Wow, first of all, I can’t believe it’s been a month since I ran the most epic race I’ve ever experienced! I still think back, look at photos, watch videos, and relive the moments that made the New York City Marathon so amazing. But aside from hosting the most amazing marathon races in the world, New York City has a pretty dope running culture and I was lucky enough to really check some cool events out while I was in town.

I spent 10 full days on the East Coast and I pretty much hit the jackpot when it came to my stay in NYC. I spent the first weekend with family in New Jersey hanging out with my cousin, his wife, and kids. We picked pumpkins went on a hayride and really just spent some time together which hadn’t been done in nearly 5 or 6 years! On Sunday evening (a week before the race) I packed up and headed to the City where I spent the remainder of my stay. My college friend recently started splitting her time between NYC and Minneapolis and graciously let me stay in her apartment for the week which was a 10 minute walk from my office in Midtown.

The first thing I did when the NYC NRC events opened up on Sunday afternoon was register for EVERYTHING. I literally didn’t want to miss out on a thing. One of the main reasons I spent so much time in the city before the marathon was because I wanted to experience some NYC NRC events and check out what the running scene was like and I am so happy I did!

On Tuesday, I went to Nike Upper East Side and piled on a school bus filled with runners to head to the week’s speed workout. We took busses to Randall’s Island and I got to run on the iconic blue track at Icahn Stadium with Coach Julia, Coach Finley, some of my NRC Instagram friends and followers and none other than Olympian, Matt Centrowitz!!! Yes you guys, Matt Centrowitz, you know the first American to win gold in the 1500m in 108 years?!!? Yes, he showed up to NRC. It was such a cool experience.
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The second really dope event I was able to take part in was the Take the Bridge race across the Williamsburg Bridge. Take the Bridge is an unsanctioned race across the various NYC bridges and back without official timeclocks or mile markers. Its competitive, all inclusive, gritty, tough, and a whole lot of fun. The race took place on a chilly Friday evening and I participated in the Global Heat. Competition was stiff and these 2 miles were not easy! Somehow, it felt like it was uphill both ways, but I finished in 5th place with a 14:42.2 finish time.

Global Heat Start line at Take the Bridge. (Photo by: Paulsta Wong)

I jumped at this opportunity because I can’t say no to a little friendly competition and I wanted to really immerse myself in the NYC run culture. Yeah, running a 2 mile race less than 2 days before a marathon isn’t quite the smartest idea and I do not recommend anyone do it, but it was fun and my only goals for the NYC marathon was to not to push too hard, finish under 4 hours, and just take it all in. I got to meet some really cool runners from the city, all over the country, and the world. We shared some running stories, talked about where we came from and how we got here to this little known pocket of underground road racing that New York City has to offer. After the race everyone gathered together for the awards, beers, and tacos at a local bar. In true NY fashion, around 12 am, I figured it was time for me to find a slice of pizza and head off to bed for early shake out run with NRC.

The run culture in New York is so difference than it is here in San Francisco, I must say, they are pretty hard core. There are countless run crews and clubs and so many activities to do. It was a really cool experience to be able to get to be a part of it for a week while I was in town. They are super passionate about running and community and it shows. Don’t get me wrong I LOVE my crew out here and they are hands down some of the most amazing runners I have met to date, but we are just a little smaller here. And I think it’s time to grow and expand the movement here.

 

 

Racing to the finish (photo by Andrew Janke, @intoverflow)

 

 

 

 

 

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