3/17- Caught a 6:30 flight out of B'ham and landed in LaGuardia around 10:00 local time. I took a cab into town, which took an hour and cost me over $50. I would recommend taking a bus to a nearby subway station instead. I was able to get a pass for unlimited subway rides for the rest of my trip. I dropped off my bag at the hotel and I was out the door on my way to Grand Central Station, just 10 blocks away. I got some lunch at Mendy's deli and browsed around a bit.
Next stop was Times Square. I snapped a couple pictures and went into a few shops but did not buy anything. Because it was St. Patrick's Day, I noticed a lot of drunks, pervasive use of the f-word and occasional smells of marijuana. Word on the street is that you should not bother making small talk with locals and that's generally true but if you ask for directions, they will be helpful and courteous. I got a nice surprise later in the day when a random young woman approached me in a subway station to compliment my smile. That made my day.
It was on to Wall Street from there and this time, I did take the subway and found that I got a handle on the train routes pretty quickly. I walked past the NYSE and the bull before reaching the new World Trade Center just a few blocks away. I saw the 9/11 Memorial monuments then headed up 100 floors to the top of the Freedom Tower where I got some amazing shots of the skyline. From there, I found myself in a very upscale shopping area that doubled as a subway station. I ended up stopping at 34th St to get a view of the Empire State Building but chose to view the Top of the Rock instead.
I got tickets for a 8:50 PM observation and thought it was pretty cool to see the Rock at night after seeing the Freedom Tower in the daylight. Not surprisingly, I was dead tired by now and was happy to settle in for the night.
|100th Floor of Freedom Tower|
|Freedom Tower 2|
|Empire State Building from 34th.|
|Top of the Rock at night|
3/18-I planned to scale it back a bit to stay off the feet. First stop was Tom's restaurant for breakfast which was used in the TV show Seinfeld. The exterior is the same but the interior is different. Much of the show itself was actually filmed in LA instead of NY. I got some eggs with toast and potatoes, which was decent but only memorable because of Seinfeld.
I hit the subway again to the Bronx for a tour of Yankee stadium. In the only real downer of the trip, I was not allowed in because of a soccer match. I did walk around a bit and got some tasty chicken at a local establishment for an authentic Bronx experience off the beaten path. It was back to Manhattan from there where I got a quick sample of Central Park before a lazy afternoon in my room. That worked out well because it was the only bad weather day of the trip. In the evening, I met up with Nick and Cara for a steak dinner in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn before bed.
3/19- Ran 13.1 miles in the morning. More on that later. I got cleaned up, checked off St. Patrick's then took the subway into Brooklyn. I ended up at Flatbush and Fulton St. Shopping district before making my way to Dumbo (Downtown Under Manhattan and Brooklyn Overpass) where I got some of the best pizza at a place called Juliana's. I then walked across the Brooklyn bridge to Manhattan and back. My legs held up okay.
|View of Manhattan from Brooklyn|
Next, I went into a section of Queens called Long Island City just to do something in that borough. I got another nice view of Manhattan. There were a few fancy restaurants overlooking the river but after a late lunch, I was fine with bar food.
|View of Manhattan from Queens|
3/20- Walking tour of the Upper West side including the Seinfeld apartment address of 129 W 81st St. The address is real but it's home to a realty office not an apartment building. A few blocks away was Riverside Park with views of New Jersey. On the East Side, I just walked by the high end shops and did not even check the prices of items for sale then checked out Trump Tower.
|Had to Check it out.|
|Inside Trump Tower|
With time to kill before my flight, I went back downtown to Battery Park where I saw a decent view of the Statue of Liberty. I did have time for the 9/11 museum this time around and it was gripping. Wish I had more time but I couldn't risk a SNAFU on the trip to the airport.
Now the race report:
2017 began just as horribly as the previous 2 years but I feel like I’ve turned a corner over the last 3 weeks thanks to molybdenum, which has opened up the sulfur pathways. Still, being limited to 20-25 MPW over the last 2 years with much of that being junk runs, I could not expect a good time. It’s going to take a few months of steady 40 MPW training before I see significant gains. Based on my recent workouts, I thought I could do 1:42-1:43 if everything broke in my favor. If I was a little off form, I would still be able to fight for a post-35 PR of 1:45:58. There was some question about whether or not I should be taking glutathione for methylation support but unlike in the recent past, a single missed dose won’t kill me.
NYC got hit with a nasty Nor’Easter earlier in the week and there was a chance of another round of snow showers over the weekend. It turned out okay. Friday was sunny and 40 but Saturday was a mix of cold drizzle and snow flurries. Fortunately, it cleared out by the morning. Conditions at the start were mostly cloudy and 34 degrees with an 18 mph wind. That’s tough but I’ve raced in worse. In a long tech and pants, I was fine once I got moving and maybe a touch warm when the sun came out but chilly when the wind began to gust.
Looped around Central Park for the first half. The terrain was for the most part gently rolling with the exception of tough spots in Mile 4 and near the start. From there, we came out of the park and through Times Square before turning down towards Battery Park with views of the Freedom Tower. The finish was near Wall Street. Truly an iconic route. From mile 6 on, it was ever so slightly downhill except for a small climb out of the tunnel near the finish.
I just stayed relaxed early and did not even look at the watch until I was over the first hill nearly a half mile in. I hit the Mile marker in 7:53 which was just where I wanted to be. Mile 2 saw some nice downhill and my pace quickened to the 7:30 range. That’s too fast. Back it down even though I felt good. I passed 5K in 23:50 officially (7:40 pace), which would bring me home around 1:41. It’s a little quick but not stupid fast and I still feel strong. After a brief out and back section, we were in Harlem at the north edge of the park. There were 3 noticeable climbs here including a long steep stretch for about a half mile near the end of Mile 4.
By the end of Mile 5, we were through the hills except for the last stretch out of the tunnel and my watch read 38:5x or just north of 7:45 pace. The 10K mark passed in 48:15, which is a new post-35 PR for that distance. The 24:25 over the previous 5K was very respectable considering the hills and if paced well, this is a negative split course. I’m not sure of my exact time at the halfway point because my GPS clocked it at 13.35 (quarter mile long) but I figure it was around 51-flat so I was in very good shape to hit my goal. I really sucked at running the tangents today. Central Park has a lot of curves in the road and I went wide most of the time. Oh well. Most of the remainder of the course would be flat and straight.
Many runners feel a surge of adrenaline upon entering Times Square. I got a small boost and managed to pick up the pace a few ticks but it was no surge. I still felt fairly comfortable but the legs were starting to hurt. At mile 8, my watch read an even 62 minutes or exactly 7:45 pace. The math was easy. Just hold the pace under 8:00 for the last 5.1 and you’ve got a sub-1:43.
Unfortunately, things unraveled just before the 9 Mile marker. In a flash, I went from feeling relatively comfortable to flat out awful. To make matters worse, the wind picked up bigly near the water. I bet I instantly slowed by 30 seconds per mile and it would get worse from there. Maybe I could have used the glutathione here but oh well. I was 73:07 at 15K for a 24:52 split and still under 79 minutes at 10 miles.
The Freedom Tower was now in view and I tried to draw some inspiration but to no avail. Taking a gel also had no effect. Just getting to the Finish safely was the primary concern now. According to the official results, my pace slipped to the 8:45 range and the last 5K was over 27 minutes. Knowing that I would come up short of the “B” goal, I just coasted in on fumes with a watch time of 1:46:19, which was good enough for the 67th percentile in my age group.
All in all, I’m okay with this race. Performances are expected to vary by up to 5% on any given day so I was well within the range even with the fade at the end. If I had struggled to break 1:50, then changes would be needed. I’ve broken that barrier only once in my previous 6 races so I still believe I’m on the right track. The probable resolution is that I will never approach my former glory but if I can avoid the horrible days and extreme sensitivity to pills, it's a trade that I am more than willing to make. Even if I am no longer competitive, I can still do well enough to enjoy these events. I don’t think I would have visited NYC if not for this race and would have missed out on an amazing trip. Next up is something out west and I am leaning towards the Teton/Helena combo in Wyoming and Montana. Long way from the big city there.