i will keel over before i slow down: NYC Marathon 2011.

start line:

  • walk into corrals with lisa. there are port-a-potties in the corrals and i decide we should wait on the line and try to pee one more time before the race starts. it was after this that i decided that i was fully prepared to piss on myself if i had to pee during the marathon. i apologize if that just grossed you out.  okay, no i’m not.
  • once they open the corrals and the crowd starts walking forward to the start, everything just seems so surreal.  lisa and i cut through people trying to get as close to the start as possible.  someone sings god bless america and i cup my hands and say a silent prayer.  next up? new york, new york.  i cannot, for the life of me, not get choked up.  i sing, everyone sings.  it is one of the most magical moments i can imagine.  does any other marathon have a start like this?
mile 1 (verrazano bridge):
  • thank god i chose to wear the shorts! it is so unbelievably hot that i shed the two softball socks that were acting as arm warmers.  it’s not even windy up here either.  in 2009, i ran the first 2 miles with my hands on my head trying to keep my hat on.
mile 2 (verrazano bridge)
  • the downhill and excitement is making me too fast.  i keep repeating to myself “save it, save it.” also, my breathing is way off because i started the race all choked up from “new york, new york” and wasn’t breathing correctly. awesome, 2 miles in and i have a side cramp. i massage my cramp and work on my breathing until we get into brooklyn.
brooklyn (miles 2-13)
  • absolutely unbelievable.  brooklyn, you should be proud.  the crowd support was incredible.  the fans were loud and enthusiastic and i got choked up every time i thought about how much i love this city and how amazing new yorkers are (which was often, i spent most of brooklyn trying to suppress tears)
  • I looked for Alison but missed her (again!)
  • i laughed at the sign that said “you are the .1%”  someone is witty and knows their facts!  fyi, approximately .1% of the population has run a marathon.
queens (miles 14-15)
  • why is queens always a blur to me?  honestly, i cannot remember anything from this borough.  i had a rough time with the pulaski bridge this year (the bridge connecting brooklyn to queens) and i feel like i spent all my time in queens thinking about getting myself over the queensboro bridge.
59th street bridge (miles 15-16)
  • this bridge just sucks the life right out of you.  now, as much as this bridge sucks and as much as i was struggling, i did not want to slow down and i MOST DEFINITELY did not want to walk.  unfortunately, that was not the general consensus and i spent a lot of this bridge angrily going around walls of walkers.  annoying.
  • also, i ran next to a young girl for part of this bridge and listened as she spoke out loud to herself “i’m coming mom, don’t worry, i’m coming.”  insert ang tears (again).
manhattan (miles 17-20)
  • i get off the bridge, and suddenly, my left quad tightens up so badly that i legit feel like i cannot move my legs.  wtf?  well, left quad, you can suck it because i’m not walking.  so yea, i ran and massaged/slapped my left quad simultaneously for about a quarter mile or so, trying to ease the tension that was building.
  • i run along the left side of first avenue because i know thats where my family will be waiting.  i can’t lie, i was extremely anxious to see them.  17+ miles with no familiar faces is rough.
  • right after the poland spring sponge station, i see my parents, seth, john, and uncle peter!  i wave frantically and blow a kiss, knowing that seeing them will hold me over until i get up to 116th street.
  • after i pass the fam, i go back to massaging/slapping my quad.  stupid quad! what is wrong with you?!
  • at 116th, i run to the side to grab a gatorade from he-who-must-not-be-named. he passes me the gatorade and still running, i take a sip (which essentially means all the gatorade goes onto my shirt as opposed to in my mouth), and look up at him- “i’m hurt, but i will keel over before i slow down.” when i think back to those words, i’m super impressed with myself.  who knew i had it in me?
  • i see sunim before she sees me on 118th.  she jumps in to run with me for a little bit and tells me that i look great.  my response? “my quad hurts so f*cking bad!”  well, at least i didn’t look like i was hurting!
bronx (miles 20-21)
  • really loud this year.  good job, bronx.  also, mysterious quad tension kinda dissipates at this point.  guess all my massaging/hitting worked.  the whole time i was running through the bronx, all i could think about was just getting to the madison avenue bridge. i NEEDED to be in the last borough.  i NEEDED to be over the last bridge.
manhattan (miles 21-26.2)
  • harlem, you rock.  seriously.  and it’s not just because i live in you.  absolutely fantastic crowd support once we got back into manhattan.  i loves me some harlem.
  • somewhere along madison avenue, i see asteria over on the side.  she holds up her bag of magic and says “you want?” UHHH YES! SIGN ME UP!  i took 2, with the instructions of chewing them really well and drinking water the next time i could.  i love these things.  they are magical tabs of glory. (don’t ask me what they are because i have no clue… i’m assuming they’re pure glycogen)
  • before i saw asteria, my body was just giving out.  i couldn’t go faster, everything was tight, everything hurt.  this was my “wall” and asteria was exactly where i needed her.  it’s amazing how quick those little tablets (that look, taste, and have the consistency of chalk) kick in.  by the time i reached sunim on 118th and 5th, i felt good and i gave her the instructions- “tell my parents, 45 minutes.”
  • right before mile 22, there was a giant jumbotron that was playing messages that friends/family could upload to the asics website.  i stepped over a mat that would alert the system that i was in viewing distance of the jumbotron.  i knew my mom had uploaded a few so i made sure to look up.  i smiled.  this is what i saw:
  • it was after i saw sunim that i just set out to zone out.  5th avenue is one giant uphill and honestly, i just did not want to remember this part.  i must have been completely in the zone because i didn’t even realize when he-who-must-not-be-named jumped in and ran with me for a little bit.  i think at one point i turned to him and said “heyy, what are you doing here?”  me = delirious.
  • once we turned into central park, i sighed just a little.  the absurd uphill was over and i could enjoy some downhills for a while.  at mile 24 i looked down at my watch.  i could PR.  i could PR by a solid 9 or 10 minutes unless something awful happened and i needed to crawl the next two miles. i also had two lovely gentlemen jump in to run with me right around this point.  thanks guys!
  • i wanted to go faster, i really did.  the entire second 13.1 i wanted to go faster but my body just couldn’t do it.  HOWEVER, once i saw the 800m sign, it was like every pain just evaporated and suddenly i was speedy gonzales.  i remember thinking to myself- “5 minutes. i can do anything for 5 more minutes.” it’s amazing how that happens.
finish line
  • i gave it my all.  i was leaving nothing on this course.  an uphill .2 right after a 26 mile run? bring. it. on.
  • i threw my hands up and just basked in it. 9 minute PR.  badass.
post-finish
  • get my medal. i love being a pushy, little new yorker because i have no qualms about pushing in front of everyone.  give me my medal damnit!
  • also, i cut the photo line.  woops!
  • i grab a foil blanket and wrap myself up tight.  i might be hot now but i know i’ve got about 3 minutes before my teeth are chattering.
  • nyrr, good looks on the legit recovery bags this year.
  • i had a lovely little volunteer help me walk over to cherry hill where i was able to get the bag that i checked (helloooo sweatpants!).
new york city, i love you.  you are worth it.  i’ll see you next year for a sub-4:30.
walking/waddling to my family on 72nd and columbus.
4:40:47

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