The Effects of Training on Man-in-the-Cold Marathons

First things first, it’s done.

Today I completed the 2010 ING New York City Marathon. I completed it in 3:27:27 (7:56s), which bests my fastest NYC Marathon in 2005 (3:28:03). I bested it by only 36 seconds. Cut to the unofficial deets…
Unofficial Garmin Results:

Now the official deets!

Place Gender Place Age Place Runner No. Finish Time 5 km 10 km
4300 3776 746 3711 03:27:27 00:21:48 00:43:23
15 km 20 km 13.1 mi 25 km 30 km 35 km 40 km Minutes per Mile
01:05:43 01:28:41 01:33:55 01:53:54 02:19:14 02:46:48 03:14:58 07:56

Notably, I did really well in the beginning. Apart from the first mile uphill on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, the first 7 miles I did sub-7:00s. The next 3 miles I did in about 7:13s. Still not bad. After mile 10, I started to fade a bit. And upon hitting the Queensboro Bridge inside mile 15, I was getting decimated. After Queensboro, I was running in the 8:00s and the times kept creeping up. I was slow and weary by the end, and I was really trying to push to make sure I didn’t lose to my 2005 time.

I was predicting a 3:20 finish, and I was hopeful that I’d do better than that. My hopes were confirmed early on when on 4th Avenue when I was keeping such a good pace. 4th Avenue is generally flat with some rolling hills on which you can pick up a few downhill seconds. And picking-up was what I was trying to do. After mile 8 there is a long hill with which I don’t have a good relationship but I kept my pace up pretty well, dropping only about 20 seconds per mile from the first 7 miles. Sounds a lot but still pretty fast. But it was around mile 19 that I noticed my hopes were dashed for finishing a 3:15, and at some point later I realized that even a 3:20 was out of reach, and around mile 25 I realized, Shoot, this is gonna be close but it looks safe. Once I was in Central Park, it was a little too close for comfort when competing with my 2005 time.

Physically, I’m funny. I weighed about 177 lbs. going into the race today. That’s heavy for me, probably mostly attributable to carb loading I was doing this week. So I probably looked a bit flabby for me. (I did Pilates in the morning today but I really haven’t been able to cross-train because I’ve been so extraordinarily busy that I just don’t have the energy to fit in another draining activity.) I dropped about 5 lbs. during the race (net), consuming a number of PowerGels and fluids. But I’m funny not just for the weight. I’m funny because I did the whole marathon shirtless! The start temperature on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge was about 41 (F). With wind chill, it was in the 30s. It felt awesome to be in the crisp air shirtless, and that’s how I prefer to run because I get hot easily and I didn’t want to get sensitive/bloody nipples. I heard a small number of people cheer me on calling me “No Shirt!” or “Shirtless!,” which was funny because they were probably cold and couldn’t relate. Myself, I was so happy.

And physically, my body worked fine. I ended up with nasty bloody chafing on the inside of my left thigh from my bike shorts, but I didn’t even know it until Elizabeth pointed it out to me when we met up after the race. When I got home, I saw I had a bloody toe but it wasn’t bad, either. After the race, I was moving like an elderly man: I felt like Elizabeth and my brother Charles’s grandpa in the speed at which I was moving and the attention I needed after the race. (I just trusted they were understanding of my condition.) I took 2 ibuprofen when I got home, but my right knee is really sensitive/sore/pained and it’s getting worse. It’s probably not serious, just the result of the kind of abuse I gave it today, but it’s slowing me down. I couldn’t keep up with my brother who walked slowly with me after we came home from dinner!

As for disasters, nothing too big. Around mile 17 I went for the PowerGel and noticed a lot of it wasn’t going into my mouth, AND INSTEAD IT SHOT ALL OVER MY HAND AND LEFT PEC! (And I have hair on my chest.) Fortunately, though, the Poland Spring station was just after then and there were coldwater sponges which I used to clean myself up on the run. And between mile 24 and 25, when I was passing the Loeb Boathouse in Central Park, for 1 second I suddenly drifted a bit to the right as if I was going to faint! I snapped to it immediately and was a little on-guard for the next bit to make sure I didn’t faint, especially so close to the finish. The last bit of the race was tough, but what awaited me was seeing Charles and Elizabeth on 210 Central Park South, and of course the Finish Line.

I ended up with some gastric distress after the marathon was finished. I’d had eggs this morning as well as some yogurt. I’m thinking that in the future, eggs would be a potentially bad idea. They weren’t bad, but they may not have sat well in my stomach over this run and potentially could spell problems or disaster. I got out for runs; I don’t want to have the runs!

Overall, my feelings about my results are mixed. I’m really happy about the first 10 miles. I’m somewhat disappointed about the remainder of the race. I’m happy that I beat my 2005 time and made a PR for this course, but I’m a little embarrassed 2010 was so close to my 2005 time. But in considering my demanding actingwork schedule–which is a blessing for an actor–it’s a wonder that I was able to get in training at all. Also considering the incredibly hot summer we had, it’s a wonder I didn’t just throw in the towel. It’s been a tough time for training.

And I’m not even done with training. In some sense, the 2010 ING New York City Marathon was just a training run for me. In two weeks’ time, I’ll be in Philadelphia to run yet another 26.2 miles. It’s a flat, fast course. I’ll have the benefit of having “gone long” in training for that. Last year I did it in 3:07:32, qualifying for Boston, but I’ll just (ha, “just”) have to do a 3:15 to qualify this year. Honestly, I don’t know what to expect. Heck, I don’t know what to expect tomorrow when I wake up! But at least I’m a bit better trained for Philadelphia … at least for now. Yet another busy acting week awaits me …

Thanks for following along and showing your support. It means a lot to me just to ask and take interest. Lotsa photos coming soon.

3 thoughts on “The Effects of Training on Man-in-the-Cold Marathons”

  1. I kept tracking you on the website and thought the pace looked good for ages, well done! Am proud of you – especially for braving the cold when so many had on beanies and gloves! The gel story is too funny, that could’ve ended in an interesting way 🙂

  2. Thanks, Helena! Pretty sore today but strength is coming back to me. But, man, it hurts! Stairs are my enemy.


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