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2009 Long Island Marathon Race Report

By hagrin - Posted on 04 May 2009

Yesterday, I ran a somewhat successful Long Island marathon as I completed the race in 3:35:12 which was good enough for a 95th place finish. Considering I had run 70 miles only 3 weeks ago at the McNaughton 150 and was battling some right foot problems, I am generally happy with how I ran and how my body held up.

Race Overview
The LI marathon is built to be a fast marathon - it's held right at the beginning of May before it gets too hot, has an 8am starting time, has very little elevation change, has fewer runners than most races and hasn't been very windy the years I have been out on the course. However, the LI marathon isn't without its faults having one of the more mind numbingly boring courses I have ever been on and the sheer lack of spectator enthusiasm when compared to other races. Personally, I despise running this race and its ~12 mile Wantagh Parkway section, but I do it because I have friends who run the race and I should definitely support my local races more.

Long Island Marathon Elevation Profile

Newton Running Shoes
After reading some interesting emails on the Ultra List and seeing Pam Reed where them at the 6 day race here in NY, I decided to purchase a pair of 2009 Newton Neutral Racer shoes. While these shoes are on the expensive side, I have to say that they are worth every penny. These shoes are lightweight and help to improve and force runners to foot strike with the correct part of the foot. There is a pronounced red "lug" that really helps runners to learn to midfoot strike as opposed to heel striking. These shoes really protected the bottoms of my feet as the bottoms of my feet tend to get very sore when road racing, but are still very lightweight at ~8.6 ounces. I have to say this is the perfect shoe once you get used to the different feel of the shoe's bottom and I definitely recommend this product to anyone looking to improve their foot striking and running technique.

Actual Race
Before the race I had decided that I couldn't run this race slowly as my right foot really couldn't take the extra pounding of going slower (somewhat counter intuitive, but that's how my foot felt in warm-ups) so I had told my running partner, Allegra, that I was going to go out at a much faster pace than she had planned on running (more on this later). My first 4 miles put me at sub 7 minute pace and I was definitely holding back as I could have definitely run that section much faster, but I was worried my foot wouldn't hold up. By the 10K mark, I was somewhere in the 7:15 range (maybe faster) and was generally feeling pretty well. I went through the half marathon at ~1:37 so I was definitely making pretty decent time considering I wasn't really trying to run at 100% effort (I had run a 1:35 first half in Miami in January where I was going out at 100%). By this point I was still feeling pretty good and the cool mist that had existed since the race start was starting to turn into a light drizzle.

This put me about 3 miles into the section of the course I dread - the Wantagh Parkway where there are basically no spectators, there are basically no turns and it's nothing but empty parkway. Being used to and in love with trail running, I can only describe this section as depressing. However, having run this race before, I was ready for it and just tried my best to zone out. By mile 18 I was starting to fall apart with the pre-race injury in my right foot really starting to act up. In addition, my running partner Allegra, who had planned on running 10 minute miles, zoomed right by me at mile 19 running 7:30 pace leaving me as if I was standing still (so much for running slow huh?). At that point I was pretty demoralized and decided to shut it down and save myself for the 50K I will most likely be running in 6 days. Between miles 20 and 24.5 I mailed it in just sort of plodding along, but with less than 2 miles left I decided to pick up the pace knowing I could still run sub 3:40. Unfortunately, the only runners in front of me were also kicking pretty hard so there was no one to pass in the last 1.5 miles and I crossed the finish line with the announcer yelling out someone else's name. Allegra ended up finishing in 3:21 and placing in the Women's Overall group while running a PR - not bad for someone who had planned on running "10 minute mile pace".

The normally festive post-race area was a little mellow this year due to the fact that it had turned pretty cold and the rain was coming down more heavily at race end. The race does a great post-race setup where you get your medal, protective heat wrap and goodie bag which I honestly haven't opened yet. I'll probably be back again next year with a goal of running a 3:30 or so depending on my ultrarunning schedule.