[2009.11.21] A picture of me at the finish of the NYRR Knickerbocker 60K (37.2 mile) Ultra in Central Park, NYC. I am holding up a finisher's award (a paper weight). The race was my furthest at the time. It took me 6:49:13 (11:00 min/mile) to complete.
[This blog entry was also featured on NYCRuns.com (http://www.nycruns.com/ny-stories/item/605-hello-running-world) on 9/27/2010.]
Hello (Running) World
I am a runner, based in New York City, who is fairly new to the running, marathon, trail running, and ultra running scene. I ran my first race on 6/3/2007 and my first marathon on 9/21/2008. I am Marathon Maniac #1382, known in the running community as Kino. I just celebrated my 2 year marathon anniversary this past week.
I delved into the sport of running thanks to the influence of two runner friends: Yasu and Melissa. I credit the two of them with introducing me to the sport of running. Both had been training for the 2007 NYC Marathon. They convinced me to register for my very first race: the 2007 Japan Day 4-Mile Race with the New York Road Runners. It was a painful 4 miles, and the furthest I had ever run. I ran it in 35:31 (8:52 miles/min) and was discouraged with my performance. I hated running "long" distances (in hindsight, it's hard to imagine 4 miles as being considered "long", that's shorter than the distance between many aid stations at ultramarathons) and although I enjoyed the race atmosphere, I did not picture myself running races on a regular basis.
Prior to this first race of mine, the longest distance I had run was 2 miles in combat boots and in BDU's (battle dress uniform), as a PT training run while as an Army ROTC cadet in the Blue Jay Battalion at Johns Hopkins University. Even that felt like an eternity. I hated each moment of it and did not plan to ever run an official race.
At Leonia High School, my athletic commitments all revolved around team sports. In the fall, I played JV & varsity soccer. During the winter, I stayed indoors and played JV & varsity basketball. Come spring time, I played on the Freshman, JV, and varsity baseball teams. Individual sports, such as running and tennis, had no allure to me. Now, reflecting back, I regret not choosing Cross Country as my fall sport at least one of those seasons, instead of soccer. Whatever formalized coaching I could have received might have provided invaluable knowledge and insight to me. On the other hand, a rigid training system might have forever turned me off and pushed me away from the sport, so who knows how things would have turned out?
It is funny to reflect back because up until Fall 2007, I HATED running. So what changed? On 11/4/2007, I went out to spectate at the New York City Marathon and cheer on Yasu and Melissa, the very two friends who had been encouraging me to take up running. From the vantage point at Engineer's Gate in Central Park (E 90th Street and Central Park East Drive) and also at the E85th Street bend within Central Park, I saw many of the 38,000+ runners pass by (the 2007 NYC Marathon set the world record as the largest ever marathon with 38,557 finishers, a record that lasted until it was surpassed by the 2009 NYC Marathon). It was my first time witnessing an actual marathon in-person. Prior to this, I had only seen marathons on TV and held the preconceived notion that a marathon was an undertaking feasible only by elite athletes. Upon seeing the masses of ordinary citizens (young and old, gaunt and heavy set, and even those in full body costumes) eclipsing 24 miles, on their way to completing the full marathon distance of 26.2 miles, I came to the realization that I, too, could accomplish this same goal. The "If they can do it, then I can too" mindset set in. "The marathon" was not something reserved just for exceptional athletes, but could be an achievable goal for a non-elite as myself. At that moment, I was inspired to run my first marathon within one year's time. The very next day, I became a New York Road Runners member and registered myself for a slew of races.
I was hoping to make my marathon debut at the 2008 NYC Marathon, but it was too late for me to achieve guaranteed entry via NYRR's 9 race Program for Guaranteed Entry (now the 9+1 Program for Guaranteed Entry). I tried my luck in the marathon lottery application, but was rejected (the chance of a local being admitted through the lottery process is slim, somewhere in the 20%-30% range). Luckily, the town in which I worked, hosted a marathon that was easy to enter and only cost $25 to register for (that amounts to less than $1 per mile, talk about a bargain!). It also happened to be the second oldest active marathon in the world: The Yonkers Marathon
My marathon debut took place at Yonkers, NY on 9/21/2008, a date I will always remember. I finished the marathon and just simply took off running in an almost Forrest Gumpian manner. I completed my second (Chicago Marathon) and third (Philadelphia Marathon) marathons within the next 63 days. Unbeknownst to me, this achievement of running 3 marathons in less than 3 months had pre-qualified me to become a member of the Marathon Maniacs.
After a two year whirlwind of marathons and ultras, I have somehow finished running 1/3 of the 50 states (17 states + DC finished) and coincidentally also 1/3 of the way to Marathon #100 (34 marathons + ultras completed). I am very open to sharing my experiences and am frequently approached by fellow runners to provide recaps for certain races that I have run. As such, I was inspired to start this blog to form as a collective repository to share my thoughts and experiences in various races I have participated in. Without recording down my thoughts, it will be difficult for me to recall the specifics of each race (I have already logged over 100). I hope that all who come across this web log ("blog") find these posts to be of some use.
Please follow my endurance adventures on my blog (http://www.runkino.com/), through my facebook fan page (https://www.facebook.com/runkino) , & via my twitter account (http://twitter.com/runkino).
Thank you for stopping by!
Keep On Running,
Kino (of RunKino.com)