Sunday, June 15, 2008

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

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