The New York City Marathon is an incredible race and event. I was lucky enough to run the race last year as my first World Major Marathon and I have to say that the whole atmosphere was unlike anything I have ever experienced. I finished the run on a true emotional high as I ran a solid 2:37 marathon time after placing 2nd at the Tussey Mountainback 50 miler 6 days prior. This year in 2020, things have been completely altered and having such a positive experience with NYC last year, I knew I had to run the Virtual marathon this year. How did it all go? Well let’s find out…
The NYC Marathon is a true bucket-list event for anyone. I knew that this would be my first “BIG” major marathon. From the crowds, the ferry ride to Staten Island, the pizza, the crisp Fall air, and the buzz around the sport of running is pretty darn cool at this race.
There is a saying “It will move you” as the main slogan of the marathon and its true. The NYC marathon is everything inspirational and transformational. It took me experiencing the event as a participant to really grasp the magnetism of this great race.
So for 2020 like most races, it was canceled for November 2021. It was a sobering fact as other races like Boston, Berlin, the Tokyo marathon and most others had to cancel. My wife’s experience at NYC even inspired her to sign up for the race but unfortunately her journey of the 5 boroughs will have to wait until 2021. Covid has been a real bummer for the sport and for the charities that depend on the community support and outreach. Running is one of the most charitable sports out there and this has been a big blow for us all.
This Fall, my focus has been on training for long efforts: 100+ miles long so running a virtual marathon was not something I knew what my result would be. I downloaded all of the apps from NYRR and decided to run on the day of what would have been the official marathon. It was a cold and moist day with rain forecasted later in the day.
I ran out along the towpath which I knew would pose its own challenges such as stopping at road crossings and navigating foot and bike traffic out along the trail as more people have taken to using the trail.
With my podcasts in tow, I headed out around 10:30am. I started off rattling off some fast splits. Some 5:20’s and 5:30’s came to be and then I settled into a rhythm of hitting 5:40’s and 5:50’s. I felt that anything under 2:40 would be good.
One of the best things is not to worry too much about the outcome. Just Run! And Run is what I did.
Out on the run, I envisioned where I would be on the NYC course as the miles ticked on by. The first half had me pushing strong through Brooklyn and it was fun to use the NYRR app to have crowd noise and cheering coming through my speakers. Feeling the energy of the city and the spectators, I kept plugging away.
The rain started to come down heavy from mile 15 onward to the finish. My slick road shoes had a hard time gripping the now muddy and soft trail. With only taking 1-20 ounce bottle of Tailwind and taking in no gels, I ran this pretty minimal in terms of calories and was pleased with how I ran considering I spent about 2 minutes waiting to cross the road in total and kept plugging away as I craved more fuel the last 3 miles to go.
I did see some other runners out on the Towpath going for their own NYC marathon runs and it was fun to have that shared camaraderie out there. I really enjoyed my time and as I pushed hard the last mile, I knew I would be finishing in a great time for a solo unsupported effort.
I finished my run as the rain started to pour. I finished in 2:33:08 which was an excellent time considering the terrain as it became sloppy and muddy, not to mention the effort was solo.
Looking back at the Strava results, I finished 7th place overall which was pretty cool. I ran it more of something fun and not looking to PR or do anything crazy. It was a nice solid effort which bodes well for the future. I used to think that I did not have the speed to be competitive at the marathon or the 50k road scene but a run like this shows me that even with standard distance training, I have potential.
This was a much needed effort for me. With 2020 being a real wash for competitive efforts, this was great to have something to motivate myself similar to a race.
So what’s next??? I have something up my sleeve!!
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