Running the NYC marathon is a remarkable journey from start to end. This is all about getting that in a blog post.
Running an NYC marathon was not something I had on my bucket list, nor was it something I wanted to do. But a friend of mine, Muthu, encouraged me to sign up for a lottery for the NYC marathon.
It was my birthday, and I was selected to be part of the lottery. Wow, that was a stroke of luck that told me I should keep up and try to get to it.
I first paid around $250 in the bank to make myself accountable. Then the publicity to all your social media friends.
Then started Strava training, and I was not sure if I was doing the right thing, and I had no plan or strategy. I randomly started a few miles and was doing 7 days of training.
I was and am always a big fan of the apple watch. But for endurance training, I did not know if I could trust the apple watch to carry me through. So based on the recommendations, I bought the stupid Garmin Fenix 6. I Am sure there are many great things about Garmin and its user base. More about this saga later in the post.
Gurudev, my buddy from college, also had won the lottery to run NYC. This was a super good thing to know. Guru put me through a training plan called to run with Hal. There are different programs from Hal. But I took the intermediate training, and I also tried the Garmin half marathon. That was cool, but it was too easy for me. I was set with Hal’s program. Seemed to be a right fit.
Setting Hal, now was the shoes; I was always a Mizuno wave rider fan. But wanted to try something new for this training and practice. So I started with succory endorphin 1. Wow, that was a dramatic change in my run.
Next was the weather. Remember, March is when the weather gets awesome in Mad city, I was stoked with the weather and no running plan. It was a perfect tonic to go everywhere in training,
But as training matured, I was getting in Madison summer days. It is brutal to run during the hot days, and I had to wake up at 4:30 am to beat the heat. As I have not gotten used to my puppy runs, that was at any time of the day. These training runs were very long and took a long time for me. I was a happy runner doing miles around my neighborhood. But now the training plans made me look for longer routes. I started exploring the city and all the offerings. I did not care if it was the scenic route, paved road, busy school, etc. I just ran randomly and found some great courses in my neighborhood.
The runs were mixed with a flat route and hills. The hills were rolling sometime, and I had to learn how to run in this environment. Then from the Hal app, I realized that I had to move my body to enjoy the hill run; specifically, there were routes where the traffic was heavy in addition it was also hilly. Wow, recalling these routes was dramatic.
Summer was the peak; the kid’s vacation time was there, and I had to drive them somewhere to get them going. The thing about the Hal app was if I missed a training day, it was unforgiving. But we decided to go to Philly. That was an incredible journey; I took one run during my vacation. Guess the marathon fever was not letting me go.
Then continuing training into school days began; as we were settling into the groove, there were a couple of runs, and I was not taking care of what to do before the run. On one of the runs, I had terrible runner’s diarrhea; I had to call Meena in the middle of the run to come to pick me up. What the heck? She had to put everything down to come to get me. To everybody’s embarrassment, I was this close to doing my hostile act in my running gear.
The more extended miles training kicked in, the first hurdle was getting over the 10 miles zones, which generally took me around 2 hours to finish. I was getting tired of those. Then came, after the run, I had to rest to recourse my energy level; I would just go to the couch and stretch. My family would not bother me for the next two hours. I was catching up with sitcoms and other things. Love u all. Initially, it was 3-4 hours, and the entire Saturdays were gone.
The weekdays Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday were no help for the family. They knew I had a run and were unwilling to ask me for anything useful. Meena took the entire runt. U are amazing.
The final stretch of training involves a 20-mile and a taper. You will be building the endurance to achieve the 20-mile one. I started with the ivy Costco thing for long runs, but that was not keeping up with the cut, so it was time to find a better supplement; Peter had recommended scratch to run with. That chewable made a lot of difference; there was an REI sale for the running gear. I ended up buying the Nathan belt. That was a good addition then came my savior, cap brooks.
The weather was getting colder in Madison. Time to switch gears; I was getting lazy with the attitude of running, but I had put in a lot of effort already. The worse part was all the support that I got on the way. Then the first early morning run was nasty. But I realized I liked the colder runs than the sweaty summer runs. Time to get new socks, a running scarf, and better pants. I chose to run a bit late during thermally bad days. All was well; Quy, a neighbor, also motivated me with some runs during the process.
The entire neighborhood, family, and friends all said am set to go to NYC.
Then came the grand day to know that plans of us moving to another house were delayed, and we will have to stay in a hotel; what the fudge moment kicked in. I had to find new routes to finish my training, move house and be ready for the big day.
During the training, Vijay advised me on some dos and don’ts. Final words of wisdom not to be scared and keep running.
Meena dropped at the airport early in the morning, with the house in the betting seal, and was gone to NYC.
I spoke with Muthu and Guru about being at the expo. After getting out of the airport, I tagged along with a dude to take a Uber to the expo. Muthu and Guru were not there; I moved ahead and got my bib and my t-shirt.
Called the kids and, asked them what they wanted, got the list of items. Then all set, I realized I was crappy and hungry with no food, then I realized Guru and Muthu were at the expo. Happy union with both of them, and then we headed to the rooms.
Caught up with Muthu’s ritual for pizza before the night. Introduction of the Chicago deep dish, I think I threw him out a bit. But all good, we had dinner, and the next day was the big day to get out and run. Muthu had meanwhile asked me to keep hydrated with Costco ivy.
Took an Uber to go to Staten Island. It was not a perfect weather condition for running. We roamed around different spots to get to the bus that took us to the running village. That was one not well-organized item from the NYRR volunteers. The streamlining of passengers getting into the bus was chaotic. But now into the bus to reach the point where you will be starting off the race. Don’t let the bagel go, and the DD beanies they give away for free.
All set for the run; I was in wave 4 but was waiting to run with Muthu. Guru was a super runner and was way ahead of me in the start wave. As the race was about to start, I turned to the f*** Garmin watch to set my running. I have no idea what happened to the look. Here is the screen that I got.
I panicked and then used the strava app to start the race. As I ran the first mile, the watch came back with some life, and I had to set it as I was running. All good. I was assigned to run at my training pace and finish the race in about 5 hours.
Mile 1 ==> Awesome. The bridge was a wow, but I could not enjoy my run because of the watch situation, and I was fiddling to get it working.
Staten Island bridge is where everything starts. The views from there are spectacular.
Mile 2 ==> Awesome pace
Mile 3 ==> The crowd, wow, NYC rocks
Miles 5, 6, and 7 had no issues finding a running partner and were just running.
Mile 10 ==> The music, if that does not move you, there is a problem
The halfway point in the race is the Pulaski bridge. You will hear the thump that training is working.
Mile 15 ==> Fatigue started to creep in, and the water stations did not have cups. I was asked to cup my hands and drink water, which was not cool and did not fit well with my OCD.
Mile 17 and 18 ==> Found the pacers for the 5:30 finish and ran with them across the Queensboro bridge. This was getting long and tiring.
Mile 21 ==> This is the longest stretch in my running and training. I crossed that Ha.,
Mile 25 and 26 ==> I could sense the finish line. And there it was, the finish line. It was done. Emotions set in to think that I have run the NYC marathon. Muthu, who started everything, was there waiting for me. A fantastic human and ally to run the marathon with. Finally, the awesome medal that you get.
You get a great goodie bag and raincoat/fleece blanket. We took the train and came back to the room. The awesome shower. Roberto, a peer of Muthu, had come to run along with him and joined for the dinner at Chozan. The restaurant’s name was south Indian, but the food was not bad. Def not the south Indian food variety. But all good. I had a complete meal. Burped my way back to the room.
That is the end of the story for the NYC marathon. A lot of retro lessons.
Be prepared and embrace whatever the race throws at you. Don’t do anything with Garmin except on and off. If you’re running NYC, don’t think there is any other crowd that is as genuine as these folks during a run. Def enjoy the various music bands. Don’t underestimate the bridges and their climbs. That thing is really nasty and brutal. Have a good friend or buddy to run along with.
Finally, what is NYC without the apple store visit?