Preparations could have been better, but I guess that’s a common story from the ones that are faced with reality on race day. 4.30 AM rang the clock in my hotel room located on Lower Manhattan and I cached a cab up to the 6th Ave 42nd street to join a bus to the starting line on Staten Island. Still a little dizzy from the late comedy show in Greenwich Village combined with an early start I checked that all my stuff were there; Fresh Race Socks, Backup Breakfast, PowerGels, Visa Card, Subway Card, Bib Number, Timing Chip, GPS, Backup GPS, Pain killers, etc…
I had a nice chat on the bus with a girl from NYC, and she told me she had found the Sportsim Course Simulation fun and useful in her preparations. She was exited to hear that with a GPS and Sportsim software you can setup your own GPS course simulation of your trainings. Next time she will for sure be a GPS user!
When I arrived to Staten Island I observed many runners with GPS devices. This was not the situation in our 2003 software beta phase when I ran with an old Garmin Geko. Then people thought I was running around with a radio and I had to explain what GPS was all about.
Off I went to Frank Sinatra’s "New York, New York" and it was a great feeling. I headed over the Verranso-Narrows Bridge that connects Staten Island with Brooklyn. This year about 37,500 started and about 37,000 finished – that’s amazing. The important reason for such a high percent of finishers is the New Yorkers themselves. Spectators are not allowed on bridges, but everywhere else they are present and loud. “Come On! You Can Make It!” “Be Hard!” “Kick Ass” "You Look Great!" “Only 20 Miles To Go!” “Move Those Legs Baby!” “NY Loves You!” – it’s difficult to bail out of this one once you’ve started. Along the course there are also many live music performers within: Gospel, jazz, rock, hip-hop and more…The organizer estimate about 2 Million spectators! I believe them!
The start pace was a little slow, with so many runners lined up, but I could pick up pace after about 3-4 miles into Brooklyn. I had a dream about 3.30 finish time so I paced myself on 8 min/mile on the Timex watch. I used both a Timex Bodylink GPS and a Garmin Forerunner 301. The nice thing about the Timex unit is that I can wear it as a sport watch and with ease follow my time, distance, and pace on my wrist. I wore the Timex GPS on my left upper arm with the Data recorder straight on the strap. The Garmin GPS worked as a backup on my right upper arm. I got fine tracks from both units.
Everything worked just fine until I hit the "hill" on Queensboro Bridge between Queens and Manhattan. Suddenly my legs start to complain, and coming into 1st Avenue I really felt it. But, it’s not a surprise, because almost everyone gets it on 1st Avenue (at least that’s what I’m telling myself). My pace rises to 8,3 min/mile and I realise that 3.30 is long gone. But, coming into Manhattan and feeling the extreme load ROAR from 1st Avenue is absolutely worth the pain. Now I see the first runners that walks and that’s inspiring so I aim for the Bronx . Coming over the bridge into the Bronx I suddenly thought my legs would collapse, but it was only a bump in the road that created a numb feeling in my legs - have to stay focused now! Coming into Harlem a Frenchman passed me in a higher pace and mumbled something about my socks, but I could not understand him. When I saw him upfront he had the same type of socks so I guess he wanted to tell me that I had nice socks or something like that. I actually felt like shit when he passed me so easy. I was trying out some funny looking new high socks that are supposed to stimulate the blood circulation. The Hip-Hop and Gospel artists in Harlem inspired me to crush the hill starting along Central Park on the 5th Avenue from 110th to 90th street – yes it’s loooong. I did well, and turning into Central Park I realised that I would anyway beat the 4 hour margin comfortable, and that was great J
It was a race for the books with warm weather, record amount of finishers and very well organized. In addition I ran with a yellow wrist ban to support Grete Waitz struggle against cancer. Grete was there and I’m sure it must have been inspiring for her with so many runners supporting her.
Yeah, and the socks, did they work? Hmm, I felt a lot better in my legs after the race so I wonder if this was related to the socks. During the race it is hard to tell because nothing can stop the pain during the last part. There could be something in it? Note: I never needed the pain killers even after the finish when all finishers walks around like old people because of sore legs.
So, do I recommend this race? let me say it like this; if you want to do "The 1 Marathon" - this is the one. It combines a great city with a great event.
Replay the animated GPS track on map or satellite image with our new beta
We will post more about the new Google Map service later.