So, as a new member of the famous NYRR (New York Road Runners), I completed my first ever event today: A 13.1 half marathon. Now, here's the deal: I'm not really a runner. Sure I bust out 5-6 miles in the gym as part of my normal cardio, but I've never been "Mr outdoor, long distance real runner dude." When I talk about running on the treadmill, I somehow feel...ehhh. That's not "real running!" (don't get it twisted, it does the job and keeps me fit.)
Anyway, I kind of got the urge to change that a bit. The ING NYC Marathon has always been on my "I'd love to do that" list. My years living downtown Brooklyn is where that seed probably came from as the marathon route took the runners right by my place on S.Oxford and Lafayette. It was a big deal for the neighborhood every Nov. Fast forward many years later. About two weeks ago to be exact. I found myself thinking that I should go ahead and at least start doing some races. That led me to the NYRR page. Figured...probably should join and get started. Browsing the page I found the calendar of events and looked for an upcoming race. Maybe a 3k, 5k. Nope. Found the Grete's Great Gallop 1/2 marathon and thought "Yeah, it's only HALF, I can do that!" My thoughts weren't motivated by some Superman complex, DNA arrogance thing (sort of!). I just knew that busting out 5-6 miles for me was always a non-event so this would just be...2wice the effort. Right? Right? How hard could it be? With less than 2 weeks really, I began running outdoors. 5 miles a clip. No sweat really. During these runs though, I discovered how much I LOVE running outdoors, especially in my favorite fall weather. All in all, I got 3 runs in. That's it! My schedule was hectic and I just didn't get the time to prepare. Either way....it was do or die. To me, it was all in my head and I was convinced that I could pull it off. I read plenty of blogs/web-sites with "Tips and advice" for fist time marathon runners. Kept reading stuff like: 12-14 weeks- as the suggested, normal amount of time to "train" for such an undertaking. Okay, well....I already joined NYRR and I signed up for the race and paid my fee. (Plus, I talked so much shit in my mind there was no way to go back!) I barely mentioned my suicide mission to anyone, just one or two people with some running/cycling...distance events experience. Both of them nearly talked me out of doing the race and scared the heck out of me with their warnings. (they meant well) Either way, too late. I was definitely going to do this. Oh, one more thing-On the NYRR site, the info regarding this particular event read as follows:
The course for Grete’s Great Gallop Half-Marathon in Support of AKTIV Foundation 13.1M is tough—two laps of Central Park adds up to a lot of hills—so some long-race experience and hill training are advisable. The start is on East Drive near 70th Street. You’ll complete two full clockwise loops of the park, after which you’ll start a third loop and continue for another 1.2 miles. The finish line is on West Drive near 67th Street. Almost all of the course is run over curving roads and undulating terrain, except for one straight, flat half-mile stretch along the East Side that you’ll run twice. Major uphills are at approximately 1.5, 3, 4, 7.5, 9, and 10 miles. There are water stations approximately every mile, and Gatorade Endurance Formula is available at 1.25, 3.5, 5.75, 7.25, 9.5, and 11.75 miles
Operative words there being "TOUGH-TWO LAPS...SO SOME LONG DISTANCE-RACE EXPERIENCE AND HILL TRAINING ARE ADVISABLE!
I had none!
So, a day or two before race day, I found out as much as I could about what to do, how to do it, what to eat a day or two prior, what to eat the morning of, what GU's are and everything in between. (no one mentioned my nipples possibly getting sore after.- Chaffing they call that!)
Without getting into everything here, I prepared myself as much as I thought I could.
Patsi and Max by my side, we headed for Central Park. The weather was awesome, especially during the early miles. Temperature went up a bit and the sun came out but it was still a gorgeous day. I was nervous right up to the start. Perhaps I'm not Superman. Maybe my cockiness would be the end of me.
Long story short (too late!)- I busted out a good 5-6 miles averaging about 10 minutes miles early on, then 11, then falling back to 12 min +. miles eventually.
There was a point a little after mile 10 that I felt my legs freezing up on me and I thought I was done. The persistant warnings of my experienced friends kicked in. "Don't damage anything for the sake of just doing this!" I heeded. Took it slow, walked some then picked it back up and kept running. Walked some then picked it back up. My goal was simply to keep running and finish. Period. And that's exactly what I did.
2 hours and 40 mins later.
I mentioned that perhaps some of you would be inspired by this. Well, hopefully.
The way I see it is that if regular ol' me can set my mind to do something with little experience and nothing but sheer arrogance, determination, the will to make a commitment and stick with it, then so can YOU! It's simply a matter of making the effort, which starts in your mind.
They measure of a man is based on what he thinks he can do and actually GETS done.
It's starts from the inside!
ING NYC Marathon-2013? It's only what I did today....2wice!! Right? Right??
Stay tuned......(I doubt it, but...stay tuned anyway!)
Shout outs and "Thank yous":
First to the love of my life and best friend- Patsi Arias. To my other best friend and my heart, Maximillian "Maximus" Skaar. To my peeps who advised me and had my best interest at heart- Jon Baker and Vincent Chan. To the following artists: Trent Reznor, The Beastie Boys, Don Davis, Nero, Steve Aoki, Kanye West, Rihanna, Jay-Z, 2 Chainz and Guns & Roses.....for providing me with a much needed inspiring and thumping playlist of sounds!
To my cousin Lorraine Sanabria for continued inspiration as "The Serious Runner" and overall athletic bad ass of the family.