Martina is running her first marathon this year and so this oh-so-wonderful New York event is especially exhilarating. I have the app and am tracking her, borough by borough, street by street, step by step.
Just a few hours before Martina took the bus from Varick Street to Staten Island along with 50,000 others from around the world, she sent me her coach Michael’s game plan for the race, one that is so inspiring and so evocative it bears sharing.
So, borough by borough, mile by mile, step by step, it goes like this:
The Start: Miles 1&2 – You will be amp’d up..be careful not to start too fast! Pay attention to your breathing..just enjoy the feeling and throw the first two miles out of your head if you’re running on pace. They are inconsistent, Mile 1 – slow, Mile 2 – fast.
Bklyn-Queens: Miles 3-12 – You are going to find your rhythm in miles 3-12…you need to be smart, get to work, assess yourself. Think nutrition, hydration, form, diligence. Use your brain while you still have sugars and the inner Zombie is not awake. Do NOT push your pace because you feel good. This is a part of the race where you can make an emotional mistake. You have a long way to go so run with swagger – confident and in charge of your body.
Queens-Manhattan: Miles 13-17 – As you get to this part of the race you will feel the grip of the marathon take hold. There will be technical running up and down the Pulaski and then you have to harness your focus and courage for the Queensboro. Pay attention..don’t get distracted. The Queensboro may interrupt your GPS satellite but don’t worry, just run. It’s a long bridge. Activate your senses and listen to the runners’ foot-strikes. That’s all you’ll hear. Just horses. This is your last chance to feel through your body before the crowds engulf you and the bigger challenges present themselves.
First Avenue into the Bronx: Miles 18-23 – As you descend the bridge you will start to hear a rumbling sound. I cannot explain it in words, but you will quickly know why that is. You’re on First Avenue. Thank yourself, this is a BIG deal. The crowds will be screaming their heads off at you. Pushing you. Motivating you. Control yourself through these parts, get in a pack, pump the arms. Deeper miles in the Bronx you will start to see the strangest things: people walking, lying down, frozen from cramps. Do not look at them. Look ahead and run. Get to 110th and 5th Avenue so you can face the reason you showed up.
Who are you? Mile 23.5-24.5 -When we face dark moments in endurance events we often ask ourselves, Why am I doing this? Well…this is the mile to have that answer ready. You will recall your purpose from Day 1 and focus on it; it will emotionally guide you and physically save you. Your objective is TO GET TO CENTRAL PARK. This is not the mile to conserve energy and play it safe. The Fight is On!
Central Park to the Finish – Central Park is your safe place, your back yard, where you ran 500 miles to train for this race. It is mostly downhill. The crowds will be thick and you get the center road. You’ll take a straight line up Marathon Finish through the Hall of Fame banners – Waitz, Shorter, Corvitt, Rodgers, Benoit Samuelson, Kuscsik – will all be pulling you in. Turn it on at the top of the Marathon Finish hill and feel the glory you have earned.
Congratulations Martina! Finish 04:03:27