So in 2010 I ran my first New York City Marathon. Cindy had also qualified with the 9+1 program, but at the end decide she wasn’t prepared enough so she didn’t run. So it was all me and my lonesome!
I went to the marathon expo on Friday with Cheryl after work. I must say I have been to the Javits Center many times, but I loved being there surrounded by running stuff!
I got (my still favorite) gloves with each of the boroughs on it. The night before I carbo-loaded with some pasta and went to bed early. The one good thing about the NYC Marathon is it is always the day we roll the clocks back. Living in New Jersey I had to get on the busses at Giants Stadium around 4:00am. Since we rolled the clocks back though it was like it was 5:00am. At least it’s something!
So Cheryl drove me to the busses and then I sat on the bus until we got to the start. It was dark when I got on the busses and just barely getting light out when I got there. Once there I had to walk to the start area and looked for my corral. Then the waiting began….
The marathon actually doesn’t start until 9:00am (wheelchairs start at 8:30am) and my wave didn’t start until close to 10:30am. That’s more than 4 hours of waiting! Luckily there was Dunkin Donuts
They had bagels, coffee, and hot water for tea. They were also giving out hats which was helpful. I had dressed in layers of clothes I didn’t want anymore. I had heard since it’s cold you dress in layers than in the start corral you take them off and anything left there is donated to shelters in the city. I had not anticipated HOW COLD it was going to be though. My hands were freezing even with gloves. I saw a few people walking around in Snuggies (belted on) and I thought that was genius!
I only had one cup of coffee and had had a bagel with peanut butter at home. I drank a lot of hot water and tried to use the port potty before I had to go to the start corral. Finally it was time to line up. I walked around a little beforehand because I needed to warm up my body.
The corrals are broken into different waves and sections. Luckily I was in one of the groups that goes over the Verrazano Narrows Bridge and not under it. I heard under is the worst. I was so excited to finally be running that when we started I went out SO FAST! A lot of people did. I saw a few stumbles too of people trying to take pictures on the bridge while running. Careful!
But seriously how awesome!
As I was freezing on Staten Island, my spectator crew was heading into the city. My mom, aunt, sister and my friend Cindy all decided to come cheer me on.
They even made fun signs for me!
So I was off on my 26.2 mile adventure. The crowds in New York are awesome so that helped me not focus on how far along I was. I saw my cheer squad in Brooklyn around mile 5. I was pretty stoked because I had started running with gloves, but I got really hot and took them off and was holding them. As I ran past I gave Cheryl my Dunkin Donuts hat and the gloves. Win!
I was doing pretty well for a while. It was really nice weather and I made sure to stay hydrated. My downfall was the Queensboro Bridge. As I was running up it I kept thinking “almost at the top” but I really wasn’t. The whole bridge is about a mile….uphill. My calves were SCREAMING after a while and I had to stop and walk. I had not anticipated going uphill for that long. After that I had to alternate between running and walking. I even stopped to stretch, but my calves were very angry with me.
I knew the cheer squad was going to be around mile 24 near Central Park so I made sure to run as much as I could at the end.
Cheryl even jumped in to take a picture of me!
Soon enough I was in the park and then out of the park running toward the finish. At the end I really had to push to finish. That last .2 is always so rough.
Then I was crossing the finish line! I finished in 4:32:21 which was only 11 minutes slower than the DC Marathon I had run in April.
After was probably the worst part of the whole race though.
After running for 4 and a half hours they force you into a finish chute that WASN’T MOVING. I felt like I was slamming into people. All I wanted to do was walk, but I couldn’t. I almost started crying at one point I just wanted to get my stuff and leave. They wouldn’t let me go any other way either. It was all the way through with the thousands of other runners.
Finally I escaped with my stuff and found my cheer squad.
The New York City Marathon is tough, I’m not going to lie. There are a lot of hills, but the fans cheering you on really help. Reading the signs, seeing the drunks along the street screaming for you saying how awesome you are. It was a good time!