I finally did it, or came close enough. I read somewhere that a few weeks prior to a marathon the runner should run a 20-mile course. (For those who do not know, the marathon is 26.2 miles.) Once before I ran 10 miles, from my home in Brooklyn, not far from the amusement parks of Coney Island, to Manhattan's Chinatown. Other times, I ran half-marathons or 15K races organized by the NYRR. I thought a 20-mi run would be just the 10-mi run with an extra 10 added. The math is simple enough.
I expected to spend at least 4 hours doing the 20 miles. If I run before the sun rises, I would have to bring a flashlight, just to have a source of light on me. I feel better knowing there is a smaller chance some motorist not running me over. For the 20-mile run, I wanted to travel light, really light, so I waited until the sun came out, around 6:15, before I started out.
I mostly followed the D subway line from 25th Avenue to Fort Hamilton Parkway, where the subway goes subterranean, i.e. underground or at least below street level. Next the route went along 39th Street, which like because one side is all dead-ends so I had a long run totally uninterrupted by traffic. At Fifth Avenue I turned toward Manhattan and used Greenpoint Cemetery to again avoid traffic. Normally I avoid commercial areas like Brooklyn's Fifth Avenue, but it was early in the morning, 7ish to 8ish so there was not that many people out on the street yet. The stores were mostly still closed. Soon enough Flatbush Avenue was reached, next it was MetroTech Center. Through the tree grove I tried to get to the street by going between 2 of the Polytechnic buildings, to reach George Westinghouse H.S., but alas that exit was closed. I had to loop back toward 1 CMC and go past Starbucks to head toward the pedestrian lane of the Manhattan Bridge. The ascend on the bridge seemed to take forever but eventually I got to the other side, Manhattan's Chinatown. Maybe having ran this route before made it seem shorter. The first 10 miles were relatively easy to cover.
Chinatown at 8 in the morning was already a busy. Stores and restaurants were opened for business, dim-sum eaters abound, and there were some buses unloading, ahem, losers from Atlantic City, just a wild guess. I did walk a little bit, even though it was relatively easy to run the 10 miles, I was still tired. I continued running once inside Sarah D. Roosevelt Park, near the bike path of the Manhattan Bridge, to Delancey and then toward the waterfront. Over a footbridge to cross the FDR, I was in the East River to continue the run south. I ran this way before, but not all the way to the Winter Garden in Battery Park City. The waterfront is not continuous but it was still possible to run mostly uninterrupted by vehicular traffic. By the time I reached Pier 17 (South Street Seaport), I was so thirsty and hoped that the new playground, Imagination, would have a working fountain. Rats, the place was closed, padlocked for the weekend perhaps. I kept going past the Staten Island Ferry Terminal, along the street perimeter of Battery Park, and past the long line of tourists waiting to get ferry tickets to visit the Statue of Liberty. Shortly later, I was inside Battery Park City. The last time I was in the BPC, I think its southern end was still under construction. Now there are gardens, walkways, arches, benches, everything nice and inviting, but I had a goal to reach. Two blocks before reaching the Winter Garden, still not recognizing it from the outside, I gave up and bought a Gatorade from a street vendor. I walked to the Garden and even sat down for about 10 minutes, under the indoor palm trees. It was warm and comfortable, but I had to get back and soon found myself tracing my path back. By then both feet were aching, even the toes ached, on the left. It helped a bit that I knew what was coming up next, but still I couldn't run all the way back to Chinatown. After cross the FDR via the footbridge, I walked the rest of the way. It probably came out to 18 miles and not 20, but that will have to do. I sure hope the crowd in St. Louis will be supportive enough for me to cover the whole 26.2 miles. My strategy will be 10 miles, a short walk while drinking, then another 10 and some more water, then it's all the way to the finish line. I ran the Manhattan Half-Marathon continuous, without stopping at all, no water whatsoever. But for a full marathon, I cannot do that, as my attempt at a 20-mile run already shown.