Monday, November 7, 2011

Weekend Recap: NYC Marathon and Other Sweaty Things

Don't let the title of this post fool you, I did not run the New York City Marathon this weekend. I have never run any marathon but I now want to even more.

I left work early on Friday for a doctor's appointment and afterward, took a long walk through residential DC to the Wilson Aquatic Center. I read what seemed like a million tweets about the #INGNYCM but wanted more. I soaked up the sunshine and stopped to take many iPhone photos of the fall foliage.

I got to the pool and thought about how strange it was for me to be there. Nine days earlier, I had never really swum laps. And for my entire adult life, I have been opposed to working out at any indoor, gym-like facility. I still prefer to exercise outdoors, and showering before a workout seems backward, but I am being open-minded and trying something new. And my swimming experience on Friday was so much more encouraging than last week's.

Coincidentally, the cross training section of my new Run Less Run Faster book has information about swimming for runners. I roughly followed it's suggestions and swam for 45 minutes swimming one lap (50 meters total), resting for 15 seconds, kicking one lap, resting for 15 seconds, and then repeating the cycle. In that time I did 24 laps total. I am pretty slow and I did it in the "Water Walking Leisure Swim" lane but still felt lightyears better than I did on my first try.

My feet had provided for a great mode of transport earlier in the afternoon so I spontaneously decided to walk home. Then Josh and I walked to Adams Morgan to meet our friends for drinks. I ended up walking 6.3 miles through the city for the day and was excited to see the Zoo Lights up. They're free in case you were wondering!

Saturday, after lounging and watching the Florida Gators dominate their homecoming game, Josh and I drove back to Wilson High School, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite places to sweat, for a double header soccer game. The games were long, challenging, and frustrating at times but they were fun. We won the first and lost the second. Josh took a hard beating with a knee in the ribs, a cleat on the toe, a kick in the head, and an even further sprained wrist. But Ingrid and I, playing soccer together since 1993, were together again. We both have bruises to show for it too.

I woke up Sunday morning, opened Twitter, and realized that the 42nd Annual NYC Marathon was underway and that I could watch live coverage on Universal Sports. So I ate breakfast and spectated the race from my couch.

I had plans to run with Ingrid so I left before it was through. Both feeling sore and beat up from Saturday's games, we ran a relaxing 5.6 miles in the chilly sunshine.

By the time we got home, the winning women had finished the marathon. Ethiopians Dado and Deba stole gold and silver, respectively, and Mary Kearney, who held a significant lead from miles 1 to 25 fell to third at the very end and took the bronze. I watched the men finish, as Geofrey Mutai, who set the world marathon record at Boston in the spring, set a new record for NYC at 2:05:06.


Among eating, cleaning, and admiring Josh's fall photography, I spent the rest of the day soaking up all things NYCM. Reading tweets and watching videos online were nothing like being there, as a spectator or runner, but they were still incredibly inspiring.

This race means so much to so many runners. It is one of the greatest in the world. And watching it unfold struck a chord with me in a way that watching the world series or the super bowl never could.

I know I'll never be running with the Kearneys or the Dodas of the world but I'd like to have a go (a much slower one) at that course one day. Much of the territory that the race runs over, especially the bridges, I have experienced on a bike in the 5 Boros Bike Ride. Somehow I think that running those streets would be more amazing, and I imagine more organized. Until I do, I plan to continue spectating. Maybe next year I'll get off my couch and cheer, with two million others, from the streets of New York.


Really, the only bad thing I can say about this weekend is that we fell back. It is now dark at 5:20 pm and my after work runs are going to get scary. I guess that just means more indoor swimming and quality workouts with my favorite running buddies!

I hope you all had great weekends and congrats to everyone who ran New York!

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