I ran the ING New York City Marathon on November 1, 2009, my first marathon, age 39. The temperature was 55 degrees and the humidity was 70%.
- My time was 3:58:05. My goals were (1) get to the start line healthy (which sounds easy but actually was the hardest part) and (2) to come in under 4 hours.
- I started running in July 2009 by running the 3.5 mile JPMorgan Corporate Challenge, my first race since high school when I used to be a sprinter and a hurdler. I dreaded distance running and never understood why one would ever want to run a marathon (26.2 miles). I had never run a race of more than 1 mile prior to this race (and that was when I was 12). I enjoyed the race and decided to start running outside (in my view the toughest exercise there is). I wanted to get more fit. A few weeks later, I decided to run the marathon, as I have always admired marathon runners.
- I got into the Marathon by running for a charity called Team For Kids (TFK), which encourages kids to exercise and stay in shape. Little did I know that it is actually really hard to get into the NYC marathon if you don't run for charity. There were over 43,000 people that finished the 2009 NYC marathon and half of these people are from outside of the United States. Over 102,000 people applied to run the 2009 NYC marathon.
- When I run, I wear a Garmin 405 Forerunner watch, which is a satellite watch that provides real-time stats including speed, distance, pace, heart rate, calories burned, elevation, and pretty much any other stat you want. This watch enabled me to pace myself to reach my time goal (both during the marathon and my training). I have attached links to the summary from my watch from the marathon at the bottom of this post. Check them out, they are pretty cool.
- I raised over $5,000 for TFK (thank you to everybody that sponsored me!)
- Running the marathon was an amazing experience, one of the many highlights of my life.
- I got hurt about 6 weeks into my training with a swollen knee and a torn right quad muscle (I was running over 50 miles per week at this point after having no running base). This resulted in 8 weeks of physical therapy 3 times a week to get better. My quad muscle was so painful that every morning before my run I had to (1) run it under the hot shower for 5 minutes to warm it up and (2) put tiger balm on it to heat it up before each run. I learned how important it is to listen to my body and take days off when things are twinging.
- My weight went from 220+ to 196 pounds during my training. My waist shrank by 3 belt loop holes, bringing my waist to the same size it was in college. My energy level increased exponentially, my blood pressure went down materially, my body temperature dropped, and the fatigue and inflammation that I regularly experience from my Crohn's disease was greatly reduced.
- I trained for 18 weeks, running an average of 40 miles per week for a total of 721 miles during my training. My peak weekly mileage week was 56 and my lowest weekly mileage total was 12. My training pace for long runs was usually at 9:00-9:45 per mile (my best 20 mile long training run pace was 8:54 per mile). My average pace for my 6 mile training runs was between 8:30 - 9:15 per mile.
- During the marathon, my pace was 9:05 per mile for 26.2 miles, I burned 4,149 calories, and my average heart rate was 164.
- Most of my training runs were done very early in the morning (6am) in Central Park. To warm up, I always walked to Central Park (0.60 miles) and to cool down I always walked home from Central Park. Walking served to warm up my muscles or cool them down. I did not stretch, as I read in many places that stretching early in the morning may not yield a lot of benefits, as your muscles are coldest in the morning. Most of my running was done before my wife and kids were even awake (i.e. when I returned from my runs, they were all still asleep. Only exception, long runs on the weekend, which I usually started at 7am to get an extra hour of sleep). I usually did not stretch before or after my runs.
- Most mornings, I got up at 5am to run. Every single morning, without exception, I dreaded getting up. I mean really, who wants to get up at 5am after going to bed around 11pm or later every night? Everyday it was hard, but without question, I ALWAYS felt better after my run, making it well worth getting up early.
- To stay healthy, I purchased a foam roller and "rolled it out" every day (often multiple times a day). I rolled out my IT bands, my quad muscles, and my hamstrings, even if I didn't need to. I strongly believe that rolling it out everyday is what kept me healthy and I continue to "roll it out" everyday. I find the foam roller to be a great message for my legs.
- During the marathon, I ate a "Powergel" every 5 miles. I also had 1 Powergel 45 minutes before the race and second Powergel 15 minutes before the race. Overall, I ate 7 Powergels during the race. I also drank 1-2 sips of water or Gatorade at nearly every station. I ate 2 bagels before the race. During my training long runs, I ate a Powergel every 5 miles to get my body used to the Powergels.
- I did not stop running once the entire marathon (thank goodness for the volunteers that hand you water/gatordate on the course!!!!). I learned during my training that it was hard for me to start back up after stopping during my long runs, so my goal was not to stop.
- "Pain is temporary, pride is forever" is the phrase I saw on many signs during the last 10 miles of my race. This really helped keep me going. I'm not sure that I would have made my goal without these signs.
- During my training, I ran on my vacations and during business trips. I ran in Vancouver, Canada (Stanley Park along the water, absolutely beautiful, particularly during a 20 mile run); Newport Beach, California; Washington DC (running around the Mall and the monuments was cool); and Point Pleasant, New Jersey (along the boardwalk).
- When I began running, I had no clue what I was doing. I said to my friends "I don't even consider myself to be a runner". I didn't know what shoes/socks/shorts/shirts to wear, what pace to run, what to eat, etc. My friend RC, an amazing runner who has run 11 straight NYC marathons and is a coach for the New York Road Runners (his 2009 marathon time was 3:18!!!), answered all of my questions and really helped me. Today, I consider myself to be a runner. Thanks RC!! RC also taught me that it is ok to run easy most days (most days he runs around a 9:00 pace and does speed work once a week). Without his advice, I would have run hard everyday and would have burned out (and probably gotten hurt too). Now I realize that it's ok to run easy most days, and because of that, I love to run.
- When I started to train, I obtained a suggested training schedule from the New York Road Runners website. I strongly believe that writing down and tracking your workouts is a great motivator.
- My next marathon will be on May 1, 2010 in Kenosha, Wisconsin (my hometown).
- Who wants to run the ING NYC 2010 Marathon with me? My goal is to make the NYC marathon an annual event!
Splits/Map of my Run from my Watch
JVB 2009 NYC Marathon Splits
JVB 2009 NYC Marathon Map of my Run
JVB Pictures from the 2009 NYC Marathon