Tag Archives: Injuries

Healthy Kidney 10K – My First DNF – May 14, 2016 – Race Recap

The start of NYRR's Healthy Kidney 10K, before my face-plant.

The start of NYRR’s Healthy Kidney 10K, before my face-plant.

You run long enough, and it’s bound to happen – a DNF and a running injury.  I just didn’t think it would happen in Central Park during a 10K this morning, and I didn’t think the injury would include my face.

The typical long line of runners at a NYRR race in Central Park.

The typical long line of runners at a NYRR race in Central Park.

 

The Healthy Kidney 10K started out well enough – the day was beautiful and warmer than expected (already in the mid 60s at the 9 am start), and I was finally on the downhill of my cold that started last week.  I felt pretty good considering I ran 26 miles 6 days ago, and was able to run the first three miles at about a 10:35 pace (fast for me at this point).  Everything was going well!  I came up the final Harlem Hill, passed the 5K mark, and was enjoying the flat stretch near the 102nd Street Transverse heading towards the reservoir.  But then, BAM!  My foot got caught in a little pothole, and I went down HARD.  Harder than hard.  I hit my face, hands, and then the rest of my body.  Hard enough to rip my CW-X tights.  Hard enough to make me wonder if I broke my cell phone around my waist.  Hard enough to make me worried I broke the bones in my face.  And apparently hard enough to give me a concussion.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.  (Blame my recent concussion.)

 

Right after I went down, there were plenty of kind runners who stopped to make sure nobody ran over me and to make sure I was ok.  I kept saying I was ok, and eventually I rolled over, got up, and limped to the side because I didn’t want to cause a(nother) accident.  My friend Ben was actually there, too!  He was running by and came upon my prostrate figure and recognized my Discover Bank Delaware Marathon hat (which, by the way, I got blood on – it was the first time I wore it, too)!

 

Props to the on-point race volunteer who immediately radioed for an ambulance the second I fell, saying “runner down,” which sounds very dramatic, but was effective.  I was sitting on the grass next to the course when the medics arrived (probably not more than 1 or 2 minutes after my fall – it was really fast).  I assured them I was ok, until I suddenly wasn’t – my vision started to go dark.  That’s when I really started to worry.  I’m too youngish to die!

 

Originally I thought I would walk the rest of the race – I clearly had no idea how bad my fall was.  But when the world started to go dim, they offered to transport me to the med tent, and I accepted – I didn’t want to pass out 30 seconds after they left and cause a huge hassle.  So, onto the stretcher and into the ambulance I went!  It was… embarrassing.   And it felt almost like I was playing out a scenario for class, except I was actually injured.  The ambulance was a small “van” ambulance, so it was cozy inside, but still familiar.  I feel like I’ve jinxed myself by becoming an EMT – just as I’ve started working on an ambulance, for the first time in my life I find myself as a patient in the back of one.

 

After a leisurely ride down the west side of the park, my vision had cleared up and I was feeling beat up but better.  They delivered me to the med tent where Dr. Stu (the head NYRR doctor who I knew from training sessions, but who of course didn’t know me) checked me out.  He pushed on the bones all over my face and determined nothing was broken (thank god).  He said I had started blacking out probably because I had a mild concussion.  And as I sat there icing my face, I finally noticed how much my ankle was hurting.  I got an ice wrap for that, too, and after sitting there for more than enough time to make sure I probably wasn’t going to die from an aneurism or whatever scary fake medical thing I was worried about, finally made my way out of the park with my friend Ben, who had found me at the finish.

 

I painfully, slowly limped out of the park, still thinking my ankle was just bruised or something, but I did take a cab for the 5 blocks home.  Only after a quick shower did I realize just how bad my ankle was – it was stiff, painful, and looked like there was a lemon implanted underneath my skin.  As a first-time ankle sprainer, this really freaked me out.  I thought maybe something had ruptured and there was blood pooling under my skin or something – there’s also a small bruise and cut on the side of my foot, probably from the jagged edge of the pothole (and I suspect there’s a tear in my shoe, too).  So, I immediately emailed Ben and started googling “sprained ankle.”

 

After icing it and wrapping it, I still wasn’t satisfied with my self-treatment options, and since it hurt so much that walking was incredibly difficult, I decided to go to a nearby urgent care center to get an aircast (as recommended by Ben).  After a surprisingly long wait, the doctor there checked me out, pushed on the bones around my foot and ankle, thankfully determined without an X-ray that there were no broken bones, and diagnosed me with a sprained ankle.  He put me in an aircast, gave me instructions to take naproxen (aka Aleve) and to only ice 3 times a day, and sent me off with some crutches.  The crutches help a lot, but I quickly learned that walking with crutches is about 80 times more difficult than just walking, and I feel like I got a full day’s workout by crutching the two blocks home.

 

Ugh.

Ugh.  Ugh.

Now I’m sitting on my couch with my leg propped up, feeling some sweet relief from the painkiller (although it still hurts, it doesn’t hurt like a mofo anymore), and feeling both angry at and sad for myself.  I know “these things happen” but it was a stupid mistake to step into that pothole – I should have been looking down more than up.  And now I can’t work my EMT shift tomorrow, nor can I run the Brooklyn Half Marathon next weekend, not to mention that I can’t walk or run for several days (plus the pain, plus the current inconvenience, plus the lifetime threat of re-injury and arthritis (“In a 10-year fol­low-up of patients suffering ankle sprains, 72 percent showed signs of arthritis in the ankle joint.”).  Ugh!  (And yes, the more I read online about this, the more freaked out I’m getting.)

 

The funny thing is that my face feels (and looks) bruised but it’s definitely not the most painful or lasting injury I sustained in my fall – it reminds me of the “distracting injury” thing we learned about at EMT camp.  Of course, hitting your face is more life-threatening than spraining your ankle, so it didn’t distract in that way, but it certainly made me ignore my ankle for a long time.  (“But not anymore, b*tch!” said my ankle just now.)

 

But before I start feeling too sorry for myself, I do want to send out a big internet “thank you” to all the runners and medical people who helped me today.  It was seriously nice of Ben to stick with me for so long, both at mile 3 and at the finish, and for emailing me a lot of info about sprained ankles.

The shirt this year.  I didn't get a medal because I didn't finish.  :(

The shirt this year. I didn’t get a medal because I didn’t finish. 🙁

So, please pray to the running gods for me that I’ll recover in a relatively rapid fashion…  Till then, I’ll see you on the couch.

 

Have you ever sprained your ankle?  Have you ever visited an urgent care?  Have you ever ridden in the back of an ambulance that wasn’t for your job?  Share in the comments!

Missoula Marathon Officially Deferred

I don't know if I'd call it "success," but I was able to defer my registration (for $20).

I don’t know if I’d call it “success,” but I was able to defer my registration (for $20).

I took away the marathon temptation and booked a 4-hour horse ride instead.  Here’s hoping my foot heals quickly and I can get back to running and training for The Blerch, which is in 10 short weeks!

 

Have you ever deferred a race?  Did you know bear spray costs like 40 to 60 bucks and only sprays for 9 seconds?  Did you know mountain goats have killed people, too?  How many cans of spray do you think an injured runner should carry on the trail?  Share in the comments!

MRI & Everything is Slow

Injuries are like the 2nd Ave Subway construction... slow, disruptive, ugly, painful.

Injuries are like the 2nd Ave Subway construction… slow, disruptive, ugly, painful.

I finally got my MRI yesterday.  It was the most science-fictiony experience I’ve ever had.  For those of you who haven’t had the delightful experience of getting an MRI, it’s basically lying still for a very long time while inside a giant metal tube with sirens from a dystopian future going off around you.  Luckily, from my many years of practice I am very good at lying still, and because it was only my heel getting the MRI treatment, my head was outside the tube so it was less claustrophobic than it could have been.

 

The technician offered me over-the-ear headphones with music but since I couldn’t control the volume, I declined the (too loud) music.  She left the headphones over my ears, however, to help block some of the noise.  She said there would be “some banging” that would indicate “the machine is working.”  I don’t know where this technician was from, but her “banging” sounded like tornado warning sirens to me.  To be fair, there was also some banging.

 

The experience made me realize that whatever I thought I got on my knee 10 years ago was not an MRI.  It also makes me seriously question all those studies on brain activity based on MRI scans – I’m pretty sure my brain was flipping out all over the place while I was in there, even though I kept my eyes closed and tried to plan my trip to Montana.

 

The only pic I got of the "MRI experience" - the rest is left to your active imagination.

The only pic I got of the “MRI experience” – the rest is left to your active imagination.

When it was done (after “only” 30 minutes of listening to banging sirens), the technician released me from the metal tube and my restraints.  I told her that I felt like I should emerge 10 years younger, 20 pounds lighter, completely healed, or otherwise somehow transformed after the experience.  She said I had an “active imagination.”  Unfortunately she was right, as I was no lighter, no stronger, and actually 30 minutes older than when I was rolled into the machine.

 

The MRI results will be ready late Wednesday, but my doctor isn’t available until next week when I’ll already be gone in Montana.  Overall this whole diagnosis process has been so excruciatingly slow, it’s adding another level of frustration onto an already incredibly frustrating injury.  I was really hoping to get some answers before my trip (and taken off the “do not run” list), since even if I don’t do the Missoula Marathon (ok, I know I’m not doing the marathon, but still hate saying it), I plan on doing some hiking while in Glacier National Park, and I’d love to know what’s wrong with me before I go ahead and keep re-injuring myself.  At this point, I’m planning on some moderate to longish hikes and will go by feel – if my foot hurts, I’ll take it easy, but if it feels ok, I’m going to take full advantage of my first and only trip to the remote Glacier Park.

 

I have one more PT session before I leave on Friday, and until then I have to finish planning my trip (map the locations, print out directions, research the hikes, etc.), pack all my gear, and miraculously heal myself.  Barring any miracle healing, I have to fully come to terms with my DNS (“Did Not Start”) on Missoula.  I know there is a little gremlin inside me that still wants to do it, but I think I can distract him with a long horse ride that day.  So I have to find a ranch not too far from Missoula where I can distract myself with riding while everyone else is running to a finish line with awesome medals (and what would have been a qualifying race for me to join Marathon Maniacs).  I also suspect this gremlin would like a nice piece of Montana sapphire jewelry to make up for the medal.  Greedy gremlin.

 

Finally, I suspect I won’t have any cell service in Montana, so I don’t expect to post again for a little over two weeks.  Have an excellent July and enjoy your runs for me!

 

Have you ever gotten an MRI?  Did you think it might transport you to a spaceship?  Have you ever visited Glacier National Park?  Did you carry bear spray?  Share in the comments!

Tuli's gel heel cups

What the Doctor Said

Tuli's gel heel cups

There’ve been three new running developments since Hatfield.  First, the good news – I got into the Houston Marathon (via lottery), so I’ll be heading to Texas in January!  I’ve heard the course is nice and flat (compared to Austin) and since I’ve never spent any time in Texas I’m really looking forward to the visit.

 

Second, I went to my first deep water running class (through NYRR) and loved it.  I didn’t know anything about it before, but basically you wear a flotation belt and “run” in place with an instructor directing you for an hour (kind of like an aerobics or spin class).  The running motion is not like what you’d do on land but rather done with a straight leg, toes pointed (like kicking straight down).  The cadence is changed depending on how wide your “stride” or kicks are, and your arms swing equal to your legs with palms either facing back (for more resistance) or to your side like blades (for faster “swinging”).  The instructor was fantastic and the class gave me a good workout without pain, plus it was really nice to be in a pool in the summer.  It’s not running, but at least it’ll get me out of the house once a week.

 

 

Which brings me to my third and worst piece of news.  Today I went to an orthopedic surgeon to see what’s up with my foot pain, and while I don’t have a fracture and am waiting to get an MRI for an official diagnosis, the doctor said not to run until she says it’s ok.  She said to treat my heel pain like a bruise, and to do nothing that would increase the pounding on it (e.g. biking ok, long walks not ok), and that if I ran too soon on it, it could lead to fractures or other injuries.  The most interesting thing she demonstrated is that what I thought was posterior shin splints is instead probably a strained muscle that runs down the inside of my calf, along the bottom of my foot, and ends at my big toe.  It would explain the concurrent arch pain and “shin splint pain” that developed in April, and when the doctor did wizardly doctor things she made it hurt and flex in weird ways, demonstrating the connection.  Watching her diagnose me was the closest thing to a real-life Sherlock moment I’ve ever had.  This is also a good lesson that self-diagnosis is really not a great idea when you’re not a doctor.

 

I left with a prescription for the gel heel cups pictured above (which I’m now seeing are $8 less, shipping included, on Amazon than at my creepy local store), plus a referral to begin physical therapy next week (with someone who specifically specializes in foot pain).  Hopefully I’ll get an MRI later this week and get some more answers, but I fear the ultimate prescription will once again be “don’t run.”  This is as upsetting to me as a prescription saying “don’t eat chocolate,” which is also something I should probably (not) do.  Instead, the lack of running makes the chocolate consumption seem to go up, if anything.  If only running injuries could be fixed with Toblerone and buttered pasta, I would be the Wolverine of running.

 

How do you deal with being sidelined from running?  Have you ever binge-watched Sherlock on Netflix and started dreaming you’re solving crimes in London with Benedict Cumberbatch?  Which do you think is better, Elementary, Sherlock, or Wolverine?  Share in the comments!

First Run in Over a Month!

Slush in NYC

That’s all slushy water at that crosswalk. Deep and delicious.

Today I went for my first run in over a month (breaking my “opposite run streak,” as it were).  It was only 2 miles, but it felt ok, so I’m pretty sure my marathon in a little over a week will be no problem.

 

Ok, not really.  The idea of going to Little Rock and covering 26.2 miles under my own power sounds insane.  After terrible pain after a short run in mid-January, I wanted to take some time off, but I didn’t think it would be this long, and I didn’t think I wouldn’t run a single step during my long trip out west.  I also didn’t think I’d gain even more weight during the cruise… Ok, I thought that was definitely possible, but those 3 extra pounds on top of the 10 extra pounds I’m already carrying do not fit into my marathon plans, much less my pants.

 

Luckily, I wear tights, not pants, when I run.  When I got back to NYC, I kept waiting for it to warm up enough so I could run outside and not crack my tailbone on black ice, or drown in a river of slush dammed up by mountains of dirty snow.  Today it finally hit 40, and after a rainy morning I headed out to Central Park.  I was about to run the carriage trail to the reservoir when I saw it was still fully covered in slushy white snow.  (I don’t know why I was expecting it to be clear.)  Instead of soaking my feet I ran the short, paved lower loop of the park.  Not surprisingly, it felt like I hadn’t run in over a month.

 

I still hope to get a longer (at least 6?  maybe 8?  even 10?) mile run/walk in this week before making the final decision on Little Rock, but all signs point to me flying out there and at least attempting to walk it.  The time limit is 6 hours for a normal start, which means I’d have to average 13:43 per mile, which sounds do-able until I realize I’ll be walking the majority of the race, and I can’t walk that fast, especially if I need to stop for any reason.

 

At any rate, it was nice to be able to run today, even if it was for only 2 miles, and I hope to get back into this whole bizarre running thing again.  And when it’s humid and 95 this summer, I will remember this terrible winter and be even more annoyed at the continuing bad weather.

 

How’s your training going?  Are you watching the TV show Opposite Worlds?  Did you think I was going to say I’d be ok with horribly hot weather because of the cold winter?  Share in the comments!

Where's the Finish Panda

M-V-Knee

After taking off three days from running because of knee pain and general laziness, today I went out for my long run with fear and trepidation.  After a first terrible and painful mile with lots of stops and starts, I eventually settled into a rhythm and banged out 11 almost pain-free miles.

I have never been so happy to run 12 miles.  They were relatively slow (10:45 to 11:00 min miles) but maybe that’s another reason they were so enjoyable.  But I think the main reason I was so happy is because I felt fine – not great, not even particularly good, just fine.  And that felt wonderful.

Much is discussed about “runner’s high” and that great feeling you get from exercise, but what I think doesn’t get enough credit is the simple feeling of being pain-free.  We don’t notice it enough because it is (luckily) the default feeling for most of us, but when you do encounter rare moments of pain in your life, the best feeling is simply the relief of not feeling.  Those first few yards of running without knee pain today were sheer relief.  The sun was shining, the birds were chirping, the tourists were clumping, the walkers were chatting (about Ben Affleck being the next Batman – “Everybody’s gonna see the movie at least once, because I mean, it’s Batman and Superman in the same movie, man.”), the bikers were swerving, and the runners were running.  And I was one of them.

Where's the Finish Panda

DNF & Coaching

Today I had a DNF (Did Not Finish).  Granted, it was during a training run, so it wasn’t particularly heartbreaking, but in other ways it was even more disappointing because it means my knee pain is back with a vengeance   I pulled the plug 0.3 miles into a scheduled 6-miler, and while I probably could have pushed it out like I did last time, I just wasn’t in the mood.

 

For the past month I’ve been working with a running coach for the first time ever.  He provides me with a training plan every two weeks and I’ve been diligently following it.  It’s been a great motivator, because when I’m my own coach it’s extremely easy to skip a workout… or two… or even three in a single week, but when I’m being held accountable by someone else, I have to follow the plan or suffer the embarrassment of admitting that I skipped a workout for no good reason other than laziness.

 

The first few weeks were great, but recently I’ve started feeling tired and nervous that I’m hurting my knee, and questioning the schedule my coach gives me.  I’ve had brief email exchanges with him about it, but I only pay $40/month for his coaching, and I’m not sure what else he could really say anyway.  It’s not his fault my motivation is lagging.  And ultimately it’s not going to be him who has to run my upcoming marathons.

 

So today, I listened to my own body and my own mind.  Tomorrow, I’m going to go out and try again.  Also, I’m going to push up my schedule by one day to accommodate my weekend plans.  I used to shift around my training runs all the time, and that was okay because it was my own plan, but now I feel guilty.  It’s a balancing act I’m still getting used to, but hopefully it will all pay off the next time I toe the starting line.

 

Do you work with a coach?  How do you balance what you feel and what your training plan or coach tells you to do?  Share your experiences in the comments!

Marathon Recap – NYC ING Marathon 2005

Finding the NYC Finish in 2005 - time obscured to protect the innocent.

Finding the NYC Finish in 2005 – time obscured to protect the innocent.

In the coming days I will post race recaps of the 9 marathons I’ve run so far.  Since I didn’t write a recap for my second marathon immediately after running it, this is coming from memory eight years after the fact, so I’m sure it’s wildly inaccurate and mostly fictitious.

 

In training for my first marathon I ran a lot of NYRR races.  This was back in the golden days when races were only $11 for members and didn’t sell out in 30 seconds.  I ran enough to qualify for the NYC Marathon the following year (back then it took 9 qualifying races with no +1 volunteer requirement), so I thought, “what the heck, I love me a marathon, let’s do this thang!”  (Luckily, I only thought those words and did not say them aloud.)

 

So, after the first marathon, I kept running.  I have no idea what training plan I followed or what the heck I was doing back then.  I do know that I came down with a nasty case of knee pain and even went to a sports doctor who told me my something-something in the middle of my knee was inflamed and I should stop running and take up to 18 Advil a day.  Ok, I’m not 100% clear on the details, but I do distinctly remember him saying “Look, most of my patients are professional dancers or athletes   I’d be out of business if I told them all to stop before a competition.  So I’ll tell you — run as little as possible, then do the marathon if you really want to, then stop running long distances.  As in, don’t run long distances.  Ever.  Again.”

 

Reflecting back on that advice makes me realize that maybe he wasn’t the best doctor for me.  I never did go back to him, nor did I take up to 18 Advil in a day (although I did partake in quite a few of those orange unicorn pills of magic).  I did skip my remaining long runs and I did run the marathon, and then I did stop running long distances.  For a few years.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

 

It seems like everyone and their running mother wants to run the NYC Marathon.  And I guess I can see why.  It’s really expensive & difficult to register and held in a really expensive city and it’s really crowded and you start in Staten Island.  Ok, ok, running all 5 boroughs in a day is pretty cool, and every time I see the Verrazano Bridge in the hazy distance it shocks me to think I ran all the way from there up to the Bronx and back down to Central Park.  But the race itself?  Shrug.

 

This is a gritted, fake smile if I ever saw one.  Also, no sunglasses?  Amazing.

This is a gritted, fake smile if I ever saw one. Also, no sunglasses? Amazing.

Granted, I was in a lot of pain.  A lot.  At mile 17, amidst the cheering hordes lining 1st Ave, I chewed up an extra strength Tylenol like it was an Altoid.  My knee didn’t hurt as much as my hip, which was an unexpected new pain that cut through all the other typical marathon pain.  I swore to myself then and there that I would never run another marathon as long as I lived.  This goes to show you that the promises you make to yourself while you’re running, especially distance running, are about as valid as the $10 million check from Publisher’s Clearing House you got in the mail last week.  (Everybody knows the real checks are huge.)

 

My biggest problem with the race was the disorganization, specifically at the water stations.  I reached several water stations (Brooklyn, I’m looking at you) that had NO WATER.  The volunteers (bless their hearts) were cheering instead of pouring, leaving the tables empty of any actual cups of water.  I skipped one station like this, but after another couple of miles, I desperately needed water.  I joined a line of runners while we waited like Oliver Twist, holding out our cups, pleading to have some more (water, that is).

 

I think they’ve improved the stations so I can’t imagine this happening now, but you never know.  I don’t think they have the Spongebob mile anymore, right?  That was a veritable minefield of wet sponges you had to plow through around mile 16 or so.  I think with so many runners on the course the volunteers couldn’t clear them away or something, so by the time us mid- to back-of-the-packers came through, the sponges were at critical levels.  I felt like I was in Double Dare, minus the Gak.

 

Also, the streets of NYC are really not the best.  There are a lot of potholes and manhole covers with humped asphalt around them.  Basically you just had to watch your footing.  But it was quite the big marathon experience and overall it wasn’t terrible.  And now when people find out I “run marathons” and inevitably ask if I’ve run the NYC Marathon, I can say yes and not be lying.

 

Legit smile to be done.

Legit smile to be done.

Finally, if your loved one is coming to watch you run, I think they still have a deal where you pay them a bunch of money and your guest can hang out at the finish line/Tavern on the Green and eat and relax while you’re running your butt off.  I got the deal for my mom, who apparently liked it so much she actually missed me crossing the finish line (5 1/2 hours weren’t enough for her).  She did buy me a burrito after the race, though, so we were even.

 

Thinking of Running NYC ING?

 

If you’re thinking of it, you’re going to do it, and nothing can stop you (not even a hurricane.  What, too soon?).  Because here’s how you’ll get in –

 

  • Lucky lottery, which you’ll take as a sign from the universe that you should run this year.  (By the way, it is a sign from the universe, because nobody gets in that way.)
  • Unlucky lottery, which means you kept trying and trying and after 3 failed attempts you got a mercy admission at the 4th year, which you won’t pass up because you’ve been waiting sooo long.
  • 9+1, which means you’ve run at least 9 NYRR qualifying races (paying at a minimum $153 for those races, not counting membership fees), and volunteered at one of the races (or paid $1k to charity), all of which means you have paid in blood and sweat for your marathon ticket and you wouldn’t let anyone tear that away from you.
  • Charity runner, which means you’re willing to ask your friends and family for money to support your running habit.  A lot of money.  Like $2,600 to $3,500 money.
  • I’m not going to cover those who get in because they run really fast or they’ve run over 15 NYC marathons already, because we are not those people.

 

At any rate, I’m glad I ran NYC, especially back then, so I got it out of the way.  I think most of the magic was lost on me since I lived here, and a lot of the fun I have in running different states is to see new sights (even if it’s crushed rats on the streets of Baltimore).  I would never tell someone not to run NYC (go tourism!), but keep your expectations low and you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

 

New rating system!

 

At the suggestion of a reader, I’m going to add some quantifiable measures to my race recaps.  I hope they will help you decide whether a particular marathon is for you or not.  The number one way I decide whether to run a marathon is based on the reviews at MarathonGuide.com.  I read a page or two to get a sense of whether it’s a good race for me, then I visit the race’s website to get more info on the race and see how difficult logistically it would be to get there.  Your considerations will certainly differ from mine, but the more info the better, eh?

 

Scores on a 1-10 scale, 10 being the best.

 

  • Getting There (Transportation & Walkability) – 10/10 – very easy, 3 major airports and no need to rent a car when here.  24 hour subway, plentiful taxis, and shuttles take you from Manhattan to the starting line (and while it’s early in the morning, it’s not the end of the world).
  • Staying There (Hotels) – N/A – sorry, since I live here I’m the worst person to ask about hotels.  In general I think they’re expensive, but there are definitely deals to be found (like $150/night or less at decent hotels).
  • Cost & Registration – 5/10 – see above for more on that.  As of 2013, it’s an $11 processing fee, $216 for NYRR members, $255 for non-members, or $347 for non-US residents.  Shuttle to the start, one shirt, and one medal included.
  • Organization – 5/10 – Expo was great but huuuuge, course support I discussed above, and then you get dumped into Central Park which varies every year in terms of how well that goes.  Also, they keep changing the baggage check policy, so who knows what’s going on there.
  • Course – 7/10 – it’s neat to see the 5 boroughs, but it’s also bumpy and crowded (so New York!).
  • Crowd – 9/10 – there are few places along the course that don’t have spectators.  Personally, I can take or leave cheering crowds, and they can be demoralizing when you’re in pain (some people yelled at me to run while I was in the worst pain along 1st Ave, and back then I was too polite to tell them what they should do to themselves instead).
  • Other Factors – 9/10 – As discussed above, it’s NY, so just do it already.
  • Overall Rating – 7/10 – Certainly not my favorite marathon so far, but glad to have done it.  Also, I’m volunteering to work the expo this year, so maybe I’ll feel a little more loyalty to the race after that!

 

Have you run NYC?  Share your experiences in the comments!

Where's the Finish Panda

When bad knees happen to sort-of-good people

I don’t even know what to say about this morning’s run.  It was supposed to be what qualifies as speedwork for me now (6 miles starting at a 10:30 pace and working down to 9:30).  Everything started out great.  I was doing the Central Park loop clockwise, heading down the north hills at mile 2.5 when my left knee started hurting.  Considerably hurting.  I stopped to walk and shake it out a bit, then tried running again.  It still hurt.  So I walked more, cursing all the bad decisions I had made recently – skipping my core workout yesterday, eating too many cookies and chocolates, not getting enough sleep.   I tried running again – still too painful.  I started making grand promises – no more sweets, only cucumbers and air from now on.  Double up on the strength exercises.  No more procrastination.  At the steepest uphill, I tried running again – not so bad.  Actually, not bad at all.

I was careful not to overstride but tried to keep my pace up, constantly monitoring my form and checking if there was any lingering pain.  For the most part, there was no more pain.  A couple of twinges cropped up at mile 5, but I felt so good in the crisp 65 degree weather I kept going, finishing up my 6 miles with a 9:00 pace.

I’m icing my knee now, trying to remember all those promises I made to myself (and reminding myself that 1 pound of weight creates 4 to 5 pounds of force on the knee), but I don’t have any cucumbers, and some chocolate with almonds would really hit the spot right now…