NYCM 2011: the good, the not-so-good, the ugly

Well I guess this will be the official New York City Marathon report.  Figure after a week or so of thinking things over, I might as well have stuff in writing, so maybe I won’t make the same mistakes again…

So I will start this off by the numbers:

Mile Split Time Mile Split Time
1 8:47.24 15 8:43.63
2 7:30.04 16 8:31.88
3 8:14.00 17 8:27.13
4 8:15.08 18 8:25.93
5 7:57.00 19 8:42.48
6 8:03.23 20 9:08.05
7 8:07.63 21 10:37.85
8 8:23.78 22 9:43.07
9 8:18.85 23 10:11.45
10 7:58.28 24 10:25.60
11 8:25.70 25 15:25.37
12 8:13.28 26 10:01.75
13 8:21.43 26.2 2:02.81
14 8:28.04 Summary 3:55:30.58

And now, the words behind the numbers.

So again, even though daylight savings time gifted us with an extra hour of sleep, I still found myself awake way before my alarm.  Again, fine with me, more time to do the race day routine and not feel rushed.  Eat, have coffee, listen to music, stretch, get dressed, make sure I don’t forget anything.  And begin the 3-leg journey to get to Staten Island early enough to prevent any MTA or SI Ferry fails.  And within minutes of me getting to the Times Square station, there was a 1 train, which got to South Ferry with no problems.  Leg 1 complete.  Even though I was supposed to be on the 6:15 ferry and I knew I was a little early, I heard announcements that those of us who wanted to get on an earlier ferry could.  So why not.  Turned out to be the 5:45 ferry!  whoa.  Again, just listened to music and zoned out for this 2nd leg of the trip (except when someone pointed out the sunrise to me.)   Then onto leg 3-shuttle bus to Fort Wadsworth.  Then once there, walking into the Fort while showing our bibs to the security peeps, lest we get thrown out…

So inside, past security, in search of the Local Competitive area.  Actually not as tough to find as I thought it was, thanks to the nifty map NYRR gave us-just had to cross a little grassy area in the “open zone.”  And according to a couple of my friends, I actually got caught on camera by the news reporting live from Fort Wadsworth!  I apparently didn’t look like I knew I was on camera…annnnnd I was wearing my glamorous “throwaway” outfit.  Classy. 🙂

Anyway, I got past “security” and found a place in the local competitive area to just chill out.  I was the first Flyer there, but I was shortly joined by my teammate JD and one of my speedwork buddies, KL, where we all just chatted and chilled out til it was time to check our bags.  By then, the “Snuggie Posse” of AK, NPT and JS was there (their throwaway gear was Snuggies!) as well as other Flyers…Lam, DC, CM, EF, SJ and more!  To be honest-hanging with these people was the best thing about being in the LCS.  The food/drink/coffee offered was the same as it would have been elsewhere, the lines for the bathrooms eventually did get long, but having my friends and training partners around was actually a calming influence  (unfortunately it seemed like no one else would have really been in wave 2 if I wound up having to stay there.)  And I didn’t feel intimidated at all..I was owning it (my low bib #), I knew I belonged there.

So at around 8:50, we were given the green light to head out onto the bridge.  I could see the green start runners in their corrals, waiting to be unleashed…they were after we made our way onto the bridge and some of the people with 3xxx and 5xxx bibs got mixed in with us…which personally I was OK with.  I knew I still had a decent starting position (I could actually see the start line from where I was) and my intention was to line up at the back of the corral anyway.  I got separated from KL and the Snuggie Posse, but I found myself lined up with DC, DK, ML and MH (who scored points in my book for wearing Yankee temporary tattoos, in addition to running another great race!)  And again, they were good people to have around me while waiting for the start, especially DC who was taking pictures and giving me “run happy” (a la Brooks) vibes 🙂  We heard the introduction of the pro men and knew it wasn’t much longer.  The National Anthem.  Mary Wittenberg’s annual speech (“New York City awaits you…”)  The cannon.  New York, New York.  It was time.

Staten Island/Verrazano Bridge/first 5k

So the focus here-staying in control.  If others pass me on the bridge…let them go.  Tried to block everyone else out.  And as it turned out, the first 2 miles wound up averaging right on pace, so mission accomplished.  And actually, I didn’t mind being on the lower level of the bridge at all!  (And please let me be known..the supposed “golden showers”?  Total urban legend.)  However, the part of the green course I really didn’t like?  The part between the bridge and when we joined up with everyone else on 4th Ave…seemed like that part was lacking in crowd support, unlike that part of the orange and blue starts.

Brooklyn!

4th Ave and time to lock in.  Once again, I loved the support and cheering crowds here…sorry Manhattan, but I think this may have replaced you as my favorite borough in the race! 🙂  I was just along for the ride, having fun…and I guess some of my splits may have shown I was having a little too much fun?  But this part of the course felt sorta flat/downhill so that may be why.

By then, was still cool but very sunny and I kinda regretted keeping my arm warmers on.  I took my first gel right on schedule at the 10K point, but found myself having more water than Gatorade along the way…seemed more “refreshing.”

So then the mile 8 merge happened and slowed us up a little bit.  So much for the wave starts eliminating that congestion (thank you, “honor system”!)…anyways, just cruised along Lafayette Ave in Fort Greene.  Unlike previous years, I was actually looking forward to the Williamsburg portion of the course.  Why?  In a way, it sorta felt like “home” for me.  First was seeing Coach T cheering along with EK and KS in mile 10.  I realized that in previous marathons, the coach had never been out there on race day…so in a way, this meant a lot.  Afterwards, Coach T told me that I “looked like I was cruising…that I so had it, was right on pace.”  At the time, definitely true!  Then northern Williamsburg and Bedford Avenue, especially the part through McCarren Park was a “homecoming” of sorts…how many times have I walked along that street from the L train to the track?  Definitely familiar territory.  Turned onto the usually festive Manhattan Ave (oh the irony…Manhattan in Brooklyn…hehe)…a right turn, then a left on McGuinness…just like in the 3 bridges run.  And here was the Pulaski Bridge and the halfway point-1:47:34.  Hmmm a little slow for sub-3:35, but maybe I can run a more even 2nd half than in the past?  But at least you can’t say I went out too fast 🙂

Queens

Not to knock all you Queens bees (hey, I was born in Queens!) but in the past, Queens just felt like a “filler” borough…not really eventful (well except for the idiot knocking me down in 2006)  And I guess it was the same this time around.  I remembered seeing Celia somewhere in mile 14 waiting for her friend to run with but that was about it.  And as a matter of fact, I did start to feel a little bit of a fade.  I told myself to try and keep it together, knock out the bridge, Manhattan will make it all better.  So yeah, the bridge was actually a little bit of relief for me, knowing that once this was done, the worst would be behind me.  I knew I would lose some time on the incline, just wanted for once to get that mile under 9 minutes (which I did.)  Our Denver-ite Flyer TB passed me on the uphill…I knew his “taking it easy” would eventually catch up to my racing this thing (though he claimed otherwise beforehand…think there may have been beers at the after-party riding on it?)  Anyway, unlike the 3 Bridges run, the incline on the Queensboro didn’t feel like it increased in length and tried to pick it up on the downhill, but tried to be careful to not trash my quads in the process…still 10 miles to go!!

First Avenue

Always the part I look forward to most…but today it didn’t seem the same.  Compared to 4th Ave in Brooklyn, the crowds here seemed kind of…subdued?  I dunno.  I couldn’t seem to pick up my pace…looks like 3:35 may be out, but keep it around 8:30s and I can still get a sub-3:40 BQ.  8:30s…I can do that.  And I was able to for a coupla miles.  Oh was it great to see the Flyers at the PowerGel station at mile 18.  And my parents around 103rd with their signs (one sign said “Next stop…Boston!”, the other one along with the lettering had paw prints on it for my dog brother…that made me smile at least 🙂 ) 

But after that, upper 1st Ave had more fading…not sure what was going on.  On top of that, my stomach was bugging me a little.  I had taken all my gels on schedule, and these were gels I have used many, many times in training (tangerine PowerGel) that I knew it shouldn’t give me any issues so needless to say it was a little puzzling.  I saw LG right before the Willis Ave Bridge, he had a bottle of water for me which was much needed.  “Keep it up.  You look strong,” he said to me.  Oh if only you knew how I was really feeling…looks are deceiving…

The Bronx

And as always, PD was making his appearance in a kilt and bagpipes on the Willis Avenue Bridge.  That was the bright spot of this borough for me.  (and I didn’t even spot Yankee Stadium this time…damn.)

During Mile 21, I had to do the unthinkable and make a port-a-potty stop.  I’ve never had to do this in a marathon before, but I just hoped that taking care of “business” then and there would just help me gut out the last 5 or so miles.  Well losing a minute or so in that mile lost the BQ for me…down but not out.  Maybe if I can pull it together I can still PR.  I force-fed myself my last gel-just to hopefully give myself some energy-as we left the Bronx and hoped for the best…

Manhattan-5th Ave to the finish line

I had really lucked out in my first marathon.  If there was a wall, I never felt it.  But here today, in the marathon I was best trained for, I was experiencing the wall.  The gel I force-fed myself did absolutely nothing.  I was afraid to take anymore of the too-sweet Gatorade as I didn’t want it upsetting my stomach any more.  I just took water where I could and just kept moving forward.  NPT passed me around Marcus Garvey Park and said “come on, hang in there, you got this”…oh how I wish I could have stuck with her.  But it wasn’t happening.  So the “just PR” turned into “maybe get under 3:50?”  The 5th ave hill slayed me as always.  My parents were just past the mile 23 marker and as they said later, knew something wasn’t right because I wasn’t smiling like I usually would be at that point.  I just wanted to get to the park and finish this thing.

But I began to feel sick again after I entered the park.  I had to ask a couple of times where a porta-potty was, as I had to go AGAIN. :-\  As there was nothing, I was forced to make an emergency stop at the Boathouse, and thank god there was an empty stall.  But even after getting that done, it disrupted my rhythm, as I found it hard to start running again…I’d start up then slow to a walk.  And I was still feeling somewhat nauseous.  All the spectators yelling my name did nothing…and those yelling “almost there”…oh you know how I felt about that.  A mile and a half to the finish still felt like an eternity.

Anyway, with a million sets of goals out the window, I wanted to still salvage one-finish under 4 hours.  I looked at my watch and did some quick math, and made a deal with myself.  Run/walk it to 25, then run it in to the end.  Making the right turn onto Central Park South was a huge relief.  Even though the mile split was slow, the crowds did make it feel like it went by faster…and I heard a certain Katy Perry song that I really liked, but honestly I didn’t feel like a firework right then and there 😛  The half-mile to go sign was in sight and that brought relief, that I was gonna make it under 4.  I saw Flyer CN around there…she had passed me while I was walking but she was struggling here too…we tried to get each other through this last bit and it helped me to see a friendly face.

Milke 26 came and went, and then there was the evil Tavern hill and then the finish line was in sight…but for the first time, I sorta felt numb while finishing this one.  I mean yeah, I had a smile on my face, arms up in celebration for the cameras, but this just seemed…anticlimactic.  Anyway, another one was in the books and thankfully kept up my perfect record of sub-4’s with a 3:55:30.

After the finish line

Got my medal…and I will admit, I love the quote that is on the back of the medal-a quote from Grete Waitz “In New York, everyone wins.”  I had seen that at the expo and that was part of what kept me going in the late, painful miles…I wanted that medal!!  Got the heat sheet, food and drink bag, finisher photo…I immediately tore into the Gatorade recovery beverage but I still felt awful.  Everything was cramping, I still felt nauseous…and I was just being told to keep moving.  I saw a med tent, with a sign saying “last med tent before 77th street exit” (which was where I had to go to get my bag.)  I was supposed to meet my parents and grab a bite with them but I knew I needed some kind of help…I was in bad shape.  So I hit the med tent-where I got the cramps in my legs and one of my shoulders massaged out.  They also gave me chicken soup, a salt packet, and some regular Gatorade (not the sickly-sweet stuff that was on the course)…I was definitely dehydrated and in need of electrolytes. 

Finally I was feeling well enough to get up and go (and according to the medics, had some color back…I looked pale and sick before they treated me.)  Unfortunately, by the time I got to my bag and was able to get in touch with the ‘rents, they had already left…kinda sucked but understandable considering I couldn’t get in touch and explain the delay.  So was just me, replenishing with a Shake Shack burger and fries and cleaning up to head out to the Flyers’ post-party at The Parlour.  (oh and while showering, I noticed a “don’t do anything new on race day” mistake.  The HRM that came with the new Mr. Garmin?  I hadn’t used it on a long enough run and it chafed the hell out of me.  Plus it was giving me wacky readings all day…max HR of 233?  I don’t think so!)

As for the post-party, was a good time.  Hey, misery loves company, right? 🙂  It did help seeing my teammates and friends…unlike the MCM disaster where I had to drown my sorrows by myself afterwards!  Anyway, the emotions amongst my teammates about their races were varied…happiness, disappointment, indifference, acceptance, looking to get revenge in the next race…just to name a few.  But nothing Blue Moons can’t fix I guess 😛

As for my race?  I think the word that sums it up is “inconclusive.”  Meaning I’m not sure what was the cause-or causes-of it going wrong.  Maybe the 3:35 goal was too ambitious, should have just gone for 3:40?  (As I did not go out too fast for a 3:35 goal.)  Something nutrition-related?  Was the Gatorade on the course mixed in a way that was making me feel sick?  And I had been feeling a hint of a cold the day before and even that morning, maybe that affected me?

Well whatever it is, got 5 months to figure it out.  Hoping for redemption on April 16th…

NYCM 2011: a disaster

Well obviously I didn’t get my goal, or anywhere close to it.  3:55:30.  Thankfully still got under 4 and didn’t get a personal worst, but definitely was not the race I trained for or wanted by a long shot.

Short story-after running the first half right on pace, it all went to hell in the 2nd half.  Maybe my 3:35 goal was too ambitious.  In addition, dealt with nutritional issues that caused 2 unplanned pit stops, lotsa cramping and nausea and even a med tent visit post finish.

Not sure if I am gonna post a full report…still trying to process it all.  Admittedly, it’s quite disappointing for me.  Even dealing with 80 degrees in Chicago last year was better than this…

I’ll let the splits tell the story for now, as ugly as they are. (FYI-the “pace/mile” column is cumulative time, not per mile.  I only wish I was still hitting sub-9’s late in the going…)

week 10 wrap-up

I sorta held onto this weekly wrap-up for a day…as there were other things on my mind, as well as others yesterday…

i can't believe it's been 10 years.

 

the freedom tower on friday nite, lit up in red/white/blue

 ********************************************************************************************************************

Closed out the week with 13 miles, last 8 at MP…

Mile Time Distance Pace
1 8:24 1.00 8:24
2 8:03 1.00 8:03
3 8:00 1.00 8:00
4 7:51 1.00 7:51
5 8:12 1.00 8:12
6 7:54 1.00 7:54
7 8:08 1.00 8:08
8 7:48 1.00 7:48
8.14 1:06 0.14 7:51
 Summary 1:05:26 8.14 8:02

And for whatever reason, I didn’t feel as good about this one as my last MP run…i thought this should have felt easier, given it was a little cooler and much less humid.  But whatever, I hit the pace overall so I guess I can’t complain.

Onward…

marathon match

So yesterday was the annual trek out to Flushing Meadows for some tennis goodness at the US Open.  Thankfully, weather-wise, we looked to be getting a perfect day!  I tackled my hill repeats in the morning, then hit the LIRR to get out to Queenz.  I definitely recommend taking the LIRR to get to the Open-at least on the way there.  As the 7 train just sits in the station at Times Square and stops everywhere (or so it seems)…it was worth the $5 to get a quick ride out there.

As for the matches on tap-unfortunately the players me and the bro wanted to see the most (Novak Djokovic for me, Caroline Wozniacki for him) both had the night session.  But Roger Federer would be playing at Ashe around 1-ish, and even though I’m not really a Federer fan, I figure I have to actually see him play once.  So to kill some time, we did some shopping (love that Foursquare special with Amex-sync your Amex card and get a $10 statement rebate with a purchase of $20 or more!), hit up the “Food Village,” and indulged in a Honey Deuce-the signature cocktail of the Open.  Yeah, was a little pricey, but got to keep the glass, and it did come highly recommended by a coupla friends of mine…

refreshing! and love the melon ball "tennis ball" garnish 🙂

Me and the bro then took our Honey Deuces to Ashe stadium to wait for the match to begin.

We wound up staying for 2 sets of the Federer match…he took it in 3 sets.  Honestly, the match didn’t seem really exciting…the opponent really seemed overmatched, and it just seemed too easy for Federer.  (or maybe I’m a little biased because like I said, I’m not as much a fan of Federer as I am of Djokovic and Rafael Nadal…those 2 seem to have a little more of a spark.)  Plus, we wanted to get over to Louis Armstrong Stadium, as we had a feeling with the coupla matches coming up it would be packed.

And it was in the 2nd set of the Gael Monfils-Juan Carlos Ferrero match.  We had to go all the way to the other side of the stadium to find 2 seats together.  But it was worth it-boy was this match exciting!!  Tiebreakers and deuces up the wazoo.  Plus Monfils is a very entertaining player…I don’t know if I’d go as far as my brother who says Monfils is his new favorite, but he was so fun to watch-very animated and “acrobatic” as I heard someone else call him.  I thought Monfils could take it in the 4th set, as he won sets 2 and 3 and I felt he had the momentum.  But he was tiring, as my brother observed “his legs are gone…only using the upper body…he’s just gassed.”  And I was sorta reminded of last year, when I was watching the Federer-Djokovic semifinal in Madison Square Park with Lam and others, and Lam mentioned once the match hit 3 hours that “it was like a marathon” and I said “well maybe for you :)”  Now this match was truly a marathon-it went nearly 5 hours!  (hell for some, it would be an ultramarathon…lol)  No one deserved to lose this one, but Ferrero took it in the 5th set.

We stayed to watch the first set of Mardy Fish’s match-he seemed to be rolling over his opponent with the same ease as Federer had rolled over his, so it wasn’t as exciting to watch…or maybe we were just spoiled by the previous match!  But I will say, Mardy Fish does have some rowdy fans (apparently known as “The Fishheads”)…had some funny cheers which included “Go Fish!” (like the card game, get it?) and “Fish Time!”…I guess you had to be there to see/hear it 😛

After checking out a coupla minutes of one of the doubles matches at one of the smaller courts, we then decided to “bounce” and hit the 7 train to head home…til next year!!

 

shoe porn

(prediction-spam comments will go through the roof after this post.)

Ahhhhh nothing like a brand new, snazzy pair of new shoes.  Aren’t they beautiful?  Such a guilty pleasure sometimes…umm all the time 😛

So I guess I was gonna join the Saucony Kinvara bandwagon eventually.  Though I didn’t think that was the case back in June, when I tried them on and wasn’t crazy about them.  But over the past few months I have heard more rave reviews about them and last weekend when I stopped by the downtown Urban Athletics store after the race I decided to give these a second chance, and for whatever reason, they felt better.  Maybe the orange version is a better fit than the originals (which I have read may be the case), or maybe the legs felt better trying these on in cooler weather instead of after a hot humid run.  Either way, I liked em, and took them on their maiden voyage this past week and passed with flying colors (no pun intended.)  Looking forward to integrating them into some speedier workouts in the next few weeks, in addition to whenever I race again.  (And my next pair will definitely be these hot pink ones…hehe!)

Speaking of racing, thanks for all the comments on my last post-I’m glad to know that I’m not alone and that there are others who have been/are in the same boat as me 🙂  In terms of the last few weeks, I have trying to build back up…I have done 2 speed workouts, but as the workouts catered more towards those tapering for NYC, it was tempo and not really anything that would benefit shorter races.  It’s possible my legs have also been in long distance mode for so long that they don’t know how to do anything but distance, speed-wise…

And speaking of long distance (again, love all the transitions, hehe!) I actually got another email back from the B.A.A. which looks like a form email that they’ve sent to anyone with an inquiry about 2012:

Thank you for your email and your questions regarding the 2012 Boston Marathon. Following the unprecedented interest for the 2011 Boston Marathon, the B.A.A. has begun a full review of entry procedures. While it will take some time to consider our options, please be assured that the B.A.A. is giving the comments and questions that we have recently received full consideration. We are currently working on the qualifying and entry procedure for the 2012 Boston Marathon. We feel confident we will be able to announce our plans by the beginning of the new year. Feel free to contact us again at that time or refer to our web site a http://www.bostonmarathon.org for further details.

So. That’s where that’s at, hoping that they are true to their word about when the 2012 guidelines will be announced so that I could salvage a spring marathon if need be.  And actually, a plan just may be in the works but I will not divulge any details now…very beginning stages.

And speaking of marathons, it’s NYC Marathon weekend!!  The city will be one big party celebrating all things running 🙂   As for me, I plan to hit up the expo after work today since even though the expo has had better years, its such a candy store for a runner.  (And plus, I need to get compression sox that coordinate better with the Kinvaras.  The hot pink ones just won’t do.)  So of course, will be dropping money on stuff I probably don’t need but really really want 🙂  And I’m sure my neighborhood is gonna be filled with the out-of-towners with their UPS bags (as I’m within walking distance of both the Javits Center and the NYC Public Library.)  Tomorrow, I plan to run in Central Park so I can see the finish line and some of the mile markers up 🙂

Race day?  Once again, will be at the PowerGel station with the Flyers (exact flavor TBD.)  I hope to see a lot of you bloggers and other readers out there!!  Gimme a shout so I know to look for you!! 🙂

And best of luck to all on Sunday!!  Trust your training…you got this…now go get it! 🙂

madison square memories

So I think the little setup of the US Open viewings at Madison Square Park was absolutely genius…good location by both east and west side subways, a park that doesn’t get mobbed like Bryant Park does…just pull up a patch of grass (or a bleacher seat if you are lucky) and sit on a free seat cushion (or 2 or 3) and you’re set for a match or 2 🙂  And for me, I felt it was like coming full circle of sorts…9 years ago when I first moved into the city and lived on East 33rd, I used to be able to walk to work and cutting through Madison Square Park was a shortcut I’d take every day…so being there brought back memories…some good, some not-so-good (as I will go into later…)

Anyways, in order to spend a lazy Saturday lounging in Madison Square Park and watching the mens’ semifinals meant that I had to make sure I got my run done in the morning and any other chores done.  Well perfect, as the Fitness 4-miler was that morning and since it was a points race and I wasn’t racing, I should be good and cheer 🙂  I got to see the winner of the men’s race break the tape, then I ran north, opposite the race so I could cheer on the guys…Flyers, UA, or whoever else…as they approached the last stretch of the race.  The Flyer were led by our master blaster AP…with Lam hot on his heels!!  I’ll let Lam tell the rest of his story as it’s a good one 😉  I spotted the rest of the Flyer scoring men…MH, SJ and Cap’n DG.  (And don’t our men look fine?  Our scorers-minus DG caught on film-he got caught in the local gallery instead!)  Across 102nd, down the east side, seeing several peeps and a certain ObsceneCam™ in passing and stopped briefly at 72nd to catch the start of the women’s race.  Once they passed I headed west near the finish line…ran into Lam and AP and we watched the ladies come in.  Our women ran great…looked like there were a lot of PR’s in the house!!  I briefly regretted my choice of the 20K race instead of this one…it seemed like conditions were better for this one and maybe I would have had a race result I would have been happier with?  Nothing I can do about it at this point.  Anyways, headed home to get cleaned up…

…and head to da park for some semifinal fun!!  The Nadal match was 2 sets in by the time I got there, and he easily took the 3rd.  Ahh gotta love it, 1st semifinal + straight sets=more rest for Nadal.  And of course, I was hoping the Novak Djokovic-Roger Federer match would go 5 sets so whoever won would be less rested…but that fact aside, I had a feeling that a meeting of the #2 and #3 seeds would go 5 sets!!  I was hoping for a Djokovic win…I’m actually not a big Federer fan (anyone think Federer looks like Mr. Big from SATC, by the way?)  He is what I felt Shalane Flanagan was to women’s distance running for awhile…and I liked it when she got beat in a race…maybe I like to root for the “underdog” in a way?  It was sorta like that when Pete Sampras dominated tennis…

So anyways, it was an exciting match!!  The sets that Federer took (1st and 3rd) were long drawn out battles-both were 7-5.  The sets that Djokovic took (2nd and 4th)-he broke Federer early and just ran with it (6-1 and 6-2, respectively)  As Lam said several times-“once Federer gets broken, its all over”…or something to that effect.  And also when the match time hit 3 hours that “this was like a marathon”  (maybe for you kid…its a 20-miler for me, lol!)  And then came the 4-5 point in the match…when Federer had an opportunity to break and take the match with 2 match points-both squandered!!  But next game, it was Djokovic who broke it open so to say…and took the match with a 7-5 last set!!

I felt Djokovic’s reaction was very memorable…

That “OMG, did I really do this?  Did I really beat the great Roger Federer?” reaction.  I wish I could find a better picture that captured the moments right after the win…or actually video does the job (around 1 minute in)

So unfortunately today’s final got rained out…hope I can DVR it tomorrow as it’s during working hours…and I really think this will be an exciting final.  Though I’m pulling for Nadal, I wouldn’t be disappointed with a Djokovic win either.

Back to running!  Today was long run day and I definitely wanted to beat said rain.  My coworkers were actually participating in the Race for the Cure…walking it.  A couple were actually surprised I wasn’t doing it, but I had to get a long run in…with Chicago 4 weeks away, now’s not the time to be skipping long runs!  And the reason why I wanted to run long today instead of yesterday was to give myself another day between long runs (since the 20K was on Monday, and not on a weekend)  Maybe I could have run that and front-loaded and add on afterwards to get myself to 16 miles…but knowing my coworkers I had a feeling that would not have been able to happen, or happen easily.  Anyways, I came up with a good route to escape the madness…bridle paths to keep me off the park drives, then over to the west side highway and downtown, out and back over the Brooklyn Bridge.  And it was cool enough for me to wear arm warmers!!  (Actually I may not have needed them, but with 4 long runs left til Chi-town, I wanted to try them out on a long run to make sure they’d be OK to wear during the race.  And they were good!)  So 16 miles done, sans drama (no biker collisions or anything like that) and beat the rain!  One long run closer to taper time!!

And to bring back what I said earlier…about Madison Square Park and memories…kinda ties into the 9th anniversary of 9/11.  9 years ago that day, I remember walking to work (early!  I think I actually got to the office a little after 8 AM!) and walking through Madison Square Park, right that moment, thinking that weather-wise and everything else, seemed like it was a perfect day.  Of course at that moment I never would have known the exact opposite would be the case.  9 years later that same day, in Madison Square Park again, thinking about what a perfect day it was…great weather, running, friends and tennis.  Except for the memories of that day 9 years ago.

9/11/2001.  I still remember.

(many thanks to Bridges Runner for this fabulous photo!)

open for business

This was a t-shirt at the Nike booth at the US Open…I didn’t buy the shirt, but I couldn’t resist getting a picture of it!!

Thankfully Hurricane Earl spared NYC of any damage to Friday’s tennis schedule.  My brother and I were prepared if the weather got bad which thankfully did not happen.  There was rain which suspended play for 20 minutes at the most!  So we got to see some pretty good tennis…first off Elena Dementieva-Daniela Hantuchova, where Hantuchova coulda had the first set, but then seemed to suffer a mental collapse which cost her not just the first set, but the match as well.  We passed on the Kim Clijsters match in favor of visiting the “Food Village ” and other assorted stores and attractions…and yes, that included getting another pic taken.  This year no beers or big tennis balls, but I guess a trophy would have to do. 🙂

So next was Armstrong stadium to catch the beginning of the John Isner match (Kevin-I was actually looking around there to see if you were there 🙂 )  We stayed there until we got word that the Andy Murray match was gonna start up, so back to Ashe we went.  (My brother thought that since the Clijsters match was so quick that there would be a match moved to Ashe before the Murray one, but I had a feeling with the weather forecast being what it was, they would want to get all matches in ASAP.)  So we saw Andy Murray take the first 2 sets (though it looked like he was struggling a little in the first set!) and then decided to go back to Armstrong and see the rest of the Isner match (I was following along with that one on the CrackBerry-and as the third set went to tiebreak, the scoreboard on the CrackBerry said 79 to 67.  Meaning that the tiebreak was won 9 to 7…though with Isner, you never know!)  Anyways, by the time we got to the other stadium, Murray had taken the 3rd set 6-0 and we saw Isner close it out in the 4th set.

So next we decided to try and catch some doubles action on the number courts…first was the Melanie Oudin match which she lost in straight sets (we blame her doubles partner) then the end of the Bethanie Mattek-Sands/Meghann Shaughnessy-Caroline Wozniacki/Daniela Hantuchova…moreso to see what crazy outfit Britney-I mean Bethanie-would be wearing…she was rocking the hot pink and knee-high socks (compression socks?)  And actually, in the other doubles match it looked like 3 of the 4 women had the same purple top!  We called it a day after that one and hit the 7 train back to Manhattan.

And today I got wind of the Open being shown on a big screen in Madison Square Park so I popped by there to watch the end of the Nadal match 🙂 and part of the Murray match 😦  And thanks to the power of social media, I knew at least one pal would be there too 😉  Hmmm maybe I will have to make a return visit next weekend!

And in between all the tennis?  Some R & R…including, but not limited to margaritas at the Boat Basin, the heat wave finally breaking…and oh yeah, a pre-race mani/pedi (well moreso because my nails were a mess from the move.)

Fingers on the right, toes on the left.  I seem to like my toes in blue shades, this one is called Lapis of Luxury (by Essie.)  And for the last few months before races, I’ve been doing up my fingers in OPI‘s Lincoln Park after Dark…a la Kara Goucher in NYCM 2008 (not quite black nails, but close enough.)  It’s a thing.

So tonite was just chilling and eating pasta and early to bed, as I have a mad early train to New Haven tomorrow…eek!!  Alarm, don’t fail me pleasssseeee…

And some more Open pics for your enjoyment 🙂