Why run the TCSNYC Marathon?
So everything started around 5 months ago when the Tag Heuer marketing agency “Cake Group” in NY approach to me asking me to run the TCSNY Marathon as a marketing influencer for the brand… Initially I said that no, thanks… Basically because I ran my first marathon in January this year, and it was a horrible experience. I even said to myself that I would never run a marathon again in my life… but at this point we all know that that wasn’t true, and that by now I even want to have many more marathons in the books. Any who.. the fact of having a bunch of cool Tag Heuer perks was what really got my into running the TCSNY Marathon, not the actual fact of running the marathon itself.
The deal was that the marketing agency was going to fly to Miami with an Art director, photographer, story teller and a make up artist to get some shots of me running in my favorite places in Miami for Tag Heuer to post some pictures of me as an influencer for their NY Marathon campaign. Again, that it self plus the watches was what really got me exited and what got me into running the race.
Why we (athletes) train??
I honestly didn’t believe it was for real until the day before the shoot. As an athlete you have no idea how fulfilling it is to have recognition for all the hard work and hours you put into training. Im not saying that this is why we (athletes) train… we train to have a healthy body and soul, we train because the connection you get to have your body is unreal, we train because its a way of meditating, we train because you get to know the cities and tonws in ways nobody else gets to see and experience, we train because through training we get to meet the most inspiring people ever, we train because it feels awesome to feel like your body is a machine that can do literally whatever you train it and ask him to do.. that felling is just priceless. So don’t get me wrong, having some kind of recognition is just a small reason why we train.
Trust me, there are no words to describing the feeling once you accomplished what you once thought it wasn’t possible for you to achieve it, not to mention that felling you feel once your body is fit enough that any athlete friend can tell “Gabe, lets go for a 25k run” and your answer to it is “ok Michael, what time? and when?….. So what for must is a Bucket List Item (to run a half or full marathon) for us is another day of training… that itself is amazing.
TIP: Please, DON’T run with music… Running with music is like drinking a “Lacoste” bottle of wine and not taking the time to really smell and taste it…. You just want to enjoy the good bottle of wine, the same way how you want to enjoy your runs. A run is a moment to connect with your body and listen to your heart, lungs and legs. Take the time and silence to understand your body, to listen to your steps and to experience in a different way the city where you live in or are visiting. A run is a sacred place, treat your run how you would treat your body. The more connected you are to your body and to earth itself the more a magical experience each run will be.
Now a days we are so distracted by everything that we barely have time to do one thing alone. We watch tv while texting, eat our food while working or even have sex while music is playing, so it is time to take our time and try to do things and actually understand them for that they truly are… Be free!
So the day came, and we met at the Miami Muscle Beach (a wannabe Venice Beach Gym) which was just a couple blocks away from my home, so I decided to wake up at 4am to go for a 7mile run, since I knew that it was going to be a long day with the crew and that I wasn’t going to have enough time to train in the afternoon ( I was just weeks away of participating in the Nautical Malibu Int. Triathlon and really wanted to perform well).
They started me by doing some dips, abs and jumping on top of some truck tires…. afterwards we went to south beach and took a couple shots of me running with the ocean and sun in the background.
Right after that we went to the Venetian Causeway, one of my favorite places to run, where you can either do a short run of around 3mi or you can also extend it to a long run with might add to a 8-9 mile run if you run through the islands. Each location took in between 30-60 minutes, and basically all I was supposed to do is run back and forth a thousand times… trust me, it was exhausting and being a sports model is not a career a would ever consider.. My respect to models….. In my eyes, is even very vert boring. Anyhow, we ended the day visiting the perez Art museum and the Wynwood district where I usually run a time trail 10k with the #Irun army on mondays.
At the middle of the day we stopped to grab lunch at Gigi’s, which was delicious. To end the day, we tried heading to Southpoint park to catch some last rays of light, but it was already to late and a storm was coming in, so the shots we got there were no good material in conclusion. By this time of the day it was already 6pm so we called at a day…. I was pretty exited to see the last version of the shots @kevin_khuel got.
Favorite Running Places in Miami
- Venetian Causeway: Great for mansion seeing – can range from a 6k run all the way to a 15k.
- Southpoint Park: If running for sunset, at around 6:00pm you will see cruise ships entering miami. Can range from a quick 5k run all the way up to a 25k run if you run all the way up to Barl Harbor.
- Oleta State Park: Not your average Miami. Runs at Oleta are always fun, run in the MTB trails where you can even end up kayaking. (avg 12k loops)
- Key Biscayne: will not say much about this secret run, just that you can’t bring any electronics because of the 100swim included (Virginia Key Secret Loop w/ 100mts of swim included)
- Brickell Key mainstream run, with nice views from the miami port and key biscayne. (3k loops)
- Markham State Park: starts with a green and beautiful garden, but don’t be fool… this is just before heading out to the endless oven levy. If you are lucky (or unlucky) you might even see alligators.
- Tamiami Trails: best for group runs. similar to Markham.
- Wynwood 10k Time trail with the #irunarmy. Hipster run, passing by wynwood walls and the miami design district.
Some of the Shoots for Tag Heuer. Pics by: Kevin Kuehl
Let me start this part by saying that before this trip I hated NY. I couldn’t stand how mainstream it was and how congested… it was trustfully a “Concrete Jungle”, and being a wanna-be hippie made me automatically wanted to “hate” NYC. But after this trip ended, I officially like NY. The food is amazing, architecture is beautiful, art is alive, its people are just ok and Central Park gives this “yo no se que” which makes you feel like you are outside of NY. (Running in central park was one of my bucket list Items, so I was exited I got to check that one of my list).
If i am an adrenaline junkie, the Jess my better half is a food junkie, so while i look for races thorough the year to compete in, Jess looks for restaurants where we can eat while we are traveling for races. Obviously NY wasn’t an exception.. heres a list of the restaurants where we ate at:
- Le Bilboquete (French cuisine)
- ABC Kitchen (Gastropub maybe..)
- Lupa (Italian = Carb Loading
- Sadelle’s (brunch and bagels)
- Rapha (must stop for coffee and cyclists)
- Sugarfish (BEST SUSHI ON EARTH!)
We met at 6:00 am with all the tag heuer team in front of the sheraton to catch the buss with was going to take us to Staten Island for the Marathon start. Among all the influencers I was supposed to have the second fastest time (if everything went according to plans… I did have the second fastest, after Profesional
Athlete and friend of the brand Josef Ajram (3:03 vs. 3:26). Other influencers were mostly social media guys, who basically where hired to promote and exposse the brand/watch.
Headed towards Staten Island in a bus with most athletes, it was a time for reflection and setting a strategy for the race. I decide to divide the race into three different parts of progressive running 14k each. Once we got to the bus stop, we were taken into a VIP tent, where refreshments and heat was provided before moving on to the corals. Based on my expected time (3:16) I was located in the first corral, as well as all the other athletes/influencers running for Tag. Watching the UPS trucks in the corals area was kind of a proud moment (since now I work for UPS), anywho… We were moved into the corrals, and waited for almost 45 mins until we heard the national anthem played in a distance and the start gun shoot sounded. We were also told to stay at our right hand of the road for the first couple meters in order to get video material for the final Tag Heuer promotional video.
This moment was one of the highlights of my life to be honest… EVERY athlete MUST to run the New York Marathon at least once In a lifetime. The felling you get while running the first bridge is juts honestly out of this world, no words can describe that felling. Just imagine running alone 50.000 people over this majestic structure surrounded by helicopters and the euphoria of every single runner….
Started running at a steady 5:00min/km and just 3 km into the race I ran into a Dominican who wanted to run the entire marathon at a 5:00min/km, so I decided to run the first part of my race with him. We chatted a lot about running obviously and find out he had ran another marathon last week!!! I couldn’t even had run 1 mile a week after that race, but anywho…. Ended up running along the Dominican until Km. 16 and thats where I decided to drop a little my pace to a 4:45min/km so I could administrate myself and finish strong at a 4:30min/km. I believe that around KM 25 before going through the Jews neighborhood was the most intense and exciting moment of the race… the people were on the street, making the runners almost run in a single line funnel, kind of how fans arrange themselves in Alpe D’huez at the las stage of Le Tour de France.
From the moment you descend from the Queensboro Bridge all the way up to the finish line is just plain suffering. Sufferfest begins and the from this point on I don’t recall anything, just focus on finishing the race strong. I tried getting to that 4:30min/km pace just when I exited the bridge but after two kms of hitting my goal, I realize that the rest of the race was going to be through rolling hills and my legs couldn’t keep up the pace. I manage to maintain a strong 4:50min/km, until I got to Central Park where my legs just gave up…. ended up running a 5:20 pace, which was kind of disappointing, but I was soooo exited to finishing the race and felling strong throughout most of it, even though not having train for it appropriately. I ended up the race and went directly to get my warmer blanket and sat on a bench in Central Park almost dying….. Jess came we chatted for a little while and were wondering how I was going to make it to the hotel walking, since I felt pretty sore….. When suddenly Dean Karnazes (Ultra marathoner and a huge inspiration of mine… MUST READ “Ultra Marathon Man”) passed in front and I JUMPED to take a picture with him!… Jess reaction was like.. wow! weren’t you dying and couldn’t even stand still? who is he ????
Lastly…. before completing the NYC Marathon, I said to myself that this was probably going to be my last Marathon, but now I am determine to train accordingly to run a sub 3 hours marathon this following year.
Check out the add video Tag made after the race: TCSNYC Marathon w/Tag Heuer