May 14, 2024
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May 14, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

The NYC Half Marathon finish line selfie with Senator Chuck Schumer. (Credit: David Roher)

With work, grad school, family and training it was going to be a long year. I needed to do something to help keep my focus. I needed to sign up for a race!

(Winter Ironman?)

Almost no one swims in winter.

(Well, there’s you; there’s David Scharf…)

OK, Polar Bear swimmers swim in winter, but for triathletes, winter is outdoor running weather,

For some, indoor running on treadmills. So, I signed up for the New Year’s Eve Four Miler … and the Central Park Half Marathon … and since I was already running that race, I signed up for the NYC Half Marathon too.

(You don’t do well with just sitting around, do you?)


As I said before, the hardest months for me to train in are January, February and March. It’s cold, sometimes 20 F cold. A cold that makes your face hurt … until you are three miles into a run and you start to warm up.

It’s dark, too. The sunlight doesn’t appear until after 7 a.m.

There were mornings where I didn’t want to get out of bed … but I did it.

I knew, skipping just one workout was a slippery slope where one would become two … and soon you are habitually making excuses and your training goes down the tubes.

On Sundays, I ran with Moshe Kinderlehrer. Sometimes Yehuda Perlowitz joined us.

(Were they also training for an Ironman?)

No, but running the first 45 minutes with them and the rest of the two plus hours of my training was helpful. If you train by yourself, you miss out on how quickly time passes when you run with your friends.

Then it was back home for an hour of bike intervals. After that I would spend the rest of the day working on that week’s grad paper.

I always run in shorts, even when it’s 20 F degrees outside. Afterwards I would walk into my house, my torso bundled up, but my legs and head exposed. Sometimes steam would rise from my body like my head was on fire or something.

(Isn’t that dangerous?)

It’s not like my hair was frozen when I was done.

Deer are Teaneck squirrels.(Credit: David Roher)

(But your legs are exposed.)

Every year I tell myself that I will put on long pants when my legs get cold. I will let you know when that happens.

(But your torso…)

Has four-five layers including tzitzis.

Speaking of freezing, those Tuesday run intervals just continued to get longer as the temperature continued to drop. With low temps came…

(More deer?)

More deer this year than I’ve ever seen before.

(Teaneck squirrels.)

I knew I needed to do something to keep my motivation going in this never-ending freezing winter.

As a teacher, I see the calendar as September to the end of July.

September until the week of Christmas lasts four months. January until March 15, feels like it lasts three years because it feels like it’s never going to be warm, ever again.

(Didn’t you sign up for three winter races?)

The Central Park New Year’s Eve Four Miler, Central Park Half Marathon and the New York City Half Marathon.

(A walk in the park for you.)

Yes, kinda, because the first two races were held in Central Park and the third one ended there.

(See, easy.)



No. Half marathons are hard, even harder when the temps are around freezing.

(And The New Year’s Eve Four Miler?)

That was an “all-out-run-’til-you-puke” pace.

(What is your average mile pace?)

10 minutes, 15 seconds.

(So, what happened at the The New Year’s Eve Four Miler?

Mile one was 10:25.

Mile two was 10:15.

Mile three was 9:05.

Mile four was 8:40.

Deer are Teaneck squirrels.(Credit: David Roher)

The plan was to have an official fast mile pace for the New York City Marathon.

Your fastest mile at any of their races is how they determine your start time for the New York City Marathon.

Mine had been 9:15, but the Covid-19 year of no marathon reset that back to 11:40 per mile.


Starting later means I spend the first three miles of the race trotting along with the slower runners. Starting earlier means I can run with people who run at my pace and my loving wife doesn’t have to drive into NYC in the dark to fetch me at the end. Plus, after all the intervals I wanted to see if I was making progress.

(It sounds like you were.)

I were.

(You were?)

Focus on the half marathons, not my grammar.


Running for over two hours in shorts when the outside temps are below 20 F is fine as long as you are running.

You need layers to stay warm before you start that you will discard and you need to find your car quickly when you finish.

The Central Park Half starts in Brooklyn and finishes in Central Park.

So, I drove to Manhattan, found a parking spot, took a train to Brooklyn and stood around freezing until the start. Even after the start I was freezing for the first three miles..

(Sounds like fun.)

Now I remember why I stopped running this race. I finished the race at teo hours and 20 minutes.

(Is that good?)

My record in two hours and 6 minutes, so it wasn’t a bad job.

Plus, Senator Chuck Schumer was giving high-fives at the finish line.

(You got the selfie, didn’t you?)

Life is short and full of opportunities, if you seize them … so yes, I did.

Little did I know, this was going to be an Ironman race season full of opportunities that come once in a lifetime…

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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