Race Report: New York City Marathon 18 Mile Tuneup

I may actually love entering an event where time factor is not yet determined in training as in this case. 

Longest training run so far had been a 14 miler a few weeks ago with Anh, and our toddler, Miles. During that run I did the first 12 miles in my MAF zone – about 9:30s. The last two I did at a tempo, 7:40s. My knees held up pretty good during this run but recovery took a bit longer especially pushing the last two miles.  I didn’t run until about four days afterwards due to knee discomfort. At that point I was skeptical about going longer for marathon training. After a full recovery and back to training I kept all runs in MAF. 

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Last week prior to today’s run I tapered off and only swam and biked as I was striving to be 100% recovered for this race. 

The NYRR 18 mile tuneup is three complete loops of Central Park. It starts and ends on the East side close to 102 Transverse. The weather today was ideal for running with a nice breeze in the air. Fall is near! This race is perfect for testing fitness for the upcoming NYC marathon in November. 

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I positioned myself further back from my assigned corral to prevent getting sucked into bad pacing too early. My goal was to really warm up and see how I felt at mile 3. I went further with this moderate pacing until mile 5. Right at mile 6 of the first loop of Central Park I picked up the pace and settled at 8:30s. I averaged this pace for the remainder of the race. 

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I just kept my head down while climbing Harlem hill (heartbreak hill). This second loop of the Park (mile 12) surely felt like the climbing Queensboro bridge during NYC marathon. 

My lack of volume was evident at mile 16-17 when my ITB and calf muscles began to tighten up. That’s where marathon experience and mental toughness came in. So I dug to where I needed and pushed and adjusted my run form accordingly. I did more flat foot strides as opposed to forefoot strides. This helps with easing my calf muscles. 

Mile 17 was just digging deeper and pushing forward. I was also able to push the pace up slightly. 

I kept thinking how incredible it would be to see Anh and Miles at the finish. Approaching 102 transverse I kept digging. Last turn to the finish I kept looking at the sidelines for signs of my family. Sure enough they were there to surprise daddy. I was thrilled. 

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With a performance like today given that I am successful with completing two long runs at or close to 20 miles. I should be able to come home at the finish line for the NYC Marathon in 3:45. Withholding external factors.  


I took the following:

– gatorade at stations they were available 

– water approx every other station 

– 1 powergel at mile 9

– 3 salt tablets every hour

– walked the last four aid stations 

– two potty breaks 

Official Time: 2:34:36

Pace: 8:36 / mile

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