Archive for October, 2009

2009 NYC Marathon, Part 1

Less than 24 hours to go until the start of the 2009 NYC Marathon – and I’m finally starting to get excited. There was something in me that was rather nonchalant about the whole thing starting sometime early in my taper. Then I went to the expo at the Javits Center on Thursday to pick up my race number and the excitement finally kicked in! Here are a few pictures:

expo1

Welcome banners at the entrance

expo2

Inside the expo

expo3

Bart Yasso, racing icon and Runner's World Chief Running Officer, signing books. Meeting him was a highlight for me.

And then I woke up to another thrilling sight yesterday morning – the Blue Line painted along the course:

Blue Line

The Blue Line marking the marathon route

Everything’s in place, I feel pretty good, and now I just have to make sure I get some rest, load up on carbs, and set several alarms to make sure I get up early enough tomorrow morning to catch the Staten Island Ferry.

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Williamsburg Update: The Greenway

Great news for recreation in Williamsburg! Over the past few weeks crews have been busy developing the Brooklyn Greenway along the waterfront on Kent Avenue. Don’t know much about the Greenway and why this is exciting for joggers, walkers and cyclists? Here’s a little background from the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative’s website:

In 1993, the Brooklyn Waterfront Trail was identified as a priority route in the Department of City Planning’s Greenway Plan for New York City, which outlined a vision for a citywide 350-mile network of greenways. The Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway project area now spans 14 miles of Brooklyn waterfront, from Sunset Park to Newtown Creek in Greenpoint.

The minimum right-of-way sought for the finished Greenway is 30 feet, in order to accommodate two 7-ft. bike lanes, a 10-ft pedestrian path and 6 ft of landscaping.

When completed, it will provide a human scale connection between numerous waterfront communities now divided by highways and transit infrastructure. Benefits will include more waterfront access, better quality of life, healthier lifestyles, more diverse transportation options, and increased economic development, as more people find Brooklyn a desirable place to live or relocate their business.

So now the stretch of Kent Avenue from N. 14th Street down to Clymer Street has been re-zoned to one-way traffic only going in a northerly direction. This has freed up the side of the street closest to the river for recreational purposes and has already been painted with wide green lines to accommodate cyclists. This takes the large 18-wheelers off this road, reduces major traffic, and allows for a safer area to ride or run. Runners, note that the green path is intended to be a bike lane, so if you choose to run here please be mindful of cyclists and their right to use the route.

For more news about this project, take a look at this article from The Brooklyn Paper. I look forward to seeing this extended farther north into Greenpoint!

If you are interested in learning more about running in this area, see my previous post Industrial Charm: A Greenpoint-Williamsburg Run.

Just Follow the Flags

On my way out to do some laundry this morning, I noticed something exciting that I don’t recall seeing yesterday. It’s like Christmas morning for the New York runner:

Marathon Route

The blue-orange-white banners marking the path of the ING NYC Marathon route have been installed on lampposts – and with the countdown to race day now in single-digits the air in the city is becoming electrifying.

Time to Taper

The true reward of all those months of training comes at that moment when you cross the finish line at the end of 26.2 miles and you recognize your huge accomplishment as you proudly hobble over to accept your medal from a volunteer, have your picture taken, and warm up with a shiny Mylar blanket.

But the SECOND best reward that comes from all those months of training is the three-week taper period before the big race. What does this mean to me? Cutting back on mileage, sleeping in a little longer, being a little bit lazy and maybe eating whatever I feel like eating. Bring on the cookie dough ice cream. Enjoy it, because it’s the quiet before the storm. And right now I am enjoying it!

I finished my last long run this past Sunday with my running club. As we do every year, three weeks before the NYC marathon we start in Park Slope and run the last 20 miles of the course. Along the way we have dedicated teammates stationed every few miles at water stops, helping the rest of us get through that last major training run. We end in Central Park at Tavern on the Green, and those who feel like pushing it a little more can tack on an extra two miles by running the lower loop and then some. For me it was very strong this year. I ran with good company, stayed on pace, and felt like I could easily tackle another 4.2 miles. Exactly the kind of place you want to be in three weeks before the big day.

And now I’m in the taper zone. Suddenly it’s a different world with new challenges.

I remind myself that it’s important to stick to your plan and fight the urge to run the extra miles you are used to. This will give your body time to rejuvenate and be in the most well-rested shape it can be in for race day. So with a decrease in mileage, that opens up my calendar quite a bit. What do I do with my extra time? Cross train a bit with some swimming, and then maybe spend a little bit more time on the job search…

Finally, a Personal Record

I made one more step toward becoming an unemployed running superhero today (see also previous posts Unemployment + More Training = Superhero? and Maaaybe getting a little faster). Finally, after three months of focused training I finished a race in record time. At this morning’s humid Grete’s Great Gallop half marathon in Central Park I finished in 1:29:42, a PR by more than a minute and a half. I actually wasn’t sure if I had it in me when I got up this morning, though. I barely slept and when I did manage to snooze a bit I had crazy dreams, including one where I woke up to find dozens of clocks in the house – but all reading different times – so I had no idea if I overslept or not. Nothing like an anxiety dream before a race.

But just before the horn blew at the start I realized that this was my fifth and final half marathon of 2009 and it was going to be my last chance to break that record for some time. And I finally broke 1:30! (I’ll admit, though, that those last two tenths of a mile were really tough.)

Looks like this course agrees with me. My previous PR for the half marathon distance was set at the same race in 2008. Too early to set a goal for 2010?

Superman!