New York City Marathon - 1998
Ray and Art - Nov. 1998
Go to Marathon 1997 Next >>
Signing Up for 1998:
This time we've got the hot setup for getting in. Since my folks live in NYC, I send our applications to my mom and she turns them in at the main Post Office at midnight of the first day of registration. She says the other runners there asked her if she was signing up for herself. (She's in her 70's and enjoyed this). We know we're in on the first day the list comes out. Now for the hard part.
After my success in '97, I'm the "experienced" marathoner. I'm always tempted to tell Ray how we should do the training. We're evenly matched, LARGE runners. Ray has a great attitude and never complains, AND he listens to my endless chatting when we run.
We run 4 miles together every noontime. We also do long runs together on weekends.
The idea is to gradually increase the long weekend runs over the summer to get up to about 3.5 hrs or 21-23 miles by mid October. It's crucial to have a resting period the last 2 weeks before the race with no punishing distances. I know I can't do a training run for the full 4.5+ hrs. it will take me to run the marathon distance. I have to learn to drink lots of fluids during the summer runs to go long. I stop taking my high blood pressure meds because I think they act like a 'governor' on my heart rate and breathing when I run.
Ray and I run long from his house on a day that is so hot and sunny that the pavement heats up our feet through our running shoes. Another time, I'm so drained I have to walk parts of the last miles through Bethlehem Town Park and Ray says I was talking to myself. In mid-September, on a 2.5 hour run along the bike path in Schenectady, I fade badly with fatigue and foot pain and limp home to find that my big toenail has turned black. Two weeks later, the entire nail peels off when I do my scuba certification dive in Lake George.
(no chipmunks here)
|Before the Race:
We design our T-shirts to help the crowds cheer us on by name.
We take Fri. off from work and drive down to NYC. On Sat. morning we meet Nancy at a Starbucks near the bus station and go to the pre-race Expo on the west side piers. Lots of freebies and famous runners signing posters. Ray, Nancy and I go to the pasta dinner in Central Park with a thousand others and touch the finish line as it's being painted. (I hope that isn't bad luck).
I do not get nearly enough sleep. There's just too much going on, while Ray gets to stay in a quiet apartment with my folks' elderly friend.
Back at my folks' house, Ray gets a massage from Nancy to loosen up the night before.
Are we ready?
I'm not much of a morning person, so getting up at 5:30am to wait for the busses with the huge crowd at the library seems like time better spent asleep.
On the way to Staten Island, the bus gets stopped in traffic with a hundred others. Ours has no bathroom. Runners jump off and piss along the highway as the bus creeps along with the driver saying he cannot wait. At Fort Wadsworth we piss 20 feet from where we get off the bus. No modesty for marathoners.
There's not much time to rest. But we do sit in a tent, do the vaseline ritual, try to use to porta potties one last time, then drop our extra gear at the UPS trucks and then submerge ourselves in the crowd headed for the start.
In the tent
At 42nd street
At the Start:
I hold Ray back from attempting to get too far forward so we get to see the elite men start in the approach lanes on the right side of the bridge. Two cops tell us we can't jump in with this group, thinking we were really attempting to start with the front runners. Seemed amusing to us.
It takes about 3 minutes to get across the start line after the gun goes off. Ray is in a rush to get going. I'm more concerned with the long haul, still not feeling rested.
It takes 27 minutes to go the 2 miles across the Verrazano Bridge. Now we're on 4th Ave. in Brooklyn, staying near the center divider, running smoothly but not passing anyone. In downtown Brooklyn, at about 8 miles, we stop to piss in a grassy plot in the middle of the road. The next section covers the neighborhoods that I have never been to, except as a marathoner (Williamsburg, Bedford-Stuyvesant, and Greenpoint). We see my wife and parents at 11 miles, just as planned, though a block sooner than I expected.
Leaving Greenpoint we take a left over the Pulaski Bridge which is the halfway point. By this time, the race is over for the winners, since it's about 2:15 into it for us, but this is an important milepoint. Next, we're headed for the approach to Queensborough Bridge where I'll be looking for my sister to get a boost before the climb into Manhattan. Doesn't happen. Though do get a swipe at a vaseline jar as we swing left under the tracks leading to the bridge.
Going up the long slope we see other runners start to fade. Suddenly, a runner grabs his leg and starts hobbling from the pain of a cramp. Then another yells in frustration and agony. Sobering, since that could be me the next minute, or so I worry. But we're doing ok. Ray and I talk about how we're holding up. We're steady and not suffering. Over the crest and now try to take it easy on the downgrade which is hard on the knees after so many miles.
4th Ave. in Brooklyn
At my first support point in Brooklyn, 11 miles
Back to Main Page Go to Marathon 1997
Page Last Updated Nov.29, 2001