On Sunday, November 1, 2009, I ran the NYC marathon.
Marathon weekend started out with a trip to the expo. I meet some fellow sparkers (Chas and Anthony) who were also running. Here is a photo of me with my hubby and one with Tony (sorry Chas, our photo didn't turn out).
Later that night, they were shooting off fireworks in Central Park over the finish line. It was really cool to be able to go down and watch them getting set up for the following morning. It was raining but we still had a good time. They had music playing and everyone was getting in the "marathon spirit."
Morning of, I was to catch the 8 am ferry to Staten Island. My husband rode the subway down to the ferry with me, kissed me good bye and headed off to Brooklyn to watch me at mile 8.
Once I caught the ferry, I was bussed to the starting area. I was scheduled in the 2nd wave start which was suppose to be at 1000 am. It was crazy. Thank goodness I had eaten on the bus over to the starting area. I got there and they were already closing the corrals to the first wave start. I only had to wait about 10 minutes before I could line up. Things at that point were going smoothly. I had plenty of time to use the restroom and get mentally prepared. Once the gun sounded for the first wave, the second wave runners were suppose to move up and get into line. It was so crowded that the line never moved. I don't think the corral marshals realized this and they started allowing wave 3 runners to line up. The gun for the wave 2 start went off and we still weren't moving. We waited and waited. Finally they closed the bridge and we missed our start. There were wave 2 runners all around me and most of them were pretty upset to have missed the start. It was frustrating that the corral marshals did not do a better job monitoring the situation but what was the point in getting all upset about it now. It wouldn't change anything. I figured that your personal time doesn't start until you cross the timing mat anyway. I just put it behind me. The third and final gun went off at 1020 and my race had begun (well almost, it still took me about 7-8 minutes to get to the starting mat).
The first bridge was the Verrazano-Narrows.
It was so windy. If I had to guess I would say that the wind was a constant 30+ mph. It was not a steep hill but a nice steady incline. With the headwind and incline, I reached the one mile mark at a 1124 pace. Considering that I usually start out way too fast at the beginning of a race, I felt like I was barely moving.
Miles 3-10 were in Brooklyn. The crowds were amazing.
. I gave out a lot of high 5's and even a hug to the guy holding the "Free hugs" sign. It was amazing to feel the energy. I printed my name on my shirt and everyone was cheering for me. It was very emotional. I saw my hubby between mile 8-9 which definitely gave me an extra boost. Shortly after this time, I started having some issues. Issue one: I had to pee and the porta potty lines at every stop were so long. Issue two: I was starting to get a little chaffing in the thigh area...ugh. Thank goodness I brought along some chaffing cream and got a chance to apply it generously while I was waiting in the porta potty lines. (I finally broke down just before the half way point). Issue three: slight nagging pain in the top of my foot.
The next two bridges were the Pulaski Bridge and the Queensboro bridge.
I had been dreading the Queensboro bridge. Everyone said it was the toughest of the 5 bridges. I looked straight ahead and began my affirmations. I know it sounds corny but it totally helped. I thanked God for giving me two strong legs to run, a healthy heart and a strong mind. I reminded myself that I was capable of more than I ever thought possible. I was passing everyone (okay, most of them were walking) but it still made me feel great. I only lost a couple seconds on my average pace.
I will say the miles after that all bled together until about mile 22. I remember the people, although there were not as many. I remember crossing the Willis Ave and Madison Ave bridges but nothing in particular stands out.
It was exciting to get to Manhattan. There were tons of people (however I still feel that Brooklyn was the BEST). Again, people were cheering for me by name. I needed it! There was a one mile incline in the course before we headed into the park.
Central Park was beautiful. The rolling hills were tough. They felt like mountains on my tired legs. My slightly nagging foot pain had become constant starting at about mile 18. I really just wanted to be finished. Since we had come down the night before, I knew the course for the last 3/4 of a mile. There was no way I was going to stop. I crossed the finish line with pride in my heart and a smile on my face (I think). Other than my foot, I felt pretty good.
The finishing corral took a very long time to get through. After stopping for a while to eat and drink, I finally made it out to Central Park West were I meet up with my husband.
We walked back to our brownstone and I checked my finishing time.
almost 33 minutes better than my first marathon (foot pain and all). Don't know what happened with the foot. I ended up with a pretty nasty looking bruise on the top lateral aspect of my right foot. Hoping it is nothing serious. Left the next morning for vacation but I am in contact with my sports med doctor to get some advice. All in all though, this was an amazing race!