The rambling thoughts of a Modern Orthodox Chassid (whatever that means). Contact me at emansouth @

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Missing the Marathon

The New York City Marathon will be run again this Sunday morning.

You can feel it in the autumn air and see it on the streets of New York City. Lots of in-shape foreigners walking around. (If you run in Central Park, as I used to do, you will see zillions of them).

I ran two NYC Marathons, in 1994 and 1995. As I finished the first one, I swore I would never do it again. Later that week, over lunch with a few other Marathon runners, I knew that I would sign up for the following year.

I was in great shape for the first one and targeted a sub 4 hour run. I was well ahead of target at the 15 mile mark when the wheels came off as I climbed Mt. Everest the 59th Street Bridge. The weather was hot and humid and I didn't know then what I know now about about nutrition and hydration. I was shot and struggled to finish in 4:28.

(The second one was a throw-away. I wasn't nearly as well trained and the run (in the rain) was mostly unpleasant. I finished in 4:33).

Although I never did it again, I've thought about it many times. (The closest I got was running the last nine miles with a friend who was doing it for the first time. I met him on First Avenue and paced him until I peeled off on Central Park South. That was fun; no pain, all gain, and he bought me a good bottle of scotch as a thank you).

The truth is that I don't have a runner's body and I certainly don't have a runner's legs. My knees are shot and I've already had surgery on my ankle because of a running injury. Riding a bike is much less traumatic.

That doesn't stop me from thinking about it every year at this time.

There are very few things as cool as being on the Verrazano Bridge with 30,000 other runners, coming off the 59th Street Bridge to a sea of people cheering you on, or raising your arms in triumph as you cross the finish line in Central Park, no matter how long it took you.

Maybe next year.



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