A lot of ifs but ....

I knocked out some very consistent 400s Tuesday. Ten of 'em between 1:43 and 1:49. Felt great. And that knotty problem in my right knee has subsided the more I run. Go figure. I guess there was a muscular deficiency that strengthened as a result of the increased use.

It is quite possible that I will have an RBF meet-up this weekend with the incredible Jeanne! Now she has been known for getting lost, being late for a rendezvous and not observing the obvious. I have personal experience in that regard but I love her dearly. We're soulmates ... or so says Facebook.

I'll be in the Great State of Mary Land this weekend for the Army-Navy Game and I am always looking for secret good local places to eat and run so maybe we'll get lucky. I'm definitely packing for some non-Florida weather.

Go Army. Beat Navy!


24 miles since the Trot

It was a busy running week for me. As much as I did in my run up to NYC, it seems.

I did the 5.3 mile 10K race last Sunday; five hill miles on Tuesday; the 5K Turkey Trot race on Thurday, nine miles on Friday at tempo pace and - so to keep pace with Runner Susan even though she hasn't confirmed she did it - I ran 15.1 miles today in rather balmy 70 degree temps.

I was pleased to put in the 15 without any problems. I feel very fit and the legs are as taut as ever.

I finished reading Again to Carthage by John Parker and found out this morning that Sunday running pal Chris has a copy of the original running invigorator Once a Runner by Parker. I went to his house today and traded books. We're both fired up now. Great motivation in those pages.

With today's run I have surpassed my record for miles in a year: 1,087. That's exactly an 100 mile month average (as of today). Much more to run in December as we ramp up for Ft. Lauderdale.



That's what it really amounts to.

I picked up the West Pointer at the airport late last night. A grueling academic semester had him tuckered out. As soon as we arrived home and opened the garage door he finally smiled. There was his motorcycle - yes - the one that's been in my garage since July. He went for a midnight ride. I went to bed.

We were up by 6:30 a.m. for the Turkey Trot. It was the largest turnout in the 19 year history of the event - over 4,200.

We ran ... or trotted actually; when compared to our preferred times. T in 20+ minutes; me in 26+. It was hand timed so there are no official results.

The after-run was like a big hometown reunion. Lot's of former cross country runners from high school back from college or wherever and their parents, families of runners running or walking together, some of my Sunday morning gang, former neighbors who run once a year, etc. It took a long time to leave.

Once home I showered and napped. T went out on his motorcycle again. There'll be a lot of that.

Then we ate Mrs. T's exquisite Thanksgiving feast. Short of raising the turkey in the backyard it was entirely a from-scratch extravaganza.

Burp. Excuse me. Thanksforcooking Mrs. T.

#2 son C wants to go see a movie. I can do that.

Hope yours was good too.


Spirit Week starts early

You are probably not familiar with this too much but it happens ... every year ... in any number of ways.

Army plays Navy in football next Saturday. I've never been to the game but I am going this time. The week prior to the game is historically known as Spirit Week when each academy gets all worked up about dissing on the other and pulling various pranks.

Well, this year, Army's team stinks so the most likely victory is in the off-field arena; and it's never too early to start.

It seems that somehow, a number of West Point sympathizers - and by that I am not ruling out the USMA cadets who attend Annapolis on an exchange program - have managed to kidnap (no pun intended) the Navy goats. All three of them. Notice the military issue flashlight in use.

Word is that the perps were not going to be released for Thanksgiving break until the goats were returned.

Stay tuned.

P.S. I finally saw the results of Sunday's 10K. Bill Rodgers (not Frank Shorter) ran in my age group for the win. I finished sixth behind him.


Maddy tagged me

Maddy tagged me with the latest meme. I could swear I've done this twice before in other time warps. Five oddities of my world:

1. I was always the home team for neighborhood baseball games when I was young. I had the best field. We played in my dad's church cemetery and used grave stones as bases and markers as surplus fielders. Hit the marker on the fly and you were out.

2. I used dual purpose tactics in my run for election as student government vice president in college. I targeted the sorority houses and girls' dorms for my door-to-door campaigning. How could that not be successful - one way or another? I won the election and married a co-ed.

3. In a similar vein, in boarding school where there was "coordinated education," meaning the boys campus was by the river in the valley and the girls school was seven miles uphill on the mountain top, I formed a cross country club team which allowed for off-campus training runs. That's when I developed an affection for hill work.

4. I was never in better shape in my life than the summer before seminary when I worked on a stripping crew. (When was the last time you saw seminary and stripping in the same sentence?) The stripping crew pried out the wood forms from under highway bridge overpasses after the concrete set in the road surface above. I learned a lot about the hardscrabble life in that short period.

5. I have the humiliating distinction of having dropped a Vespa motor scooter seven times in five weeks. It was in Martinique where a bottle of French wine was a standard for every meal. To this day and all those ahead, you will never see me riding a motorcycle.

I am not one to tag someone so you are spared. Spared except for having to read my odd stories to get to here.

Repeats. As I wrote yesterday, I am aching to run long. Today I bagged the 1600 intervals even though I love the track. I wanted to do something else so I ran over to the Chelton hills which is a lovely little neighborhood with pricey well-kept homes that surround a former sink hole. I have a perfect one-mile circuit there that includes three ascents and descents per lap. I did four of them in succeedingly faster times. From 9:25 down to 9:00 for the last one. With the 3/4 mile warm up and cool down from the house to the hills I was feeling challenged enough cardiovascularly to take the edge off my ache.

Tomorrow I'll go easy for a few. Thursday is the Turkey Trot race; and this weekend I will go about 15 (Yes!). I realized that the following weekend will be a mess as I head to the Army-Navy Game in Baltimore. I just hope I don't have the same problems as Runner Susan and can find someplace to run 10 miles or so.



I have this fear. I ran 26.2 miles over two weeks ago and haven't gone more than 10 miles on a single run since then.
I have done intervals, raced and run for Shay. I haven't gone long. I must run long. I need at least 15 long slow ones to keep my mojo up. I could go Wednesday afternoon but I race again with my two boys Thursday.
Maybe Friday.


When's a 10K not a 10K?

... when the organizers can't pull permits for the roads that are under construction and they have to replot the route four days before the race; and cancel the CBS taping of the event.

Let's see. What else? No mile markers. No mile timers. Start race from finish side of finish line and run through gate and over mats ... not the finish mats but start mats another 25 feet up the asphalt. If anybody figured out when to start their watch, I'd be surprised.

Oh ... and the ChampionChips were on velcro straps to put around your ankle. I saw some blood that had me figuring some people had it too tight.

A 5K started 15 minutes after the "10K" and, on the second loop around, the latter runners ran into the former walkers who, of course, filled up the entire lane of the road. I barked, "On your left," until I was hoarse. Naturally, walkers have no concept of what it means so I and my colleagues faced the danger of car-back traffic in the other lane.

The food and drinks were plentiful and the swag was extraordinary, given Sea World/AB probably put some muscle on their park sponsors. Frank Shorter was there signing autographs and posing. The crowd was good. Maybe 1,000 or so in all including the 5K runners and kid runners.

The race? Oh yeah. Well they said the course was now 5.2 miles or an 8K. Okay; which is it? The top five finishers had ungodly pace times. The presumed winner went around at a 3:36 pace. No, it was not Ryan Hall. Maybe that's why the score sheet requested the top five to go see the timers.

I ran well. It took me 43:08. My friend C who gave me A's race bib (who saved $1,000 by taking a Saturday flight to California for Thanksgiving) said her Garmin read 5.3 miles. If it was 5.2 then my time was not so great so I measured the course on Google maps. I calculated 5.3 too so I have changed my records to reflect an 8:06 pace run over the longer distance.

Seeing as how it really wasn't me running, who cares? A, who's name was on my bib, amazing to her friends, finished fourth in her 25-29 age group. I was 7th of 11 in mine, assuming nobody else was running under an assumed name/age/gender.


More free racing!

Friday. 4 p.m. On the phone with a reporter. Closing out details for a story running Monday.

Fellow runner C. from the 7th floor is outside my office talking to K. She waves and smiles then disappears. I sign off the phone call and K brings me a note with C's cell phone number. Note says "if you'd like to run here's an extra #. It is Sunday @ Sea World 10K, 7:15 a.m. start."

You can surely call me Shirley but I won't answer. I do respond to number 58 though.

Shay. I did my 5.5 for Ryan Shay this afternoon. He probably would not have approved, given that I am racing tomorrow, but, hey, it's free. I 'll give it my best.

Cross Country. Today were the high school cross country state championships at Little Everglades race park in Dade City, FL. Went there last year to see the magical victory by our home town boys. This year six of the seven runners set personal records with times that would have beaten their champion selves last year. This time the field was stronger and Winter Park finished fourth. They were all knocking off runners on the negative split. They moved up from a seventh place half way position. All the mommas, poppas, girl friends and alumni parents (me) are still proud.


Short order run

After staying up for Project Runway's season premier I was inclined to sleep in and run seven miles tomorrow morning. Alas, I woke up at 5-something and felt good enough to get up and go do it.

7.1 miles, 1:06:52 (9:25 pace).

That was about all I accomplished today. Now I lay me down to sleep.


Taking care of business

I loaded all the unauthorized and authorized pictures from the NYC Marathon onto my pin drive this morning and then copied them into my work laptop screensaver. The unauthorized photos are the ones Susan didn't want me to post for you to see so you'll have to come to my office to see them.

I sent Susan her training schedule for Austin. It looks very much like mine except mine says Ft. Lauderdale.

I went out this morning bright and chipper to do 6x800s at the track, the same track where the lead character in the new runner novel by John L. Parker, Jr. Again to Carthage, found his stride as a middle school sprinter. How weird is it to pick up a book and be reading along and all of a sudden the writer is telling you about your neighborhood? I mean no less than 200 yards from here. Very strange.

Anyway I did the most consistent repeats I have ever done. After a not-quite-warm first 800 of 3:54, the next five were (dropping hundreths) 3:51, 3:52, 3:51, 3:51 and 3:51 (7:46 pace). Not super speedy but the pace guide that the marathon trainers use said that the 800s for 4:30:00 marathon runners should be about 4:30 per 800. I tore it up by that comparison.

The final course of business was to prepare for tomorrow night. I put in a call to Santino and he assures me Tim Gunn will be on his best behaviour for the season premier of Project Runway. Actually I didn't call Santino but I'll never forget the episode with Tim coming into the cutting room asking, "What happened to Andrae?" and Santino mocking him for days afterwards. Anyway, Heidi K., Michael K. and Miss Highest Ra-rrr Heels take to the runway set tomorrow. It's been too long. Make it work!

P.S. By my loose approximation, I calculate I passed about 12,000 people during the NYC Marathon. I started in the back of the last corral of 38,000+ people and finished 26,100th. That's almost 500 per mile.


Are you kidding me???

The weekend was a great relief. I had trouble re-engaging at work Wed. through Friday, which included managing the media at a school bus/bicyclist accident. The bicyclist lost, fatally.

I was still on a NYCM high and itching to go run long again this weekend. I figured I'd reverse the training plan and recover over taper distances. That meant going 10 miles this weekend. If that went well I am going to go 15 next weekend. I worked so hard to get in this shape, I do not want to lose it. I remember Susan saying much the same thing.

Thursday and Friday I indulged Mrs. T by participating in the arts world. An art lecture Thurday on Bloomsbury, followed by a la-dee-dah dinner at a private estate. Friday was a musical production of Gypsy at the college. I was exhausted and nodded off in the balcony during the first act. At intermission I excused myself, drove home, and crawled into bed. Mrs. T tells me I should have hung around. The college girls gave their best impression of strippers in the second act. Who knew? Dang.

Saturday was a long overdue yard project trimming some bushes that had been long unattended. That gave me a first rate backache which I felt when I woke up this morning.

Running again. I tried the same breakfast as last Sunday: bagel with peanut butter and some orange juice. It did the trick.

I went to Park Avenue. Only Marty and Ed showed up. There was a 10K/5K race this morning and it is a popular one. I just wanted to run 10 miles. And did I ever.

Ed bailed out after five miles. Marty stuck with me and labored a little as I pushed the pace. When we stopped for Zippfizz and Blok Shots at 6.7 miles, we were both energized and he accepted my ramped up pace. We pushed on and never slowed down.

Back at Park Avenue, I clicked on my watch. 1:32.44. I was thinking that was fast. I toweled off and strolled down to Starbucks for a coffee cake and Cafe Americano, then home.

I entered that 1:32 for 10.2 miles in my logrun file. Are you kidding me? That was a 9:05 pace!! I haven't gone that fast since June 3. I am loving running right now. I may have to jump up to the fasty group next week.


ING NYC Marathon, By the Numbers

Time: 4.46.44 (PR)
.................Place of Finishers (Percentile)
Overall - 26,100 of 38,440 (68% )
Men - 19,062 of 25,962 (73%)
Age Place, 55-59 - 928 of 1,561 (59% )
USA, Men 55-59 - 311 of 574 (54%)
Florida (M&F) - 385 of 720 (53%)
Florida, Men 55-59 - 15 of 27 (56%)

1 - 11.19.1 up the Verrazano Bridge
2 - 9.31.4 down the Verrazano Bridge
3 - 10.32.7
4 - 10.26.7
5 - 10.23.2
6 - 11.18.7 slow for fuel
7 - 10.32.0
8 - 10.49.2
9 - 10.52.0
11-11.22.4 slow for fuel
16-11.52.1 slow for fuel and Queensboro Bridge
20-11.57.1 slow for fuel
22-10.57.7 after parting company with Susan
24-11.41.5 slow for fuel and Fifth Avenue ascent to Central Park
25-10.32.8 Central Park
26-10.17.1 Central Park
0.2- 2.14.6 Finish



Runner Susan, Danny, Tiggs, Marta, et al from New York Mararthon: heed this post for your own good.

I can't stop eating and the eating season hasn't even begun yet.

I think I'll take up running so I can burn it off.

59 degrees. Four miles. Tempo pace. That's better.


Ryan Shay

I am grateful for the digest collections of reports and tributes to Ryan Shay. I only knew of him but thought highly of his talents and determination. Runners' World, among other sites, has some good news feeds on his continuing tribute and tragic death.


Living Lucky

I took yesterday off to recover and write the epic account of my fantastic NYC Marathon experience. It was worth it. I apologize if it was too long but I had to get it down.

I also got a nice three mile recovery run in.

To make the day even better, I received an email from the good folks with Ft. Lauderdale's A1A Marathon. You see, at the NYCM Expo, I entered every enter-to-win race entry contest they had. I am holding out for Scotland but for the time being the A1A gang want me to come run for free on February 17. Woo Hoo!

Average low: 60; high: 77. Maybe a little toasty but they start at 6 a.m. so that may be bearable. Ocean breezes the whole length of the course, right along the water. Totally flat. Yup, I think I can do some major reconstruction to my PR down there.

Also at the Expo I picked up a copy of John Parker's book Again to Carthage which was featured with excerpts in the latest Runners' World. Good stuff. I read half the book on the plane ride home. Now I want to go finish it.

Mark November 17 down for a 5.5-mile run in memory of US elite marathoner Ryan Shay who collapsed and died last Saturday in Central Park at the Olympic Qualifying. Run that much or more but remember him, please. It was a sad day and a great loss to his family and American distance running. The amazing hip man wrote about it. Go see for yourself.


ING NYC Marathon - 5th Ave, Central Park to Finish

To start at the recap beginning click here.

The Bronx mile had taken us 11:25. We'd lost another 30 seconds. The next two miles were flat. I had good leg turnover working, no pains and nothing in my way except a lot of walkers and slooooow joggers.

After I took on the single mission of running as best I could for the remaining five miles, I came up upon a man running with a memorial t-shirt. It listed the birth and death dates of his mother. She had died three days before my mother. I hailed him as I passed and told him of our similar circumstances and wished him luck the rest of the way. At the time I was maybe 20 blocks from where my mother grew up as a girl.

I got back on the 4:45 pace in the 22nd mile and bettered it on the 23rd mile. The last stretch of Fifth Avenue was unbelievably tough as it ascended 100 feet over the mile up to 90th Street where it turned into Central Park. I was wearing down and made time for a half blok of margarita shots. I felt a cramp in my right foot start up and worked to relax it as I ran.

I wondered where my fan club would be next. I was putting so much focus on my pace and stamina that I blew off giving them a cell call. I just hoped for them they were having a good time. As it turns out they were near mile 24 in the Park and my sister-in-law saw me ever so briefly. Nobody else did. I was taking off.

I entered Central Park East and found congestion, tons of spectators cheering, cooler air, and more hills. My time on the 25th mile was as good as any mile back in Brooklyn: 10:32. I was running the tangents, elbowing people out of my way, drafting behind those who were running when we went up hills. I kept looking for the 40K mats. My lungs were heaving. I knew after the 40K mats I had just 1.4 miles to go.

Finally I saw them around a curve and let the beeps ring around in my head. I imagined Ryan Hall cruising this stretch the morning before with crowds screaming, an Olympic qualifying race victory minutes away and a place in the Beijing Summer Games as a marathon favorite. He had a smile on his face and was pointing to the sky.

I became Ryan Hall in my head and ran like a gazelle (by my standard of gazelle, thank you) to towards the finish line. I passed the 26th mile marker. 10:17. My fastest time of the day except for the downhill mile of the Verrazano Bridge.

Next was the 800 meters to go sign. Two laps around the Glenridge Middle School track on a Tuesday morning in August. Hot. Sweaty. Dark. With purpose.

400 meters to go. Less than a quarter mile. An uphill finish stretch to deal with. Push. Pump. Bump my way through.

100 yards. What a dash. Cheering sounds bouncing off the trees and rocks of Central Park. Bleachers on either side of the massive finish line structure. A slight leveling. The mats. The finish. A personal best time of 4:46:44. YES!

Post race. I reveled in the accomplishment for a few minutes right there at the Finish line. Others moved forward for their just rewards. I dawdled to be there and hear all the encouraging words from the incredible race volunteers and officials to everyone who finished. I kept an eye for Susan. I checked my watch and calculated. Maybe soon. Maybe soon Susan.

I back-stepped my way to the first station where a man put the substantially impressive race medal around my neck. I lingered, still watching for Runner Susan. Next was the photo area with the medal. For a PR I thought I would at least like to have the option of having it.

Next was the heat sheet distribution. One person put the sheet over my shoulders. A man offered to tape it closed for me. I was a little baffled by the offer but was very grateful later.

I entered the food area. A bag with water, Gatorade, an apple and bagel. I held onto it and walked with the crowd to a spot where I had seen the Olympic qualifiers pass the 6 mile mark.

I stopped. The crowd was jamming up on the path to the UPS trucks and baggage claim. I could not sit or squat. I was not so hungry yet but did drink some water as I fiddled with my cell phone. It was time to try Susan.

She had just crossed the finish line. I went salmon on the crowd and worked my way back upstream to meet Susan. We hugged and congratulated each other; then worked our way into the stream and shared accounts of our time apart. I apologized for abandoning her. She apologized for being bitchy. I couldn't remember that being the case.

We were herded like cattle to the baggage claim and chip clip. A long walk and a few calls to family established the meet-up plans. Once we had our gear we headed out to Central Park West and met Amy, Linda and Marta. We got warmer clothes on, took pictures and declined Amy's cold hot dog offering.

We bid adieu and I headed back to Lolly's apartment a few blocks away and was ever so grateful to get in a warm room, have a beer, lots of salty chips and recap everyone's race experience. How crazy am I? When I got there I did not wait for the elevator. I hoofed it four flights up the stairs.

Bring on the next marathon. A flat one would be a good chance for a big PR. Chicago is on my mind for next fall. I need to decide what's next for the spring. One of three Florida races might work: Gasparilla, Run for Donna, The A1A. We'll see.

Time to go for a run.

ING NYC Marathon - Manhattan

To read the recap from the beginning click here.

As I lumbered down the Queensboro Bridge I dialed up Mrs. T to find out where she was located on First Avenue. I knew it would be a madhouse and there was no random chance of seeing her and my friends and family without a heads-up.

No answer. I left a message and dropped down into the cacophony of the Manhattan crowds. We were starting our 17th mile. Our pace had suffered going through Queens with 11:27 and 11:52 miles. We were 2:53.12 in. That was still 40 seconds ahead of our 4:45 pace schedule. We gave it up in the next three miles.

Once on First I made another call and connected with Mrs. T. She and my brother, his wife and son; and Mrs. T's brother (Rich) and his wife and two kids were on the southwest corner of 75th Street. It was a blessing that there was a slight downhill leading to them. That made for less excruciating photos. I spotted them. We veered to the left side of the street. I waved, posed for a picture and gave Mrs. T a smooch, all captured on video by my brother.

Runner Susan commented that she could not stop. She needed to keep moving or she would be in trouble. As you know, after any downhill there is likely an uphill to follow. We were on it. The blocks clicked by. I felt a need to offer encouragement.

I suggested we have our next gel and bloks at mile 19 instead of 20; and move up the meal at mile 25 to mile 23 to give us enough to get us through. It was way past lunch time by now. Normal folks had had their turkey cucumber spinach wraps at least 90 minutes before. Somewhere along the way, a woman was offering small cups with cold pineapple cubes. I had one for lunch. It was delicious.

At mile 18 the water station was offering Power Bar gels. I had a caramel which tasted quite good. I took it as an appetizer before the main course. We slowed and walked through the stop at Mile 19 to take fuel and Gatorade Endurance drink. We crossed another damn bridge into the Bronx.

The Bronx. The crowds had thinned as we hit the northern most portion of the course. The Bronx had small crowds of spectators but they were very enthusiastic. A band played. Reports I read said this was the best year in years for support from Bronx fans. I could feel it. Those I engaged by eye contact were very pleasant and encouraging.

I spotted a runner wearing a shirt with Red Sox markings on it. I kept my distance in case any Yankee snipers were on the rooftops. I was inclined to yell out how much the Yankees suck but felt that would be in poor taste today.

Unfortunately, this was a bad mile for time. Susan was starting to fade. I kept looking back for her behind me. She nobly kept pace. I slowed slightly to keep her on my tail. We reached the Madison Avenue bridge (21st mile) at 3:38:50. We were 90 seconds off our 4:45 pace. When I looked back, she told me to run on. I stopped and waited for her shaking my head.

Harlem and the Split. We ran into Harlem. The neighbors were loud and the band had a strong bass line playing. It was energizing. I was feeling good. Way back in Brooklyn Susan had suggested that at Mile 20, if we felt strong, we could kick it in and push for 4:40 or better. I told her we only had five miles to go. It was a short training run.

I was at a crossroads. I felt good enough to push but concerned that if I left Susan she would not get the time she wanted. I was ever mindful that I was in range of a PR.

I looked back again and Susan was 10 yards behind me. She said, "David, you go. You can make it."

I turned back forward and imagined her chasing me all the way to Central Park. I held a belief that if she could do it too, she'd be right behind. I didn't look back again.

To read the conclusion, click here.

ING NYC Marathon - Brooklyn & Queens

To read the recap from the beginning click here.

Coast Guard, TV network and NYPD helicopters had filled the skies an hour before we reached the starting line. Anticipation was in the air. The choppers left with the elites while those of us with dedication and purpose set out in their wake to tackle our own goals and expectations.

Runner Susan and I beeped across the starting mats. It took me five seconds after crossing to realize that we had started. There was hardly anybody there besides our fellow last-corral mates, a few Army medics and race officials. Sadly the news photographers were not waiting for the last of us.

We ramped up the Staten Island side of the Verrazano Bridge at a measured warm-up pace, looking to break out slowly and deal with the hill. It was a 150 foot ascent followed by a 200 foot descent into Brooklyn. Susan and I started our routine of checking on each other regularly and cussing the hills.

'Welcome to Brwoook-lin," were the first words I heard from a crowd of spectators on a bridge overpass in Dyker Heights. I waved a salute.

Our run was going well. We caught up to a 4:45 pace group that actually became a rolling road block to us several times. We wanted to stick to our own pace and they were such a blob running together. Over the first six miles we had banked about a minute and a half better than our pace required. We were out to do 10:53 miles or better. Our first 5K was at 10:27 and the second was 10:35.

Brooklyn was awesome. The run up Fourth Avenue was loud, with fans cheering and bands playing. Being the caboose of runners, the street was only half full of us and the sidewalks probably not as full as before, yet the neighbors and fans were still out there cheering us on.

We made a few cell calls while cruising along this stretch to see where our support teams were. First sighting was Amy and Linda at Mile 7/Webber Street. There they were. We waved. (Photo courtesy of Runner Susan and Amy) We did not stop but Susan did hand off her long-sleeved top. We were just past a quarter of the way to the finish line.

Runner Susan had her name on a decal stuck to her short sleeve top and immediately began to receive incredible recognition from the crowd. For a period of time, I counted the number of hardy cheers for "Runner Susan" compared to those for "Go West Point" (my shirt's advert) and I have to say she beat me by a 3-1 margin. Being an attractive blond has its natural attraction to men fans, I learned. Similarly, it was the ladies who gave me more measured encouragement.

We soldiered on, through a hill in Mile 8, checking our pace, slowing for water and Gatorade; and to ingest our fuels. Susan had her gels. I relied on my Margarita Clif Shot Bloks. We ate every five miles. I could feel a need the mile before and a surge the mile after eating.

We were passing people with regularity. I found we had to bob and weave quite a bit but we always managed to move together around and through the crowds so to not lose each other. I didn't mind fending a few folks off with my elbows to clear the road for Susan. At 15K we were at 1:39 and had covered the last 5K at a 10:37 pace.

The character runners were a sight to see. First, I saw the woman written up in the Times who ran dragging a tire tied to her waist, to draw attention to how much we humans consume and waste. There was Raggedy Andy, Lighthouse Man, the Waiter in leather shoes carrying a platter with a bottle of wine attached, two girls with wings and glitter, a Chilean General, Superman with fake breasts, and a guy in a gas mask and bio-chemical suit. Beyond that there were so many foreigners running, I was amazed. So many French, Germans, English, Irish, Welsh, Japanese and more. Plus there were so many cause-teams with race singlets I could never remember if I had traded leads with people.

The Jewish communities of Brooklyn were eerily quiet which did not surprise me. A few groups of young girls stood on the sidewalk and waved. Others parted curtains and peered out windows at the spectacle. Before we hit Queens, we saw some more of the rowdiness and cultural richness that made Brooklyn my favorite part of the race.

Queens. Queens was short and mostly uneventful. A few narrow neighborhood streets held crowds out to see the race remnants. Bands still playing. They were all good folks but had that reserved demeanor that one might expect of witnesses to a lashing at the stake. You see, they were the last people we saw before "the bridge."

From inches above sea level we were about to cross the Queensboro Bridge to Manhattan. And that did not involve running across water. It required a god-awful climb for what felt like an eternity. It had to have been a three-quarters of a mile climb of 125 feet ... in the 16th mile. We had just eaten, thank goodness. It gave us the strength to get over but, man it was tough. There was nothing nice about it other than when we got over, we only had a ten-mile run to go.

Susan was cussing.

Click here for the next chapter.

ING NYC Marathon - Pre-Race

It was the largest marathon field in history. It was an historic weekend of running in the city that never sleeps. I enjoyed it all.

The Night Before. I saved my brother (or anyone else) the trouble of having to drive me to a bus at O-Dark-Hundred race morning. His wife drove me into Manhattan Saturday night to stay with my childhood pal Lolly, her hubby David, and daughter E. who live half a block west of Central Park. Their sweet daughter offered up her extra perfect bed (an excellent mattress) for me while she took to an air mattress camp out in the living room. I slept great and quietly. I expect Mrs. T did too back in Jersey.

Race morning. I woke at 400 but laid in bed until 530, dozing and meditating on all that I had done the weeks before in training and the night before to prepare. My clothes were on the chair. My other belongings were repacked in my backpack. I listened to the early Sunday morning sounds of the West side. I was relaxed.

I got up and took my time dressing. Body Glide is my friend. David was up reading the Times in the kitchen. I fixed a bagel with peanut butter, had some orange juice and ZipFizz. At 600 I was ready to go. The phone rang.

"Where are you??" asked Runner Susan with a nervous laugh. She was already at the Start area.

"I'm in Manhattan. I am leaving now. I'll be there soon," I said.

"Okay. It's quiet here. Very few people," was the report. Susan then gave me a rough idea of where she and Marta were hanging out.

David had offered to see me to the subway for which I was extremely grateful. He went way beyond that by escorting me all the way to the Staten Island ferry terminal. On the way from the terminal subway stop we walked right down Wall Street past the stock exchange. Such a cavernous and ominous street. Susan called for the second time wondering where I was.

The Ferry Ride. At the terminal it was a runners' world. Half the field must have been trying to catch the 7:30 ferry. We queued up at one door only to have it close in front of us with a full boat. The big sign said to go to door 2 across the lobby for the next boat. That was a comical quick step migration by the remaining mass.

The doors opened and we were herded onto the next ferry. I made myself comfortable on the lower deck, put my feet up and chatted with a couple from Vancouver who had come east to run. Oh; and Runner Susan called again. I told her I was waiting for the ferry to pull out. She had a seven course runner's breakfast waiting for me if I would JUST GET THERE!

We pulled away at 745, passed the Statue of Liberty and made our way to the island. She called again as we landed. I was just a bus shuttle away. Well actually it was about eight buses away. There was another queue and wait.

The packing house. Once at Fort Wadsworth, it took another two phone calls to find each other. It was now 900 and we had another two hours to kill before we actually crossed the starting mats. Susan's pal Marta had gone off to her fast girl orange corral to hang out with Katie Smith a/k/a Holmes (little did she know).

I partook of several items on Susan's menu: PBJ, banana and raisins. Even though she'd been there three hours Susan had not yet located the UPS trucks for checking bags. With that in mind, we headed north. The sun was shining. It was a little breezy depending on which side of the buildings you were on. In the area of the UPS trucks, it felt like a day for the beach. Susan checked her bag then we went to my #66 truck.

I decided I had overdressed. I checked the sweatshirt, gloves and hat I anticipated wearing and kept my tearaway pants. We sat down on a grassy embankment right next to our corral area and, for the first time, relaxed. We had an hour or more to sit, visit and review our race strategy. A calm came over me and I felt very comfortable and confident that running with someone I had met just yesterday was going to be a very pleasant experience.

We called Mrs. T, Sister Amy, Susie and Jeanne. To the first two we coordinated our locations and meet-ups. To the latter, we left messages.

At 1008 back-lit bodies streamed across the Verrazano Bridge above us. The race was on. The cattle drive of runners started to move. Being in the very last corral was an intriguing situation. On the one hand I felt slighted by the notion that we were seeded there. I knew we would be faster than thousands of other runners. On the other, it was quite a novelty because it was not crowded when we got off. Nobody was chasing us down and blowing by us in the first mile. It was quiet; almost like a training run.

click here for the next chapter.


Back in the Sunshine

Today was a day of travel. Slow, unhurried travel without the anxiety of having to be somewhere by a certain time. Just a specific distance to cover. A marathon of a different ilk.

I have had many memories of yesterday's run course through my head in the 24 hours since I finished. I plan to take tomorrow off to recap it and post.

I was relieved to see the NYCM organizers had my time printed correctly in the New York Times today. I was worried when I saw the Athlete Alert email that went out to a few of you. The alert was correct up to the final time which came out 5 hours plus, which was way wrong.

Anyway, the official time was 4:46:44. Hey I beat Katie Holmes! In fact Susan and I must have passed her somewhere along the course because we were the last to start and she ran much slower than we did.

I saw many medals around necks in the airport today. A proud crowd heading home in glory. As Mrs. T asked, "What other day would you ever wear your medal?"


4:46:39 Unofficially

Runner Susan and I had a wonderful day together today. Well I did completely and Susan did for all but five miles. At Mile 21 some wheels got loose on her. Otherwise we stuck together. We worked well at staying ahead of the 4:45 pace throughout those miles. At 21, coming into Manhattan from the Bronx, Susan said go for it and leave her to suffer.

I did, on her second request, leave her behind and found plenty of gas in my tank to power through the Central Park hills and finish with a new PR, 4:46:39 unofficially. That bested the old time by about 3-1/2 minutes.

I felt best about running the entire race and not walking; and surprised myself by my ending strength and speed.

There's a lot more to recount but I am done for the day and turning in.

Night all.


US Olympic Qualifying a blast!

I woke Mrs. T up at 5:30 and we hopped a bus to Manhattan at 6 a.m. By 7:30 we were in Central Park watching the U.S. Mens Marathon Olympic Qualifying Race. First sighting of the pack was just after two miles. From there we migrated south to the 6 mile mark to see them shortly after Ryan Shay collapsed.

After they moved through there we somehow got on the wrong side of the race course and found ourselves at the finish line in front of a jumbotron with all the VIPs in a restricted area. Now let me tell you that I have an uncanny knack for doing this on purpose. This time it was entirely by accident. Needless to say we stayed there for the next 1:45 to watch the race on the big screen and see them come by four times.

After Ryan Hall finished with a record time win we somehow got within five feet of him as he left his post-race on course interview right there at Tavern on the Green. It was way way way way cool!

From there we visited a friend, went to the Museum of Natural History to see butterflies and then went down to Greenwich Village to have lunch with Runner Susan, M., Amy and L. at Otto Pizzeria. We had big fun and planned our race for the morning.

Back now in Jersey I am exhausted from all that standing and walking. It'll cost me tomorrow, I am sure, but today was a blast.


Euros wipe out Expo

I made it to the North in good shape. Flight got in early. Had nice lunch here in Jersey with my brother. Took NJ Bus transportation to Port Authority. Walked over to Javits Center for the Expo. Checked in very quickly. No line! Got my chip scanned, goody bag and turned my way towards the souvenir merchandise. What was left of it. The Europeans and others from around the globe who came in early scarfed up all the more popular apparel items in the most popular sizes. Damn, I hate that the dollar is so cheap to the euro.

I did pick up a gray windbreaker that I'll want tomorrow. It is supposed to be windy and sunny. I didn't see any hot boots for Runner Susan or anything in her color. I remember seeing pics of her closet and there was no ING orange in the collection. She may not be too happy. Maybe she'll settle for pink.

I ran into Tom W. from the Track Shack at the expo. He is here as a hired pro to help run the logistics for tomorrow's International Friendship Run.

Took the wrong bus back to NJ but we got off about a five minute drive from the house and B. came to pick us up. Big spaghetti and meatball dinner did me just right.

Sadly ... no photos yet.


Time to go

I did 30 minutes easy on Tuesday in a drizzle worrying about the same stuff coming down in colder temps in NYC. Fortunately it still looks like superb dry weather, slight cloud cover on Sunday and temps from low 40s to mid 50s. Perfect.

I am packed. All that stands in my way of flying to New York tomorrow is my 19-year old college student in his dorm who is charged with taking us to the airport at 7 a.m. tomorrow. That's shortly after he usually goes to bed. The only thing working for me is that he can't have the car this weekend if he doesn't get up and drive.

I am going all runner geeky tomorrow wearing last year's Marine Corps Marathon heavy long sleeve mock turtle neck participant shirt.