Big night tonight! First training run for the New York City Marathon. 

Today’s plan called for four miles at a regular pace. Headed into Central Park via the 72nd street entrance and headed north. Circled around the reservoir then raced back out to 5th Avenue, which was four miles. 

It’s muggy and rainy tonight. By the time I got out the door, the sun had long since set and it was really coming down. Was completely drenched within in a minute and ditched the shirt at the halfway point. Really liberating run in an almost deserted park. 

Here we go again!

 central park in the rain

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This is how it starts.

This week, a strange series of ‘what-ifs’ has been bubbling up inside of me. What if I ran the race differently — got out of the gate faster? What if I changed my training schedule? What if I ran with a group? Could I do better than I did?

I have been trying to bury this feeling with beer and cheeseburgers, but to no avail. Sooo…we’ll see how this goes. But I may have to do another one.

One thing I did enjoy about marathon training (it’s really more about the training then the actual race) is how I’ve been feeling recently. I didn’t drink any alcohol in the month of November. I stuck with non-processed foods as much as possible. I stuck to a pretty regimented schedule.

The results weren’t immediate, but they were positive. I had more energy. I had less back pain. My pants fit differently. I recovered quickly from race day and wasn’t all that sore. I liked all of those things.

Now, whether I like those things more than chicken wings remains to be seen.

Post-race fan club

Post-race fan club

I did it!

The day after the race and I’m proud to say I have finished my first marathon. It was not as miserable as I would have imagined — the weather cooperated (low 40s, fog), the course wasn’t as bad as people led me to believe (those Galer/Madison hills weren’t too bad), and I feel OK today (well, at least I’m vertical and walking). I really enjoyed visiting with people during the race and got three visits from my lovely girlfriend along the route.

Looking back, running a marathon isn’t just about the race day. It’s the training, the gear, and the camaraderie with fellow runners that makes it worthwhile. I logged almost 400 full miles (complete stats below) during this journey, which started in Africa and ended at Seattle Center. It was a great experience!

Before and after my first marathon

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Not a whit, we defy augury: there’s a special
providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now,
’tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be
now; if it be not now, yet it will come: the
readiness is all: since no man has aught of what he
leaves, what is’t to leave betimes?

Hamlet, Act V, Scene ii

This is the work of Elaine, one of the beneficiaries of my fundraiser. I am so proud to see her perform like this! She is truly an inspiring individual and I look forward to seeing how she grows as a person in South Africa.

Irish runner Martin Fagan, suspended for EPO use. Image source: http://corkrunning.blogspot.com

When it comes to connecting distance running with performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs), we know a few things.

  • We know that 2011 saw a record amount of PRs and course records in the sport of distance running.
  • We know that certain illegal substances, specifically EPO, boost the performances of endurance athletes, regardless of sport.
  • We know that purses, appearance fees, and sponsorships have dramatically increased in value.

But, do we know if there’s a problem with PEDs in distance running? Let’s take a closer look.

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Things I learned about running yesterday:

  1. The ideal ratio of carbs, protein, and fats for recovery matches up pretty closely with chocolate milk.
  2. Performance-enhancing drugs may be entering the world of elite running.
  3. Core work is the best thing to do the week before a big race.

Get more context and see the rest of the yesterday’s chat with Trisha and Uli Steidl  at the Seattle Times website.

Chris Bosh is down with chocolate milk. You should be too!