On I went, out of the wood, passing the man leading without knowing I was going to do so. Flip-flap, flip-flap, jog-trot, jog-trot, curnchslap-crunchslap, across the middle of a broad field again, rhythmically running in my greyhound effortless fashion, knowing I had won the race though it wasn't half over, won it if I wanted it, could go on for ten or fifteen or twenty miles if I had to and drop dead at the finish of it, which would be the same, in the end, as living an honest life like the governor wanted me to. -Alan Sillitoe, "Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner"

Monday, September 20, 2010

NYRR 18m tune up race report

Anxiety builds...

I had a marathon nightmare last week.

It was a terrible, too-hot-in-my-room night of tossing and turning, so I'm not surprised I had bad dreams that I remember vividly.  This one, though, was the worst.  I was running the marathon, slower than I wanted but I was chugging along, when I saw a friend of mine on the course.  He was just about to get something to eat, and I inexplicably decided that was a good idea.  I didn't care about my time in the marathon, so I figured I'd just enjoy myself and get some food.  I left the course and we had a meal.  Meanwhile, another friend came in to the bar and bought me a beer.  About an hour after I left the course, I hopped back in (somehow magically ready to run despite pub food and drink).  The problem is, even though I'd been running along fine up to that point, the hour delay put me behind the marathon closing time.  And for some reason, their way of enforcing this was not by opening the roads to traffic, but instead by forcibly and physically removing runners from the roads.  Even though I was running in a group of people, a course marshall decided that I - and I alone - needed to be removed from the course and began chasing me and yelling at me.  I tried to explain to him that I was running much faster than everyone around me and if he let me catch up, I would soon be ahead of the closing time cut-offs.

And then I woke up and it was all a dream.

This totally happened after the race. Porterhouse
for two (I did share) and a glass of lychee sangria.
I've been having bad marathon anxiety lately.  Saturday night, before the tune up, I tossed and turned and (this is classic) dreamt that I did the run and it was over.  Vividly.  Saw myself sweating, felt the hot day, I ran the race in my head.  How disappointed I was when I woke up.

Instead, I got to the start on too little sleep and ran my fool heart out.  A friend graciously met me for a lap of the park, but it was mostly on my own and I was okay with that.  I also decided once and for all that I hate the hills in Central Park (I walked them this time, all of them).

I finished in 3:30:xx with badly uneven splits.  If I keep up that pace the whole race - plausible, given how bad the hills in Central Park are - my sub 5-hour goal is just barely within sight.  I was also upset by the lack of enthusiasm that went into this race.  No spectators (which I expected), but also it felt like its name: a marathon tune-up.  (Mostly) everyone was nice (more on that tomorrow), but there wasn't the same level of excitement that I know I'll find race day.

Today starts a new week of training.  With a needed rest day and an 11-hour workday.


  1. ugh i posted a comment and it didnt take... i think you def have time yet! i ran 3:31 last year at the tune up, got bronchitis and still ran 4:59!!! you can do it. nose to the pavement and focus over the next 4 weeks. don't give up yet! i am doing the same.

  2. Congrats on the finish line and I hope you're able to relax into your marathon goal. The food looks great! :)

  3. Thank you both! Jen, that's so encouraging that you went sub-5 last year. SO encouraging. And you're right - time to just keep working. There's more time.

  4. Congrats on getting this done, Tracy! It was really tough out there for me too - those hills and the hard roads just sucked the life outta me. And I do agree with you - the lack of enthusiasm surprised me a lot! Part of the reason why I did this race was for the marathon build-up excitement. Ah well - hope you're feelin' good today!

  5. You will go sub-5! No doubt in my mind!

    You should congratulate yourself for finishing a somewhat sucky 18 miler! In 3:30! That's a heck of a lot faster than it would take 95% of the US citizens!

  6. I really appreciate the support, you guys! Thank you.