Wednesday, November 4, 2009

New York city Marathon

Last Thursday I left home around 11PM to jump on a bus and head to New York city. The trip from Quebec to New York is around 11 hours of bus, I knew it would be a long way so I tried to get on the bus as sleepy as possible to sleep in the bus. We got to New York around 11AM on Friday, the bus driver left us at the marathon expo. As soon as I got there I grabbed my bibs, shirt and all the goodies and then headed into the expo to enjoy myself a little bit. I bought a nice jacket, some gloves and a cap to run during the winter. I also got my some compression socks and a pair f compression tight from Sugoi. After that we headed out and walked around New York to visit a little bit, we walked something like 4 hours maybe and this is without counting the 2 hours in the expo. This was my first wrong decision of the week end.

After that we had dinner and headed to the hotel for the night. On Saturday morning it was the International Fun run at 9Am so we got up early and headed there to run 4km with a ton of people from everywhere around the world. After the run we had to walk around for an hour or so to try to find the bus. We then got to the Hotel, rushed into the shower to get ready as fast as possible to make sure that we got ready for the next bus since we had a New York city tour in the afternoon. We jumped on the bus, headed back into Manhatan and walk around a little bit more, maybe an hour. We headed to Time Square to shop a little bit at the M&M store, then walked more to grab the bus for the city tour. After the tour we waited in line for 30 minutes or so to go to the pasta diner. It was nice and the pasta were good. After that we did walk a little bit around to visit a little bit more before heading back to the hotel.

Overall, I evaluate that we walked around 6 to 8 hours on Friday and Saturay, it was a big mistake to walk that much the days before my first marathon. ut it was my first time in New York and I wanted to see as much as I could of the Big Apple!

On Sunday morning I got up at 3:30AM, no need for a wake up call or anything, the nerves took care of it ;) I decided to wear my Nosa Tri shoes from Asics, which was another mistake. Those shoes fits me well without socks on but with my compression sock I was a bit tight in them, but I kept them anyway ... I got ready and jumped on the bus, we headed to the start waiting area. We got there around 6:30, it was raining a little bit with some cold wind. I was happy that I brought a lot of old clothes to keep me warm. And a friend of mine who was there let me used a space blanket from another marathon to keep me warm.

Around 9h15 I decided to head into my coral to get ready for the start, a guy who was on the bus with me decided to come with me so we could run together. Honestly, I was happy to have someone with me it made me feel safer a little bit to have someone with me who ran more than 20 marathons before. We got to the start line after some trouble in the coral, I can't say why but there was a huge fucked up with the corals for the 10AM orange line start. People were crossing over the fence, some people almost hurt themselves to try to get to the start line. I was amazed to see how some people were going nuts ust to reach the start line. After some trouble we finally reached the start line and heard the big BOOM that was announcing the start. No time to warm up or anything, it was just walk to the start line and start running.

The start was on the bridge from Staten Island to Brooklyn, I never really realized how much a bridge can be compared hill, now I tell you it can be without any problem. while we were crossing the bridge we saw one of our friends from Quebec, she was celebrating her birthday on November 1st while running the NYC marathon so we ran next to her and started singing Happy birthday to her. I think she was surprised.

Right when we got off the bridge it started, there was lots of people on both sides of the streets, a lot of people told me that there would be people along the course but I never imagined that it would be that much. Young kids were there high fiving us while we were going through their streets.

The first 8 miles of the marathon had three different course, then at mile 8 we were all joining together into one big bunch of people. It was amazing how much work it was just trying to pass someone. I tried to stay with Robert, the other guy from my bus, he was planning to run a 3:45 marathon and my biggest dream was to run a 3:45 marathon so I made every thing possible to stay with him. This was my biggest mistake, after 3 or 4km I felt that the pace was too fast for me, but I decided to stay with him thinking that I would be able to HTFU, damn was I wrong ...

At the 25th km or so we crossed the 59th street bridge, this bridge is high when you have to run over it believe me ;) While approaching the other side of the bridge we could hear people screaming, cheering, yelling. When I passed under the bridge and saw the 1st Ave full of people cheering on us I swear I started flying for a while. It was such an amazing feeling to hear them all cheering, New Yorkers are the best believe me!

After the 30km mark I checked my pace and saw that I was at 5:40/km (9:08/mile) this is where I realized that a sub 4 hours marathon was probably not possible anymore for me. I had to run the last 12.2km under 1:09 and my pace was going down the drain at that time. I decided to stop to the porta potty at that point. After that I restarted running I made the decision to stop looking at my watch and just enjoy the experience. I wanted to soak myself into that awesome feeling that the crowd were giving us. So I did, I ran the last 12km in 1:20 or so, a really slow pace for me, but at that point I didn't care much I just wanted to have fun.

And I did, I finished the race full of emotion, running in central park was so incredible with sooo many people, I can't say how many but something like 100k maybe. Cheering loudly to transport every runner to the finish line. It was my first marathon, and when I crossed that finish line it was one of the most incredible moment of my life.

When I thought about it after the marathon was over I realized that I made a HUGE pacing mistake at the beginning, I choose the wrong shoes and I didn't train enough to finish in my dream time. Next time will be better, I tell you ;) I don't think that triathlon and marathon training fits well together, especially if you want to perform and run a fast marathon. My biggest training weeks were 70km of running or so and my biggest month was 220km or so. I honestly think that I would have need at least 100km a week and over 300km months to perform well in the marathon. 

But triathlon is my sport and marathon was just something I wanted to try, I am not sure yet if I will run another one soon. For now I did complete a marathon, and it was one of the biggest and the best marathon! And for that I am proud of myself :)

New York city was just AWESOME!!! I felt in love with the city, the marathon organisation is almost perfect. I hope that I will be able to go back there one day.

Thank you to all the New Yorkers and people from around the world who came to cheer on us, you guys made Sunday one of the best days of my life and for that I will always thank you :)


  1. Sounds like you had a great time and that is the most important thing. Trial and error, that's how life goes.

    You almost made me want to run a marathong... almost! ;-)

  2. congrats! glad you finished the race with positive thoughts, especially since it was your first marathon! you learned some important lessons that can only be learned through experience. nyc was my 7th and i am still learning new things :) keep trucking along and get your 3:45 (and beyond!)