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Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Shanaz Running New York! Part 2

ING New York City Marathon Logo

Shanaz’s NYC Marathon experience continues in her latest installment of her story..

My NYC Experience (Part 2 of 3): The Marathon Week

T-7: Start Spreading the News…

After months of preparation and anticipation, Nana and I were all set for our 3-week journey to US of A, which included trips to NYC, Boston, Washington and Houston.

We arrived in NYC a week before the race and that gave us plenty of time to check out the city, recover from our jetlag and do a few short runs to acclimatize ourselves as well as to give us a fair idea of what type of running gear we should don on the big day. Selly joined us shortly after we arrived in the city so we had a great laugh sightseeing, shopping and of course, running around the city in a party of three.

Selly and I at Times Square

Nana & I while waiting for the expo shuttle bus at midtown Manhattan

Statue of Liberty

The Marathon Week

From the moment we arrived, it was apparent that Manhattan was all geared up for the marathon. Signs were seen on buses, street posts, buildings and shops. Posters were put up at restaurants to welcome marathoners to pasta parties. The presence of Asics, the main sponsor, was clearly felt with posters carrying cool quotes such as “First you feel like dying, then you feel reborn” and “Finishing only stokes the fire”. In short, the spirit of NYC marathon was lingering around the city throughout the entire week leading up to the big day.

Spotted at Times Square. Photo courtesy of Selly

All over midtown

Spotted at Lululemon store

A friendly New Yorker checking out my “runner’s calves” at Times Square Smile with tongue out

Nana & I chose to stay at a hotel which was conveniently located about 200m from the southern entrance of Central Park. That way we could just roll out of bed and put on our running shoes without much hesitation for a few short runs before the race. It was great to see the marathon route signs, finishing gantry, etc being put up at the park as we ran. On every route we took, we came across marathoners doing their last training runs (Trust me, it wasn’t that difficult to spot your own kind; p). Indeed, it felt really good to be in NYC ;)

At the marathon finishing area, taken during one of our short runs at Central Park

After our 10k run at Central Park

The expo at Javitz Center was an event on its own. It was huge. The bib collection was done within minutes (kudos to the volunteers) but we spent three and a half hours on retail therapy Smile The highlight of the expo for me was meeting two of my running idols: Bart Yasso (the man behind the famous Yasso 800) and Dean Karno (who, I suppose, is today’s most famous ultramarathoner). Just like a little girl bumping into her favourite rock star by accident, I was completely starstruck when I met these two inspiring gentlemen.

At ASICS booth

With Bart Yasso

Woot! Woot!

T-1: Nervous Jitters

I can’t quite describe how I felt the night before the marathon. The more good-luck wishes I received, the more nervous I became. It seemed as if everyone was aware of my target (well, it was my own fault for announcing it to the world) and many were confident that I was going to achieve it. A bit too overconfident in my opinion.

Honestly speaking, I didn’t know what to think. I wasn’t sure about how ready I was. Questions after questions kept popping in my head. What if I ended up running a slower marathon than my previous ones? The longest run I did for my training this time around was only 25km – was that good enough? What if I had blisters, cramps, tummy ache? What if I came face to face with The Wall? If I didn’t break 4h30m, how was I supposed to react? Today, looking back, these questions sounded ridiculous. But on the eve of the marathon, I really wished I knew all the answers.

To some people, running a sub-4h30m marathon is nothing but a piece of cake. But to me, it required a bit of hard work. Coming all the way to New York to “just finish” would’ve been unacceptable. Even to finish within the 4h30m to 5hr range - a comfort zone I wanted to step out of – wasn’t going to be good enough for me. The more I tried to convince myself that timing was secondary, the more I resented the idea. In other words, without trying to sound too desperate, I wanted to achieve my target really, really, really bad.

To complete the race in 4h30m, I needed to run at an average pace of 6’24” per km. I planned to keep my pace at 6’10” - 6’15” per km from the start – to allow some leeway for water breaks, etc. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to hold that pace for 42km. For 21km? Definitely. 30km? Sure. But it is the last 12km that either makes or breaks a marathon. The five elevated bridges and a few rolling hills here and there were going to make the run even more challenging. I knew that for certain, because I had done it before.

As a friend said to me, I had done all the work so all I needed to do from that point onwards was give it my best shot…and enjoy myself while doing it. As I Iay down on my bed wide awake the night before the race, I wished that things would turn out as I hoped.

To be continued - Part 3: Race Day

The race is near, the city ready, but is Shanaz?? Stay tuned!! Open-mouthed smile


  1. wah lamanya telenovela ni...bila nak buat movie? senang tengok sekali gus :P

  2. Hi!

    Was reading through your running post and god I envy the runs you get to do!

    Just only got hooked into this running business about 2 months ago (still in the 10km phase) but I'm looking forward to run at least half mara in Gold Coast next year.

    Anyways, great write up! :D


  3. hey bro!no prob!i started running a year or so no fretting..once you're on it,you'll get hooked like nobody's business! :D

    gold coast will be good of the flattest..there's a package on offer on airasia rite?good luck yeah!bring home that PeeBee!!! :D

  4. Ray: Twilight Breaking Dawn pun ada Part 1 and Part 2. Ini kan drama NYC ;)
    TTD: Gold Coast should be awesome. All the Best!


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