New York City Marathon Week, Tapering, & Roller Derby

Well, it’s 5 days to go until the New York City Marathon on November 3… and I’m getting a little antsy. I’ve been tapering my training and feeling guilty that I’m not running that much. When you run 60 miles per week, 30 doesn’t feel like anything. So I’m feeling a bit guilty. (Perhaps being Jewish also has something to do with that.) But I understand the taper probably more than all but a few people on the planet, so I’m okay with not running that much this week and letting my legs rest and store glycogen.

 I did my last mini-track workout today: 5 x 1,000 meters at lactate threshold pace with 1 minute rest. Just enough to stimulate my legs without causing any fatigue. It felt good. I’ve scaled back from the threshold training I’ve been doing, which has included up to 6 x 1 mile at threshold pace. I had to hold back the pace today because it was easy to run too fast. That’s a good sign. You know your legs are ready when you have to force yourself to slow down. When you have to work harder to meet the assigned pace of the workout, that’s not a good sign. So today was a good day because it felt the way I wanted it to feel—with me being in complete control of the workout and even having to hold back a bit to meet the assigned pace.

If you’ve been reading my blog or following my story to the New York City Marathon, you know that I’m much more of a miler than a marathoner. Endurance is hard for me. I’m always amazed at how some people can run much faster than me for long races even though I can kick their butt in a short one. I love physiology and how we’re all different. Ever since I was a kid and ran 7.3 seconds for the 50-yard dash in 5th grade in the Presidential Physical Fitness Test and 59.2 seconds for 400 meters as an 8th grader, I discovered I had some speed. But now the marathon is becoming very real. With only 5 more days to go until I stand with nearly 50,000 other runners from around the world on the iconic Verrazano Bridge, a bridge I have driven over with my family countless times, I need to put my inner sprinter to the side and think like a long-distance runner.

Verrazano Bridge, connecting Staten Island to my birthplace of Brooklyn:


 As you know, I’m running the New York City Marathon as part of the American Cancer Society charity program in memory of my mom, who passed away from metastatic breast cancer in 2010.

 My mother was a tough high school physical education teacher from the Bronx. She taught at John Jay High School in Brooklyn. She taught kids with guns. She taught kids from mafia families. She had an admirable strength, competing in the roller derby (a member of the New York Chiefs), skydiving, playing semi-pro softball with her legendary four-fingered glove (she had five fingers like everyone else, but baseball gloves in those days had only four), raising twin sons as a single mother after our father passed away when we were 8 years old, and caring for her own elderly mother, who was her best friend. She worried about me every day I walked out the door to run. She came to every one of my races. She’d think I’m nuts running 26.2 miles through the potholed streets of New York, the same streets on which her father drove a taxi for many years. But she’d also be the loudest and proudest spectator on the course.

A four-fingered baseball glove:


 A New York City pothole:


 This marathon won’t be easy. But life isn’t easy. My mom gave me her strength and she gave me legs that can run. And when I run into the Bronx, the borough where she was born and lived until she got married, and when I run into Brooklyn, the borough where we lived as a family until my father passed away, I know fond memories will surface, as I remember those days, that family, and that life that used to be.

 In 5 days, I will run a marathon in the capital of the world. I may have taken the boy out of Brooklyn by moving to the other side of the country, but you can’t take Brooklyn out of the boy. I’ll always be a New Yorker.

If you’d like to follow me during the marathon, here’s some details:

Start Wave: Wave 1
Given the size of the marathon, there are multiple start times. I won’t be at the front of the start line with the Kenyans, but I’ll be close enough that they’ll need to watch their backs!

Start Time: 9:40 am Eastern Time

Race Number: 8193

TV: In the U.S., live on ESPN 2 @ 9 am-12:30 pm Eastern Time. Highlights show @ 4-6 pm Eastern Time on ABC.

Live Runner Tracking: Via phone or web at

Celebration Dinner: If you live in New York, please join me (and my funny twin brother) for a celebration dinner:

Sunday, November, 3 @ 5:30 pm
The Smith Restaurant & Bar
(I chose this restaurant because my mother’s maiden name was Smith)
55 3rd Ave. (between 10 & 11th St.)
New York, NY 10003
(please RSVP to

If you’d like to support my run and make a donation, please donate at

To stay connected with me and get lots of great tips and chances to enter contests to win training programs, please read my blog, like my page on Facebook, and follow me on Twitter:

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