Tuesday, August 19, 2008


August 3, 2008

This race exceeded all expectations. After never having run a full marathon until last May (the Long Island Marathon), I had no idea that a 26 mile run can be so much fun. First off, San Francisco is a beautiful city. I spent the first two days sight seeing and pasta loading, first in the North Beach (North Beach Cafe) and then in a quaint Italian restaurant (Umbria). I stayed pretty much on New York time the first two days. I intended to do this so the 6:30 am start would not seem so early. So here is my race day narrative:

Dressed and made my way down to the Embarcadero which was about a half mile from the hotel. Since the San Francisco Marathon was doing wave starts, I signed up for what I thought was my correct placement (a 5 hour marathon). I ran the LI in 4:51 so I thought this was reasonable. It was on the chilly side, around 50 degrees but that would work to my benefit later on.

The wave started around 6:30 am and I set up north passing Fisherman's Wharf, Ghiradelli Square, the marina with the beautiful vista for San Francisco Bay and Alcatraz. Up in the distance lay the Golden Gate Bridge, the ultimate focal point for this race. Ran up, and I mean up, the Presidio and past the tolls of the GG Bridge and there I was, on the left coast with the Pacific breeze flowing over the bridge as I headed north toward Vista Point. It was pretty jammed on the bridge, and I lost a bit of time, but the view was well worth it. At this point I was very comfortable and once off the bridge I focused on the major point of this race (mile 7 - 26). Made it through some pretty massive hills in Presidio area, finally shed my "throw away T" and then spent 6 miles in Golden Gate Park along with its architecture, buffalo area, and lakes. One of the more memorable water stops was in the park where they offered the runners Cytomax (Gatorade Clone), Gel, and a guy dressed as the devil handing out beer with a sign saying "what the hell, you made it this far, have a beer". Of course I accepted. After the park I came out on the top of the Haight area (upper Haight, which has not changed since the "hippie days" of the 60's. The long climb up Haight was very tough, but not as tough as the run down to the lower Haight. It sort of a stagger instead of a run, with your toes crammed into the front of your shoes and all the time trying to hold yourself up from falling on your face. After the Haight I ran through the Richmond area which was mostly factories until finally hitting the bay again with AT&T Park in the distance. Also at that point, the "so called WALL" was quite evident, though not as serious as the first time I ran a marathon. I was very tired but still quite loose. At this point I knew I was running a faster marathon than before because I caught up with the Wave 7 runners. So along the harbor I continued, past AT&T and McCovey Cove and up under the Bay Bridge to the finish line on the Embarcadero. I did my usual jump on the line as my time read 4 hours 42 minutes. A personal record for me and a most fulfilling run. I would like to do this one again.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Final Long Run Before SFM

Just completed my final long run in preparation for the San Francisco Marathon (August 3, 2008). Distance was 20.7 miles as I did the usual 5 mile loop course 4 times. It was hot. Started a little after 2 PM and used my house as the aid station (water and gel). Anyway, pretty smooth. Mild knee pain and stiffness towards the end but I feel I am ready for San Francisco.

As a bonus to the run I went over the 1,000 mile mark since I purchased my Nike Nano in April '07. Nike 1000 Mile Club.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

In Training for San Francisco

Started training for the San Francisco Marathon, August 3, 20008 runsfm.com. I have been on a shorter program than the one for the Long Island Marathon. Last week ran a 13.2 run (half marathon) to East Rockaway Inlet. Last Saturday (June 28) ran from my home (Rockville Centre) to the Atlantic Ocean (Long Beach). Suffered extreme knee pain after the 14 mile mark and was pretty uncomfortable during the 8-13 mile mark. Had to do much walking on the return journey but made it safely home. Here is a map of my route - RVC-Long Beach.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Ran 15 miles today on the usual loop course 3 times. No pain! Will practice on hills this week and do a 20 mile long run next weekend.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Swampscott to Nahant

June 14, 2008

Took an early run this morning while staying with my sister in Swampscott, MA, a lovely and impressive seaside village on the North Shore of Boston. I was amazed at the amount of joggers and walkers there were along the ocean path that leads all the way to the "almost island" peninsula town of Nahant. Beautiful and warm, the 9.2 mile run was refreshing and different. Slight hills and all on either roadway or cement path. There is something to experiencing a New England Seaside town that made this run very memorable.

NikePlus run stats

Long Island Marathon - May 4, 2008

After running for over 30 years, I finally entered and finished. I was used to half marathons and 10K races, but this was very challenging. I trained for 6 weeks prior with long training runs to Queens and Wantagh from Rockville Centre. Though fairly flat, the Wantagh State Parkway can become very difficult negotiating not only the grade of the roadway but also the slope from side to side. In any event the run went as follows:

Got to the start an hour before the gun. Warmed up with the usual walking and bending that I am accustomed to. I really do not stretch as much as I should, but never had much difficulty during the race. I lined myself up in the 9 minute mile corral as the race started. Stayed on pace with no unexpected developments during the first 8 miles. It was a little damp and cold for me so I wore a mylar jacket until about mile 10 when we entered the Wantagh State Parkway. Most of runners were entered in the half marathon so they exited at Old Country Road and all of a sudden the road cleared with the full marathoners. I have to say I was pretty proud when I continued with the full marathoners as I usually run the half. Took gatorade at almost every water stop after mile 10. I do walk the water stops as I find it too difficult to drink while running. Made it past the halfway point (13.1) around my old hometown of Wantagh. Past my elementary school and the fields I used to play ball at. I found the run at this point pretty relaxing. Worked my way up the Wantagh State back north and developed some knee pain. I ran through it and popped an Advil at mile 19. I really can't remember when or if I hit the wall. I kept pushing myself and was pretty much in the zone mentally. I kept repeating the General Patton quote: "Now if you are going to win any battle you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up. It is always tired in the morning, noon, and night. But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired." I felt alone most of the time with just a few runners spaced out by 100 yards since there were less than 500 full marathoners. The sun finally broke out of the clouds around mile 18 and it became very warm on the asphalt roadway. In addition to the knee problems I did develop a strained right calf. It was not very painful but it felt uncomfortable. In any event there was no way I wasn't going to finish this race. By the time I exited the parkway at mile 21 I knew that this mission would be accomplished. The closer I came to the finish the stronger I felt and by the time I entered the park (Eisenhower) I was probably putting up my best mile split. Came to the finish line which was practically deserted, but the announcer called out my name "Brad Frey from Rockville Centre" and as I saw the timing mats, I jumped up and landed on both feet with a scream. Received my medal and went to the medical tent for some ice. After returning home I took and ice bath. My thoughts stayed on the race and my first finish. 1-1. Next up. The San Francisco Marathon, August 3, 2008 www.runsfm.com.