0 Weeks to the NYC Marathon: Nov 7, 2010 Here I Come…

05/11/2010 § Leave a comment

Goal over the last year: To somehow morph from total non-exerciser to actual runner and run the New York City Marathon

Actual progress: Hundreds of miles, multiple races, new friends, increased strength, two pairs of running shoes

Goal this week: 26.2 miles through the 5 boroughs of NYC!

So here we are.  Just hours away from my first step on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge as I prove to myself that I can run the NYC Marathon.  I have a myriad of feelings this close to the race.  I am proud of how far I have come over the past year.  I’m excited to run with thousands of people through the streets of New York.  I’m nervous about the weather since it’s been raining a bit.  I’m anxious to see if I can actually run 26.2 miles. I am a little stressed out about all the things I have to remember for Sunday.  And, a small part of me is looking forward to a change of pace and not being in training…

It’s been a fun year.  I’ve seen how easy it is to become a runner and then become a runner that can run upwards of twenty miles.  When I say “easy,” I am of course laying aside the amount of commitment this much training requires.  Lacing up your shoes and jogging around the block once is easy.  Whats difficult is getting up and doing it over and over again.   It can be addicting, but don’t get me wrong – I remember how much I disliked the early runs.  Getting through just 30 minutes took serious effort and I attribute most of my success to having great Team in Training teammates.  Training for this marathon has been a little different.  I have not had the same support network this time around and in the beginning I privately doubted that I would be able to log the long runs all by myself.  Surprisingly, with a strong foundation I was able to summon the strength to go it alone and actually grow to like it.  While nothing beats a Central Park loop with your girlfriends while catching up on the latest dating disasters, I came to find running alone an important time for me to reflect.  As my time alone on the road stretched upwards of three hours, my mind had more and more uninterrupted space to fill with ideas and schemes and plans.  While I never once have felt a “runners high” – I have to think that this is the next best thing.

Running is a solitary sport, but when you become a runner you kind of join a huge team.  Whether you are just starting out, or training for your 30th marathon, so many people will share common ground with you and will love to talk about everything from clothes to food to strategy.  When you are out on the road, if you run somewhere a lot of people run (for me Central Park or the Hudson in NYC or along the bike path in Santa Monica), you feel a solidarity with your “teammates” even if you don’t really acknowledge each other — and when you do talk to someone at a water fountain or tell a beginner “great job!” that connection feels even stronger.  I can’t urge you enough to start running.  Or jogging.  Or walking.  Just get out there.

Back to the marathon.  So yes, I am a little jittery.  I am supposed to already be asleep, actually.  But I decided to polish my nails first — OPI’s “Big Apple Red” seemed like the perfect shade.  I’ve already started laying out my clothes and all the necessary bits and pieces for race day:

  • Bib (that’s my number), d-tag (the little electronic chip I attach to my shoe), safety pins
  • Running clothes:  It’s been a little chilly the last few days and they are forecasting that it will be in the 30s in the morning on raceday, and possibly warm up to 50.  As of right now I am planning to wear a short sleeved shirt with a long sleeved shirt underneath and full length tights.  I’m also planning on gloves because my hands get ridiculously cold and then turn numb — always fun.
  • Throw away clothes:  The time between arrival and start is more than two hours.  It’s best to wear clothes that you can throw away along the race (don’t worry, they are collected and donated!)
  • Rain poncho or (even more alluring) garbage bag to wear/sit on if it is rainy or wet (and it always is)
  • Tissues
  • Race food
  • Some kind of plan or strategy

Crap.  A plan.  My plan?  I really don’t have one, aside from wanting to finish.  I don’t want to fixate on beating some specific time because I really need to focus on harnessing my energy and running efficiently, but when I hear that Oprah did the Marine Corp Marathon in 4.29, I get a little itchy to beat her.  My PR on a half marathon is just around 2 hours and you are supposed to multiply your PR for a half by two and then add 10 minutes for your marathon time.  So maybe…  Anyway, Katie Holmes did the NYC in 5.29.  I’m definitely sure I can do better.  Maybe.  Don’t hold me to that.

I am enjoying my farewell to carbs tour and will top it off with the traditional pre-marathon Italian dinner tomorrow night.  Pasta, adios.  You were always good to me.  Brown rice and sweet potatoes, I’ll see you around.  Potato samosas and naan, I am going to miss you most of all.

When I am out there I will be thinking about how far I have come and everyone and everything that has helped me achieve this goal.  I am deeply indebted to my family and friends who have tolerated non-stop racing talk and my crazy strict dieting and imbibing rules.  I owe eons of gratitude to a very special person who helped secure my entry into the race, even if I wasn’t sure at all times I could do it, or wanted to do it.  Millions of mercis to Patricia Moreno for creating IntenSati (and Erin Stutland and Natalia Petrzela for spreading the gospel), Michelle Taylor at Pilates on Fifth, Keren at Alycea Ungaro’s Real Pilates, Equinox, coconut water, Clif Bar & Co, Pump Energy Food, Smartwater, and lululemon athletica.  Last, but not least, muchas gracias to my mom who is here to see the race, to my special team of pacers who will be jumping in with me for a few miles and to those of you who will be cheering me on (wherever you might be).

Alright, here goes nothing.

Happy running!

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