Posted by: pointlenana | November 11, 2010

NYC Marathon

This past Sunday, I ran the 2011 NYC Marathon.  I’m not sure there’s such a thing as a perfect marathon, but this one was about as close as it gets.  Some highlights for me:

I ran with my college friend Paul, who I have not stayed in great touch with.  Through a mutual friend, I found out he had signed up, it prompted me to see if he wanted company, and we got reconnected.  Which was great.  It was his first marathon, I coached him a little bit, and he had an amazing first marathon- running notably faster than his sub-4-hour goal, finishing without injury, and having a good enough experience to already make noise about doing another.  And he was great company for 3 hours 47minutes and 28 seconds. 

We had perfect marathon weather.  Cool, clear, beautiful, little wind except on the bridges.  It doesn’t get better than that. 

New York is really big.  I think Brooklyn alone is bigger than Seattle.  The Verrazano Narrows Bridge – which accounts for the first 2 miles – was the longest suspension bridge when it was constructed (and is now 8th worldwide according to Wikipedia), and we were a long long way above the water.  The Boston Marathon claims 500,000 spectators which I thought was a lot, and in NY there were about 2,500,000 – most of whom were cheering for us. 

I was able to walk down a flight of stairs shortly after the run.  Usually I have to do this thing where I turn sideways, put all my weight on the railing, and lower myself down one step at a time.  Apparently running slightly less than all-out is easier on the body – weird.

We passed The Chilean Miner, and didn’t get passed by Amani Toomer.  The Chilean Miner, who probably has a name in life outside of headlines, was invited to the marathon and ended up running.  He started running 3-6 miles in the mine each day while stuck, which is pretty amazing on one hand, and not really adequate marathon training on the other.  We passed him (more accurately, we passed a tv vehicle filming a pack of runners, one of whom must have been The Chilean Miner) shortly before the halfway point and I suspected then that he had started way too fast given his lack of training.  As it turned out, his first half took 2 hours and his second half took close to 4 hours.  Amani Toomer, the former New York Giants wide receiver, started dead last and raised $1 for each runner he passed.  Although he passed some 20,000 runners, he didn’t catch us – maybe this is uncharitable it would have been pretty demoralizing to be passed by someone from the back of a group that started one hour after us.

Reaching the top of the last hill before entering Central Park was pretty great.  I was tired there and secretly thinking “when is this going to end”.  When we hit the top we still had a couple miles left but I knew we’d make it with a good time. 

Running for Team For Kids turned out to be pretty cool.  This is the first time I’ve run for a charity and up until the run it was a) a cause that seemed reasonable b) a way for me to get into a run that was otherwise full and c) a new and not entirely comfortable wrinkle (fundraising) to marathon training.  But during the run I got 3 or 4 “Go Team For Kids!” cheers every mile, and people seemed to know what it was and appreciate the support.  TFK raised more than $4million to encourage fitness among (mostly low-income) kids, and did a fantastic job organizing the experience for the runners.  And they gave me a bright neon singlet (running tank top), which I know Paul secretly coveted.

I want to thank all the people who supported me in some way.  Specifically:  Paul and Amy for making this as comfortable and easy as running in Seattle.  Jeanie for talking me into that last long, hard, and did I mention long, bike ride which immunized my quads against the big downhills on the bridges.  Mike, for re-connecting me to Paul and other college friends.  All the people who contributed to Team For Kids on behalf of both me and the kids who benefit from the program.  The people at Team For Kids, most of whom I never met, who did a wonderful job before, during, and after the race.  Janet for making this easy for me even though she had plans this weekend too.  Honorary Person Moani, for joyfully joining me on sprints and encouraging that fun hill training where she gets to be off-leash for a while.  And Will and Wyatt for successfully holding down the fort while we were away. 

Next up, Boston 2 Big Sur.  Or maybe one of the Triple Crown rides…


  1. Wow – Awesome summary!… fun to read about this now. I was thinking of you running endlessly across New York, as I walked through Amsterdam. Not quite the same exertion I’d say. So glad you could descend stairways after wards – good to measure all the various threads of success!

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