Friday, November 09, 2007

NYC Marathon 2007

The morning started out with subway, ferry and bus rides to get me from Brooklyn to the race staging area at Fort Wadsworth, Staten Island. I didn't really know what to expect except a lot of waiting. Over my race clothes I wore sweat pants and 3 long-sleeved shirts, one of which I planned to start running in and dispose of on the course (all the clothing discarded by runners at the race start is donated to various charities). I couldn't get in touch with my fellow TNTers (um, guys?) and so I mostly killed time by observing my fellow runners in various states of race preparation (for example, applying band-aids to their nipples). I was in the Green start (I guess the race organizers didn't hear about my special relationship with orange) and lined up according to my race number - 33488, and right near the back of the pack. After the gun went off at 10:10, it took me approx. 45 minutes to even cross the start line! The first 2 miles were over the Verrazzano Bridge and the views were amazing - many people stopped to take pictures. I was mostly trying not to go out too fast, which is something I often do and knew would be a big challenge with the energy of the crowds in Brooklyn.

A friend who's run NYC twice had told me that for the first 8 miles you don't even notice you're running, and he was totally right. By the time I got to Park Slope (my old 'hood), I just felt like I was at some awesome party that had been thrown in my honour and was attended by 40,000 of my closest friends. I barely glanced at my watch for the first 10 miles.

As I'd practiced in training, I kept scanning my body to see how I was feeling. And to my great surprise, I kept feeling good! I passed my head cheerleaders just before Mile 14 (and about a mile before the Queensborough Bridge, which is also the biggest hill on the course), and while I'd planned to stop and chat with them for a few minutes, I felt so good that I smiled and waved, grabbed my Gu, and kept right on running. (Insert Forrest Gump jokes here.)

The biggest surprise on the course came in crossing the dreaded bridge at Mile 16. I'd run it twice in practice and both times had felt completely whiny about it. On Sunday when I started that climb, I honest-to-god did NOT know that I was even on THE bridge. I even heard other people saying, "Oh, we're on THE bridge" and I remember thinking, "Suckas, this isn't THE bridge - save it." Then - I was in Manhattan! And I was like, hey! That was THE bridge! Good times.

First Avenue was indescribable - imagine 4 usually-busy lanes of a NYC street, closed to only runners, and cheering crowds at least 4 people deep on either side. It was incredible. I kept realizing that I was smiling and happy, and in the few moments I felt bad I remember thinking, "Holy crap! I'm running the NYC Marathon!" and when I was tempted to walk I'd add, "There's no walking in marathons!"

I'm SO grateful to everyone who came out to cheer, especially Bob, Joel, Andrea, Justin, Leslie (& Kerner), Dog, Sparkly D (who extra-rocks for flying from Toronto for the occasion), Bri, and the extra-special straight-from-Waterloo AS A SURPRISE Sweet Sirrah! herself, of whom I am entirely proud not only for an uncharacteristic show of spontaneity but for buying a ticket ON THE INTERNET. Thanks also to everyone who was hitting their browsers' refresh buttons to find out where I was on the course. (Technology rules.)

A few months ago I talked to another runner who'd run a few marathons, and she claimed there's nothing like the feeling you get when you cross your first marathon finish line. I think I'd add to that, there's nothing like the feeling you get when you cross your first NYC Marathon finish line.

More photos to come... I'm sure I've missed stuff that's interesting so post questions in the comments and I'll do my best to answer them (come on, someone ask me about the nipple band-aids!).


Elizabeth said...

You looked like you were having the time of your life when you sped past us on 4th Ave. (and the pictures confirm it)! Awesome race!
- Elizabeth

Anonymous said...

Okay--so tell us about the nipple bandaids--I am too curious!

Lisa said...

Did you watch that episode of the office a few weeks ago when they have a fun run? Andy gets nipple chaffing BAD. He also tries to draft. I think off of Stanley. IT WAS HILARIOUS.

Oh and Michael decided to carbo load (it was 5k) by eating a huge thing of fettucine alfredo. Gillian go watch it!

montague said...

it was so great to see you run by us... well done!!!!