Sunday, November 6, 2011

NYC Marathon Viewing

Time: 106:31
Distance: 23.84k
Pace: 4:28

This morning Meagan and I met up with Jay Holder in Chelsea as he coincidentally lives a block from where we were staying in New York. Big city, small world. The three of us continued to the West Side bike path and picked up our friend Heidi who runs for NYAC. Jay had mapped out a brilliant course that would take us across the Manhattan Bridge and into Brooklyn to catch the marathoners at mile 8. The four of us ran and chatted while taking in the sights of the Statue of Liberty, construction of the new World Trade Center, and Ellis Island. We saw the Verrazano Bridge off in the distance where some 47,000 runners were about to embark on a 26.2 mile journey through the five boroughs.

I was feeling good throughout the run and at times wanted to pick up the pace, but relaxed to have the company of everyone. A couple of times people asked if we were running the marathon this morning and we frantically asked if we were going the right way or if this was the way to the Verrazano Bridge. I don't think they got the joke. We eventually arrived in Brooklyn and ran past the 8 mile mark with about 30 minutes to run before the lead women would be coming by. We had just enough time to venture up into Prospect Park (the one Olmstead said he got right according to Jay) and then return to the course.

Mary Keitany came scorching through the turn with a chase pack of a few Kenyans and Ethiopians. Our good friend Kim Smith was running a tactically smart race a couple of minutes back and would go on to finish 5th overall. We saw Sarah Porter who just outkicked Meagan a couple of years ago at DII Nationals in the 10k, Camille Herron from Oklahoma and a number of NYAC girls that Heidi runs with. We waited about 15 minutes and then the lead men flew by with Meb in the lead pack of Africans.

The one big observation I made was the contrasting styles of the lead men versus lead women. The women had all sorts of inefficiencies in their stride with choppy gaits, weird arm carries, titled heads, grimmaced faces and tense shoulders. There were so many different strides that it was a clinic in what not to look like. I couldn't understand how so many of them were running that fast! The men, in contrast, were virtually flawless in all those regards. They all looked similarly comfortable running 4:50 pace whether it was or wasn't.

Since I'm writing this a week later, I won't reflect too much on the fact that the top 3 men all broke the existing course record and Geoffrey Mutai claimed the victory in 2:05:06. Truly astounding. I tweeted, Facebook posted, or blogged about Mutai's form after the Boston Marathon and there is no wonder he is arguably the best marathoner on the planet. He becomes the first ever to win and break the course records at Boston and New York in the same year. Think about that in this day and age of elite marathoning. He lowered both course records, not by seconds, but multiple minutes. Does it make you want to hang up the shoes or get out there for a run?

1 comment:

runcamille said...

Ahahaa, LOL at the comment on the inefficiencies with the women! We have A LOT more to "overcome" than the men... hips, boobs, body fat, and trying to "push" beyond that. Imagine if you put all this stuff on the men. My roomy at NYC, Galina (2:20 marathoner), just had a baby! I had hip surgery last year. It's a great observation though on the differences between men and women. Thanks for coming down to cheer us on! :) Camille