Posted by: mmartininycmarathon | November 15, 2011

2011 NYC Marathon Full Race Report!

Hey there my loyal marathon supporters!

It has been awhile since I last posted but for those who have tracked me this year know I was training for the 2011 NYC Marathon. This would be my second time and both with Team for Kids. As many of you know, this race day would bring a whole slew of new challenges I would have to face and conquer including a distance I had not covered since 2009, the feeling of being under-trained and various other elements that would show their ugly face.

Enjoy the journey I am about to take you on which is the NYC Marathon!

4:00 AM

The usual wake up time as I had only slept a few hours due to pure nerves. The days leading up to race time brought on so many emotions I had no idea how to sort out. Feelings of nervousness, excitement, guilt (that I hadn’t trained hard enough) and pure disbelief this was going to happen in less then 6 hours. I had done a decent job in the planning phase of gathering throw away clothes for the morning of, getting my bib and race clothes ready and tying up any loose ends. At this point it was just a matter of getting to the start line and begin the mental ritual.

Ka-chow!

One of the greatest moments of this year’s marathon was that I volunteered to be a Team for Kids mentor. My two mentees, Cat and Maren both trained very hard for their big day and I was just as excited for them. I suggested to Maren that we take a car service over to midtown where we would meet our team and be police escorted to Fort Wadsworth. My morning began with picking Maren up, exchanging race strategies and just catching up. It really helped to ease nerves as both of us were on edge about the extreme event that would happen in only a couple of hours.

Our bus ride over to Fort Wadsworth was pretty uneventful and quiet. There was a bit of allure heading over as the city that is normally bustling, was at a stand still as if time stopped to await the 47,000+ runners about to overtake it’s streets.

Fort Wadsworth

Fort Wadsworth

Upon our arrival, all the memories continued to flood my mind. We entered the village area (where some would wait for as long as 2-3 hours before actually running) and had to show our bib’s to gain access. It was a beautiful morning and we had to find the TFK tent and get settled in before being called for our baggage drop off, then soon after we would be called to head to the corrals.

My girlfriend’s co-worker Aly was running with TFK and we decided ahead of time to meet up and hang out until we were called. We actually only said hello, talked for a little and I was called to drop off my baggage. As I made my way back it was time for my wave to stretch then we were off to our corrals.

The wait was short lived, as we began our travel to the start corrals. The group that I believed I was going with actually was going to an entirely different color bib corral which meant if I missed my corral entrance time I would have to wait an entire hour before starting the race. I was with a fellow TFK’er who was from Washington State and both of us were heading in the complete opposite direction of where our start corrals were. Fortunately, we figured it out quickly and started our “warm up” run to our correct corrals. When I got to mine (number 13) I barely JUST made it.

Our wait began with our comrades beginning at 9:40AM.

……..

….

For the SECOND time in my life the race of a lifetime has begun! The NYC Marathon!

BROOKYLN

For this years race I knew going in that I was a bit undertrained and that I would need to accept a slower finish time than I had achieved in 2009. I did believe with the race, other runners, and crowds that I could possibly come close to the former time and possibly do a little better.

Coming out of the gate, the sheer excitement of doing this again hit me and being in with much faster runners helped keep me motivated. Unlike 2009, I was right in the thick of the pack of runners (ya know, all those little specs speeding on the bridge!) which brought a new level of excitement. I looked over to Manhattan and thought about my family, friends and girlfriend Jean waiting for me as I made my way through all 5 boros of NYC.

My pace was decent (found out later I was in the high 7 min mile pace) for the first few miles. I knew and accepted if I came out a little too fast to make sure to hold back on 4th Ave in Brooklyn. Since it was a little earlier than the other waves, the beginning portion of 4th Ave was a little less crowded than I had remembered but that quickly changed as we reached mile 4 and 5.

I had a few special people out in Brooklyn that would be meeting me. My friend CJ and Leighann (just like in 2009) and my girlfriend’s co-worker Dana. I would not see them until about miles 8-9 so I made sure to enjoy Brooklyn, the crowds, the kids and everything that would make that day so special. As I ran I wanted to control my pace and make sure I got into a comfortable rhythm. The comfortable rhythm never quite happened even though the music, bands and crowds would make for a great stretch of electric energy.

A few times, I would have to stop to stretch the hamstrings and calves. The calves were very very tight and never really got loose which I felt affected my stride and would show it’s colors on the latter part of the race.

As I approached the mayhem that would be Clinton Hill, I started to seek out CJ and Leighann to stumble upon…. DANA!!! She was holding a sign with my name on it and I saw it at the last moment (or what felt was the last moment). I stopped, hugged her and thanked her for coming out. It gave me a burst of energy to continue on to my next stop, Leighann and CJ.

The crowds continued and the only thing you can do is embrace it. You are the runner star, the professional athlete. Everyone out there is cheering for you as if you are their hero. It is such a great feeling and if you allow that feeling to infuse you, the race becomes even better.

I had to work my way around a couple of runners to make sure I was on the right hand side to keep looking for the bright green sign with my name on it. The special sign they both took time to make and display only so I can spot them. Through the heads of runners in front of me I kept seeing hint of bright green until I saw this.

Leighann & CJ sign

I ran up to them, saw CJ, Skyler (CJ’s son), Leighann, and Leighann’s father. I hugged each one of them and told them this marathon was going to kick my butt! And that I was so thankful for them for coming out and cheering. I then looked at CJ and jokingly asked him if he was going to run a few miles with him, smiled and continued on.

As I made my way through the last part of Brooklyn, I made sure I was keeping on pace. I had gotten a pace band at the expo and to be safe, got the 3:50 hr finish time. I was about 6-7 mins faster than what I should have been at that point in the race for a 3:50 finish so I knew if I could hold things together, I would have a great chance at matching my former time. This is all assuming I would continue to feel good, if not I would still have those minutes in the bank to retrieve and boy would I need them.

As we made our final turn to exit Brooklyn I wanted to thank every single person out there cheering us on. We began the ascend up our second bridge of the day, the Pulaski. This was surely the middle bridge between the Verrazano Narrows and the Queensboro that would make her appearance soon.

I was feeling OK at this point (13.1 miles) and recall having to stop right after the photographers to walk a little. The fatigue would set in earlier this year since my conditioning was not up to par but I kept walking and regained my momentum. As we headed into our 3rd boro of the day, I wanted to be more involved with the crowds and really immerse myself. So, as we ran past the crowds I would go up and high five anyone I saw who had their hand out cheering.

QUEENS

A freelance design friend of mine had said she would be out with her son, so I wanted to make sure to keep an eye out for them. They had said they would be between miles 14-15 and since I  have NO IDEA the streets in Queens, I only hoped for the best in seeing them.

For some reason (just like 2009) the people you want to be there and see, all of a sudden show up out of nowhere! This is how Meg and her son Sam appeared to me. They just caught my eye and I stopped to say hello, meet Sam, snap a picture and continue on. I really appreciated them coming out as I heard Meg yelling, GO MARK, GO MARK!

The next two boros I knew would be the hardest. The “fun”part of the race was out of the way and now it was time to get serious. The Queensboro bridge was in the distance and I knew I had to reserve some in the tank to handle this bridge. The legs started to feel tired to this point, even though I was STILL managing to keep consistent splits.

We were wished farewell from the spectators as even they knew this would be one of the most difficult portions of the race.

QUEENSBORO BRIDGE

The Queensboro Bridge had always inspired and interested me. In the first portion of the training season I would do hill repeats and the short runs would include this bridge. In my mind, this would be even better than training in the park with Harlem Hill. As the season went on, the bridge and I lost contact until today. It would be a reunion of sorts and I would not let her win.

The Queensboro Bridge is a cantilever bridge over the East River and was completed in 1909. It connects the neighborhood of Long Island City in the borough of Queens with Manhattan, passing over Roosevelt Island. The upper level of the bridge has four lanes of automobile traffic and provides an excellent view of the bridge’s cantilever truss structure and the New York skyline. The lower level has six lanes, the inner four for automobile traffic and the outer two for either automobile traffic or pedestrians and bicycles.

As all of the runners in all directions battled and willed their way to crest this massive bridge we banded together and kept each other motivated and going. I would have to stop right about where the bridge comes to it’s peak as my legs were getting pretty tired. Other runners around me would be stopping as well but we all would prevail.

MANHATTAN

Coming down and around the bridge to enter “home” or Manhattan, spectators lined the top portion of the bridge to welcome us with loving arms. This was quite exciting as you come around and see all the people out cheering on First Ave. As I have experienced this in 2009, it still blew my mind just how many people were out cheering. First Ave is great but (as elite runners have said), it will not win the race but it surely will lose the race if you immerse yourself too much in the loud cheering that is First Ave. It is a straight shot up to the Bronx (our Fifth Boro) and I had my good friend Sean waiting for me at 90th and First which was about 1.5 miles away. I had learned right before the start that my other friend Emily (who I had met way back in my original pursuit of running) would be out at (where I thought) was 65th and First, Southeast side. I made my way to the East side of First Ave up to 65th and started to scan the crowds but did not see her. It was a hopeful search but distracted me until I got to 90th and First.

I started to look for Sean and saw a glimpse of him and he popped out. I was starting to get tired and my right foot began to hurt with each step. Even today the only way I can describe it, is as if you first wake up and your feet are getting warmed up for the day. They were tight and painful. I had told Sean I would probably start going downhill at this point and that I would need to walk and run, walk and run. My body did not feel good anymore and I knew the worse was yet to come.

EMBRACING THE STORM

I knew this moment would come, however I had no true idea of how bad it would be. Similar to Hurricane Irene that hit NYC (and the east coast for that matter) this past summer, you prepare to reign in the storm and weather it until the sunshine of the finish is in sight. I was not prepared for this injury which would put my splits from a consistent 8’s to 10, 11 and 12 min miles. We were at about mile 18 or so when the pain started to increase and I would just shutter with every step. I have never felt that much isolated pain in my foot ever. This was not something that had happened in the past and I could make some minor adjustments. I knew as it was happening, I would have to roll up my sleeves and find a way to get through. I was sad it was so early in the latter miles but there isn’t ever a good time for something like this to occur.

BRONX

As we approached the Willis Avenue Bridge, I looked at Sean and told him, you gotta be kidding me. My foot was hurting so much that just the sight of another bridge (and knowing we would have Madison Ave Bridge) made me want to just quit and go home. But, as Sean is he kept pushing me as best as he could. I knew in my head I had to JUST DO IT.

Our new method of running was to run for as long as my foot could take, then stop and walk to give it a break and repeat. The Gatorade stands would be my salvation as it gave me the opportunity to replenish and give my foot a rest. I was afraid had I kept going on it that perhaps something would tear, or break and I would have no way of getting to the finish. As time was ticking, my pursuit of matching my former time vanished and as we approached the 4 hour mark, I looked at Sean and told him, there goes my sub 4 hour finish. In a way I did care about breaking 4 hours again but once I accepted any finish time, I was inspired to just do that, FINISH.

MANHATTAN (AGAIN!)

The trip back into Manhattan is good and bad. It’s great because you know you are heading home, heading to the finish, all the hard work has been done. It is not so good because you realize you JUST did this on the other side coming up on First Ave and have to do it all over again! We were at about 125th Street and had to make our way down to 90th and Fifth to reach the entrance of the park and it would take everything I had. Sean kept telling me to keep going, to the next Gatorade station, to the next street sign. He was helping me in breaking up the last 6 miles to smaller and smaller pieces.

Along the way I saw coach Asteria who gave me her infamous sugar tablets and Sid who told me to keep pushing, to keep seeing that finish line in sight. Both of them are true inspirations and helped enormously.

We had to make our way around Marcus Garvey park, then we would be back on Fifth and it would be a straight shot to 90th street. At one point I had decided to take my sock off thinking it might have been the tightness of my socks that could be causing such strain on my foot. It would only help with the pain temporarily.

This would continue on until we hit the park and the crowds became increasingly louder and more intense. I knew as much as they knew, that the finish, the light was right around the corner. They could feel your pain and taste the sweat as you battled against your own mind and body to overcome whatever stress you were dealing with at that very moment that would prevent you from finishing. Mine was my foot. My mechanics were thrown out the window and I felt like I was limping to get to the next target. We made our way to the left side of the park, as my sister, my friend Tae, Leila and my awesome girlfriend Jean would be awaiting me. I kept asking Sean how much further to the next mile. He would tell me it’s a little further, everyone is waiting to see you. I had a small idea but could not calculate it in my head since I was so fatigued at that point.

We past mile 24.

We past 40k

FINALLY!!

Mile 25

I saw the banner, 25 Mile and started looking for the Korean flag. I did everything I could to get to THAT one point as fast as I could to be reunited with my sister, my two friends and my girlfriend. I saw Mary first and she asked me how I was doing. I told her I had hurt my foot and was in a lot of pain. I hugged Tae and Leila and finally saw Jean. I hugged and kissed her as we ran together. We made our way down towards 59th street and the previous week we had done a “dry run” of it to make sure we knew the plan.

As we got on 59th street I was reminded of the numerous times I had run this exact strip so it would become second nature. Both sides of the street were filled with people yelling and cheering. A police officer even gave some words of encouragement as he saw my look of exhaustion and agony.

Jean kept pushing me, telling me about her day with my sister and two friends and how proud she was. I was taking everything in but was mentally, physically and emotionally drained. I was running on fumes, everything I had left in the tank was for this one moment. As we started to approach the entrance into the park, two NYRR volunteer officials told her she has to show her bib. I told Jean to just keep running. A man came barreling out blocking Jean from moving any further and at that point her and I would separate.

With 800 meters to go, I wanted to find my parents in the stands as they have been waiting to see me finish the entire day. I knew they were tracking me and would be waiting at ground level to see me. I kept shuffling, jogging, walking and repeating for the next 300 meters or so until I saw my mom frantically waving her TFK Green bam bams yelling for me. I came limping over to her, gave her a hug and told her I had hurt my foot. She looked at me and told me to GO FINISH!

As I turned the finish line was in sight. The small hill you have to climb right before you are on straight away to the finish was a distant memory as my focus readjusted to the finish line.

I shuffled and jogged my way to the point I felt comfortable at and once I felt OK I told myself; this is it, give it all you got. Whatever pain you feel is only temporary but finish with pride and integrity.

I approached the finish, threw my hands in the air looked up the crystal blue sky and thanked God for getting me to the FINISH!

4 hrs 09 mins 18 secs

After a little over a week since running my second marathon this year has brought on a whole new lessons to the table. 2009 was filled with training and completing my first marathon. This year’s marathon was really about the courage to keep going when things REALLY got tough and to accept the fact that I still ran 26.2 miles even though I didn’t reach my goal of sub 4 hours. I still enjoyed every moment of the race and I remain a firm believer in the NYC Marathon, the spectators and the self belief that is instilled or is regenerated in a new form on that First Sunday in November.

For all of you have continued to follow this blog for this long, I hope I have inspired you to go out and run just a mile. That final mile in my race will be unforgettable. I spent it with the one person I love the most besides my family, and taught me about what truly matters in life.

Running is for most, a solitary sport but for myself it has become a reflection of a new life I am embarking on that will take as much will, patience and courage as the epic 26.2 mile distance.

HAPPY RUNNING and THANK YOU for all of your support!

Posted by: mmartininycmarathon | September 25, 2011

Training Updates!

Hi there all my loyal supporters!

It’s been a little while, have been swamped with work and personal things including increasing my training for the 2011 NYC Marathon.

For this post I would like to give an update on two of my most recent runs/races. The first one is the first 20+ training run and the second is the Fifth Ave Mile race held yesterday in NYC.

As for the training for NYC, all is well besides not getting enough speed and hill workouts in however as both of these runs have shown I am probably at a better fitness level than I had projected.

9/18/2011 / 20 mile training run

Last Sunday I decided to challenge myself to a long run of 20 miles. In the world of running there are three core mile goals that I have learned and heard about over the years that are major markers. 10 mile marker (double digit miles), 20 miles (double digit mile marker x2) and the infamous marathon distance of 26.2 miles.

This 20 mile training run would be vital and key in determining where I am so far in the training season and what adjustments I would need to make. Mentally I didn’t want to go into it with any expectations besides just to finish. I had previously completed a 18 mile run (three loops of Central Park) 2 weeks prior so that I felt was on my side.

As I was figuring out the course map I was considering that I had not done a long run in 2 weeks and the overall mileage was not where I felt it needed to be, so I decided to split the run up into three parts. One was a 7 mile loop of the city streets that would include Times Square and my 5th ave loop. The second was a full loop of Central Park which would  be 6.2 miles and the third would be a wildcard selection depending on how I felt.

FIRST PORTION

I began running through the city from the Upper East Side, down Fifth Avenue and working my way across 59th Street. This portion (59th Street) is the final stretch of the NYC Marathon and throughout both years of training I wanted to incorporate this stretch into my training so it becomes second nature. I had mentioned the importance of running certain parts of the actual race course during training to have your mind and body become familiar with the sights, sounds and even smells of that leg of the race. Considering this would be the final stretch before hitting the park to the finish line, it is truly an important part to have become second nature.

Since I felt like I was still trying to have my body become accustomed to running these distances I decided to work my way down to 14th Street and make a pit stop at Jack Rabbits to pick up all my GU for the rest of the run. One thing I was keeping in mind was to try and work on my pacing and become aware of how my body felt vs being so concerned about my overall finish time.

For the first 7 miles as I worked my way over to Fifth Avenue on 14th street and back up to 59th street, felt great and I was getting myself into a good rhythm. I knew once I hit the park things would start to get a little more challenging and that I would need the reserved energy and mental capacity to get over any challenges. As I wrapped up the FIRST portion of the run I started to prepare for the SECOND portion.

SECOND PORTION

The second portion of the 20 mile run would consist of the one strong loop of the park. Two weeks prior I had done three loops so that was encouraging as I started winding my way on Park East Drive. I encountered the usual suspects first beginning with Cat’s Hill. At this point in the run I was probably at about the 8 mile marker and started to feel the incline. There was a good amount of people out and usually, bikers and walkers would be out climbing this silently difficult hill. I would use anyone of these people as motivation to keep going. Also, the fluid vendor at the top of the hill would be a decent motivator as well. Once I reached the top I bought a lime green Gatorade and was back on my way. The next stop would be the usual arch-nemesis, Harlem Hill.

Harlem Hill and I have had a long standing relationship, sort of a rivalry since the day I first met him. Our last encounter was 2 weeks prior in which battled out three grueling tests of will and sheer ego, macho proving blows. I would, in the end prevail but not without Harlem putting up a strong strong fight. Today it would be just as grueling and I looked forward to the battle I was about to face. Working my way up I have been implementing a technique Coach Frank had told us from TFK in 2009. While running up a high graded incline hill, start counting backwards while looking a few feet in front of you. Mentally this will trick your mind and body into thinking you are advancing faster up the hill and in no time you will have crested the hill. Having that in my aersonal, I used it against Harlem and made it up half-way to the water fountain to replenish. Since I was only about half-way through the 20 mile run it was important to think of winning the war, versus the small battle against my arch-rival.

Coming back down from Harlem working my way down the west side of the park, things started to become challenging. At this point I was starting to feel the effects of running almost a half-marathon but kept pushing and using everything I saw as a small nugget of motivation to keep going. After passing 102nd street and working down to 72nd street, more and more people would be out. For me, I need the people to keep occupied and motivated. Without them even knowing, by just being out enjoying Central Park they assisted me in finishing the first 13.1 miles of my long training run.

WILDCARD SELECTION.

After experiencing Central Park I decided to not push it too much considering I was trying to complete 2 more miles than I had done in 2 weeks prior. With my mind made up, I chose to do the 7 mile city loop (reversed) as the FINAL portion of the run. I decided to reverse the run to change things up a bit as with any constant running program, they will advise you to change up the route to keep things new and fresh.

As I worked my way down Fifth Avenue I began to feel the onset of fatigue. My pace was pretty consistent and I didn’t feel like I was pushing it too much. I finally reached 14th street and things started to go downhill. I use the term downhill lightly though as I felt like I was starting to push myself but not to the point of no return. I had to dig deep, push through and keep my mind at bay. Once I got to 7th Ave from 5th Ave I would need to work my way back up to 59th street and cross over and run to First Ave and 72nd.

I always break up 7th ave from 14th to 23rd street, 29th street (where I used to work) 34th Street (Penn Station), Times Sq and finally 59th Street. All these markers would help in my overcoming any effects of fatigue or any moments of wanting to quit. When I got passed Times Sq running past the David Letterman Show, I began to hit my wall. My legs felt heavier then they had the entire run, every step began to get harder, each block seemed like another mile. As I started to walk, I said to myself, “wow, this is so friggin hard!”. A lady came by to ask me if I was OK and I replied by saying I was in a faint and tired voice. I wanted to tell her in some way, that I WOULD be OK, that her consideration would help me continue on. Shortly after, a guy came by smiling, mumbling something like, “if I could look as good as you, I wouldn’t need to workout” while giving me the thumbs up. I used whatever little energy to smile and tell him thanks. Both of these two people encouraged me to dig deep, get to 59th street and make my way back to my original starting point.

20+ miles in the book in a estimated finish time of 3:05:30 (9:11 pace). A very self satisfying and successful run in which would be a huge turning point in the training season. It would solidify my confidence that 11/06/11 would be a great race and the next two 20+ mile runs I am seeking out should and hopefully be just as successful.

9/24/2011 / 5th Ave Mile race

The Fifth Ave mile would be my first time doing a recorded one mile race since probably when I was in grade school.

Since I had not done any running since the successful 20 mile run, I didn’t have any expectations. I just wanted to do the run and not get injured while enjoying the race. Days leading up the race, I knew I would be a little competitive against myself and have it be a true test of my ability to run a good mile.

As AB and JS would accompany me to the race, they plotted themselves right near the finish to watch me finish. I warmed up by jogging up about 3/4 mile up to the start. As I worked my way up to 80th street, I saw Karinna! She is back from her around the world tour and back in NYC to run the NYC Marathon with me! We said hello and exchanged quick catch up details. She wished me luck and told me she’ll see me in a  bit.

When I got to the start my heat (men 15-29) was called to get to the start and we would be off like horse out of gate in about 15 minutes.

BAM!

We were off! The one thing I knew going into the race besides any personal considerations was that I needed to get settled into my pace pretty quickly but not to go out too fast. Just as I was settling in, I rolled my ankle in a pothole and thought for a moment I would need to drop out! I put weight on it for a few meters and it was good enough to continue. Meanwhile runners were whizzing by and instantly I was right back into it.

I had briefly done the math to pace myself for a 7 min mile finish which I thought I would be able to realistically do. the half way mark I would need to be at 3:30 seconds. By my time when I reached 70th street (half-way) I would be just under 3:00 mins. Still at this point I felt OK. I still felt I was treading close on the 5th and and my final gear 6th going back and forth. Battling these gears I continued down 5th ave and there were people lining the street cheering. I past Karinna and just gave her a look of “wow this is hard!” but knew she had belief in me.

The next 1/4 mile down to 65th street I knew I was closer. I had run the 70th >> 60th street so many times during training and knew 60th street always comes faster than expected. I still had juice, the NOS tank was available and I waited to strike. I could hear Coach Asteria in the background yelling “Go Team for Kids, GO MARK, you can do it!”.

It gave me that extra boost I needed.

As I got closer to the finish the barricades started to become visible, the finish was approaching. I had no idea what pace or finish time I would complete this grueling test of will and power.

I knew AM and JS were at the finish.

I had no energy to look.

I only booked it.

The NOS was launched.

I sped to the finish leaving everything out on the Fifth Ave.

OFFICIAL FINISH TIME: 5 mins 56 seconds.

This was a HUGE surprise as I never expected to have broken 6 minutes. It has been a silent goal of mine to be able to run a mile in the 5’s and on this day, the running gods blessed me with running my best mile.

Post 5th Ave Mile with my two best supporters

Coming off this running high, my next milestone will be another 20 mile training run. Until the my next post, HAPPY RUNNING!

Posted by: mmartininycmarathon | August 21, 2011

Training continues… Barney style!

Hey there my loyal marathon supporters.

With just about 75 days until race day, training has been going slow but well. Wrapped up a 14 mile run last Wednesday and did a quick 6.6 mile run via the NYC SummerStreets that took us down Park Ave without any vehicle traffic.

While the 14 mile run was my longest run of the training season, it reminded me of why this marathon distance is so intimidating.

I decided to run it by mixing it up with my 4 mile city loop and doing one full loop of Central Park. Though the pace was pretty even and much better than I had expected it was still a tough tough run.

It gave me the inspiration to keep going on this journey and to look forward to November 6th when we take to the streets of NYC once again.

While logging in all my miles I got a chance to reflect on my journey from 2009 and where I was at as a comparison. The mileage and pace were almost identical with the exception of a couple of short runs and it gave me confidence that I am right on track with the training.

My next long run will either be later today or tomorrow and am shooting for a nice 16 mile run. As I prepare for the longest run since February in which I ran a 16 miler with nutty butty, I was reminded of a funny episode of How I Met Your Mother my wonderful girlfriend had showed me awhile back.

This is the Barney Stinson’s way of how to run a marathon.

Happy Running!

Posted by: mmartininycmarathon | July 25, 2011

2 hours running through NYC rain

Hey there my loyal supporters!

Today was an eventful and beautiful day (though some of you may disagree). I had the wonderful chance to run through the NYC rain once more. It seems as though on the last couple of runs I have been caught in a torrential downpour of some degree during a training run. It gave me an opportunity to reflect on my inner self and why I enjoy running and why I enjoy running even more in the rain.

I planned on running about 12/13 miles based on how I felt. The run on 1st avenue to begin the first couple of miles felt OK, though I thought my stomach wouldn’t last. As I began the ascend up on the Queensboro Bridge the stomach felt better and I felt the run would be successful as long as my body and legs would not fail me.

As I turned off Queensboro and headed into the concrete jungle., the rain began and I began to feel more excited. Not just because the weather was SO MUCH cooler but that the rain would only enhance the run and I hoped it would last the entire run.

When I made it back into Manhattan and in the thick of the brush, my shuffle failed me (it may be time to RIP this one). Though I was upset I would be without my music I was forced into listening to to the sounds of the city and my own heartbeat and rythm. I began to realize this was how my run was meant to happen and I embraced it. As the rain dribbled off of me, as I splashed through puddles and as I watched as people try and “cover and hide” from the rain, I pondered why.

Why is it that so many people don’t just go out and play in the rain as when they were children?

Why not splash through a puddle and stand up and allow the drops hit off your face?

When I began to tire and fatigue I would just let the rain wash away any fear and doubt and it gave me strength to keep moving forward. It truly was a transcendent experience and made me realize the beauty of mother nature.

The time of the run or distance did not matter, the goal was reached without me realizing what it began as. The goal of being so entrenched in something you forget reality was fully achieved and realized. As I walked back to recover I stood there continuing to let the rain take me to another place.

I really did not want to return.

I truly was a child enjoying the moment without any care in the world.

Next time you see rain, don’t run from it. Instead consider running in it and realize your inner child.

Happy Running!

Posted by: mmartininycmarathon | July 21, 2011

TFK 2011 NYC Marathon

So as many of you know I have decided to run the 2011 NYC Marathon with Team for Kids again. This will be my second year running with TFK and training is in full swing.

My apologies for not updating and keeping up with the blogging but as we travel on this journey again, reach out to my blog to read all about it.

This post will just be an informative post about TFK via a VIDEO!

This weekend may be a back to back 10 and 12/13 mile run… more to come on THAT!

Enjoy the video and if you want to donate please go to:

https://www.runwithtfk.org/Don​ate/Member/1352
Posted by: mmartininycmarathon | February 24, 2011

10 turns to 16 + VIDEO!

Hey there my loyal supporters!

So this past weekend (actually Friday), I was only planning on running 10 miles to challenge myself to a double digit that hadn’t been achieved since last years NYC Half Marathon in March. Well, a simple 10 turned into a challenging 16 miles with nutty butty.

The great thing though about nutty butty (AKA, AM) is she is ALWAYS pushing herself and others. Of course I am always up for a challenge so when I heard she was scheduled to do 16, I was up for it.

FRIDAY / 6:00PM

We wanted to get an early start since we had plans afterwards and in all honesty just to get the run over with. We had been chatting all day about it and while I was stuffing my face with pasta and bagels AM was having a heart attack! I kept telling her, this is why we run together, to push each other and to get each other through the rough parts of any given run. It really didn’t help much.

Central Park Running Loops

FIRST LOOP

We met up at our usual location and I think we both were not thinking it was 16 but just starting with one full loop of the park. The weather was perfect and our pace was on target consider we hadn’t done anything further than about 10 miles. If anything we wanted to run negative splits on the park loops so that helped keep us back a bit. The first loop was great. It’s the first 6 miles but I honestly thought it was going to be alot worse. We had a reunion with good ol Harlem Hill (nice to see you Harlem, it’s been awhile) and that encounter went quite well. The back end of the loop (west side) was good as both of us were pretty warmed up.

When we reached the bottom part of the part we had clocked in around 51 minutes, not too shabby considering. We got some GU in our systems, washed it down with Gatorade and was looking forward to the second full loop. I wanted to push the pace a little as I was feeling really good and obviously felt we could do our neg splits.

SECOND LOOP

The second loop on the east side was good as we were working on miles 7 & 8. Half way there I kept telling myself. Once we hit 102nd street I felt like we were still on target to hit our goal time of about 49-50 mins. Wrapping around the hills of Harlem we once again reached our nemesis. The second go around was just as good and I decided to speed ahead of AM. As I used to post when training for the 2009 NYC Marathon, Harlem Hill is just a LONG hill that never seems to end. Doing it once isn’t too bad but doing it twice it becomes alot more difficult. Once I peaked the hill I waited for AM and I thought I was feeling pretty good. The plan was to wait and take my second GU when we reached the park but I was soon to be forced to take it as my body started shutting down.

“When glycogen runs low, the body must then obtain energy by burning stored fat, which does not burn as readily. When this happens, the runner will experience dramatic fatigue and is said to “hit the wall“.

At around Mile 10 I had hit a small “wall” and at which point the run went from being great to dramatically awful. We still had around 2 miles to go to wrap up 12.4 miles (almost a half marathon) and it was one of the greatest struggles on a run I had felt for a long time. The entire second half of the second loop AM and I kept pushing each other back down to the bottom of the park.

Once we arrived down at the park I had hid my gatorade and both took another GU and drank our fluids. We only had 2 baby loops to go which would be around 3.6 miles.

THE BABY LOOPS

Central park is divided mostly into three main loops. The small loop (72nd street transverse) which is about 1.7 miles, the middle loop (102nd street transverse) which is about 5 miles and the full loop which is 6.2 miles.

To say doing these baby loops were easy I would be lying. We were still on a good steady pace but it took every ounce of energy to keep going. Once we had wrapped around our first baby loop, AM shouts we are NOT STOPPING, lets keep going and get this sh** over with. It took everything I had to not want to stop. What became a quite engaging run only moments ago before mile 10, turned into a dreaded I want this to be over as soon as possible run.

We kept encouraging each other while I kept yelling out that we are strong, we got this, noone can stop us. In reality it was just mind tricks to help my body not quit and perhaps it actually worked. We made our way back to 72nd street and finding our way down on the west side towards our starting point. We usually start at the west side entrance but tonight we had to go to the east side which when you are so exhausted and know you will be done in less than 2 minutes, it becomes that much harder. As we picked our pace up we both knew we had achieved our set out goal of 16 miles and had literally run our hearts out.

IT FELT GREAT! No better feeling than knowing you had transcended yourself again and pulled out everything you had to muscle through.

After the run we saw a Chipotle and HAD to eat a huge chicken/rice/bean burrito as part of recovery. As we sat there barely talking, faces of exhaustion, we both knew we had achieved greatness for one moment in time. It is the reason why we run, it is the reason why we go back out to keep pushing our mind and physical limits. And it is the reason why tomorrow nights run will be an estimated 18-20 miles.

As for long term running goals, I am 94% sure I will be running the 2011 NYC Marathon once again and once again with one team, Team for Kids.

Make a believer out of yourself. Make the impossible, possible. Transcend what is unknown to the known.

I leave you with one of my favorite NYC Marathon videos  that may just inspire you to run with me this year. HAPPY RUNNING!

Posted by: mmartininycmarathon | February 15, 2011

2 days >>> 15 miles >>> hill repeats

Hey there my loyal supporters!

So this past weekend was a successful training weekend as I was able to run 15 miles over the course of two days. Considering I had not run since the beginning of January it was alot for my body. Let’s just say I am STILL feeling the residual soreness!

SATURDAY

Since I hadn’t run for over 3 weeks I was very anxious to get back out there and start running again. What was going to be a normal 6 mile trek turned into a 9 mile journey. Was not the easiest run but it showed me what dedication I had during the 2009 training season for the NYC Marathon.

I started off at my usual start (23rd and 5th Ave) running the usual 5th Ave route while making a pit stop at City Sports to grab some GU. I had not eaten these since last year during my PR NYC Half Marathon and while pacing butty in Boston so it took some getting used to. I bought two, eating the one immediately after purchasing and saving the other one for later (at about the 45-50 min marker). As I continued up 5th Ave to 59th street I tried to keep a decent pace knowing this run would be an extra 5k. I was averaging about 8 min miles and still felt pretty good.

Once I hit the park I knew it would become harder and as my wind starting going I tried my best to maintain but had to stop at some parts. I am aware I always go out way to fast and try and maintain a faster pace than what I can keep but over time my body will adjust and will be able to go further at a faster clip. For now, its a matter of building up.

Once I hit the infamous Cat’s Hill I decided, its hill repeats time. As many of you may not have known and/or read the training logs I posted in 2009, hill repeats are basically that. You have a pre estimated length of a hill (different grades of inclines) that you run up at a bout 85-95% of your max and once you complete one, you jog down to the start and REPEAT. After 3 to 4, if you do it right, you may decide to try and release your lunch from earlier.

Hills are my friends

On this day I was only able to do 4 as on the final repeat, my calves felt like they were going to fail me. Hill repeats is in reality, speed work in disguise. If incorporated the right way into any training program you will become faster in addition to being able to tackle a course like NYC with no problem.

After doing the set of 4 repeats I was on my way up and around Central Park to 102nd street and trying to maintain my composure and pace. If I were to tell you at this point this was fun, if I would much rather have been doing anything else besides this I would only answer with…. absolutely! But, in order for me to be up to par for some “in the near future” goals the work has to be put in now.

As I was traveling down the West side of the park (around 6-7 miles) I ran into Joanna who ran Boston last year and is an amazing runner. What made this run even more difficult was the fact that I forgot cash at the apt and never thought to stop by a bank to get cash so I could buy fluids at the vendors in the park. So for about the first 7 miles I was not hydrated. Luckily Joanna offered me some of hers which probably helped me finish up the park to get to DR and buy my own.

The final 2-3 miles of the run was pretty uneventful and was able to finish in about 1:24:30. This is the most I ran since last year but was able to finish and once again prove to myself what may seem impossible is possible if you believe in yourself.

SUNDAY

Sunday was supposed to be a easy recovery run but turned into a high intensity 6 mile race (opponent being myself!). One thing I really have not been successful at is pacing and going slow. Like the day before, I did the usual 5th ave route working my way up to the park and completing the lower loop.

Unlike previous notions my body responded well changing speeds when needed and breaking the route down from “cool down” spots to “high intensity” sprints. I enjoy having my body respond to these situations to test my strength and make sure I am at a “normal” pace (below a target race pace). Though I had gone out fast (first mile being about a 6:12) I didn’t completely fail and was able to keep a decent pace throughout.

Final finish time was 51:00 minutes which is faster than what I had been averaging before. My best 10k time is around 43 minutes but that is about a full minute faster and when I was running consistently.

So, for the rest of the week I am attempting to log in around 25-30 miles and do a 10 mile run on Saturday. With this crazy weather fluctuating my running may follow suite and what was intended to be a 10 mile jaunt may just turn into a half marathon!

Check back later in the week and on Sunday for updates! Happy Running!

Posted by: mmartininycmarathon | January 18, 2011

NYC > ORL > NYC

Hey there my loyal supporters!

I have not been posting much due to personal and work related things but trying to get back on track for the new year! which on that note I should wish every single one of you a happy new year!

On the running front I have run more this winter than last surprisingly but def not where I should/need to be. I was tempted to run the Manhattan Half coming up this Saturday but my base is only at 6-7 miles. The conditioning and speed still needs to be addressed as my finish time would not be like the last. I rather be in shape and ready than have a disappointing finish time.

Moving away from running for a moment, I had a chance to visit Orlando for just two days as my awesome friend Anisha (who ran Boston and is an exceptional runner) got married! Some of you may know her since I have blogged about her and our running escapades. Here is a photo of her beautiful wedding.

Anisha & Jon wedding

 

Not only did Anisha run Boston last year, while working ridiculous hours but she added a 50 mile ULTRA marathon all the while she was planning her entire wedding. If that isnt inspiring and just absolutely AMAZING I don’t know what is.

Lets hear it for the AMAZING Anisha, the newly wed and an absolute gem of a runner and friend!

I think I am so inspired by her I am going to go for a run now. HAPPY RUNNING!

Posted by: mmartininycmarathon | November 8, 2010

Nov 8th / / INSPIRED

Hey my loyal supporters!

So i feel so bad not posting consistently but have been so busy with work, work and more work, but its ALL GOOD!

Anyhow, I was able to make it out for the 2010 NYC Marathon and as many of you know I ran this same race just one year ago on November 1st, 2009.

Yesterday was so inspiring and made me appreciate the sport of running and the NYC Marathon. Watching and cheering all the runners (including the ones I was out there for) was so rewarding and makes me want to run it again in 2011.

It was also so nice having so many people out that were running and have to give some serious props to Loni and Alex who both ran incredible races. LL ended up with a ridiculous 3:27 while AO finished with an amazing 3:50. At the 18 mile mark both looked great and I knew they would finish strong. AO was running her very first marathon and am so proud she made it through even though having a bum ankle. It goes to show you the spirit of the mind connecting with the body to get through the pain and overcome any obstacle to finish. Absolutely amazing.

Some other credits I need to give is to Oscar, Adam, Elena Emily, and Angela who all ran their first marathons with the exception of Adam and Angela.

On the elite front it was sad to read that Haile Gebrselassie stopped at mile 16 and conclusively retired from the sport of running. One of the greatest running legends falling off the sport on a bad note always is sad to see but he will always remain a running god. Meb finished in 6th which when they passed at Mile 18 I was surprised not seeing him leading or shuffled in the lead pack. Regardless, those men are just amazing, every time I see them it amazes me how fast they are going for such a long period of time.

I have been officially rejuvenated and as winter approaches I will plan to get back into shape to run the remaining NYRR races and build back up to marathon shape.

Again, lets hear it for ALL the NYC Marathon finishers and to Loni, Alex, Oscar, Emily, Adam, Elena and Angela!!!!

Enjoy the pics and Happy Running!

Mens Elite Mile 18

 

Meb!

 

Loni looking great at Mile 18!

Alicia!

 

Coach Brian... dressed up as Gumby (probably still running a sub 3)

 

Elena running her FIRST marathon!

 

Posted by: mmartininycmarathon | October 10, 2010

It’s been way too long

Hey there my loyal readers!

It’s been way to long since my last post (4 months to be exact) but I still do exist and I am still running a bit.

Some updates for the second half of the 2010 running season. As most of you know I was going to attempt an Ultra marathon (50 mile road race) but with training and a recent foot (injury?), that plan has been tabled. At some point during the year I decided to take a break from running as it became less of why I started way back when.

For this week I am trying to get back out and start building a solid foundation (4-6 mile runs, 4-5 x a week) and maybe train for the NYRR Half Marathon in January. With the NYC Marathon coming up on November 7th, I feel like its a very inspiring time for all runners (running or not). The banners are up and the air is turning crisp and the memories hit me everytime I see something related to the Marathon.

As there is no ner goal in sight in terms of race goals I can probably say that we may be bringing in an encore in 2011.

If my same loyal readers are still out there… thank you for checking back in. I will try and write more often as my latest endeavor is to get back into running and start signing up for some fun races. Perhaps the New Year Eves run??

Happy running!

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