Tuesday, November 6, 2007


Last Sunday I ran the New York Marathon. As there was only 6 days between winning the 50km Fear & Loathing race and the NYC Marathon, I was not hopeful for a fast time. All week my legs were tired and heavy. I predicted my worst marathon time - maybe something in the 3:30 to 3:45 range.

As I was staying in Morristown, NJ I had to take the train to Penn Station. Once there at 6:30am, I headed down to the Staten Island Ferry Terminal....with tens of thousands of my closest friends :)

Then we crowded onto the Ferry (actually, the below decks were not crowded at all.) If you ever go to NYC, the Staten Island Ferry is a gret deal - it is FREE and it cruises by Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty plus provides you great city views. Here are some shots I snapped heading to the start line via the ferry.
Ellis Island
Statue of Liberty

Some ugly guy in front of the Statue of Liberty

Once at the start, we headed to the Verazano-Narrows Bridge. There we all waited for a bit. There was plenty of food and drinks waiting for us. The weather was cool, but not cold - it was actually perfect racing weather.

It really was an international marathon. I noticed huge groups of runners from France, from Norway, from Italy, from England, from Swden and from Japan.

After awhile, the runners headed to the start lines. The start was grouped by race numbers. I was pleased to learn that my qualifying time put me in the very first starting group behind the men's elite.

Soon the starting gun went off. Here, some photos start getting a bit blurry as I was snapping them "on the run".

Running the first mile on the V-N Bridge.

I passed through mile 1 at 7:47. Wow - this was going to be a slow marathon I thought. But about that time, the incline of the V-N Bridge flattened and became a decline to the city. I exited and came through mile 2 at 13:15. Much better I thought.

The course took the runners past Brooklyn. The crowds were awesome - screaming from overpasses and along the streets. The crowds here really rival Boston Marathon crowds.

At around the 3 mile point, our group starting merging with other running groups (some runners started earlier on the top of the V-N Bridge). We all continued to run through Brooklyn.

I was really surprised how well I was feeling. My legs were tired, but I wasn't really breathing hard and was really enjoying myself.

Soon I approached the 10km mark. As I passed over the timing chip I galnced at my watch. 41:00. Wow! I was going about 6 minute 35 second miles. This would be around 2:53 marathon. That would be right around my 3rd fastest marathon. But I knew that I wasn't going to hold this pace, I could definitely feel last week's 50km race in my legs.

YIKES!!! I have to remember to turn the camera around when I snap these photos.

Soon the course entered a Little Italy area section but can't remember where. Too early for Manhattan or the Bronx Little Italies - maybe upper Brooklyn?

Pretty soon we approached a bridge. Shortly after climbing the bridge, the Half-Marathon mark appeared. My time: 1:26:47. Again, I was pleased. My legs were tiring, but overall I felt good and wasn't breathing heavy.

After dropping down off the bridge, we entered Queens. We kept running through Queens and approached mile 15 at the Queensboro Bridge.

The views of the city were nice, but it was starting to get a bit cooler.

Soon we dropped off the bridge, and entered Manhattan's Upper East Side. Here, the course continued for about 4 miles. Screaming crowds lined the street the entire way.

After running through the Bronx, we re-entered the city at mile 21 - Harlem. Here my time was 2 Hours 42 minutes and a few seconds. That would be a hair under 3 hours for the marathon. But now my legs said enough was enough. So I stopped and stretched a bit. I knew I did not have a sub-3 in me, so I decided to try and keep it under 3:15.

The course then headed up towards Central Park. The cruel part of this race is miles 21 through around 25 are uphill (not a major hill, but a constant incline). Then we entered Central Park.

I continued my run now and approached the finish line. I crossed in 3 hours 9 minutes 50 seconds. YIKES!!! Did it again...must remember that the lens faces forward (finish line shot).

I followed the other runners over and changed into my warmer clothes

and to grab a post race meal perfect for NYC

This was definitely a fun race. I was really pleased with my 3:09 on the heels of the 50km race. Plus, NYC Marathon certainly loads runners up with plenty of goodies.


Chihping Fu 傅治平 (超馬阿爸) said...

Congrats to your performance in such a great event!

Wow sub-5:30 min pace for your 2nd mile! I can only conclude that running ultra's helps you perform even at the less ideal condition. Must be ultraholic!


itsilife said...

Way to go !, 3:09 with tired legs, you are amazing..:)


Peter Lubbers said...

Yes, that's a pretty amazing performance, Alan! Especially after the 50K. Nice pictures. Sounds like a fun marathon.

Alan said...

Thanks Guys....it is kind of anti-climatic to discuss a marathon 6 days after a 50km, in light of Peter's Tahoe marathon/marathon/triple marathon in 3 days, or Chihping's million 100 milers in a 3 month period. But I was still pleased.

BTW: the second mile is a solid down-hill, so no problem going into the 5 minutes on it.

Mark Tanaka (Ultrailnakaman) said...

I think when I did NYC a few years ago, I finished in 3:07 or something. So I expect you right on my heels, next race. Congrats.

That pretzel looked radioactive.

Rajeev Char said...

3:09 a week after a 50K! You are my hero...Amazing!

Incidentally "Heavy legs" (Pair Bhari) in Hindi means you are pregnant LOL!!

Alan said...

Mark....OK I will be on your heels for somewhere around 3:08 of teh next race :)

The pretzel photo does look glowing - weird. Maybe that's why I am bald :)

Alan said...


Me? Pregnant?! There is an old 1970's movie starring Billy Crystal as the first man to get pregnant called Rabbit Test (a VERY bad movie). When he finds out he is pregnant, Crystal exclaims: "I knew I shouldn't have let her be on top."

Of course, that could explain my throwing up and slow times during some of my races :)