NYC Marathon 2022

I ran the New York City Marathon on November 6, 2022. These are my notes on race preparation and execution (as usual, mostly written to remind myself about the experience in decades to come).


3:17:13. 1,861/47,745, 344/3,769 AG


✓ Goal A: Finish

✗ Goal B: Sub 3:14:16 (== π, my previous NYC result in 2019)

✗ Goal C: Sub three hours

✗ Goal D: Sub 3:05 (BQ cutoff for my age group)

My goals were inverted for two reasons:

  1. I suffered a knee injury during training, resulting in three weeks almost completely away from running toward the end of the training cycle. Making it to the start line was not certain and finishing at all would be a gift from the gods.

  2. The conditions for the race were less than ideal: 70°F/21°C at the start and 75°F/24°C by the time I crossed the finish line, mostly sunny, with humidity above 80% at the start.


Coming off of my skin-of-the-teeth-sub-3 hour run in the Colorado Marathon, I knew my goal would be to best that time. I also knew that NYC is a hard marathon course and there’d be no net-downhill elevation loss to help, though almost two years of altitude training would help in this race at sea level.

The first thing to optimize for improving endurance pace for someone like me is weekly training mileage. For the weeks leading up to the Colorado Marathon, I had been running between 36 miles (58 km) and 56 miles (90 km). By most accounts, this is too low for most people to achieve a consistent sub-3 hour marathon.

I think any plan with increased mileage would have been more than adequate. I decided to use Pete Pfitzinger’s 18 week-long plan for 55-70 miles (89-113 km) per week (affectionately known as Pfitz 18/70). I enjoyed reading the accompanying book and the mileage was a step up from what I was used to. The written plan was easy to understand, though I admittedly missed having a calendar and workouts synced to my watch as I had in the McMillan plans I had been using.

Pfitz 18/70 is very endurance-heavy. The focus is on increasing mileage through successively longer mid-week runs (so-called “medium-long runs”) and Sunday runs (the standard long-run). The medium-long runs, maxing out at 16 miles (26 km), quickly became longer than my previous long runs had been, which were usually around a half marathon. I never thought I’d be running 14 or 16 miles on random Wednesday mornings and having a longer run later in the week!

I did find it a little stressful to have to schedule the weeks with longer distances, having a toddler in daycare and a job with my team based in NYC and its timezone. I got accustomed to pre-dawn alarms and starting runs at twilight or getting in non-key workouts on the treadmill at work after my team left the office. I’d occasionally use the treadmill in my apartment building after my daughter’s bedtime, but I don’t do great with late-night exercise, especially when having to get up early the next morning to run more. I’m not sure that I’d be able to run more mileage sustainably; my wife might start to get mad and I might start to burn out.

Because of those constraints, I ended up only hitting a maximum of 67.25mi (108 km) instead of the planned 70mi (113 km). But, I was pretty consistent week-in and week-out in hitting all of the planned workouts. Overall, my plan to increase mileage worked and I saw clear benefits, as expected: running longer distances became significantly less daunting and running at the same pace became easier.

One highlight of the training cycle was when my wife was going out of town for a weekend, so I knew I’d have to skip a couple of runs, including a long-run. I decided to embark on a slightly more epic run than usual before she left: do my scheduled 20 mile long run, but run up one of the local mountain roads, ultimately netting 2,835 feet (864 meters) of vertical, with a great view at the top. It was here that I realized I suck at running up 10-15% grade hills and that I remembered how hard it is on one’s knees and quads running downhill. I was good and sore for days.

As I could have predicted with the difficulties in just scheduling the running portion of the plan, I skimped out on pre-hab (i.e. stretching before and after workouts) and weight training. I had hoped that I’d be able to move into our house during this training period and make use of our basement gym, but the renovation took significantly longer than we anticipated. I had alternate means to pick up heavy things and put them back down, but I failed to employ them.

The increase in mileage, increase in training pace, and severe lack of cross training set me up for injury. I knew this was a risk the longer I put off weight training, but I decided to play the cards. I lost the bet and ended up with a case of either runner’s knee or bursitis. I remember distinctly the moment my knee suddenly started emanating debilitating pain: waiting to cross the street toward the end of a medium-long run. I ran through it for a few days (even completing a 22 mile long-run that weekend) before deciding to take what eventually was almost three weeks completely off from running.

This meant that I ended up needing to skip the most interesting part of the plan: the integration of VO2Max sessions for improving speed.

Taking time off was fine: I knew that I’d have to do it in order to get to the starting line in New York. I knew that I’d lose some fitness, but that I’d still have about a month to claw back whatever I could, and I’d be more than happy to even put in an effort similar to the Colorado Marathon and no more.

I did have a fear of reinjuring the knee after coming back off the couch. It felt mostly pain free even in the first few runs back, but I knew that reinjury meant no NYC Marathon. I reduced the pace of my runs a bit and didn’t do the prescribed VO2Max sessions.

Race Week

The week before the NYC Marathon is a real special time. With tens of thousands of visitors to the city and numerous pre-race events planned, there is a palpable sense of energy and excitement in the air. As the finish line is constructed by Tavern on the Green, Central Park becomes a place to see and be seen, with large groups running together in team kits, and professionals getting in their last workouts.

The weekend before the race, I had to attend my cousin’s wedding in Maryland. I was a little disappointed by the travel timing here, since it meant I would sacrifice over a week of altitude benefits.

I decided to work in the office on Thursday and Friday, but I also joined some group shakeout runs put on by a major running store near the park and near where I was staying.

Finding out about these events is a little hap-hazard. Some are on the official NYRR marathon calendar, but a lot of brands have special events that don’t get advertised very well. I heard of most of the goings-on from Mario Fraioli’s Morning Shakeout newsletter and from Kofuzi’s YouTube channel. I only heard of Eliud Kipchoge’s appearance at the Nike shakeout run after the fact.

I reread “A Race Like No Other” by Liz Robbins and got hyped up again.

I missed out on a critical marathon post-registration email and had only one option for transportation to the start line: the Staten Island Ferry. So, when my wife left to go back to our daughter and her grandparents in New Jersey, I moved from a cute boutique hotel to the Hilton Garden Inn near the Staten Island Ferry terminal so as to minimize travel time between waking up and getting on the boat. Though the hotel was quite far removed from any desirable area of the city, including all of the other marathon events, this worked out really well and significantly reduced pre-race stress.

I met up with some crazy Spaniards to run another shakeout run. I later met up with my awesome New York-based friends at a local brewery, which may not have been the best idea for performance, but was definitely fun.

I laid out my clothes for the next day, filled my pockets with gels, made my PB&J sandwiches and went to sleep early. For once, I was actually able to sleep a decent amount before a race.

On the ferry to Staten Island, I sat next to David Laurance, a local celebrity for having run the second most NYC Marathons in a row: 44 by age 70.


The weather turned out to be a bigger consideration than I had expected, especially since I lost a bunch of heat acclimation, having avoided running for most of the month of September. 70°F/21°C at the start and 75°F/24°C by the time I crossed the finish line, mostly sunny, with humidity above 80% at the start.

Still, the start went great. I wanted to catch up to the 3 hour pacers a couple of corrals ahead of mine, but I didn’t have to jostle much going up the bridge to get to them. That said, I definitely should not have lit a match so early in the race to get to them so soon.

The first 14.7 miles (23.7 km) were buttery smooth. I was right on my pace target and it felt pretty effortless. I forced myself to stop at every Gatorade station knowing I was losing a ton of water to the weather. Me and everyone around me were just totally drenched in sweat, head to toe, because the sweat had nowhere to go with the high humidity.

But then my right foot started to hurt. And hurt more. And hurt even more. It felt like I was getting stabbed every time I landed on it. It felt very constricted within my shoe; I stopped to loosen the laces, but to no relief.

The rest of the race was really a run/walk. I walked through all of the aid stations and then some. Where my first 14.7 miles were at an average of 6:43/mi (4:10/km) pace, my last 12 were at 8:18/mi (5:09/km).

In the last 10 miles (16 km), I’ve never seen so much human carnage. There were people just lying on the side of the road, some conscious, some unconscious. Walkers were everywhere at the edge of the course. In the 25th mile, I even saw a runner crawling toward the finish line.

Turning into Central Park off of the 5th Avenue climb was such a mental relief. I knew the finish line was just on the other side of the park. But I knew there would still be some challenging terrain ahead of the uphill finish. I hobbled through the park, with mile 24 being my worst mile split at 9:01/mi (5:36/km).

I crossed the finish line and hobbled down the long, silent stretch of Central Park Drive toward the exit of the park. The scene looked like a zombie apocalypse, worse than 2019: everyone was shuffling along, hurt and/or dehydrated, and sore.

The conditions made this a really tough race. In 2019, I placed 3,187/53,520 with a 3:14:16. In 2022, I placed 1,860/47,745 with a 3:17:13. So, despite a three minute worse time, I nearly halved my placing, indicating the entire field slid backwards. I know of strong 2:40 marathoners with a worse time than mine. It was brutal and I’m glad I made it to the finish line.

I was also happy to have beat Ashton Kutcher’s time of 3:54:01.


I took the subway back to my hotel, showered, packed, and headed right back out to catch the next train to New Jersey to see my daughter and my wife.

I think the race was summed up nicely on a post on /r/runnyc entitled “That was fucking awful” with no body. Casey Neistat’s amazing video entitled “i got beat up at the NYC Marathon 2022” was also quite apt.

It was only later that I learned that the bus situation on Staten Island deteriorated worse than when I was there in Wave 1. Then, later waves had to not only battle through a hotter part of the day, but also suffered from running out of cups for Gatorade and water.

I also saw Daniel Do Nascimento’s amazing performance… through mile 21. It turns out that anyone can run fast in a marathon, in the heat, as long as they don’t expect to finish. I can’t wait to see what he does with a bit more restraint.

We flew back to Colorado the next day and I was planning to take the entire month of November off from work in order to celebrate running the marathon and getting through the pandemic. That happened, but started in a different way than expected: I promptly got a positive COVID test and had to sequester myself away from my wife and daughter.

Colorado Marathon 2022

I ran the Colorado Marathon in Fort Collins, CO on May 1, 2022. These are my notes on race preparation and execution (as usual, mostly written to remind myself about the experience in decades to come).


Official: 2:59:59. (One page shows 2:59:58.9, leaving me a full half second to spare!) 29/507, 6/?? AG

✓ Goal A: Sub 3 hours. (By the skin of my teeth!)

✓ Goal B: Sub 3:05 (2019 BQ cutoff for my AG)

✓ Goal C: Sub 3:14:16 (== π, my PR @ NYC in 2019)

Still feeling good mid-race.
Still feeling good mid-race.


We moved to Boulder, CO from NYC in February 2021. Adjusting to the altitude took several weeks, longer than I expected. I spent the next six months or so training for my A event for the year, cycling the Triple Bypass, with a combination of indoor sessions on TrainerRoad and solo rides, mostly up the local climbs. After finishing that event and coming home, I immediately caught a bad cold from my sick (daycare-attending) toddler. I was sick off-and-on for months; I was not fully recovered at my B event in October, the first-ever Boulderthon (though I chose to run the half — plus four miles from home to the start and two miles from the finish to home).

I spent the rest of the year building some aerobic endurance with easy runs based on the McMillan Base Training Plan Level 3, but I wasn’t terribly consistent with my mid-week runs due to work and family commitments. Consistency picked up a bit in January upon starting the McMillan Marathon Training Plan Level 4 Combo Runner, but I was still somewhat interrupted by work stress and parenting, especially with kiddo getting periodically sick. I stuck to the lower end of the recommended distances and times as this was my first “Level 4” training plan.

I started running my long runs with the Boulder Track Club in November 2021. This provided extremely good motivation for running a portion of those runs at tempo or race pace as I am among the slowest of the group. I definitely think my speed endurance improved by running with BTC.

After a half-marathon tune up race in March, concentrating on the first, downhill half, I hit my first 60 mile training week ever, followed by 57 miles a week later, before starting a taper.

Me running at the half marathon.
Leading the pack at the start. I had no business doing this.

I had two embarrassing training injuries of the cycle, but luckily neither of them were overuse injuries. The first was in the final few strides of a wintery morning run: with the source of a breakfast burrito and good coffee in sight, I slipped on some ice at a curb cut and face planted, busting my lip. (Not only did I injure myself, but I was left without breakfast). The second was a chemical hand warmer-induced burn to my right palm: I knew better than to hold HotHands hand warmers directly against my skin under gloves, but I did it anyway. It didn’t seem too hot at all while I was doing it and only one hand was affected.

Knowing that the Colorado Marathon is a net downhill race, I had intended to do more downhill preparation. I wanted to take some days off from work to ride the bus up to Gold Hill and run back home, which is 12 miles and over 3,000 feet of elevation loss. I also wanted to do more work on Magnolia Road, a classic Boulder run on a rolling dirt road at over 8,000 feet of altitude. None of this work happened. Winter training in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains can be tricky, especially during a particularly snowy couple of months.

If there is anything I would change for my next marathon training program, it would be to:

  1. Be more consistent and take on more mileage. For me, this is easier said than done, given work and life constraints.

    1. This will get better as my daughter gets older and more independent (and less sick with a more fully developed immune system!). That said, I also want to cherish the time while she’s young and still adores me.
    2. This will also get better once we move into our house and build out our basement gym.
    3. During this training cycle, I took Mondays and Fridays off from running; I should probably drop the Friday off-day and add more easy mileage. This likely means sacrificing quality evening time with my wife, though.
    4. I should also increase the distance of the mid-week medium-long run.
  2. Do more hill and altitude work.

  3. Do more strength training. I subscribe to the belief that resistance training is extremely important for longevity and endurance performance. Yet, I have done no strength training since before the pandemic. Similarly, this will improve once we build out our basement gym.

I had also wanted to take a day off to scout the course, but I never got around to it.

Day Before

Fort Collins is a little over an hour away from Boulder and the buses to the starting line from downtown were posted to board between 4:15am and 5am. Not wanting to drive in the middle of the night, I chose to stay at a hotel the night prior hoping that I could get to bed early and score some quality sleep. This also allowed me to pick up my race bib at the expo.

The expo was fine, mostly filled by merch from a local running store chain. One thing I should have done was have my ID checked to get a wristband for the beer area, which would have obviated me from having to carry my driver’s license during the race.

I had forgotten to execute on my plan to pack some PB&J’s, a standard long-run breakfast of mine. I went to Whole Foods, knowing that they usually stock pre-made ones. I was out of luck and they were out of stock, so I bought the base ingredients and made some in my hotel room.

I wanted to do a short, 20 minute shakeout run to scout the small part of the course in downtown Fort Collins and on the Cache la Poudre River multi-use path. This was fine; I should have been better prepared and manually curated a course that went through the finish line: it would have prepared me for the turns and slight rises of the last mile.

I got a high-carb, pasta-and-french-fries dinner from the hotel restaurant, which was delightfully indulgent.

I rarely ever sleep well before an early-morning race. While my conscious self knows there is nothing to be anxious or nervous about (I mean, this is just a race I’m doing for fun, right?), my subconscious clearly disagrees and gets giddy with anticipation and excitement. This night was no exception and I think I got maybe 20 or 30 minutes of intermittent sleep. This definitely affected my performance.


With COVID cases on the rise here, I decided to wear a N95 mask for the 45 minute bus ride up the mountain to the starting line. I happened to sit next to the only other person on the bus wearing a mask, and, unlike the rest of the bus, neither of us really wanted to chitchat, which was perfect for me.

Illuminated only by headlights, the bus ride gave a great preview of the route of the race: twisty and turny with a whole bunch of elevation loss. I tried to visualize coming down the mountain as we were going up it.

The sun had yet to rise by the time we got dropped off (and wouldn’t until 30 minutes prior to the start). I walked around the waiting area which was well-stocked with urns filled with hot coffee (!!!) and hot chocolate, and plenty of porta potties. I was on one of the first buses to arrive which I thought would be a disadvantage in waiting around in the cold longer, but provided the advantage of having no line to pee.

As the sky filled with the first light of the day, I reached for my prescription sunglasses attached to my shirt under my outer layers and they… felt floppy. I pulled them out and a lens fell to the ground. Not good. My distance vision is not particularly terrible, but it would absolutely be a negative distraction to live in a fuzzy sphere for 26.2 miles. I asked some of the race crew if they had any kind of tape, and they pointed me toward a first aid kit that I ultimately could not find. Then I had an epiphany: I had medical tape… on my nipples… to prevent chafing. I reached into my shirt, painfully pulled one piece of tape off, and used it to bound the frames as far out of my field of vision as possible.

It worked! And I looked ridiculous. But I could see!

After dropping my bag at the UPS truck and a quick half-mile warmup, I settled into the starting chute between the 3h15m pacer and the very fast looking group of Air Force Academy cadets all in the same USAF running kit.


The first thing I’ll say about the actual race is that the first half is absolutely gorgeous. The route follows the Cache La Poudre River down its canyon; the rapids of flowing water with its wonderful rushing sound is at one’s side for about 14 miles.

The road was closed in one direction to cars and the running course was protected by what must have been around 1.83 billion traffic cones.

The start, for me, was not very crowded. Just over 500 people ran the marathon, but the folks in the first few rows of the chute were well spaced and increasingly spread out as the race progressed. For the first time in my memory, I didn’t go out like a crazy person once the horn sounded. I found a group going at a slightly-faster-than-I-planned pace that protected me from the slight headwind blowing up the canyon.

The course is steadily downhill, with the largest sustained gradients at the beginning of the race. Weeks prior, I had decided that my race strategy was to intentionally make a positive split in order to bag as much time as I could using the decline to my advantage. I’m not entirely sure this was the right strategy (even splits might have been easier on the legs and allow higher power delivery later in the race). I later read a quote from running coach Mario Fraioli who said:

Banking time in a marathon — any race, really — is almost always a terrible idea. Be patient and methodical in your execution. Great racers, regardless of the speed they’re running, are the ones who slow down the least.

Unbeknownst to me prior to this marathon, it turns out that there are two types of elevation to worry about in a running race: hills (the obvious one) and road cross slope (i.e. the side-to-side cant of the road). There were only two or three minor hills on this course and their downslopes more than made up for the minor inconveniences of the upslopes. But the cambered road was the impactful factor at the Colorado Marathon: for almost the entirety of the section within the canyon, the road cant was severe. With the river mostly on one’s left within the canyon, it felt like it was necessary to constantly run up a hill to the right just to run in a straight line.

The last 10 or so miles are unremarkable: a bunch of highway that connects to a multi-use path before getting into Downtown Fort Collins to the finish.

According to my analysis of the data coming out of my Stryd foot pod, I hit a wall somewhere around mile 20 (32 km). I didn’t bonk or run out of energy; instead, I just ran out of power output. My quads were increasingly sore and activating them seemed to require substantially extra energy and motivation. Another factor was that the temperature had risen from a perfect low-40°F (4.5°C) with protection from the sun given by the canyon walls to a toasty 55+°F (12.7°C) with no shade.

By this point, I had built up a safety factor of over three minutes over a 3-hour marathon pace, so I knew I could slow down a bit and still accomplish at least two of my goals. I started to walk through some aid stations to try to give my poor quads a bit of a rest, but this was not very effective.

My lead over my goal time started to dwindle over the last couple of miles. I almost continuously calculated how many seconds per mile over a 6:51/mi (4:16/km) pace I could add safely to still hit my A goal. At some point, I started to repeat to myself: “If you finish in a few seconds over three hours, you will regret any slack you gave yourself right now. Push.” I would try to surge and muscle through the dull legs for a bit, before falling back to an unacceptably slow pace.

The final quarter mile has a quick succession of four 90° turns. By the first one, you can hear the booming, amplified voice of the announcer at the finish line reading off runner names. Knowing that I had only a second or two to spare to hit sub-3 — and that measurement inaccuracies could easily nullify that — I brought myself to a sprint around the corners and through the final stretch.

While trying to summon as much power as I could, wildly swinging my arms to try to generate additional torque, I looked up and got confused when I saw two RFID reader strips — one several feet before the big “FINISH” banner and one just under it — and two clocks with different times in the only part I cared about: the seconds. In the moment of total exertion, I couldn’t figure out which was for the half marathon and which was for the full marathon (or even if that’s how they were arranged). I crossed both of the timing mats and didn’t know on which side of three hours my performance was on. But I was really quite happy that I even finished (and didn’t have to run any longer) and that I crushed my B and C goals.


I sat down at a picnic table and had a banana. Once I assessed myself, I managed to peel myself off of the bench to go get a delicious, free Odell Brewing Company Mountain Standard IPA — nothing like a beer at 9:45am? — and to listen to some pretty fun reggae-pop being performed on the stage.

I walked over to the information tent to ask for directions back to the hotel, having left my pocket computer in my room. But I noticed that there were tablets on the table with the race results. It was here that I learned I accomplished my A goal — with the barest possible margin — and celebrated with an uncharacteristically loud “hell yeah!”.

A screenshot of the result page
2:59:59, baby!

It was also here that I realized I still had medical tape as a structural part of my sunglasses and I still looked like an idiot.

I hobbled the six blocks back to the hotel. I was able to get a slightly later checkout which allowed me to decompress and take a long, hot shower. After some food and a gift gathering outing, I drove back to Boulder. I opened the door to our apartment and, after providing 24 hours of care to our daughter, my wife exclaimed, “Great! You’re home! It’s your shift!” (mostly, but not entirely, kidding) and passed the responsibility of our sick toddler to me. Isla proceeded to refuse her afternoon nap; I think she was overly excited for me being home.

It’s hard parenting a toddler who likes to be carried in a three-story townhouse with blown out quads.

Next Goals

I’m not sure how much more I want to focus on running. I like it quite a bit, and it is a more money- and time-efficient exercise than cycling, but I also like other activities. Since I am registered for NYC again in the fall and now that I qualified for and might be headed to Boston next year, I figure I’ll continue to be running through next spring.

But, even then, and despite knowing that I haven’t hit my potential, I’m not sure how much more effort I’d like to put into chasing marathon PRs (especially without gravity’s assistance); it might be nice to just enjoy the experience of running through those courses and their famous crowds without any other pressure. At the very least, I’d like to maintain the capacity and capability of running a marathon below, say, 3.5 hours; maybe with some luck in the lotteries I can parlay that into running all of the Abbott World Majors over time.

One unaccomplished goal of mine is to beat 40 minutes in the 10k (40:26 PR in 2019) and to repeat a sub-20 minute 5k (19:38 PR in 2018). Perhaps I’ll focus on these distances with some weightlifting and an eye to translating speed endurance to the half and full marathons.

Overall, I think half marathons are more fun for me: less time commitment and not as mentally and physically taxing, but still a fun challenge.

I had a thought about trying a triathlon next year, which would require me to learn how to swim competitively. Given toddlerhood, I’m not sure that time commitment is in the cards. One day, maybe.

Fort Collins

I didn’t spend a lot of time exploring Fort Collins. Old Town was cute and quaint; I would have liked touring around a bit more. The rest of the city is pretty spread out and car-dependent.

Elizabeth Hotel: The hotel was nice and I’d stay here again; I chose it specifically for proximity to the pickup location for the bus to the starting line, which was just on the next block. The most remarkable part of the hotel was that there were three wedding parties staying at the hotel with one wedding reception in the building, but I wouldn’t have known of it from my room tucked into a wing of the fifth floor. Had I slept, I wouldn’t have been bothered by drunken partygoers; in fact, the loudest noise source was the deep thuds of doors closing behind fellow runners leaving their rooms after 4am.

The Emporium: The hotel’s restaurant was very good and had a nice ambiance. I’d come back. The cappuccino from the co-located Bowerbird Cafe was properly made.

A breakfast spread
Breakfast at The Emporium

Little Bird Bakery: My wife approved of the walnut chocolate chip cookie I bought her. Enough said.