Friday, June 18, 2010

Paul Runs the Lake Placid Half-Marathon

Getting up at 4:30 in the morning for the privilege of running 13.1 miles the following day doesn't sound like much of a weekend to me.

Paul, who traveled upstate last weekend to run the Lake Placid Half-Marathon, feels differently.

Alas, I stayed behind as Paul made the road trip with a co-worker and two of his co-worker's friends. He can take it from here ...


Of course I knew that the Lake Placid Half-Marathon, nestled in the Adirondack Mountains, would be a very hilly course, but it's really hard to appreciate the extreme elevation till you're trying to run over it.

The course changes elevation by up to 350 feet. Imagine running up and down 35 flights of stairs while in a 13 mile race and you'll get a taste of what this thing was all about.

As the date grew closer, I dreaded it more and more, especially when I sprained my ankle three weeks ago and ran a grand total of 5 miles in the weeks leading up to this thing. When we got there on race day, the dread really set in as I looked over the cliff (seriously, a cliff) at the mountain road winding up to the finish line and noticed it would be tough to even walk up.

On the bonus side, there was such a small crowd there that they just let us stand wherever we wanted on the street before we started the race. Normally there's a whole huge cattle call/corral ritual with panicked racers elbowing each other and leaping over police barriers before the start of a marathon.

When the starting gun went off, I calmed down a little but grew nervous again as I saw walkers after 1 mile. It was going to be a long day for them. I powered through the first 7 miles, never feeling great, but I was cheered by the shockingly beautiful scenery and quaintness of the little town.

On mile 7 I got a kind of runner's high and felt good until mile 11. During the last two miles my legs and feet were in so much pain that I almost felt like I was having an out-of-body experience. With the finish line in view, I stumbled and seriously thought of dropping out since it seemed like I might pass out. I managed to keep moving forward for the victory lap on the Olympic oval in front of the U.S. Olympic athlete training center.

I was exhausted, but very pleased that I managed a personal best of 1:57 (personal is the operative word here since the best runners can do the course in 1:20). I had two lunches and enjoyed the rest of my day in scenic Lake Placid.

It's all back to normal here in NYC now, no more birds singing or people being, you know, nice. But it is good to be home.



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