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The NYC Marathon: thoughts and questions.(13 posts)

The NYC Marathon: thoughts and questions.nigel
Nov 5, 2001 10:22 AM

Besides watching the NYC Marathon on TV yesterday (seeing the winners finish in just over 2 hours--ridiculous!), I hopped on the TCR and rode uptown to watch some of the "also-rans" (or maybe it should be "also-walks") and to offer cheer where needed. The scene was quite inspiring--especially as I've considered running during the winter to maintain/improve overall fitness and strength--and I had a good time.

What knocked me out, however, is this: most of the people I saw in person were in NO KIND OF SHAPE for such an undertaking. Clearly doing it just to say they did it. I'm not knocking these good folks AT ALL--whatever makes you happy in life, as long as it's not hurting anyone, should be done--but they looked completely out of shape and many were walking. Granted, this was about 5 hours after the "race" started, so I wasn't observing the cream of the crop, but I thought, "Damn, I could CERTAINLY do this thing with a little bit of training." I'm not saying I'm in primo shape, but I'm certainly in decent shape.

Anyone out there run it--or any marathon--just for the sake of completing the distance, whether or not you're a runner? What's it like? Did you train by running for months beforehand? Were you in good shape before you ran it? Big congrats, by the way, if you've run (or even walked) one of them; I'm sure these can be life-altering undertakings in the most positive of terms.

I'm curious; I was really surprised by the number of unathletic-looking people out there doing the distance. Inspirational to be sure. Again, I think it's super that these guys and gals got themselves out there and stuck it out--certainly a personal goal/dream for many of them.

Thoughts or answers? I'm all ears.

one questionBart
Nov 5, 2001 10:32 AM
How is this related to cycling?
Obviously, he rode his TCR to watch it. (nm)vanzutas
Nov 5, 2001 2:10 PM
re: The NYC Marathon: thoughts and questions.zero1
Nov 5, 2001 10:42 AM
i am 51 yrs old now and have been running and cycling since i was 33...i have ran some marathons and after the 1st one i actually had tears in my eyes..the feeling was unbelievable...i usually tell everyone it's not running the marathon that is so hard but it is all the miles u put in while training...the trick for me is the base miles before the usually takes me about 3 or 4 months to get ready for one...i just don't recover as quick from a long run or a long bike ride like i use old age has a lot to do with times have slowed down also...i tell everybody now i need to buy some nice running shorts or a nice biking jersey so i can look good going slow...the speed might not be there but i still enjoy running and cycling as much as ever...just a great way to get away and get in my own little world....ride safe, gary
re; pace and walkingdzrider
Nov 5, 2001 10:48 AM
I've run a bunch and some ultras. With planned walking early on I don't think you need to be any fitter than you do for 100 miles on the bike. Many people who run a marathon have some goal for their finishing time and the speed is what makes the task difficult. It feels like a 3.5 hour time trial on your bike - trying to stay at your aerobic threshold without letting up; maintaining your cadence in the biggest possible gear every minute. It's freakin' hard!

Now picture doing a leisurely century, chatting with friends, rolling down hills, taking short breaks when you want to. With early walking, plenty of food and a comfortable pace a five hour marathon, longer if you do it in the woods, can feel much like that. Lots of the folks in the back are taking their time and enjoying it the way charity riders do centuries.
You're making lots of sense.nigel
Nov 5, 2001 11:00 AM
When I first got into cycling years and years ago, I did an organized century. I had a racing bike, clipless pedals, and thought I was pretty cool. There were people in their forties ("old" to me at the time! Now, not so old at all.) on single-speed bikes with baskets and SANDALS (!!). I felt pretty silly, even though I finished long before them (We had to wait around to catch a train back to NYC from Montauk, so I saw these folks roll in.).

You're right; if these out-of-shape (or maybe just not-in-great-shape) folks can do a century, they can certainly jog/walk 26.2 miles. I see.

Interesting thoughts. I haven't done an organized century since, though I've done many solos and some with a friend or two, so I hadn't thought of it like that.

what if the Kenyans discover bikes?Dog
Nov 5, 2001 10:50 AM
Look out Lance if those Kenyans ever get into cycling. Anyone who can run a 2 hour marathon would likely do pretty well on a bike, wouldn't you think?

In running, it is much more obvious when you are not prepared, as opposed to cycling, where you can at least coast a bit.

walking = coastingdzrider
Nov 5, 2001 11:27 AM
For runners unconcerned with their finishing time walking = coasting. In long - 10 miles or more - trail races many participants, even some with pretty hard goals, walk up every hill and run down every hill.
walking NE coasting, wheels help over come Gravity... nmjagiger
Nov 5, 2001 9:19 PM
what if the Kenyans discover bikes?Jon
Nov 5, 2001 11:55 AM
Doug, I remember reading an account about this a long time ago, from Tim Noakes, I think. Some
Kenyan runners were recruited to try a cycling event, again I believe, a time trial. In short, their
performance was pretty pitiful, both in terms of time and power generated. The specificity rule,
Not so different at some organized bike eventstarwheel
Nov 5, 2001 12:33 PM
I rode in two cross-state bike tours this year, in Ohio and NC. In both cases, there were LOTS of people along who obviously had not done much riding (if any) before the events. The rides averaged 60 miles/day for a week. You would not believe the number of overweight (in some cases grossly overweight) people who finished the rides, although sometimes walking up the hills. We would finish our rides each day between noon and 2 p.m., but some of the slower bikers wouldn't roll into camp until 6-7 p.m. My hat is off to these people because it's hard enough when you're in shape. I just hope they kept up the exercise after the events. When I used to be a runner, I don't remember seeing a lot of overweight people at races, although it's been a while. I ran one marathon at a decent pace but felt so lousy for 2-3 days afterwards that I figured it couldn't be good for me.
re: The NYC Marathon: thoughts and questions.VictorChan
Nov 5, 2001 2:38 PM
The only thing I have to say is that they managed to organize this event but didn't do so for the MS Bike Tour in NYC! I am a New Yorker and did register for the MS Bike Tour. I did ride the tour (Tappan Z Bridge Bike Tour) but not the one sponsored by the NYC chapter though.
Done both, Century was more alot more fun...jagiger
Nov 5, 2001 9:40 PM
I'd done 10 marathons in the past & the training, the race and the recovery required much more effort. I was focused one the single event, with maybe some shorter races working up to it, but once it's over you're pretty sore for a couple of days & recovery is about a month. That's a big committment. In contrast, I felt the Century was easier, more fun & allows you to continue racing or training with little impact. (I image if I went into the Century more like a race, it would be very different).

However, I felt the marathon was more of an accomplishment, probably for all the effort, the distance itself which has hype from the Olympics, the Boston marathon, etc. Also, the marathon came first. I cann't relate to the walk/run thing, but if that's what you want to do....ok.

I wouldn't recommending marathoning if you alos have cycling goals. IMO, unless you are extremely talented, or spend alot of time to get a good balance between the two, you won't do either really well. It might not be all it's cracked up to be. I rode all summer & It's taking me awhile to get back into some sort of running form to run a Turkey Day race that I've been doing for the past 24 years.

Bottom line, you can do it, just be clear on what you want to accomplish.