The route is one of the most popular from New York City - up Riverside Drive on the west side, over the George Washington Bridge and into New Jersey, through the Palisades Interstate Park, up Route 9W, past the entrance to Tallman Mountain State Park and into the quaint town of Piermont.
P'mont is a veritable cycling Mecca for cyclist in the Tri-State area. On a nice weekend, you will find more bikes than cars roaming the streets and patronizing the coffee shops or the excellent bike shop.
The 2014 TCS NYC Marathon was a rough race. Weather predictions for the week leading up were getting worse and worse. We ended up with wind gusts of beyond 35 MPH which, for some reason never seemed to be a tail wind. It was like the universe was working against the runners. From the very start, crossing the Verrazano Bridge, I had to hang on to my hat, literally. And there were a few times that I actually thought the wind was going to blow me off the bridge.
My full review here: http://www.dirtyoldsneakers.com/2014/11/video-2014-tcs-nyc-marathon.html
Sunday was the last of the NYRR Five-Borough Series for 2014, the Staten Island Half. I've run this race almost every year since I started running eight years ago.
I go out to Staten Island twice a year, once for this event and then again a few weeks later for the start of the TCS NYC Marathon. In the past, I would hop on the ferry two hours prior to the race start, check a bag and head out on a pre-race seven mile run - this in order to get my last 20-miler in before the marathon. But this year I switched it up.
I've changed my training this year to do a long run on Saturday and then a shorter (long) run on Sunday. So for the past few weeks, I've been running 17 miles Saturday and 13.1 miles on Sunday. It's been tremendous in getting me used to the pain, an important training factor when preparing for a marathon.
All this to say, I went out to Staten Island this year and just enjoyed a 13.1 mile race. I wound up running with a relatively new friend, Dan (whom, interestingly I met when I was pitched his company's products for this blog), one of my regular running crew John and bumping into Natalie about three miles in.
Long story short, John took off because he was feeling good and wanted to see what he could pull off while Dan and Natalie helped drag my tired and sore body around a suburban race course. If it wasn't for them, and really Dan specifically, I may very well may have been a DNF on Sunday.
The plan was to head out and stick to something close to an 8:45/minute pace. Less than a half mile in Dan asked me how good I was at pacing, pretty accurate was any answer. Turns out, I'm not that good. Every time I looked at my watch we were going too fast. I grudgingly admitted this towards the end of the race.
The course has changed over the last few years as Staten Island is still suffering the effects of Hurricane Sandy but the course remains roughly the same terrain. The first five-ish miles are rolling hills followed by a downhill (~2 to3%) with a four mile, pancake flat out and back. The last five are over the same course of the first five, which means heading back up that one big-ish hill can be challenging if you ran 17 miles the day prior.
If you can keep yourself out of your head for the last five, the payoff this year was getting to run into the Staten Island Yankees stadium and across home plate where the NYRR set up the finish line.
It was a beautiful day for a run and a great last long run before the TCS NYC Marathon!