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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

New York City Marathon Recap!

The Numbers:

90th: American Man (Made the leader board)
247th: Overall Place out of 44, 827 finishers
2nd: Finisher from North Carolina
2:48:17: Finish time
15th: Age Group Place

The Preparation:

I thoroughly enjoyed my training cycle for this race! It was so much fun to be able to A. train with all of the strong runners of the Charlotte Running Club on a weekly basis and B. to do 2 quality workouts a week with 2 or 3 recovery days in between each hard workout (I need that!)

The Goals:

1.) Break 2:50
2.) Take what the day gave me (you never know how you are going to feel)
3.) Get as close to 2:40 as possible
4.) Top 10 in my age group
*Grade: 80% (we will actually get a grade from the race report) We'll see what they say?

The Support:

- My wife and kids were at home in Charlotte tracking me on the computer and on the Blackberry to see how I was progressing and my wife could tell that it was a grind during the second half. She was there for all of my 2:30 marathons when I was in my late 20's and early 30's so even at 45 she still expects me to hit the half in 1:18!
My parents and siblings in Jersey get so into this race for me and their support is just awesome. From picking me up at the airport to taking me to the expo to driving me to the race start and all of the "breaking of bread" that we did was very memorable.
My best friend Gary who had me over to his estate after the race so we could watch his Cardinals against my Vikings (we won!) and enjoy all the pizza that we could! Very nice...and then to go on the computer to check the results and see that I made the USA leader board (albeit 90th American)

Friends- How sweet it is to receive so many e-mails with kind words from so many like minded peeps! Great stuff...

The Race:

So I'm hanging out at my corral at Fort Wadsworth in Staten Island and I run into Michael Kahn and we had a blast chit chatting as we were waiting to make our way up onto the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge for the start. We get up onto the bridge and after the obligatory runner introductions by Mary Wittenberg (the race director who is a very shrewd women...she managed to get Geb!) we were off!
The first mile is strait up the bridge and then down the other side. As I was climbing, the wind was so strong that it was blowing me to the side (I know that I'm only 160lbs. but come on!) Saw the clock and I was over 7 minutes...oops! From then on it was a grind.
I never really floated any of the miles away. I had to work for each one. I did what I could and eventually got to the 5 mile mark in just over 31 minutes.
One of my mini goals was to run each of the 5 miles in about 31 minutes so when I saw the clock I thought OK!
Kept running and never really ran with anyone on a consistent basis. Some guys would draft off of me for a bit and me off of them as well. Got to the 10 mile mark in 62 and change. I'll take that...
I wanted to make sure that when I got to the Brooklyn Bridge at 13 that I was running reasonably well (a couple of people passed me and I passed a couple of people)it was a wash...
Got to the half in exactly 1 hour and 21 minutes. What do we always do at the half? We double it! Well, you actually have to run the second half...imagine that!
Got to the 15 mile mark in 1:33 and change so still doing reasonably well considering that the whole race was a grind (it was very windy). Now at 15 I(we) have to climb up the Queensboro/59th Street Bridge which is a long way up and then I relatively steep way down (this is where I broke Haile and he dropped out...Ha!) I still have my sense of humor...
Anyway, as you're going down the bridge you have to brace yourself for Phil Spector's "Wall of Sound" that will be pulsating through your veins once you pounce on First Ave! Boston fans...imagine Wellesley yet deeper and for 3 to 4 miles...Nuts!
So I get onto 1st Ave. (let me say that the energy on Forth Ave. all over Brooklyn was high octane!) and I immediately start hearing people yelling my first name and no, I did not have it on my bib! That was very neat...


This was a very big concern for me because at my last 2 NYC marathons I have gotten 2 massive stitches under my right rib cage at the 18/21 mile mark. I had my oatmeal at dark thirty and that was it along with water. Some my big question is...when am I going to take my Gu? I never eat anything in Charlotte before or during a race and never have a problem. I asked Megan Hovis and she said that she likes to take 1 Gu at mile 18. That was my plan.
So I pull it out at 18 and just hold it in my hand. I'm afraid to take it! These stitches are debilitating!...
Over the Willis Ave. Bridge and it was into the Bronx at the 20 mile mark. That is when I saw 2:06 and change (I was expecting 2:04?) Oh well, as I always say..."you run the first 10 miles with your head, the second 10 with your legs, and the last 10k with your heart!" At 20 and a half, I decide to start taking the Gu and I made it over the Madison Avenue Bridge at the 21 mile mark and that's when she returned for the 3rd time in 3 years. I immediately threw the rest of the packet to the side of the road and dug deep (no pun intended). I grinded the last 5 miles through Central Park and did what I could (passed some and got passed by others). I pride myself on consistency, durability, dedication and running a mature race...I was suffering!
Made it to the finish...


Mary Wittenberg and her staff of the New York Road Runners Club who organize the New York City Marathon deserve a gold medal for the job they do to make this day the success that it is. This was my 7th year running "New York" and it just gets better and better as it gets bigger and bigger. That bearded Jew from Romania (Fred Lebow) is looking down from up above and he is smiling (and probably shedding a few tears as well) for the chaos in the city that he started some 40 years ago...Enjoy!

Question: no question for today...enjoy the fact that you are able to run!

Thanks for reading...


  1. Awesome determination in tough conditions on a tough course. Wouldn’t expect anything less Steve! Great recap, great race! You may want to practice fuelling?

  2. AWESOME! You ran a great race! You should definitely feel proud about the American leaderboard! What and where was your fastest and slowest mile? I just like to know those things! :) Im so happy for you!! Can't wait to have you mining again soon!

  3. Awesome job Spada! It was great seeing you last night at the GPx banquet. Solid race nonetheless despite the cramping on a tough day. Minus Gebre Gebremariam, I don't think anyone really killed it out there. NYC was certainly not the fastest day on a tough course so take pride in the effort.
    See you on the roads soon.

  4. Awesome recap and inspiring effort!

  5. Great run Stephen and great recap.

  6. Paul...I really enjoyed my training time with you this year! You showed me how to stay mentally tough throughout a complete workout. Richmond awaits...

  7. Great job Steve and great to finally meet you in person at the banquet the other night! I want you to know that you and Shires inspire me. 40+ year-old guys can still get it done! Very impressive work!

  8. Megan: A long time ago we were going to run this thing together. Plans changed, and you went to Australia and qualified for the Olympic Trials! I'll be back "mining" next Tuesday and looking forward to it. 5:51 and 7:16?

  9. Jordan...thanks brother! I always enjoy our runs when we get to chat about other runners. My son thinks you're the s**t!

  10. Spada!!! Awesome recap - so inspiring, truly! Boy just put his name in the lottery for NYC next year. Oh shoot... I think he may be "a runner" after all. On that note, hopefully in January I will get in and we will run this thing in 2011. Cannot wait to run with you again!

  11. Michael...how great was our time together in the corral! You have an awesome outlook on life! Our buddy Matt Fortin ended up running 2:39...what a stud!

  12. Mark...you and I both wanted/expected more than what was delivered. You and I both know that there is more to be delivered. Let's continue to figure it out! Thanks again...

  13. Allen...they say you get better as you get older. Good to see you as well and looking forward to following your progress as you prepare for your dance with the Boston Marathon...

  14. You are truly an inspiration for all of us. Remember our tempo's and long runs back in '97? You have the consistency most runners lack and have remained consistent over many years. This is the sign of a true athlete! Great job! I wish I could join you for some Sunday's at McAlpine like the old days.

  15. How fun those days were! I remember when you got too fast for me and you started to train with Scott Dvorak. Glad that Carrie and I were able to take part in your wedding in ChiTown! Great to hear from you and thanks for the kind words...

  16. Mo...I hope that the boy gets in! And you as well...
    Looking forward to our next run together as it's been a while. I've been running from home more.
    Let's recap our races on our next run. Thanks!