Day: November 27, 2016
Saturday 26 November, 07:58
4C, cloudy and overcast, cold. Went for a 13 mile run, my first since doing back to back marathons. Wore lightweight jacket and gloves. Had 2 gels and 500ml water. Kept the run at easy pace but felt halfway through that I’d picked too long a route. From 13/14k I started to struggle, my quads and adductor so were weak. Minor left knee niggle early on went away later. A few of the marathon blisters came back – only noticed afterwards, not a problem during the run.
Avg pace: 6:04 min/km
Brooks Ghost trainers #3
Wildlife: 1 squirrel, 1 peacock
After completing the NY marathon the preceding Sunday my legs felt ok but not full of energy. The day began with a 4am bus up to the Crystal Lake camp area above 5000ft. Don’t know if it’s lucky or unlucky like a black cat, but a raccoon crossed my path as I walked to the line of buses. The organisers set off each bus as it was full to do the winding climb up the canyon, which took about an hour and a quarter. My bus was almost driven off the road by a U-haul van, which turned out to be for the bag pick up.
I got a coffee and tried to keep warm. Then as 7am approached I applied sun cream and started final prep. There seemed to be several hundred runners there for the marathon, not sure exactly how many.
The start seemed to go off with a shout rather than a gun. Straight away it was downhill, and I noted a lot of the road had a steep camber. This soon started to affect me with my left hip and knee niggling a bit. I’d let the 4h pacer start way ahead of me but I seemed to quickly fly past him and his small crowd, though I was trying to be sensible. My watch was telling me what a stupidly fast pace I was doing! A bit further and I flew past the woman pacer with a 3h40 flag. I was beginning to get worried….
By around 8 miles the downhill was seriously affecting my quads and I knew I was headed for big trouble. The water points were every 2-3 miles and I was taking water at most of them. I went through halfway in a PB time, 1h44, but was realistic to know I couldn’t double that to get my finish time. By 17 miles I began a run/walk strategy. At first walking the few uphills, then just alternating walking and running downhill.
There were zero spectators. Just the occasional escorted convoy of vehicles using the uphill lane. So different to New York. But beautiful scenery and I was enjoying it. By around 22-23 miles the sun started to break through the cloud and it really began to warm up. Occasional scattered spectators stood outside of their houses. By now I was walking more than running, but still hoping to do a good time. The two pacers I mentioned had passed me by the 23 mile marker so I knew I’d be outside four hours.
By 25 miles my mental maths wasn’t doing that great and I figured I was going to miss a PB. Then a spectator shouted that the 26 mile marker was just round that corner, so I took heart and started jogging a bit more. He wasn’t being entirely truthful but it did help me to get a PB!
There was a small crowd near the finish line, and I think the announcer called out my name as I approached the line. I was in such discomfort I can’t be sure, but I did manage to strike a pose for the cameraman.
The medal is enormous and I got water, slice of pizza and foil blanket very quickly. The baggage pick up was so efficient it only took 10 seconds to get my bag, which was handed over with a smile. Brilliant.
I found plenty of blisters afterwards, and struggled to walk etc for about three days. So I have learned I need to do course specific training if I do another downhill course. But it was very enjoyable and the organisation was superb. Well done Revel.
Official timing: 4h 12m 2s
Temp started around 6C and climbed to around 25C (car dash said 29C when I got back to hotel)
Time: 4:12:02 (2 mins off 0ff PB)
Avg pace: 5:58 min/km
The day started early with a walk from the hotel to catch a bus at the main library. We were escorted by a tour rep and it was the start of a well oiled event.
The sun was coming up as the bus went past the Brooklyn Bridge.
Waited in the staging area with Jeff and tried to keep warm. Eventually found the coffee and facilities. I didn’t really get nervous or stressed as the time for wave 3 approached. Perhaps I’ve done enough marathons now to know what to expect and to save energy. Then wave 3 was called forward and we moved onto the bridge…
Then the big gun went off and the race began. What I recall is a massive amount of support, big crowds round most of the route. Lots of encouragement and noise. Started at a comfortable pace and with the wide roads didn’t seem to have a problem moving around and finding space to run. Took water at most of the water points, and a couple of pit stops. I recall one runner coming across after a few miles to say he’d heard our names (“Jeff and Steve”) shouted out over a hundred times 🙂 I felt the effort approaching halfway, but we kept going. Never any doubt we’d run to the end and finish. I can also remember the run up 5th Avenue, the wide road, sun in the faces of the crowd, the straight road ahead climbing slightly. There were even big crowds in Central Park and soon the finish line came in view.
I got a bit light headed after the finish, but soon recovered and started the long walk through the park to get out.
Overall, I thought the race was the biggest and best one I’ve done so far. It exceeded expectations and is the pinnacle for me, will be tough to beat. Finished with very tired body but no significant injuries, which is just as well as I’d booked another marathon for the following Saturday!
Official time: 4h 28m 11s
Temp about 7C and sunny, rising to maybe 16/17C I think
Avg pace: 6:11 min/km