Sunday, May 26, 2013

Race Report - Long Island Marathon

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the great running weekend I had. Between the last JackRabbit training run and the Long Island Marathon, I met enough awesome people and had enough experiences to remind me (as if I ever need reminding) why and how much I love running and the running community.

After I finished the training run in Prospect Park, I hopped onto the subway to Penn Station to catch a train out to Long Island. It was my turn to get them for Amortya and me, since he had bib duty at RnR USA. Admittedly, I as a little tired from the 12 mile run so I used the 43 minute train ride as nap time. Once I arrived in Westbury, I saw a few cabs and hopped in one that seemed to already be on its way to the expo. As I got in, I realized there were a couple other passengers. One was going to the expo as well, and we began talking to the driver about the marathon.

I learned that his name was Max, and he had stopped into the city on his way out of the country. He figured he'd run Long Island while he was in town. My kind of runner! While getting our bibs, we started chatting and talking about running and any number of other things. We were done at the expo relatively quickly and then headed back outside.

We decided to test the walk to the train station, in case cabs wouldn't be around in the morning. Good thing we did, because the walk took almost the entire hour! We got to the station only minutes before the train arrived. Max and I spent the entire train ride talking about running and what we loved about it. We exchanged contact information once we got to the city so we could keep in touch.

I had pasta for dinner that evening with Daniel and went to bed early(ish) so I could be up in time to catch the 5:25 train with Amortya. I woke up at 3:45 so that I had time to get ready and walk Phoebe before heading out.

I don't generally like to complain, but a few things about the beginning of this race did not go well. While waiting for the train, I felt a massive headache coming on so got some aspirin to head it off. At least I had the train ride to help sleep it off, but it lingered even after we got to Westbury.

As luck would have it, there were cabs there. Amortya, Max (who found us) and I got into one with a few others and rode as close as we could to the start. Race officials weren't letting anyone very close to the start line, since all race security has been heightened since Boston.

It was cold that morning! I was glad I'd brought the race shirt we got the day before because we had a couple hours to wait. Since we'd taken the earlier train, we were some of the first people there. While milling around, we watched as race officials set up the sound system. The first song that played, albeit poorly due to a sound system issue, was "It's Time" by Imagine Dragons.

Although my attire choice was good for much of the race, it absolutely was not for the beginning. It was freezing and I waited til the last possible second to drop my bag so I could keep my clothes on. Even after I dropped it, I seriously considered putting on a hoodie someone had discarded. I didn't, worried it hadn't actually been discarded, but it more than crossed my mind.

The race started, and it was a small one so I crossed the start line less than 2 minutes in. From the very beginning, though, I realized I had to use the restroom. I wrestled with whether or not to stop the entire race. So, guess what, didn't end up stopping. It was a pain in the butt. Literally and figuratively (TMI?).  I also just was not feeling it. I was having a hard time keeping my mile pace and I remember wondering between miles 2 and 3 how I was going to get through the other 9/10ths of the race. It was a rough few miles.

Eventually I did settle into the race. I really started enjoying myself around the time that the half marathoners split off around mile 10. As the split happened, I was running next to a woman who was doing the half marathon. We split off and she yelled "Go, girl!" at me. I yelled back at her to finish strong. Hopefully she heard. It was a nice race moment.

From that point on, the race was on totally unshaded highway. It wasn't a terrible thing, since the weather was cool. Coincidentally, Max and I kept a similar pace for much of the race. Although he pulled ahead for most of the last 8 miles, I did manage to finish just behind him, at a little under 4:14. This was a disappointing result, but not altogether unexpected. I did a poor job of keeping my fitness up after Rock 'n' Roll DC.

Another nice thing about the finish was getting to see Amortya (who did the half and waited for me after) and Daniel, who made the trip from the city to catch the end of the race. Before catching the train, we tried to do our Cinco de Mayo duty by eating Mexican food. Does it count if the food was terrible?

Anyway, great race. Best of all, I found a new running friend! Max wrote a piece on the Boston bombings, which you can find here.

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