Race Report: The Hamptons Marathon

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Background: Though I live on Long Island, I grew up in the ‘Burg, and was excited to learn that a running club (complete with the bridge logo!) was operating in my old neighborhood. I was excited to join, and I enjoy participating in events when I can.

When I was a boy, we often had foot races on the street. Corner to corner. Sewer to sewer. I always gravitated toward longer distances. I most enjoyed challenging friends to a race around the block, going in opposite directions, start/finish at my stoop on Montrose Avenue. We’d high-five as we passed each other, gauging who was ahead and how fast we needed to go to win. Most often the winner was me, and with that a distance runner emerged from the streets of Williamsburg!

Race Report: I just completed the Hamptons Marathon on September 28. I blew up horribly but learned something. I simply went too fast, too soon. I came in a little under-trained (not enough long runs) due to a knee injury. The race conditions, though, were perfect for me. So, planning to take some time off after the race to deal with my knee, I knowingly committed the classic sin of pushing the marathon pace too fast. I came in shooting for 3:40. If I had been smart and patient at 8:30/mile I might have made it. Yet no—I went out at 8:00 per, 10 miles in 1:20. I felt really comfortable, too, so I stayed at that pace. Around 18-19 miles I noticed my heart rate creeping up. Bad sign. I came through 20 in 2:40, but was preparing to slow down.

No preparation was necessary. I didn’t hit the wall—the wall hit me—with a force never experienced in decades of marathoning. I literally seized with cramps, overpowering and debilitating in their intensity. Like being tazed, alternately and bilaterally between hamstrings and calves.

The last 6 miles went like this: walk, jog, seize, stop. Repeat.

I finished in 3:55, far from my best. Disappointing but educational. Points to consider: Undertrained? A little. Under-hydrated/not enough electrolytes? Probably. Poor race-day strategy? Absolutely.

Now here’s the big takeaway. I’m 62 years old and still running (and racing) with purpose. My wife was at the race to encourage and support me. Big plus. I was able to do several easy recovery runs over the next week. So I’ve kept it all in perspective. My Olympic dreams are long gone :) but my desire to run (and race) remains strong. Expanding my horizons with NBR has been part of a running renaissance for me. Bridge runs, Mile 12 Water Table, McCarren Track Meets, Brooklyn Mile—all great fun. Hope to see you guys again soon. Thanks for keeping running alive in Brooklyn!