Skip to main content

Review: A Race Like No Other: 26.2 Miles Through the Streets of New York

I finished Liz Robbin's A Race Like No Other: 26.2 Miles Through the Streets of New York on Saturday -- the day before the 40th running of the New York City Marathon. Her book details the 2007 running of the marathon, focusing on the front of the pack and a lot of people in between.

The book is organized per mile, and laces the race's history through the runner stories. It's no small race, either -- it's run by over 40,000 people a year.

The book is good, but not perfect. At times, the narrative wobbles, and Robbins repeats herself. But it's fascinating for a runner. I never gave much though to a race game plan before reading this book. Who knew I could create a run strategy, just like a basketball play? The book's also pricked up my interested in this year's race. I ran a 10k on Sunday, and kept checking Twitter for marathon updates at the post-race breakfast.

I've been toying with the idea of running a marathon for some time now, and I might finally be ready. Could I go out and run one? Probably, albeit it slowly with walking. But if I'm going to run one, I want to RUN it and at least try to be competitive.

I'm already race ready for a half marathon (I'm running the Philadelphia Half Marathon on November 22) and could continue on that base to reach marathon level. We'll see how I feel after the Philly Half. If I manage to run that race in under 1:37, I automatically qualify for the New York City marathon, and I'll take it as a sign to run it. But I doubt that's going to happen unless Jesus himself pushes me. More likely, I'll put my name in the lottery and pick a spring marathon.

So we'll see. That Sunday 10k took a lot out of me, as you can see below. A full 26.2? It's a little scary.


Anonymous said…
Congrats on the 10K!

Have you read 50/50 by Dean Karnazes? He runs 50 marathons in 50 days, many with first time marathoners. The book is full of great tips. I'm reading it now and it's deceptive how running 50 marathons dwarfs the challenge for most people of running just one, plus it details many of the marathon paths for most states.

I live in NYC so I'm not sure if I could handle the self-imposed pressure of running in my home city. I'm considering Chicago, Portland or Maui myself.
Jen A. Miller said…
I haven't read it, but I will check it out

Funny you say that about hometown marathon. I'm consdering out of town marathons, too, but I think that's more because I want to run in spring, and the Philly Marathon is in the fall. I'm thinking of the New Jersey Marathon (which, while in my home state, is a haul to get to) or the Gasparilla Marathon, which is in Tampa. Why that one? Well, I went to college in Tampa, and it's the last year for that marathon. So we'll see!

Popular posts from this blog

Welcome Back to Book a Week with Jen!

Hello hello! Yes, the rumors (that I started) are true. On New Year's Day, I fired up the old Book a Week with Jen blog, gave it a new domain, and I'm going to be writing about my reading habits once again. If you don't know me, my name is Jen A. Miller , and I'm a freelance writer and author. I've been freelancing now for 17 years, and in that time, have written hundreds of articles, three books ( two about the Jersey Shore and one about running ), and two ebooks ( both about freelance writing ). If you're not new around here, wow a lot has changed. I wrote a memoir , picked up a regular running column for the New York Times , and put that back down again. I ran a lot of marathons, and got into ultra marathoning, which lead me to run my first 24 hour race on New Year's Eve/New Year's Day 2020/2021 . My first dog, Emily, died in 2017 . I sold my first home, lived out of my car for a year traveling the country , scooped up a scruffy cattle dog mix in Ida

Book 5 of 52: Stormy Weather by Carl Hiaasen

I don't always try to match my reading to what I'm doing, but when I go to Florida, I try to pack at least one Florida weird book. There was no better novel to bring with me to read on a ferry from Key West to Dry Tortugas National Park , than Carl Hiaasen's Stormy Weather . Hiaasen was writing about #floridaman before #floridaman was a thing (and when this - # - was the pound sign).  Stormy Weather is set in 1992 in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew, which is still the most destructive hurricane to have ever hit Florida, and only one of four hurricanes to make landfall in the U.S. still at Category 5 strength. According to the Miami Herald , Hurricane Andrew destroyed 63,000 homes and damaged another 101,241. Such disasters bring out the best in humanity but also the worst. F raud flowed into South Florida in Andrew's wake . That's where  Stormy Weather comes in. From an advertising executive who yanks his new wife away from their Walt Disney World honeymoon to r

Book 11 of 52: The World Without Us by Alan Weisman

In my travels, I've accumulated photos in what I call the "Plants Where They Shouldn't Be" series. They're of weeds, flowers and trees growing in places that look uncomfortable: poking out of lava that's OK to walk on but warm enough to generate steam, growing around a mile marker on the road, sprouting on the back of a parking sign - that kind of thing. On the cheesy side, they're reminders that we can flourish in the most unlikely circumstances. On a more realistic end, they show that humans are constantly battling back nature, and that someday we'll probably lose the fight. I thought about those photos when I read  book 8 of 52 Station Eleven  (and watched  the HBO Max adaptation ), which show a world without 99.99 percent of our current human population. The story focuses on people, of course, but set them in a world where the things humans have created - electricity, internet, buildings, bridges, roads - are being taken back by nature. A Jersey Sh