The City Is The Thing
Americans like to talk a lot of bullshit. We like to scream in a quiet room for no reason. We like our fast cars, loud guns, big dumb minds & above all else how our city – my particular city – is the best in the country, nay, the best on the planet if not the world. That big alien super-structure they just discovered off the coast of the third nearest solar-system in our rear-view mirror – yeah, they have cities with spaceships and flying saucers and it still doesn’t come close to the $2 slice of pizza at Joe’s in little Italy. I’ll take my yellow cab over your space cab any day of the week. I’ll take our tap water over your rehydrated CO2 any day of the week. Get out of my way – tourists.
That’s New York City.
The Race Is The Other Thing
The NYC marathon is a little like NY. It’s way over the top and you can’t believe it’s really happening to you, or anyone else for that matter. But it’s happening all the same. You can’t believe there are this many different neighborhoods in the whole planet, let alone in 10 square miles on the eastern seaboard. You better believe it, though, because it’s all true. All of this diversity, hubris & excitement on display for the world to stand up and take notice. You’re running the race so take out your ear buds – you won’t be able to hear your music anyway so why bother. You better pay attention or you’re going to miss the party.
The Tribes Are The Thing
The tribes are out in force. Every run club in the city is here. Every run club in the world. Trail clubs. Tech clubs. Not just the runners. The Russians. The hipsters. The Harlemites. The Queens (both). Puerto Rico. Switzerland. Japan. East Side. West Side. Clowns. Rockers. Hobos and No-shows. Everyone with a stake in the city. Everyone a community within a community within a community within a community.
No World Records, Only Heartbreak
The race is designed for heartbreak. It’s an experience you fall in love with even though you know it’s going to leave you wanting more and never feeling satisfied. With 5 boroughs, 5 bridges, and more uphill and pavement than one might expect it is not exactly a fast course. Don’t dream of a PR. Just dream of being in the moment and let the powers that be sweep you away into the finish.
Faster this year, But You’re Still In Charge
This year, my race started out perfectly. The pacing was a little bit aggressive but mostly on point. Finally, I showed up with an aerobic capacity that can last for days – the weather had other plans. With excessive temperatures well into the 60s, I really didn’t stand a chance to PR – short on water and high on adrenaline is NOT the way to a PR make. That’s OK. I still had an incredible time – it’s really impossible not to – and bested my time 5 years ago by 16 minutes. A lot has changed since then so it feels good to see improvement – especially given the slow rapid decline of my speed in favor of long-slow-distance and the call of the wild.
This year, my mind wasn’t in the game – I’ve been in the zone with zero distractions and this wasn’t the case this year. Not sure if it was the weather or just trying to take in the moment and not be so obsessed with a time goal but having your mental game right – that was the biggest factor. Perception of effort was lacking but perception of enjoyment was definitely there.
One day when the weather is perfect, the training is specific, the heart is strong and the mind right I’ll come back and break four hours and leave everything out there. There’s further to go – you just have to be willing to sacrifice more than you’re willing to sacrifice today. That’s all there is to it – simple right? So when are you signing up?