respect him and the nation in allowing us to see the Olympic Trials and unfortunate events of Ryan Shay.

11/10/07

NYC Marathon Part IV - The ugly…

"I can't think about my race right now," Hall said about an hour after his finish. "I've trained with Ryan. He's inspired me. I'm sure I will dedicate my race in Beijing to him and his family and [his wife] Alicia. It definitely gives you a different perspective on the day. . . . To lose a friend today, it changes things."

Heading uptown was somewhat of a relief now that I had passed 16 and had to push harder to keep at an even pace. My legs were feeling it, but the energy of the crowds were still blooming until around the upper 100’s where the crowds just seemingly disappeared. I quickly grabbed onto a power bar or some nutrition bar that they had been handing out. Keep your mouth moving, keep focused and well, that’s my number one fear in a marathon is hunger. Hunger had gotten the best of me in my first three marathons, where I had not known how to solve it. I tried many things and asked many people what they do to alleviate this, although some don’t get this problem. I had gotten this problem all the time at mile 22, 23, or 24, where I lose all focus and my time drops dramatically.

Anyways, so I pass another Flyer, AS, who had taken a picture of me

Gone over the Willis Avenue Bridge, which I keep thinking about the show Different Strokes, with the two African American adopted boys, one named Willis…”WHAT YOU TALKIN’ ABOUT WILLIS?” But that’s a different story at this point. My legs feel the pain a little as the carpeting over the grates at the bridge (memories of the Chicago Marathon!) had brought a little chill to my body. Right over the bridge we hit mile 20, there was a saying which I believe is true in all marathons, that either Deana Kastor or Paula Radcliffe had said,
The first 20 miles of a marathon you are suppose to jog, the last 6 miles of a marathon is where the real race begins Conventional wisdom tells us that the marathon begins at 20 miles. To compete otherwise is to dare the fates, especially on what’s considered a tough course. So that saying was running through my head at that time and then the pain struck even more. The battling of pushing to go forward and to continue was difficult. I pushed through. As we rounded up to the Bronx, the announcers were trying to rally the crowd and have them scream, jeer and what not, but really, no one…absolutely no one was cheering…

We crossed over and now the home stretch began. All I could really do is just put on foot in front of the other. As I rounded another corner, I could see a Flyer, I caught up…usually this is not the case with the marveled, Jonny Mac…he was an outstanding running and I don’t even come close to his caliber. But I pushed on. There was one point in which an ambulance had to cross the street…the sirens were going off and slowly pushed the crowd to the side…the runners (including me) did not stop and we pushed on…and later on I could see that the ambulance made it past…going up 5th avenue through on the east side of the park was the toughest. I wonder how much energy I have to tough it up the hill and just finish within the park. My mind goes blank for a few times, I panic a little knowing the fact that I may have gotten over-hyrdrated...so I paniced a little.


At this point, I feel as though I should have not have extended so much energy jumping up and down and all around at the GU power station looking at my teammates...but again, all I could think about in my head was "mental toughness, Brian...Mind over matter, Mind over matter..." I quickly entered the park and felt as though I was going to just crash. My mind was just clearly done, not being able to think about anything, can't comprehend the crowd and just moving in motion...I had a 50/50 shot or choice...STOP completely or just trudge on..."mind over matter, mind over matter"...As I entered the park, I quickly reached down into one of my pockets, I remembered that I had put a life-saver (funny now that it's called that) where I popped that into my mouth. In the later miles, I usually put candy into my mouth just to keep my mouth moving and adds a little sugar to my heightening of awareness...(everything slows down at this point of your race and everthing seems as though you are moving in slow motion...I guess I reach the runner's high at this point...) But that will be discussed in a later date in another blog entry...

But, I quickly heard my name being called and I turn back, there I could see SH, a former co-worker and a Flyer, who had been working as a Park officer. He snapped me out of my funk...Now I just had to finish strong. I had to finish! I quickly remember that my friends are to be waiting somewhere around central park at mile 25. As I round out Cat hill, I could only think about the morning before and the effects of how Ryan Shay had felt while doing the race. I pass the boathouse, round around 72nd street transverse and the hill that is involved up it. This is the last hill, finally on this course. As I round up the hill, (mind over matter, mind over matter) I see KA and BG near mile 25, they scream at me, where at mile 16, I had stopped, taken the picture of me and them and knew that the picture did not come out. I was not going to stop to take anotuer picture...but I motioned to them that I would be calling them as soon as I was done. I wanted a picture with them because they had supported me all this way and they had donated to my cause and that was imporant.

As I passed mile 25, I remembered how I was on the sidelines last year, cheering for different people, finally I had been in this race and what a beautiful race it was. I quickly remembered the days after the marathon last year, where the banners were still up and I would do the last mile, thinking I will be at this point sometime...and here it was. I see my other flyer friends SD and EF, then I saw my co-worker JD, I could feel the love, but in the end...All I wanted to do was just finish. As I rounded out into the entrance to the park, the openning of 59th Street, I took a moment...seeing the Waldorf, the Apple store, the beauty of the city...each weekend and weekday, we enter this park and leave this park. We see the beauties of this park and city but it doesn't have any kind of effiliation toward such an event like the NYC marathon...I breathe, take a moment and exhale and move on...push on...cause this is the end.
I could see that the lanes had gotten narrower, crowds of people were everywhere ...As I round around see the Time Warner Building up ahead, the last mile seems long, but the narrowness brought about a shortness to it...time to step things up. I quickly glance and see my cousin on one of the sides...he screams out my name and I was not to stop...I wanted to...but didn't...I just wanted to finish this race.
As I rounded around Columbus Circle, the pack that I had been in and running with lingered into the park, through the trees of the beautiful outcropping and still there was much to go...As I entered the roadside of the park, there I could feel it. The energy of the finish line, the stands the cheering...and I could see, as some people would say, the Hill...or better known as F#ck you hill...where they placed this hill at the end for a reason. As I rounded enough energy for the end, 400meters to go, I felt as though that was too early...300meters....then I felt it...I could sprint out 300 meters, I had done that in High school and really wanted this race to just end...I rallied a Central Park female to finish strong and to go with me...I don't think she responded too well to that...(sometimes when people are challenged, they go...) so I went and finshed strong...

As I finished, I remembered to myself to do something, anything at the end. I found that I would jump up in the air and rally an air fist pump to celebrate my finish...I didn't want a regular finish picture where I would just cross the finish line...so I surged enough energy to jump up in the air...and indeed the camera guys got the motion of my finish....

by far...this is the best marathon that I had ever done...it had it's weaknesses, it had it's very challenges...but in the end...from a "fun run" ...to a beautiful day...to another Boston Qualifier...I eneded with a 3:08 finishing time...what a race...

11/9/07

NYC Marathon Part III - The bad…

"You don't need to apologize for the gifts you've been given," she says. "Only apologize for not using them." Marie Dorthy Buder - 75 year old nun Ironman.

OUCH!!!! NOPE! That really didn’t work, my hands start stinging as though the skin of my hands had been rubbed off, I looked, at least my hands had not been bleeding. Stupid Idea, never do that again! I quickly rub the rest of the Vaseline on my legs, at least I got most of it off, all this while still moving…I quickly take a picture of the schenery as we have a beautiful view of Manhattan, the empire state building and the rest of the buildings. We quickly get off, heading onto Queens and Long Island City, we zig zag through streets winding our ways up through to finally reach the 59th street bridge. The dead zone…This is where you reach your own spirit, it’s quite, peaceful even and uphill. A police officer spots me and screams out the window…”hey, you want to race?”…In any other situation, I would take on the challenge of racing a police car up a hill, but on a day where I’m running 26.2 miles? I think not…I can feel the burn of my legs, but the view is absolutely amazing seeing the Empire State building. Thinking in my head, I have ran the last 10 miles a week before…piece of cake. I have it in the bag and well I have heard so much about the roars of the crowd as you get off the bridge. I quickly turn my camera to movie record…I wanted to tape this for the keeping….

As I got off the 59th Street Bridge, I could hear a good roar echoing, although once off and out into the opening as you go out onto 1st avenue, it didn’t exceed my expectations. The hyped that everyone put it out to be was far greater than I had thought about in my head or what was actually there. I bet through that the larger packs of people behind me would get the inspiration that the crowds give off. I quickly turn my camera back onto picture mode and can hear someone scream out my name…”BRIAN! Keep running, You can take pictures after the race!” I quickly smiled at the person and say to myself… never… sorry lady, I like taking pictures of my races….

As I view down 1st Avenue, there are massive amounts of people on each street side. I wish in some ways that the streets would get narrower, the people were 4-10 people deep on the sidewalks and I had wished they were closer since the runners have such a huge lane to run in…a 3-5 lane road…I followed the pack on the left side and pushed. I spotted another friend and she quickly yelled at me…”don’t stop! Keep going, your doing excellent!” I told her KG, “NO WAY! I want to stop and take pictures of my friends…” we quickly hug and I’m back on my way…little to know that the picture did not come out on my camera…I hated that!

I pushed on…see my co-worker on the other side after a few more miles and ran across the street to her. As I snapped a picture, I thanked her for being out and quickly went on my way. The right side gave me a huge cheer for doing this because they didn’t really get to see many people on that side…I pushed…awaiting the Power Gel Station. My camera had slowly died at the start of the 59th street bridge and on occasion had taken pictures. I was at the point where I was saying, ok…since I can’t take pictures, I’ll go through and just run this race… As I was so happy to see everyone at the PowerGel GU station, I jumped up for joy, pumped my fists, and screamed, hollered and skipped all about. Trying to grab GU’s from all of my teammates, but they just ended up on the floor, those slippery bastards! But I was pumped...I was suppose to stop and take pictures with everyone…but my camera was done, so I pushed on again…

11/8/07

NYC Marathon Part II - The good...

"I tell the kids to have 'wide eyes,' to run light as a feather, to get high on their toes, and to dig deep, dig deep, dig deep! Dwell on the positive, but have controlled, passionate anger." Pat Tyson

Running in Brooklyn is like no other, the fans are cheering you on. For the first 10 miles you are literally in a party zone, different cultures surround the race course, the bands play from gospel music to rock and roll. Its like no other. The cheers of the crowds is electric, where you literally go out WAY TOO FAST! You have to remember that you are running in a marathon, 26.2 miles, it’s a long way. The first 10 though, you can zip by and feel nothing, absolutely nothing on your legs. You go through the hype, the crowds are right up against you and the ins and outs of Brooklyn. The streets get wide and then narrow, and then you get to zones where the really religious Jewish quarters are and they are not cheering you on at all. There are specific zones in Brooklyn that the energy is absolutely amazing, although there are some dead zones.

I try to look for many of my Brooklyn Friends whom I had written down where I was suppose to meet up with them. They were no where to be found. My eyes gaze through the crowd and I move on. I meet up with many of my flyer gals. I see ST, where I tell her that I would meet up with her later on…thinking I would die at the end and meet up because I was to take pictures with people. I push on. I try taking pictures but found that my camera had been on the timer setting, I am frustrated that some pictures did not take…oh well, push on…I literally had my camera out for the duration of 10 miles, then I start to fade and stop taking pictures and start to run…I fumbled with my gloves…OPPS! they drop, I go back and pick them up…bad idea, where I almost take out a few runners by doing this. Stupid gloves…I normally would not go back for much stuff, but these were expensive NIKE gloves…

I spot my friend on one of the turns, he had switched to the other side, I move by traffic and almost hit some people to get to the side…opps! Sorry! Not very safe to go through traffic at the speeds that I am running at. But I eventually pitch to the side, snapped a shot of my friend CW, give him my soaked gloves and I and moved on, knowing assured that my gloves would be ok in his hands and I would get them back at the end of the race or middle of the week…

As we reach the mid-mark of the marathon the McGuiness Parkway, chaffing starts to irritate me on my underarm. I grab a splat of Vaseline from one of the volunteers and put some on to relieve the chaffing. The splat of Vaseline was far more than I needed and I needed to get it off of my hands/fingers. A BEAUFITUL VIEW OF NYC was coming up and my hands are filled with Vaseline …I quickly go over to one of the concrete barriers and try to rub my hands to get the Vaseline off….

11/7/07

Quotes you run by...

"Just remember this: No one ever won the olive wreath with an impressive training diary." Marty Liquori

I get a quote a day from runners world on each blog I try to write...Now, during the marathon some inspirational quotes can get you through the race if you keep you mind in tact and keep telling yourself that you will get through this race.

Now during the marathon I spoke of this quote: "mind over matter, mind over matter" and that had helped me get through the race...keeping my legs moving and keeping myself going. I also got through the rough patches of the marathon mile 24 and 25 right when I was on edge of a 50/50 chance to totally drop out of the race because I was absolutely done...cooked as I would say.

I quickly put a lifesaver, any hard candy would do, and sloshed it around my mouth. This kept my mouth moving, some feeling within going through...sugar in my mouth as through I had been "falling asleep at the wheel" and well I kept telling myself, "B...you can do this, B...you can get through this..."

So my question to all you Bloggers out there....

WHAT QUOTE DO YOU LIVE WITH?

WHAT INSPIRATIONAL QUOTE GETS YOU THROUGH A RACE?

well to answer my own question:
Life quote: "Love all, Trust a few, hate none" - Shakespeare
Marathon Quote: “The first 20 miles of a marathon you are suppose to jog, the last 6 miles of a marathon is where the real race begins…” - Deana Kastor or Paula Radcliff
Running: "Mind over matter"

11/6/07

Love him or hate him...still gotta respect him...

"The greatest treadmill running song, of course, is 'Black Dog' from Led Zeppelin IV." Pete Pfitzinger

Love him or hate him...still gotta respect him...is truly the way to say it.
Although, you did disappoint me while I had predicted that you would have ran a 2:45...but I'll let that 1 minute, and 43 seconds slide this time...
Clearly Lance Armstrong has done it again! He finished the marathon in 2 hours, 46 minutes, 43 seconds on Sunday – 13 minutes faster than last year’s time. A man of a magician, testing all his limitations and making more people hate him within the running community, because we're clearly jealous of his capabilities amongst all human things.

“Last year, I had no idea what to expect with 26.2 miles, and I paid for it. I enjoyed it much more this year.”

Lance was joined by 10,000 runners (who else knew about this great freebie?), who like Armstrong wore yellow tops to show their support for LIVESTRONG. This year he trained harder, was injury-free and it showed.
Give yourself a pat on the back Lance...you deserve it...and Congrats on another great finish.

11/5/07

NYC Marathon Part I - The Start...

"The truth is that running hurts." Unknown

As I freak out and waking up at 3am in the morning, 1 hour way early before I am suppose to wake up at. I look at my clock…maybe it was the whole setting my clock back and my body knowing exactly what time 4am really had been, or maybe I was just way too nervous before the actual race. But I settled back to sleep and woke up at around 4am, got ready (putting on my clothes that I had set aside the night before (my bottom half and my top half) and headed out the door.

4am was a bit on the chilly side, but it was expected around Fall time in NYC as the wind blew in my face as I entered into Union Square. All I could think about was buying a newspaper somewhere to see if they had anything on the day before race and the loss of
Ryan Shay. I’m a collector (a pack rat really) of any running articles out there in the newspapers. I keep a collection…not the whole newspaper, the article itself, which differs from my father, whom is a real pack rat, but that is another story.

So getting into the subway to get up to 86th Street, yes I was going uptown, rather than downtown to the
NYFLY buses, not the Staten Island Ferry. I had not worried one bit on making the bus, because I had been early. I was going to sit next to DM, although I had gotten there so early that they had put me onto the bus at 5:15 in the morning.


So I got on the bus, said good morning to everyone who had been on the warm bus to begin with...half the people I really had no clue who they really were...were they even flyers? I had no clue! So I took a seat right in front of gojonnygo, who was weary eyed and pumped for his first marathon, and I had reassurance next to me when AK took a seat. We chatted and it gives me great assurance since she had done Chicago with me and the calmness of the chit-chat allowed me not to think about the race too much. In essence, the race was not a big thing to me, I guess the whole middle child syndrome does effect marathons as well since this is the 2nd of the tour of marathons within the month and a half....The night was still young at this point as we traveled and got out of the bus at Staten Island. I had been here before (last year) as a volenteer though, giving out bagels to all the runners. This time was different though, I was involved in the race and it brought a great tear and chill to even think about how this race was going to be like.

As we set up tent in the Religious tent (worshiping tent) to get out of the cold for 5 hours that we were there for, we wisked around looking scavenging for food and drink. Bagels, coffee, tea, powerbars and soy milk thingy's were given to us at the tent...there was a small line to no line when we got our stuff and we stocked up...later on returning, there was a massive line for these items. As we scuttled around and sat in our tent, eating, chatting and getting ready (I had brought my socks and slippers out, not wanting to get ready because of the wait and confortability factor).

But we kept ourselves busy by walking around to different corrals, trying to spot different Flyers and ONLY FOUND ONE! Umm...we have a team of about 600 people and we can only find one Flyer? AS accompanied me and she stated the obvious when telling me that people won't have their Flyer gear on since they will be wearing warmup gear...So an hour before we headed to the baggage area...UH! what utter chaos in the BLUE corral...yes folkes, I had been wrong and had been BLUE! But, it took NJ and I about an hour and we heard the canon go off for the professional women...I scurred...dropped off my bag and scurried out of the baggage area...my co
rral # had already left! They were awaiting at the start, where I snapped a few pictures and then was awaiting for the start...the gun finally went off and we were rolling!


I began my first NYC marathon, the bridge you can really feel the incline, although I was keeping it at a moderate pace, taking pictures of the fireboat spitting out Red, White and Blue water and can see the women on the other side...you get to the point after the bridge and all three different color corrals split up into three snakes entering brooklyn through three different parts, you split, then you merge, then you split again and then you meet up again...

...it was an amazing experience...going through Brooklyn was like nothing other than pure energy. I really could not feel my legs running for like 10 miles, because it was going so fast and it was brought up on by the energy of the crowds...pure adreneline.

Well...I'll tell you the bad parts of the marathon in the next part...

NYRR...what are you going to do?

"I run because I used to be envious of people that could run, and now I am that person." Kendra Thompson, Everyday Runner

A bit of reflection on Ryan Shay:

As a member of the running community of New York, a member of one of the largest local teams and a member of the NY Road Runners family, I have great pride in the NY running community. I feel as though the running community of our nation had given us a gift to allow the Olympic Marathon Trials to be held within the beautiful city of New York City. The weekend was such a demanding and eventful weekend, given the fact of the Men’s Olympic Trials with a star studded American Professional runners would be running in Central Park and one of the best known marathons in the world, The New York City marathon.

With the recent passing of Ryan Shay and the tragedy that is involved with it, any New York runners pass his memorial (a rock) on daily runs each day. We can all fund raise for his foundation, although many of us would feel more apart of his life and his tragic event if there was something we can pass by and see each time and honor him in a more New York style.

His death is predefined as the very same way of a very similar well known runner from Oregon, Steve Prefontaine or PRE. As each day passes, the shrine may be lost. His flowers will wilt and the rock which bares his name will be slowly brushed aside (by the rubble of winter snow, muddied dirt or forgotten amongst the years).

Although, if we do honor this rock and place a medallion of a plaque right next to the rock, the city of New York, the running clubs of New York and the NYRR will be define the cause. We will show the nation the certain respect and thanks for placing the great race within our city. We will show the nation that we respect our own highly elite runners and most importantly, we will show the family of Ryan Shay and his wife, Alicia Shay, that New York will always be another home to honor Ryan.

I pass by that memorial each time I am running. I stop, lay my head down to give my respects and move on. I do not know Ryan, although I am touched because I had been there when the whole tragedy had happened. I only wish that there is something more we can give to this family than just a rock on the side of the curb which bares his name. I feel the “work horse” that is described of him is not respected in just a rock with a scratched up etched name. I believe that every runner that travels through Central Park would respect and gain inspiration through this plaque piece that describes the “workhorse” that Ryan Shay had been as a true runner.

I hope we can offer some sort of plaque, which I feel that the running communities in NYC would fundraise for. The pride of NY running would come together to honor Ryan and hopefully we can all respect him and the nation in allowing us to see the Olympic Trials and unfortunate events of Ryan Shay.

11/4/07

A tribute to A US runner…

As many of us know, Ryan Shay was the runner whom collapsed in Central Park and died at the age of 28. A tribute to the runner was broadcasted at the worshiping tent at the beginning of the race…as well as a moment of silence at opening ceremonies before the cannon started us off at the start of the NYC marathon. Many people wore black ribbons during the race to commemorate the great runner (which was a great way to commemorate him at such a great weekend). The scary moments and trails of how fragile our lives can become within a sport like “running” as many people would say that “running” is not much of a sport is proven to take many lives this year. What is it that us runners take so seriously, up the ante on our sport that we love so much? Do we seriously take our sport too seriously? Do we drive ourselves to a point where we just are addicted and strive to be better that we can’t see how much we have improved or progressed within our lives that there is only a way up…

The collapse of Ryan Shay has hurt the running community as a whole. He was an excellent runner, a young runner whom could have placed amongst the top 3 and made it to the Olympics. He was ranked within the top 10 of the US men’s runners, a pure echelon that only us “regular” runners would never even dream about making…not because we can’t do it, it’s because we choose not to do it…no I’m really just kidding here, I believe you really have to be born into this and truly train to get to the point where these people are at. Speed and genetics you are purely born with. You are born with great muscle mass, and you are born with great running capabilities. Running can only be enhanced slightly here and there, but I believe a 7 minute miler can not go down to being a 5 minute miler…it would just be so hard!

The scary part is that if you say his name really fast or just say it and you are not paying much attention to it…it sorta sounds like my own name. Many of my co-workers had believed to have though that I was running in that race…(yeah, right! Come on now!) and well they had thought that the name had sounded familiar…scary but true…

Now, running in any direction – up or down – Cat hill, Ryan Shay will always be remembered in our minds, in our hearts, in our shoes and our legs…

A tribute…at least he passed doing the thing he loved…


The sad part is that they still do not know what had happened to him or what he had passed away with...

11/2/07

Toby's list of marathoning...

"The important thing is the attitude of the athlete, the desire to get to the top." Herb Elliott

The Pasta dinner with the team provided some great tips to 1st timer marathon runners, as well as veteran marathon runners...although if you go down the list...many of these rules to live by are broken...a whole lot!
  1. Wear your tried and tested shoes, no last minute swaps!
  2. Don’t eat or drink anything new that you don’t usually have before/during the marathon; that includes the day & night before. Friday and Saturday night eat the same food to get the body used to digesting
  3. Get lots of rest & sleep Friday before a Sunday race, it’s sometimes hard to sleep the night before the race – and also remember nerves will affect 80% of marathon runners.
  4. Check the insoles of your shoes for no stones, pebbles, or foreign objects.
  5. Double knot your shoes and avoid any puddles on the way to the race. You can borrow a plastic bottle box from outside a news show to sit on while lining up.
  6. Take two bin liners to hide inside should it rain, and pile of old NYRR T-shirts to cast off before you run.
  7. Pay attention to the weather; make a realistic assessment of your goal under said conditions. If it’s sunny, hot & humid be smart go out at a little slower pace. Hydrate before and all throughout the race with small sips of water – don’t wait until you are thirsty.
  8. Run your own race. Don’t try to make up fro a slow start all at once; it’s a long race stick to your planned race pace. You should get to the ½ marathon point feeling no fatigue. As you get to the later stages of the race 20 miles or so if you feel strong start to push your pace a bit. Remember most marathons are won or lost in the final 10 K.
  9. Be proud you run for the FLYERS – deck yourself out with the team uniform and colors
    (also wear your name on your singlet or race shirt – it helps when the crowd calls out your name – especially in the last few miles)
  10. Don’t hope for a good race, make it happen!
  11. Breakfast, a must on race day – at least 500 calories worth!
  12. Set two alarm clocks and have a friend call you to be sure you don’t oversleep
  13. Leave the house early; don’t sit around waiting to be on time, best to be wherever early, than late.
  14. Take more clothes than you need to take
  15. Carry a bottle of water to sip on the bus, you will get cottonmouth if not.
  16. Don’t have a massage after the race, do walk and drink and eat
  17. Make sure all your running uniform is tried and tested before the actual race
  18. Take warm clothes to put on after the finish
  19. Don’t spend more than 20-minutes at the Expo.
  20. Know that your coach will be eating brownies and drinking coffee while you run, but will be wishing you all the best for a great run! Hard life in the press room.
  21. Never stop to greet someone, many cases of cramps have come from doing this!