Archives for posts with tag: NYC

A musical rendition of what’s ahead: enjoy.



A couple of days ago, I woke up to find an email from the New York Road Runners:

On the first day of spring, Sunday, March 20, you’ll run New York’s famous race through the heart of the city, Times Square.

Wait a minute! you’ll run? What does you’ll run mean? Don’t I have any word on it? I guess I will have to travel to New York and run those 13.1 miles … half around Central Park and then out on 5th Ave through Times Square and along the Hudson River to Battery Park in downtown.

It’s a wonderful race, the scenery is amazing and the field is just astonishing: world-class runners race it every year as a fine-tune and a gear-check for marathons like Boston and London. Not that the elite field means much to me: they’ll be over when I’ll be – hopefully – crossing Times Square, but it’s usually a good indication on how good a race is (though that doesn’t equate with smaller, local races not having a fierce competition).
I ran the race twice before; in 2009, mid-August and it was miserable, the temps were just obscene and even the elites (that year had Paula Radcliffe running it) complained. Since then, NYRR moved the race to early Spring, and when I ran it again in 2010, the weather was much better but despite having pr’ed, I didn’t feel I gave all myself to it as I was just coming back from a very bad, ill-treated, oft-forgotten knee injury.
This year, I’ve no idea where I will be in March; I doubt I will have the time to be as trained as I would like to be, and I can only hope the Achilles won’t be bothering.

I will see. Now it’s important not to let emotions and anticipations take the best and disrupt my recovery and healing.

Elite Field at the NYC Half 2010

… in italiano

The race was starting at 7:30 on Sunday morning. I woke up at 4:45 so not to have to rush out and to take my time to properly and leisurely wake up. I looked on the baguette and nutella I bought the day before, but didn’t feel hungry (still I stashed the bread in the transparent plastic bag I was given at the Expo: just in case).
The coffee was brewing when Seba – the friend I was staying with – came back from a party. It always feels a bit weird meeting someone who’s going to sleep when you’ve just woken up; he wished me luck and fell soundly asleep. I left in no hurry and walked the silent streets to the station; it was no later than 6am and many hours away from the bustling city I’m used to.

This year I managed to get to the starting line on time. It was so early that the sun was only shyly coming out above the Upper East Side and the port-a-potties had lines no longer than a couple of people.
Lazily seeing more and more people coming, I started some dynamic stretches and few matrix lunge routines. Read the rest of this entry »

It’s 9:30am. It’s Sunday. I already had breakfast, I already showered and I don’t know exactly what to do. I guess in few hours I’ll study a bit and do some work, but now I don’t know what to do.
Usually Sundays are for long runs, which I usually run in the morning after a light breakfast and before a real breakfast: those American breakfasts with eggs and bacon are perfect after a long run. But today I’m not running. After the marathon, I knew I have to take some time off and decided it to be of two full weeks of non-running: it will drive me crazy, but I need it.
The nagging pain on my left knee, which took me company for most of the training and for the first 8 miles of the marathon after which it subdued (I don’t know whether it was because my legs were warmed up or because of the beautiful effect of adrenaline and endorphins); that nagging pain is back and now that I don’t have any major race in the near future I do have the time to take care of it (properly) and fix it before breaking it. I scheduled a physical for Friday so to have a doctor look at my knee and I’ll probably ask for a referral to a physical therapist. I would rather run, but again it’s not very wise at the moment.

I’m already planning for the 2010 races, writing post-it on my calendar to remember to sign up for them. I want to run the NYC Half Marathon again, though it’s now a completely different race having been moved from the usual July-August dates to a more reasonable mid-March Sunday. Many must have complained (I did complain too) and this year was more awful than the others with a temperature of 75F at the 7am start: the race is beautiful, the weather not so much.
Then I’ll try to sign up for Chicago 2010, which is usually around October 10th. This should give me plenty of time to properly prepare and train. In the winter there’s not much I can do aside to concentrate on strengthening and stretching.

(I’ll try to write a wrap-up of the NYC Half Marathon …)

The race started very slowly. It’s not much of a surprise considering there were 40,000+ people running all together.

Split 1 – 8:18 min/mi
Split 2 – 7:15
The Verrazano Bridge is probably the highest and longest incline of the entire race, being long 2 miles (~3km) and having an elevation of 300 feet (~100m). But it’s early in the race so one doesn’t notice. To be honest I did notice, but I always notice the first few miles because it takes me some time to properly warm-up, even if I did warm up before the start. From the Verrazano Bridge one can already see the remote pointed skyline of Manhattan like a different otherworldly creature.

Split 3 – 7:33
Split 4 – 7:48
Split 5 – 7:44
Split 6 – 8:17
Split 7 – 7:20
Split 8 – 8:17

Brooklyn. The last three splits are wrong (definitely 7:20 is way too fast and 8:17 way too slow) as I got confused on which mile marker I had to take my split – there are three, one from each wave, and at times I didn’t see mine (blue) and took the split using another one.
Running through Brooklyn is always a pleasure and that’s not because I lived there for 5 years and so I came to love it, but because by running through its entire length one realizes how culturally and ethnically variegated it is. Few blocks vibrating with latino music in Sunset Park lead to very black neighborhoods linked together by the quietness of the Jewish enclave of Williamsburgh.
I enjoyed every bit of it. I was also lucky enough to meet up once again with Will who started from a different wave, we chatted a bit then I had to leave him behind because I didn’t want to have too much space between me and the 3:30 pace leader.
I tried hard(er than in Vermont) to stay with a pace team, but I’m not used to run with others and then I was feeling great … once again, but this time I was able to keep my pace steady and only just slightly faster than 8 minutes per mile. Read the rest of this entry »

I woke up this morning when it was still dark. The first of the four alarms went off at 2:30am, blaming the switching back from DST I shut it off, turned around and slept one more hour.
Waking up much before dawn can be a really weird experience, especially when the night before — or, well, the night one’s still in — was Halloween. I took the uptown train all dressed up for the race and few kids were coming back all dressed up for parties. I almost wanted them to ask me what my disguise was. They didn’t, just glared at me.
I was on the midtown bus, which leaves from the Public Library; there I was welcomed with fences and people holding flashlights saying to show one’s own identification and to keep going. It felt either like cattle in a ranch walked to the slaughterhouse or prisoners in Guantanamo Bay: I guess there wasn’t much difference between the two.
We got to Staten Island well ahead of time: the Verrazano Bridge was to be closed at 7am sharp to allow the preparation of the race and we kinda had to be there before that. It was cold and drizzling. People were hanging around in their villages not knowing exactly what to do, the savvies or the veterans brought along newspaper or sleeping bags. I wouldn’t be surprised, had I been seeing people typing on their laptops. Read the rest of this entry »

At first I thought to make last week 10k my “last race” before moving to Amherst, and to just have a fun run today in the Run for Central Park 4-miler. But because of an unplanned … err … Nature-call pause last week, I thought today was the day to challenge and see what, if any, progression I made since I started racing in April.

Today race also closes a chapter quite symmetrically. The course was the same as my first race, Run as One, so on an almost equal ground to make comparisons. Almost, but not exactly identical. Three months ago the weather was almost ideal for running: cool but not cold, and dry. Today instead we were in the middle of a heat wave. I started sweating way before starting running, and it wasn’t the excitation of the race. Runners were all complaining about it, but even though everybody prefers spring and fall races, today we all knew too well times would have not been as good as in a cooler and drier day.
the race