WOW. For those of you who have never ran or witnessed one of the greatest running events of the year that is the New York City Marathon (in my own opinion and I suspect others too, but I can’t be certain). Let me take this time to tell you a little bit about why this is probably the most epic race in the world.
Going into this I had an idea about what to expect, I heard things from other people, I read articles about the race, the course, the spectators, the city, but what no one can put into words is how actually moving and inspiring this race is. I have never witnessed such a huge and diverse group of individuals coming together with one of two simple goals: 1) cross the finish line with every ounce of motivation, grit, and strength you have or 2) cheer for those running to cross the finish line with all your heart and soul. Under both circumstances no matter which goal you are there to accomplish, I can guarantee every single person on that day left it all on the course. We all went home, runners and spectators alike, exhausted, sore, and with hearts full of love for this sport, humanity, and everything that the marathon stands for.
My Race: The Start
The pre-race commute and start village was unlike any race I have ever participated in, I think it actually took the same amount of time to get to the race as the actual race. My commute to the start line started at 5:15 in the morning when I hailed by Lyft driver to get me from Midtown to the ferry terminal. By 6:00 am almost on the dot, I was on a ferry to Staten Island where the race starts. We then proceeded to wait in lines for the bathroom, for security, and for a bus to the actual start. I was lucky to find my friend Amanda on the ferry so we could share the beautiful sunrise over the city together and talk about the race, both as first timers. We got to the start village around 7:30 am and found water, coffee, and bagels since by this time I was already hungry again since I ate around 5 am. Amanda and I were in different color corals so after we found food I went to my green coral laid out my heat sheet and sat around until a little before 9 when my coral opened. This is all so weird to me. Once the coral opened we all sat around yet again, just inside the coral until about 9:30 when we started moving towards the start. YOU GUYS… this is almost 5 hours after I woke up on that morning?!?!? I am used to running 1-2 hours after I wake up, all this sitting around was a little weird, and honestly I lost a little of my pre-race excitement, but that didn’t last very long.
Being in the first wave was pretty exciting though, as we were some of the first people on the course and at 9:50 our gun went off and as we were all singing and bobbing to Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” we crept up to the start and we headed off over the Verrazano Narrows Bridge to Brooklyn.
My Race: The Party
Once in Brooklyn the party really got started. The streets were lined with more people than I have ever seen come out to a race. It was so thrilling to hear the crowds cheering for all the runners. I wore my name on my bib and I literally had thousands of strangers cheering for me the entire course. There were even sections of people who would start chanting my name and the feeling of every single person cheering to me to finish this race give me this connection to everyone around me, and it was the most motivating and inspiring feeling, it’s a feeling that I can’t even really be put into words to express. This feeling of connectedness, many times throughout the course, just about brought me to tears .When I was nearing the end and I would start to walk the crowd of people watching would cheer for me to keep going and bring me back to life. Seriously without the spectators of New York I wouldn’t have had the time I did with only 27 days of recovery from the Chicago Marathon. Huge, huge shout out to everyone who goes out and cheers at any race, you mean more than you know to the runners.
My Race: Cheer Squad
I was also lucky enough to have my parents and my brother travel from the Midwest to cheer for me along the course, them being there to cheer me on and experience the day with me was so amazing and I can’t think them enough for their support of me and my running endeavors. They are my biggest fan club, and the most amazing support system I could ever ask for. My aunt and uncle along with my cousin and her family came in from Connecticut and my cousin and his family from New Jersey came for the post-race celebrations. It was most definitely a whole family affair I will never forget.
My Race: Wrap up
Without going into too many race details, I will tell you, this was the first race I ever experienced any bad GI issues… ugh, but even with that, my official time of 3:49:55 is something I am pretty proud of. While not setting any new PR’s I was only 6 minutes and change slower than Chicago. Putting times aside, one of my biggest achievements this year is coming out of both Chicago and New York uninjured, feeling strong, and having more confidence in myself than ever.
While marathon season for 2016 is over, the training is not. I gave myself 7 days of complete rest, which I don’t think I have done once this year. I feel refreshed and ready to kick it back in to gear. Now time to run, I have a 5k turkey trot and a marathon relay to focus on before 2016 comes to a close and tonight I get back in my sneakers after a 7 day recharge.