Sunday, November 7, 2010

From the Marine Corp Marathon to the New York City Marathon Week

Just after finishing the 2009 40th Running of the NYC Marathon, she swore that this race would be her last one...

Fast-forward to February of this year, running another full marathon was far from my mind. My mind was set on doing a Triathlon and the only issue that stood in my way was the darn swimming. Even though it was getting easy each time, it was still a struggle. It was probably the monotony of swimming the same 40 yards back and forth for a half and hour to an hour and losing track of the number of laps that I hated the most. I guess it’s like running on a dreadmill, I find it so boring, that I don’t even do it anymore.

Anyway back to February 2010…While I was walking out of the kitchen, Irene puts her arms around me, kisses me and announces, “I just signed up for the Marathon again!” I was so surprised, because of what she said just as we crossed the finish line. It seemed whatever she was reading got her excited to click on the website, and click confirm after entering all of her credit card info.

This was going to be an exciting adventure using the Subway system with the kids to cheer Irene on, as well as the 45,000 other runners. I never witnessed the race from the sidewalks of the 5 boroughs.

She asked me if I would train with her, and I was happy to run with her on her long runs. Then I thought about, if I was going to do all this running myself, I might as well as sign up for another marathon also. And as it turns out, the Marine Corp Marathon was the week before NYC. Little did I know that the race sold out a couple of days later, what great timing that Irene has. If she did not decide to sign up that day, I would have missed the MCM.

I am so proud of her, especially taking her long runs alone after a persistent pain in my left foot would not go away. It stopped me from running for about 2 weeks. Up until then, Irene relied on me to tell her when to take a turn, take a water break, take a GU and carry the cell phone. From the beginning, I would mention that she’s going to eventually have to do all this prep work by herself, because I am not running the marathon with her. It took an injury for her to realize that she could do it, and she’s going to have to do it without me.

She eventually found her favorite routes, and she would tell me how great it was to run to the Old Field Lighthouse, or that she towards West Meadow Beach. She loves the scenery that our village brings. On the other hand, I enjoy running around the University. I think mostly the roads are well maintained, and I find that appealing ever since spraining my ankle just prior to the 2008 NYC Marathon. I am still feeling the effects of that fall.

All through out our training for this year’s marathons, we’ve been trading our aches and pains, similar to when Irene was pregnant, I was gaining weight also! But we got through it and had a great time doing our races!

It was so exciting to be part of the crowd, cheering everyone’s names and charities. At the first stop 59th Street and 4th Avenue, and I met up with Raymond and Frances. Both Raymond and I screamed out for Team for Kids members. All of the sudden, after looking at the kids, Irene hustles by, and I missed an opportunity to take a picture.

It was my fault that I missed Irene at the 2nd stop of 4th Avenue and Prince Street stop. The kids wanted Starbucks, so Elijah got his Double Chocolate Chip and Zachary got his green concoction of Green Tea Soy Frappachinos. I think by the time we picked up our Frosty beverages, Irene blew right passed us, I looked at my watch and said, I think she’s running at a good pace, on to the next stop! Next time,

We headed over to the 59th Street Bridge on the Manhattan side. I stood 4 people back, on my tippy toes. Emily had a great idea of moving ahead to give an early warning for me to get ready. I saw Jared run pass. He looked strong. Then all of the sudden, Emily shouts, “Mom is coming.” I get the camera ready only to take a lame shot of her backside. I screamed as loud as I could, to get her attention. She quickly glanced, smiled and waved. Off she went up 1st Avenue to meet up with Raymond, who was going to run with her for the last 8-10 miles.

He headed over to Central Park, and waited a little bit. Emily positioned herself ahead. This time I change to camcorder mode to make sure we get some decent memory on the camera. The boys bored from waiting started teasing each other like brothers do. Irene was still running! As she passed, Zachary started to follow her with his Nintendo DS to get some pictures. I believe Zachary will be a great doing a marathon soon!

Thanks to Frances, I probably would have missed Irene at both the 59th Street Bridge and at Central Park. She kept an eye out for the kids and looked out for Irene! It’s harder than I thought it would be. So many people on the side of the street and well as the volume of runners, you really need to concentrate.

Here is a link to witness Irene’s emotional crossing of the finish line at

I asked her why she was looking down, just after the finish line. She said. “It’s very emotional.” Team for Kids Coach Gail, suggested that the last 6 miles, you dedicate each mile for someone you love, and Irene did. So as she finished, she started to tear up.

Again, thank you for all the donations that were sent to Team for Kids. We raised close to $4,000 this year and a total of over $4,000,000 with all the runners. It’s amazing how a running program can help kids grow up to be more awesome than they already are, and they are really grateful for your donations. Let’s keep the tradition going every year!

By the way, I was really disappointed with my performance in the MCM, and now I am more motivated push myself harder and qualify for the legendary Boston Marathon, basically at a pace closer to my sprint pace. Right now I am comfortable just under 10 minutes per mile. For Boston, I need to do close to 7:30 pace to even get in. So in January, I will be doing Disney to see if I can break 4 hours with my brother in law, Raymond. At the end of May, I take on Vermont City, and then in November, I am deciding to do NYC again or Philadelphia, or both. All of those races are Boston Marathon Qualifiers. I am looking forward to pushing myself and lose another 20-25 lbs.

Irene plans on doing the NYC Marathon in 2012, but I see her eyeing some marathons next year. She wants to have a good rest, take some shorter races, and heal from all the injuries has have occurred this year. Unlike me, I just want to run, and actually I must be running better because any pains have subsided.

I look forward to hearing everyone’s running stories in 2011! And remember why you started to run. For me, being around for Irene and the Kids was enough for me to lace up my running shoes, my waistline is slimmer, my blood pressure is down, and cholesterol level have dropped tremendously.

Enjoy the run!


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