Less than three weeks to go before the 2011 staging of the largest marathon in the world - the ING New York City Marathon. Together with my wife, Bam, I'll be departing for New York on November 4. This will be my first extended vacation in almost three years, so the respite is definitely needed.
Marathon Day is on November 6, so I'll have only two days to somehow regain my bearings and get over the jet lag. For others, this could be a considerable challenge. In my case, though, I believe I am well-equipped to overcome this. Jet lag shouldn't be too much of an issue because I am used to doing long runs in a sleep-deprived state. And when I say long runs, I'm not talking simply of 20 or 25-kilometer weekend LSDs, or even just marathons. I'm talking about really long runs - ultras. I've ran several ultras (and marathons) on zero sleep, and somehow, I managed to finish all of them in decent fashion. And so, I think it could even be an advantage that I'd be doing the NYC Marathon before my body actually adjusts to the time zone. It will be just like any other late night or early dawn run for me.
Another potential issue is the cold. NYCM is a cold marathon, and I happen to be a runner from a tropical country. This could easily turn into one of those fish-out-of-water situations. It's a good thing I have done a few runs in comparable climate, so I more or less know what to expect. I did a few runs in Milwaukee during my business trips there last year, including one in November 2010. During one of those runs, the temperature was at 4°C - almost similar to the average temperature in New York in early November. I just have to wear the right gear, and I know I will be fine.
Believe it or not, I am not yet that excited about NYCM. I am excited about the trip and the much-needed vacation (we'll also spend a few days in Florida and meet up with family in California), but I'm not doing cartwheels over NYCM yet. Maybe it's because my focus has shifted to running road ultras, so marathons no longer excite me as much as they used to. Don't get me wrong, though - I feel blessed that I will be able to see all five boroughs of New York on foot together with thousands of runners from all over the world. NYCM is one of my dream marathons, and to be able to live that dream, it's just priceless. I am looking forward to visiting the Marathon Expo and picking up some gear and souvenirs, catching the Parade of Nations, running through Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Manhattan, crossing the finish line in Central Park less than five hours after I leave the starting line on the Verazzano Bridge, and a very festive marathon weekend. Come to think of it, I am actually more excited than I'd like to believe.
So... I'm logging off and shutting down for now. Time to haul my ass off the couch, head to the mall, and buy a Philippine flag patch that I can stitch onto my beanie!