A new experience in New York!

Discussion in 'Front Page News' started by DNEchris, Nov 16, 2013.

  1. DNEchris

    DNEchris
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    A new experience in New York!
    By DNEchris

    Getting up at 4 am for a 5.30 bus departure I found myself arriving 15 minutes early – but I’m still on the third bus away – others must be even more anxious than me!

    I’ve spent the last week gathering old clothes and a pair of old shoes – all to be abandoned at the start. I hope I’ve got enough because the weather is cool and I’ve got a long wait.

    4 hours in the athletes’ village – 7C, 20mph NW wind – I’m cozy but some are only in singlets and shorts and they are turning blue.

    I found a large marquee – open to the elements but more sheltered than the main village. Had a little conversation, some sleep, and frequent walks around. There was a constant line for the Porta-potties even though there are supposed to be 1700 between the 3 villages!

    There’s plenty of good conversation at the interminable wait at the start line with an international crowd. Much of the time I was chatting with a Swedish woman whose husband was born 40 miles from my hometown in England!

    “Excuse me, but your shoes are untied.” – “I know – watch this!”
    I got some very strange looks as my shoes came off!

    Speeches, national anthem, cannon – go!

    Chris1a.jpg

    Strange – the concrete feels warmer than the tar. I’m on the lower level which is more sheltered than the upper deck – I won that draw!

    The crowd thinned over the bridge and clothing is scattered all over as people warmed up.

    There’s no chance to control pace by breathing nasally – I’m smiling too much!

    Small crowds welcome us as we entered Brooklyn, but there was lots of enthusiastic cheering.

    On 4th Avenue though the crowds are full of energy and bands are playing every few hundred yards – every genre from the Dead to Native American Drumming. We even got some Hassidic Reggae in Williamsburg!

    I’m feeding off the energy of the crowd. It’s impossible not to be fully charged by their enthusiasm.

    The crowds thinned a little in Queensand I had a chance to chat with fellow runners – everyone was intrigued by my lack of shoes. Everyone was encouraging everyone else.

    Here’s the 59th Street bridge – fine surface, no crowds, more chance to chat and then into the most amazing cloud of energy ever as we entered First Avenue. Playing with the crowd, asking them to yell louder! I heard lots of comments about my lack of shoes.

    Chris2.jpg

    The crowds thinned a little in the 90s but still big groupings at the major intersections. Great energy from everyone.

    Now up to the Bronx, still among big crowds of runners, watching the masses on the Jumbotron – an amazing wave of people, and this was only one of 4 major groupings! I got passed here by the leader of the3:30 pace group – he said he’d been slowly gaining on me for the last 10 minutes.

    Wow, this roadway over the bridge is cold! A real change from the heated street coming up First Avenue!

    Chris3.jpg

    Out of the Bronx and onto 5th Avenue. 5 miles left – for sure I can finish this. Coming down to Marcus Garvey Park and there’s the cheering section from work. High fives all round – now for the long, gentle hill up to 90th street. Where’d that 3:30 guy come from again? – I didn’t think I’d passed him. Crowds gathering and growing in intensity – the energy is amazing. Took a couple of sections of orange and then some grapes from random strangers – nice to taste something other than Gu chomps!

    Into the park - how many times have I run this next mile and a half? The leaves are amazing colours – all turned in the last 4 days when I was working the Expo. Spectacular!

    Down the last hill to the Plaza and on to 59th Street, the least pleasant surface of the run but only for 300 yards, passing a few, boxed in by others, up to Columbus Circle and into the Park. I tried to sprint to the finish but it was a pretty feeble effort. Over the line, 3:34:05, where’s the beer?

    Chris6.jpg

    Got the medal, got the blanket, got a goody bag – no beer! Still the water was much more welcome! The Kiwi Strawberry Gatorade was only fit for the garbage. The apple was welcome as was the bag of pretzels – so heavily salted. Slow, one mile, walk home, appreciating the colours on the trees all the more. I have a few brief conversations with, and receive congratulations from, yet more random strangers. I’m tired but contented.

    Chris5.jpg

    Random thought - I ran a red light once and got a ticket – I ran them all day that day and got a medal!

    It was a great experience but I prefer running a route of my own choosing, at a time of my choice, by myself or with a small group. I don’t need to be around 50,000 of my closest friends to run for fun!
     
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  2. DNEchris

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    That was quick!

    Thanks again TJ.
     
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  3. khyricat

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    sounds like you had a good run.. Glad to hear it!
     
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  4. Longboard

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    Way to represent! Sounds and looks like you had great day.
    Hey, so did Matisyahu spawn a new genre?
     

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  5. DNEchris

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    I think I saw two Hassidic bands - it might be slow growth!
     
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  6. happysongbird

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    i have never run with that much of a crowd around. Was it loose enough to still settle into a pace? Congrats!
     
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  7. DNEchris

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    4 waves at 25 minute intervals made for plenty of room most of the time! It was my first time running with anything like that number of people too.

    My pace was fairly consistent varying between 7.52 and 8.11 minute/miles. The gory details are here.. The heart rate data is suspect because of cross talk!
     
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  8. Larry

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    Fantastic effort Chris! You know you're doing it easily when the photos come out and you're the only one smiling. :)

    I know you cover some insane distances, but is that a distance you would normally run by yourself, and did you find any difference doing it in a crowd?
     

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  9. DNEchris

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    Thanks Larry.

    I've done a bunch of, slightly, longer runs either by myself or with small groups (3 - 7). Those were all fun-runs with frequent pauses to regroup/refresh and precisely no pressure.

    It was certainly different running amongst a wave of 12,000 or so all moving at about the same speed but everyone spread out fairly quickly so there was little danger of being held up, or holding up others, apart from the run along 59th street, in the last mile, where the corridor between crowd-control barriers was probably only 30 feet wide. I may have been more aware of limited routes there as about 100 yards had recently been dug up and there was a lot of loose gravel that I was also trying to avoid!

    The first photo shows the start for one wave which had gathered in 3 different areas, only 2 of the groups can be seen, and we ran on 3 slightly different routes for the first couple of miles - by the time the groups combined there had been a good deal of sorting out and there was very little problem with bunching/boxing.

    The biggest change from my regular long runs was the large number of brief conversations with other competitors on just about all topics under the sun!
     
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  10. JosephTree

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    Nicely done, Chris!

    I think it's cool how your feet change aspect as they spread out on the ground, as seen in pic 2 ---->pic3. Also, how relaxed your arms and hands are in all the pics, not hardly to even mention your famously fine posture.

    It sounds like it was a fine, extraordinary event, and you made a great time of it.
     
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  11. Bare Lee

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    I'd been wondering when you'd get around to writing it up! Congratulations Chris! Great run, pics, and report. The guys finishing with you look to be about 20 years younger!
     
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  12. Abide

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    No beer WHAT? Congrats and great report.
     
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  13. DNEchris

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    It could have been a couple of days earlier but 3 days travel for work the week after the run and then waiting for the photos to be available slowed things down - quite apart from my inability to operate a computer properly when trying to post images :D
     
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  14. DNEchris

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    At least that much and the guy on my left beat me by 30 seconds and the one on my right by about 2 1/2 minutes.
    Such are the joys of individual timing!
     
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  15. Tristan

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    Nicely done! Can't imagine races that big, I was feeling major cramped with only a fraction of that! Guess it mainly depends on how fast the crowd is going, I never seem to get stuck in a crowd thats going the speed I intended on! But below freezing with 20mph wind... jeez I dont think I could do that barefoot, especially in shorts! :coldfeet:
     
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  16. DNEchris

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    Thanks!

    Sorry to cause confusion but it wasn't that cold! About 7C, not -7C, but the wind was challenging as it was in our faces for almost 20 miles.
    If I'd done that run, dressed like that, at the temperature you thought I would have been sure to enter the run in the winter challenge!
     
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  17. PB Junkie

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    Way to go, Chris!
     

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  18. Stig Walsh

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    That's a great time, I'm impressed! I was in NY for the day of the race but flew in from LA so was there after the fun. It certainly seemed colder than 7 degrees C to me, but I figured that was after the 26 degrees in CA...

    Anyway, you look miles better than the shirtless heel-striking chap next to you at the finish.

    BTW, come to the 'Chariots of Fire' beach race at St Andrews some time - bare feet are expected and a local real ale comes in the goodie bag!
     

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  19. rickwhitelaw

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    Thanks for the report Chris. Great Job!
     
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  20. DNEchris

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    Thanks.

    I've swum in the North Sea - it were just a teeny bit parky! It might be worth it though if only for some good beer!
     
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