Lance Armstrong, the seven-time Tour de France champion, accomplished his goal of finishing a marathon in New York City today. But, it cost him dearly. "I think I bit off more than I could chew," he said. "I thought the marathon would be easier." Though he finished in an impressive 2:59.36 in the ING New York Marathon, he admitted that the race "the hardest physical thing I have ever done." It was, he said, even more grueling than his worst days on the Alp d'Huez.
The 35-year-old Armstrong averaged less than 7 minute miles throughout the race until mile 21 when he fell off the pace briefly. Of course, it didn't hurt that he was paced for most of the race by former marathon champions Alberto Salazar and Joan Benoit Samuelson.
Memo to self: the next time I want to negative split the 26.2, bring along a couple of ringers.
Oh yeah, it wasn't Armstrong who actually won the race. That honor went to Brazilian Marilson Gomes dos Santos in the men's race and defending champion Jelena Prokopcuka in the women's race--but, judging from the crowd reaction, most of the crowd along the way cared more about the fact that Lance came in nearly an hour later.