July 23, 2024
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July 23, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Ah, to reach the end.

(Of the race?)

Of the training. By the time I get within two weeks of an Ironman triathlon, I am done with training. There is nothing I can do from this point that can change my performance.

(No secret sauce?)

Intervals are the secret sauce and I have been doing those since December. I like to cap off my training with a swim, a bike amd a run that are each longer than the race distances.

(Wait.)

Yes?

(You told us that you never run the actual distance.)

That is true. As coaches, we find that after mile 22, your body stops making ATP, so you are not training your body to run past the 22 mile mark.

(So, you run 22 miles?)

Somewhere between 21 and 22 miles.

(Where do you run?)

So many choices. Years ago, I saw that Martin Bodek had walked the circumference of the entirety of Manhattan.

(How far was that?)

Martin “Bodie” Bodek did the whole 33 miles of it back in 2016.

(But that is too far for you, so…)

I ran most of the island. There are several problems that have to be solved to pull off a 21+ mile run in Manhattan.

The first one is time. It takes me over four hours to cover that distance.

(Hmmm?)

Yes?

(I thought that you were faster.)

When I began this Odessey in 2009, I was running 13.1 miles in two hours and 45 minutes.

(And now?)

I am running 15 miles in two hours and 45 minutes.

(That doesn’t sound like a big jump.)

That’s not the point.

(What is the point?)

Never measure yourself against someone else’s journey. Your progress is your victory.

Since I tend to sleep less now that I am in my 50s, I just go out for a run at 1:30 a.m. and get the run completed before work.

(What does your doctor say about our lack of sleep?)

He scratches his head why I am able to do this, but he says that my numbers are good.

(Isn’t it dangerous to deny your body sleep?)

It is, but that isn’t what is happening. I simply wake up between 1-2 at least once a week and I cannot go back to sleep.

(So, nu, the run?)

The second problem is parking. If I exit the West Side Highway at 96th street I can usually find a spot on Riverside Drive.

(And if you can’t find a spot?)

I once parked in front of a fire hydrant near the Carlebach Synagogue.

(Did you get a ticket?)

Nope, I got back to my car by 5:45 a.m. and the traffic cops usually don’t check the side streets before 6 a.m.

(I guess Reb Shlomo was looking after you.)

The third problem is navigation. It isn’t as simple as you would imagine to run the outline of the island Peter Stuyvesant paid $22 for.

(Did he really pay $22?)

He exchanged beads and mental tools that were approximated at 60 Dutch guilders and that amount was equal to 2,400 English cents…at least at that time. There are running paths on the West Side and promenades on the East side that you can run on, but you have to be careful. You can find yourself on the East side promenade with no way to move forward and the FDR is a river too wide to cross.

(You didn’t play human Frogger and run across the FDR…did you?)

No, I ran a half mile back to the crosswalk.

(How many times has this happened before?)

Ony twice. I have since learned to exit at 42nd on the East Side.

(How did you know where you are? It’s not like the street signs can be seen from the promenade.)

The UN building is where I have to turn left and that is a pretty big building. I turned right onto First Ave. From there it is straight up to 125th Street. From there, 125th street takes me to the West Side running path and that takes me back to my car. The fourth problem is food and drink.

(Nutrition and hydration?)

Yes, if you want to be scientific about it. I pregame the run by drinking a 17 ounce water bottle while I am driving into the city. Once there, I sip from a second bottle during the run.

(There’s no way you can run 21 miles on 17 ounces of water.)

There are water fountains on the West Side running path and in the East Side public parks.

For food I take two gels with me. These are packets of frosting.

(Actual frosting?)

No, scientifically formulated nutrition that tastes like frosting.

I ingest the first one around mile seven and the second one around mile 14.

(How do you stay focused for four hours?)

I am ever vigilant that my feet land squarely on the ground. There are many places in Manhattan to trip and fall.

(But for over four hours?)

I like to listen to music, but sometimes I forget to turn on my Spotify playlist. I get so lost in the sights of the city at night that my mind wanders away from me. The city isn’t the only thing that never sleeps.

David Roher is a USAT certified triathlon and marathon coach. He is a multi-Ironman finisher and veteran special education teacher. He is on Instagram @David Roher140.6.

He can be reached at [email protected]

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