The NYC Marathon – Tips for Marathon Day

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By David Del Monte 

These tips are from personal experience and common sense that I have picked up along the way.  During the 2007 Marathon, the NYCC offered runners ibuprofen on the Queensboro Bridge.   Consult your own physician about the wisdom of taking any medicine on the course or before.  Here are ideas to consider:

1.  Bring a black plastic Trash Bag that you can wear in the event of rain and/or wind.
2.  Bring another black plastic trash bag & newspapers that you can sit on (or read) while waiting for the race start.
3.  Have comfortable socks.
4.  I have two cups of coffee and take 400 mg of ibuprofen before I leave for the race.
5.  Many runner wear clothing that they leave at the start of or off load during the race.
6.  Use the product “Glide” in the following places if you need to.
       a. Liberally apply to your feet with a focus on your heels and the back of heels.  This helps prevent blisters. It really works well.On your inner thighs to prevent chaffing…if you have that concern.
      b.  Men use it on their nipples if you do not have nip guards.
7.  If you’re a male, get nip guards at the Expo or at your running store.
8.  If it is cold, bring something for your ears and hands.
9.  Hydrate for the week before.  I think hydrate means being conscience about drinking water so you don’t dehydrate.  Too much water is not good either.
10. Eat normally the day before and include a couple of bananas for potassium.
11. The Expo is a runner’s shopping haven for last minute supplies.  Attend on Friday and don’t get tired standing around all day at the Expo.
12. There is plenty of water and aid stations during the race. The Ronald McDonald House has an aid station at 73rd and First Avenue.
13. Goo- Some runners like Goo for extra energy during the race.  It is a high sugar, high viscosity product that gives a boost of energy.  I find it takes me up fast and doesn’t last long.  I prefer Shot Blocks, which are a gelatin-like cube, sweet and with caffeine. 
14. Bring money and Identification.  (ID= a piece of paper with your name, and the name and phone number of SOMEONE ELSE.  Note any medical information that is important in the event you lose conscientiousness.)
15. Have a contact name and phone number of someone else on your person.
16. Get a shoe pocket with a Velcro attachment that fits on your shoe laces. Put some money in it and a location name and phone number.
17. At the start, there are many vendors giving away their products like yogurts, drinks, fruit and too much other stuff.
18. Regardless if you like it or not, drink Gatorade during the run.  Gatorade replaces electrolytes that are flushed away by drinking large qualities of water.
19. Part of the idea is to have a good time.  Slow and steady is good and will give you’re the best time unless you’re from Kenya.   It’s OK to walk once in a while and it will help avoid injury.  Many runners will walk.  The winners are the runners who complete the 26.2 miles.
20. I take the Staten Island Ferry to get to the start of the race.  I will take the 7:30 Ferry (There is an 8:00 AM Ferry, too).  The Ferry is public transportation regardless of when you were scheduled for it.  There is a city bus to take you to the rent of the way IF you are not able to get on the NYRR buses there for that purpose.  Bring $2.25 in change for the City bus if need be.  The bus drivers do not take currency.
21. Have properly fitted Running Shoes.
22. If you want to meet me at the finish, look for the dark hair fellow carrying a flashlight.  
  

  David Del Monte  – The NYC marathon Team NY Rotary Event Captain – 2009

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Meeting the Legend – Fauja Singh

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Fauja Singh is a very interesting man. When he was 89, ran his first marathon. That’s right. 89. After this, you would expect this to be the maximum age for running, right? Wrong. Since that day, Fauja Singh has ran several more marathons and way more half marathons. Today he’s 98, and still going strong. His accomplishments are so great he has been featured in an Adidas campaign alongside greats such as David Beckham and Zinédine Zidane.

Lately, at the Scotiabank Waterfront Marathon Expo, I met him when he was doing a speech to a crowd about how he does what he does. And what  did he say? One quote that’s sure to last is “I like all sports, because they all require discipline”. Which made me realize that since running is a sport, you have to have discipline to run. Also, after the 5k was finished and done, I saw him again. This time, I saw something like a twinkle in his eyes, and it came to me that it was truly amazing how he was able to run an entire 5k at an age where other people would have been settled down for quite a few years, or else wouldn’t be able to reach the age. Maybe that’s the real reason running is important: Don’t you all want to live at the great old age of Fauja Singh and be able to run like him? I know I do. Like the title of his campaign, I guess “Nothing is Impossible”, and “Impossible is Nothing”.
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Chicago Marathon Experience

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DSC01336I have never been one to follow conventional wisdom and go to a marathon and be content to hang around the hotel prior to the race. My family likes to travel with me on these destination type marathons and we took full advantage of all the sites Chicago has to offer prior to and after the race. We flew into Chicago on Thursday night and were able to get up first thing Friday morning and head to the expo before the large crowds. There was no waiting in the lines! We did a little expo shopping after picking up the race packet and then headed out to the Sears Tower. (I still have a hard time calling it the Willis Tower) You need to experience standing in the glass  boxes called the ledges that stick out from the side of the building  100+ stories up. For a cool picture lie down on the floor and have someone stand over you and snap a picture. (Looks like nothing is below you) We then spent the rest of the afternoon shopping on the magnificent mile. The next day brought another day of sightseeing. This time we wandered through the huge Field Museum of Natural History and then spent the afternoon at Navy Pier before heading back to the room to get ready for the big race the next morning. Make sure you pick up a CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) pass when you first get into town. This allows you to take full advantage of the “L” and the buses to get around town.

DSC01335Race day started very cold at 29 degrees. I got to the start early at about 6:15 and spent some time wandering around and checking in my gear. Since I had not qualified for a seeded corral I was in the open corral with about 40,000 other runners. I knew I wanted to try and break 4 hours so I got in the corral very early but got a spot at the front. About 5 minutes before the start clothes started flying as everyone shed their old sweat shirts leaving just the racing gear. I crossed the starting line about 6 minutes after the elite runners started. (I heard that the back of the open corral did not cross the starting line for about 25 minutes) If you want a fast run get there early!

The first mile flew by and I saw my family standing in front of our hotel cheering me on. We then went through the downtown loop area where the wind was a factor between the tall buildings. I was glad I opted for the long sleeve shirt and the gloves. The crowds so far were huge. Every spot on each side of the street was taken and most times it was 4-5 people thick. It felt like the finish line at most races but we were just in the first few miles. I of course got too caught up in the moment and started out much faster than I wanted to. My plan was to stay in front of the 4 hour pace group. After the first few miles I noticed I was running with the 3:50 group. It was very crowded around these pace groups so I actually pulled ahead of the 3:50 group and kept them behind me.

We left the Loop (downtown area) and headed north towards Wrigley Field. I was expecting the crowds to get smaller as we left the downtown area but they stayed strong and got more creative. We started to see bands playing on the sidewalks, folks dressed in costume, cheer groups dressed all alike and some on elevated stages with loud microphones cheering the runners on. With all of this entertainment to distract me the miles just flew by. Before I knew it we were headed back towards downtown and I was still in front of the 3:50 pace group. I cruised past the half way point in 1:50:54  at about a 8:30 per minute pace. My goal had been to run right under a 9 minute pace. I knew I was running a risk since I was about 8 minutes ahead of where I planned to be. I let the runners be my pace group though and stayed on track with my gels I was carrying and the water/Gatorade stops. I prefer to try and stop and every other stop and alternate between water one stop and then Gatorade the next one.

At this point in the race the course alternates between heading back to the city and then quickly turns and heads away. I kept hoping that we would just continue on back towards the city and the finish line. I was starting to feel the effects of going out too fast around mile 20-21 until I hit Chinatown. Once again the crowds grew even larger and louder. This distraction kept me moving until I got to the Nike Cheer zone around mile 23. The music pumping up the spectators kept my mind off how my legs were starting to feel. I only had 3 miles left and it was a straight shot up Michigan Avenue to the finish line.

The last three miles are a blur of crowd noises, water stops and more crowd noises. I have to admit I actually slowed down and walked at these last three water stops until I had fully finished the cup. I then somehow got back in the pack of runners trying to find that last turn to the finish line. I knew from the map of the course that once I saw the last series of turns I only had a few hundred yards to go. There was no stopping since the finish line was within sight. I could see the finish line clock still under 4 hours and I knew it had taken me at least 6 minutes to cross the start line. Unless I fell now I would  beat my goal of finishing in just under 4 hours. I saw my family in the stands to the left jumping and cheering, gave them a good wave and ran past the finish line with my hands held high.   

DSC01327I had just completed the Chicago Marathon with a PR of 3:50:42! I had run two previous marathons finishing with a 4:22 at Disney in 2009 and a 4:18 at Mercedes in 2009. I had improved my PR by about 28 minutes! I collected my medal and did the slow walk of the living dead through the rest of the finish line chute. Due to the size of the crowds and the finish line area I actually had to use the cell phones to find my family after the race. The only downside to the entire race experience was the fact that they could not come into the runners hospitality tent after the race. Instead of hanging around the tent resting and eating we had to catch the red line back to our hotel. They could learn a few lessons from the Disney folks in regards to the hospitality tents.

I have discovered that not all runners are created alike. The magazines said I should shower, eat and spend the afternoon resting. I prefer the shower, eating and then walking around. We spent the afternoon at the Shedd Aquarium and the slow walking allowed me to stretch my legs out. I prefer this type of post race ritual since I have found it helps me most.

I would highly encourage all marathoners to run the Chicago Marathon if they ever get the chance. My racing experience was great, the course was great and the crowds were great. But the best part is I finally broke 4 hours.

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Marathon Training 2009 Recap

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Hello Everyone,

I finished my first marathon of the season. It was completed on sub-4.  The training season 2009 was completed as well.  Now, the racing season starts!! I plan to run 6 marathons in total this season.

Here is the recap of my marathon training of 2009.  This season, I ran only 3 days a week. I ran on a 4th day only when I was running a race.  The plan was simple: 3+ miles, 4+ miles, and 13+ long miles during the weekend. For a few weeks, I ran twice a day. Due to my schedule, I was not able to keep it up. I also completed four 20+ miles.

Running only 3 days a week, I was able to get a lot of rest. The weekend long runs were fun. I was not away from my family too much.  Most of my long runs were during the hot summer months with a early start. I really enjoyed the summer training. Event though it was hot, the days were very long.

Here is my actual marathon training log:

Week Mon Tue Wed Thur Fri Sat Sun Total
1 rest 0 4.5 3 rest 18 0 25.5
2 rest 3.75 xt 6 rest rest 14.1 23.85
3 rest 3.75 xt 4.5 rest rest 20 28.25
4 rest 3.75 xt 0 rest 5.1 7 15.85
5 rest 4.75 xt 4.5 rest rest 18 27.25
6 rest 4 xt   rest 6.2 13 23.2
7 rest 5 xt 10.5 rest rest 22 37.5
8 rest 0 xt 10.5 rest 3.1 15.5 29.1
9 rest 5 xt 5 rest rest 19.1 29.1
10 rest 5 xt 9.5 rest 3.1 13 30.6
11 xt xt 5.5 9.5 rest rest 22.5 37.5
12 rest 5 xt 0 9 rest 17 31
13 rest 0 xt 0 rest rest 0 0
14 rest 5 xt 5.2 rest rest 24 34.2
15 xt 5 xt 4.5 rest rest 13 22.5
16 rest 5 xt 4.5 rest rest 13 22.5
17 xt 3 xt 4.5 rest rest 6 13.5
18 xt 0 xt rest travel rest 26.2 26.2
            Total   457.6

xt = Cross Training

Tuesday = Speed Training.

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A New Runner’s First 20 Miler!

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I’ve been running now for three years. I’m just a recreational runner; I guess my genetics won’t get me to the 7 minute mile pace.

I’ve been getting faster over time and occasionally win in my age group when I race. I’ve done lots of 5k and 10k races, and ran my first half marathon earlier this year. Now I’m training for my first marathon! Running has made me lose weight, get into shape, and even lower my cholesterol! Last weekend, Sunday, I ran my first 20 miler. For someone that doesn’t run that fast, it can take a long time to run that far. When planning a long run, it’s important to be sure to eat a little something about an hour or two before starting. That will give you some carbs to draw on as you run. Water is also a must! Some carbs during the run is important as well. (At mile 6 I ate a Gu. I really like the lemon flavor. Then at mile 12 I started munching on some Sports Beans.)

My run was at the local city park that is just a couple of miles from my house. It has a nice running path that is a 1.66 mile loop.  With my truck parked next to the path, I could drop by every few laps for a drink of water, and the energy boosts at mile 6 and 12 with the Gu and Sports Beans. One thing that really helped me out was to pour some water over my head from time to time to help cool me off.

This being my first marathon, I’m not too concerned about time. I’m just concerned with finishing! In training, I’m running 1 mile and then walking 1/10 mile to recover. This has been working well for me so far. After this past run, I think I’m going to try 9/10 running and 1/10 walking to see if that gives me a little more energy.

I’ve been gradually building up my mileage over the past couple of months but this was my first really long run. At mile 16 I started slowing down as my energy reserves were getting depleted. Then at mile 18.5 I just started to run out of steam. I had to start walking a little and running a little over the last 1.5 miles. Finally at mile 20 I was done! I walked around to cool off. When I sat down, I got a little dizzy. Oddly enough, it felt better if I just kept moving a little. Then after about 5 minutes I was ready to sit down and rest for a while.

My muscles were a bit sore the next day, so I just took an easy 6 mile bicycle ride to cross train. Then the following day an easy 5 mile run to keep my muscles going. By the following day everything was feeling fine again. This weekend I’m cutting back to about 12 – 16 miles for my long run. Then the following weekend I’ll plan to run 22. Gradually working up to the final 26 miler before I start tapering.

I have my running log posted on my refrigerator so that I can see how far I’ve gone (and how far I have to go!). This is a great motivational tool when I see the miles adding up. I started recording my miles about 2.5 years ago and I’m up to over 1,200 miles.

When I consider that, I think I’ll be able to make my first 26.2 mile marathon!!!

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Toronto Marathon News

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I will get to see and run with some of the elites marathoners in the world!

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Source : http://www.marathonguide.com/

Toronto Waterfront Marathon Announces Elite Field

 
On September 27th, the 2009 Toronto Waterfront Marathon will celebrate its 20th anniversary with what it is promising will be the most competitive marathon field to date. In the women’s race, defending champion Mulu Seboka of Ethiopia, who set a course record and personal best in 2008 (2:29:06), will be challenged by Kenyan Lydia Cheromei whose 2008 debut of 2:25:57 in Amsterdam makes her the fastest in the field and Ethiopian Amane Gobena whose PR (2:26:53) was reached earlier in 2009 at Los Angeles. The men’s race will see the return of defending champion Kenneth Mungara who edged out fellow Kenyan Peter Kiprotichto win the 2008 race in 2:11:01. Mungara who has since improved his PR to 2:10:29 (2009 Prague Marathon), will be joined by three men who have run sub 2:10 – Ethiopian Gashaw Melese Asfaw and Kenyans Philip Manyim and Daniel Kiprugut Too. Asfaw’s extensive resume includes two 2:10 marathon finishes from the 2009 Boston Marathon (6th place) and the 2009 Dubai Marathon (4th place) and a 7th place finish at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Marathon. Manyim was champion of the 2005 Berlin Marathon (2:07:41) and Kiprugut was the winner of the 2009 Paris Marathon in 2:08:38. The prize purse of $122,000CAN along with course record and bonuses for men who finish faster than 2:09:30 and women faster than 2:29:06 adds considerable incentive for the runners.
more at : http://www.marathonguide.com/pressreleases/pressfiles/TorontoWaterfrontMarathon_090901.cfm

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How did I start to Run?

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I am moving this blog post from different location. It was published on Monday, June 9, 2008.

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These days’ people ask, how did I start running? Have been running for a while? High School? College? My answer is that I have never run as much as I run now.

I started to run many times in my life. I remember running in Nepal. But I have quit as many times as I have started. I had no desire to go on. Somehow, it never occurs to me that one day I will pick my running habit where I left of long time ago. I taught and coached a soccer team at a military school for 6 years. I tried to run as well. It still did not work.

 I remember one day coming out of gym, I was told by a co-work of mine “You should be running Mercedes Marathon (half)”. I told her that I was not a runner. But, I liked that idea of running at that moment. As soon as I got home, I looked up the marathon info. Sure enough, it is listed. When I got to office next day, I looked for place to sign up. I found that my company pays part of the race. I was very excited. I decided to run. Now I am becoming a runner.

 Now, that is all history… I have not looked back since that day. I have been running and running…. I have covered about 500+ miles since oct of 2007, which is not just simple achievement.

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