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Race to fall

It has been a long time since I wrote a post. Fortunately I have been very busy. This summer was spent working and playing. Play included bicycling, hiking, running, kayaking and climbing. I just love being outdoors and summer is the perfect time to experience the mountains and the sea. Summer time was also the start of my training for the New York Marathon that was held last Sunday, November 2.

There is a variety of methods to train for a marathon. The first time I did a marathon, I ran 4-5 times a week in addition to bicycling 2 times a week. Unfortunately all this running lead to injury which I fortunately recovered from before the actual marathon. For the following marathon, I trained only 3 times a week, bicycled 2-3 times a week and swam once a week. I was also training for a 70.3 (half ironman) triathlon. I felt great the entire time and did not get injured. So I found that the 3 day a week marathon training schedule was right for me. It is comprised of 1 long run, 1 tempo run and 1 speed workout. The total weekly distances are not that high - they never reach more than 35 miles a week. In addition to the 3 days of running, I cross train bicycling and weight training. My third marathon was the Boston Marathon where I PR'd (personal record) and had a wonderful race. I was hoping to beat my Boston Marathon time during this marathon (my fourth). I thought I could based on my training and race times.

Since I am a sports dietitian, you are probably wondering what I eat when I train. Honestly, I spend more time with my clients figuring out the optimal eating plan than I do with myself. Maybe it is because I have been doing endurance activities for so long that I naturally know what to eat and how much. Generally, I began the day with a high fiber cereal or steel cut oats, milk and fruit. My lunch is often a large salad, beans, lentils, eggs or salmon, and a large serving of whole grains. I have a mid-day snack which might be a yogurt with fruit, nuts, or one half of a peanut butter sandwich. Dinner varies and is always comprised of a very large portion of veggies, a whole grain and a lean protein (fish, beans or legumes). And I sometimes end the day with a piece of dark chocolate. Yum!

Now to the race. The weather forecast was for low 40s, cloudy and very windy. I keep track of what I have worn in the past based on temperature and couldn't find a similar day. So I estimated that it would be like a day in the 30s. So I unfortunately overdressed wearing a warm jersey, vest, hat, arm warmers, glove lines with lobster mitt gloves on top, knickers with calf compression sleeves. Oh well. I would rather be a little warm than too cold.

The NYC Marathon is a huge international event. Just getting to the start is an event in itself. I took the subway to the Staten Island Ferry to a bus to the corral. It took 2 hours to get there! I hoped to have enough time to chill out, but I barely had enough time to use the porto-potty. I had to sprint to the start.

The start is very inspiring. You hear Frank Sinatra singing "New York, New York" and everyone sings along. Then the gun goes off and you start running up the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. I started out running very comfortably. There is a lot of energy and some people use it to pass others. One person decided to run diagonally in front of me and tripped me. I fell and scraped my knee, hit my head and shoulder. On top of all this, my Garmin watch cracked. So I got myself up and started running again. My head hurt but the rest of me felt ok.

It wasn't until I got to mile 16 by 1st Avenue that my knee start to ache. As I ran, the pain got worse. I had to walk a few times to rest my knee. Ugh, I was so aggravated. What kept me going was knowing that I would see family and friends along the route.

First I saw my husband at 1st Avenue and 110th Street. It was great to see him and he ran along with me for a short time. The route then goes into the Bronx for a short time. There was a wonderful band of 3 women singing a Loretta Lynn song (I don't remember the name of the song). Then the race goes back into Manhattan and down 5th Avenue. I expected to see my husband, son and father at 110th Street and 5th Avenue on the southwest corner, but they weren't there. I figured that somehow I missed them. But, lo and behold, there they were at 96th and 5th on the opposite side of the street. I was so happy to see them. I kept on walking/running and made it into the Central Park - almost home! Next I saw my friends Ellen, Alison and Steve. And later I saw Marcy and Tom. That is one of the best things about running in NYC - I get to see a lot of friends. The photo was taken by my friend Bob who saw me but I didn't see him.

When I saw the 400 meter sign, my knee pain disappeared and I sprinted to the finish line. I couldn't wait to finish! Now I can limp and get my medal and mylar. Walking straight was hard because my knee was really sore. But I made it home in one piece. Did I PR? No. But it was faster than the first two marathons. Does this mean I have to run another marathon to beat Boston? Maybe. Ask me again in a month.

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