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2014 New York City Marathon training: First steps

The most important thing in long-distance running is

The most important thing in long-distance running is to keep going. Above, artwork on Avenue C in the East Village. (Credit: Newsday / Edward B. Colby)

A Sunday morning in August. Central Park. An NYRR 5-mile race is about to start, and the field’s getting excited, revved up by a loud airing of AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck.”

That’s how my head feels, as I sit on a bench to the side. I’d woken up with a migraine, and as the minutes count down, I don’t appreciate AC/DC at all. Too much noise. But I’m training for this year’s New York City Marathon and need to stay disciplined — so I want to go through with this race and stay on track.

Maybe, I think, running will sweat the headache toxins out of my body.

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That didn’t happen. On top of that, ribs on my left side gave me aching pain, because of a collision in a softball game days before. The race turns out to be my worst run in years. But I finished.

Indeed, my initial weeks of training for this — my first marathon since Miami in January 2013 and my first NYC marathon since 2009 — have been kind of rough. I’m excited to gear up for the challenge and beat my personal best of 3:51. But first I fractured a pinkie toe in a mishap at home and then I hurt my ribs while trying to beat a throw to second base. As a result, my progress has been stop and start: More days off than I would like, and nagging injuries, interspersed with some highly enjoyable loops to the UN and back or pretty evening trips through the park.

There have also been great runs, like the one I took on the Minuteman Bikeway one Sunday when I was home in Massachusetts. My girlfriend and her parents came along on bikes. They stayed with me for only a few miles, but I powered forward past the end of the trail, exploring some new territory on a sunny day. I retraced my route back, running a total of 10 miles in 1 hour and 27 minutes.

That breaks down to 8:42 per mile — almost exactly the pace I’ll need to set a new personal record on Nov. 2. That’s the long-distance goal, and I’m working to stay focused on it.

Total mileage in training so far: 110

Edward B. Colby, an Internet news manager for Newsday, will be blogging about his preparations for the 2014 NYC Marathon leading up to the big day. Send feedback and blog post ideas to

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