ING New York City Race Report
Sunday, November 7, 2007
all started in 2006. My friend, Linda, said she wanted to run the NYC Marathon.
I agreed that someday, I too wanted to run the NYC marathon! We decided that
when the sign ups opened, we'd throw our names into
the lottery and we'd run by 2010! Because there are so many entries in
In January we both registered and joked through the next six months that we would run NYC in 2010. June came along, the day they announced the lottery winners. We didn't think we'd get in, but of course we were excited! I had a field trip planned that day so I made my kids wait until the announcement. I stood at my desk refreshing the page over and over again. Finally they said results of lottery were up. I looked up my name and announced to my kids, "I'm in! I'm running the New York City Marathon! I'm in!" They cheered because they knew how excited I was.
I quickly looked up Linda's name and was shocked to see SHE GOT IN TOO! I ran into her office, "We're both in! We're both running in November!" She didn't believe me at first, but looked it up and confirmed! We jumped up and down disrupting the nice quiet atmosphere of the school office. We ran into Steve's office (the director) and announced we needed our personal days off in November of next year. My poor kids, in the meantime, were waiting in my classroom to take them to Gameworks.
The whole rest of the day I would announce to anyone standing anywhere near me, often over and over again, "Guess what?"
"I'm running in the
The week before was spent
doing important race preparations. Tuesday we met and
got our race nails done. We had been discussing this important aspect of the
race for WEEKS. We settled on white nails with blue tips (yeah baby) and a
decal related to
Fast forward through months of training runs, injured knees, overused quads, and deep tissue massages to November 1. We hopped the redeye to
Once we’d put in our claim for our missing luggage, we dropped our stuff at the hotel and headed straight to the expo. It was HUGE! The biggest expo I’ve ever seen! It was so big that I didn’t realize until later that I’d missed parts of it! Darn! I checked and we picked up our packets for the Friendship run on Saturday, and then my race packet for the
went to the sale part first. My luggage was gone, and I might be lost in
The rest of the day was spent walking all over downtown
Saturday morning we hopped out of bed and headed to the United Nations for the International Friendship Run. Originally this was to be only for international racers and their family, but in October they opened it up to anyone related to someone running in the race, so I signed Roy and I up. Friday night we were pretty tired and we’d actually discussed not going to the run, especially with how much my knees were bothering me.
I am SO glad we ran! What a trip! Imagine standing in front of the UN building being surrounded by people from many different countries speaking almost any language you could imagine. I believe I head there were 100 countries represented! We made our way through the crowd completely stunned by the color around us! Runners were decked out in the colors and flags of their country, and I do not think I have ever seen a more enthusiastic group! We fell in with the Holland Runners. They were orange from head to toe with flags, banners, silly hats, some ran in rubber clogs. They sang and chanted as they ran and we just laughed! What a neat group of people!
As we ran through the streets, New Yorkers stopped and cheered us, although I don’t think most of them really knew what was going on. Groups called out to each other and laughed and sang. It was only 3 kilometers, but it was a really enriching experience.
After the race on Saturday I decided I needed to take it as easy as possible, so we headed downtown and I found places to park and watch the city go by while
the play we headed to the Olive Garden to carbo-load.
Yes, I know that’s not very “fancy” but I know I can
eat stuff there without issue, so I enjoyed my shrimp primavera while watching
the lights of
Before we headed up to our hotel room before bed, we secured a cab for 4 a.m. the next morning with the bell captain. I got upstairs, took a long bath, iced my knees (which we were feeling better than the night before), and laid out three race outfits. I'd decide in the morning whether I wanted to go with the yellow and green running skirt with green top, the psychedelic pink, yellow, and blue running skirt with the yellow Livestrong top, or the running capris. (Hey, these are important decisions.) Laid everything out I was going to need; shoes with chip, biofreeze samples (didn't use), 4 packs of Jelly Belly Sports Beans (used 3 plus a gu I was given on the route), pain killer (didn't need), knee straps (removed during race, didn't need although I'd needed them even on short runs up to this point), Injinji toe socks, iPod, headphones (only used last few miles), sweatshirt to toss, really ugly bright very 80s jacket to toss, blanket for snuggling in while we waited, magazines to read while we waited, Breakfast cookie for breakfast, gloves to toss, San Diego Marathon hat, Blistex, Endurolytes, Immodium (a GODSEND at mile 14 when I had GI issues), sunscreen (forgot to use), and sunglasses. Whew!
Went to bed and didn't sleep much at all, but that was to be expected.
Sunday loomed dark and early with a 2:55 a.m. phone call telling me that our cab was waiting.
"What? Already? Okay, I'll be down in ten minutes!"
squinted at clock...
"Wait...what time is it?"
"3 a.m. ma'am."
"Yes, but I wanted a cab for 4 a.m."
"Well it is 4 a.m. if you don't change the clocks."
"Yes, but I wanted a cab WITH the clock change. 4 a.m. I have to be in the city at 4:30."
"Oh, so not now?"
"No, can he come back in an hour?"
"Oh, I'm sorry. Yes, in an hour. Sorry for waking you."
"That's okay, I had a 3 a.m. wakeup call anyhow."
So I was UP! Ha ha! Got ready with plenty of time to spare and at 4 a.m. our cab arrived. We headed into the city to meet Linda at her hotel at 4:25 where we'd walk together to the buses. We had run the San Diego Marathon together and wanted to make sure we did NOT get separated this time, as we had in
We arrived in the dark and the way was lined with people guiding us to the correct location. Everyone was ALREADY so encouraging! As we passed by one police office he said in a thick NY accent, "4:15! I predict 4:15 for you two! Today's your day!"
"The amazing Kreskin he isn't" I whispered to Linda and we both laughed and thanked him. We found the "green bib area", saw a tent with a few people in it, and headed in there because we knew it would warm up faster than outside would. We staked our spots and sat down to wait five hours until the start. Both of us dozed, or at least tried to. I was VERY thankful I'd brought a cheap fleece blanket because I was able to keep relatively warm while I laid on the cold ground. Really gave me a respect for what the homeless have to deal with during the cold months of the year.
Finally after a few hours the tent started to fill up with people wearing lime green singlets that said "Team 4 Kids". Uh oh! We were in someone else's tent! The wind was whipping up outside and it was chilly. No one asked us to leave so we stayed. We met a really nice Professor who was running his second NY marathon and had only been training for 5.5 weeks. Yipes! Braver than I am!
At about 9 a.m. we moved outside into the bright, cold sun and looked for our corral. We were in the 35000 corral. We started at the 1000 corral and started the LONG WALK to the very last corral. Corrals did not appear to be based on time, since we actually walked past pace groups in front of pace groups with faster times. (4:15 was in our corral while 5:30 was well ahead of us.) Snipers lined the rooftops for our safety, which was kind of different. The grounds were strewn with thousands of of discarded clothes, energy bars, and other implements that runners left behind. People were already starting to gather up goodies either for their own use, or to give to charity groups. I left a nice Gap sweatshirt (old but warm...a favorite), and a new fleece blanket.
This was an interesting
image. You don’t see a lot of snipers in marathons.
Finally at 10:10 we heard what we'd been waiting for! the cannon went off and a cheer went up! And then...we waited....and waited...and waited some more. We saw the first open field runners up on the
As we came down off the bridge we were greeted by our first borough,
We ran through
I had this very strange feeling of being a guest in every borough. Where normally I might take a gel and drop the packet on the course, I didn't feel right doing that here. I was a visitor, a guest. I wasn't going to defile my hosts home!
Some of my favorite moments in
After Brooklyn came
At multiple points in
Sure enough, mile 13 came and that chocolate came back to haunt me. SERIOUS stomach cramps and I could not find a porta potty fast enough. I tried to hold back as long as I could, but finally had to give in. Thank the Lord there were plenty along the route. I didn't have to wait in line at all. I was in misery, but thankfully it was short term. Immodium can be your very bestest friend EVER on the marathon when this happens! I took one and that was that, problem solved and within half a mile I was feeling normal again. WHEW!
I did have a slight challenge after that. Once your tummy starts bothering you food is the last thing on your mind. But I knew I needed to take another gu and soon or I would be crawling the last 8 or so miles. I forced myself to take it, even though I didn't want it.
Turning the corner into
The next stop was the Bronx and let me tell you, they have ATT-I-TUDE in the
Even though our visit was short, three things really stand out about The Bronx:
We crossed the
Again the streets were LINED with people. I had not yet caught a glimpse of
Mile 22. Just four miles to go. We can do this. One foot in front of the other. By now I'd put my music into one ear because I needed it to carry me through this last rough part. The first song that came on was No Mercy's "I Can Only Imagine" and wow, I needed that. It reminded me of the father/son love of Team Hoyt. I'd first heard the song in a video about those two and it makes me tear up every time. Next was Amy Grant's "In a Little While" and again, I needed it. It's funny. I really only have two or three Christian songs in my
Mile 23. Just three miles to go. Can I do a 5k? Sure I can do a 5k! One foot in front of the other. Music carry me. Cheers carry me. Look at the foliage on the trees. Look, there's the Dakota. Keep on keeping on. Almost done. Food at end. If we could do 10 minute miles we could beat 5 hours, I think...not gonna happen. Oh well.
Mile 24. Only two. One foot in front of the other. Run run run, walk walk, run run run. So tired. Pretty streets. "Thank you! Thank you!" big smiles. Goofy grin. Wave at the camera. "Looking good" to the woman next to me who looks anything but good.
Mile 25. My second favorite number. I love 25 because 25 means there's only one to go. Still no
Mile 26. Still no
We had been running 5:1s the entire time and my timer went off for a walk. I'd run back to Linda and said "Do you want to just run it in?" She asked how long we had to go. "Not long. We've passed mile 26. We're almost done." She looked at me skeptically and didn't answer...obviously she didn't believe me! Ha! We kept on running, unable to even hear ourselves think. I poked my one ear bud away, I can't hear anything over the crowd anyhow. Music was playing, the course was twisty so we couldn't see the finish line. We just kept on kept on kept on and then, almost before we realized it, we were crossing the finish line!
We finished and were handed a heat blanket right away. Someone asked if I wanted a sticker and I looked quizzically, "Why would I want a sticker? Oh! To hold the blanket on. Thank you! Cool!" For some reason that seemed completely ingenious to me! Medal placed over my neck. Linda and I hugged and someone was asking her questions to make sure she was okay. No one ever asks ME if I'm okay after a marathon. Maybe I just look okay or something. I felt okay, well as okay as one can feel after pounding the streets for 5 hours. We stopped and got our pictures taken, including shots of our race nails. The race nails were VERY important!
headed back to find
Within about 10 minutes I realized I had NO idea where he was, and he said his phone was dead! I was starting to panic and was REALLY getting cold and feeling all 26.2 of those miles. I tried to call him, but no answer. I started to cry. I had no idea how to get to him and here I was in NYC! What was I going to do? A police officer came up to me and asked if she could help, which really made me cry. I told her I couldn’t find my husband and needed to know how to get to mile 26 (which was where he’d left me). Another officer came over and tried to help. Finally they said, “You go down this way and if you don’t find him, come back and we’ll help.” I started down and decided to try the phone again, and saw six missed calls. I actually had his phone and the ringer was off, and on the marathon I hadn’t wanted to stop to figure out how to turn it on. I tried him and he answered, so I started crying again, but this time with relief. He had gone to find me, figuring I might have trouble, and we had passed each other. I started back and he said to stay, he’d come get me. WHEW! I turned and saw a pretzel vendor, bent over (SLOWLY) and snagged the $20 bill I carry in my shoe pocket, and bought a pretzel.
That was the BESTEST PRETZEL EVER!
post race meal MUST be sushi…it’s not just a good
idea, it’s the law.
sushi eating ensued. There was another runner there and we talked about the
race with enthusiasm. She was from
I would say this was one of my more challenging marathons. It was much hillier than I expected, so that was part of it, but the main thing was fueling. Since we didn’t start until almost 11 a.m. I really hadn’t had enough food to start with. I actually was feeling hungry when I started the race. If I ever run a race that starts this late again, I’ll bring some solid fuel with me on the route.
than that, I felt relatively good most of the way. I was tired, sure, and by mile 20 things were hurting but nothing hurt really badly. I
felt such a need to take in everything as I ran the race. I wanted to remember
every single minute, but I found it was almost so overwhelming it was a
challenge. The noise from the 2 million people lining the route was, at times, deafening. The sites were incredible…how do
you parse moving through so many amazing places? It was like visiting the world
in five hours! The people could not have been kinder, from the children
offering their high fives and chocolate bars, to the impromptu water and food
stations, to the people handing out tissues. It was just so neat. Even the day
after, people continued to be kind. We walked around
ING NYC Marathon was definitely one of the neatest experiences of my life! It
was like coming home and being welcomed by everyone
one in town. And it was a town for a few hours on
Sunday November, 4. It ceased to be a big, faceless city and for those hours it was a warm, accepting, smiling home town to 38,500
runners from 50 states and 100 countries. Thank you