New York City Marathon
|Rocky Terrain-1 Jenny-0|
|Somewhere in there is a patella.|
How often does this happen? I got to put my feet up for the entire flight! Things were certainly off to a good start!
|This dork rock star was headed to NEW YORK, BABY!|
|I don’t understand why this photo didn’t win the Timex photo contest?|
|I was so excited to find that Vega had a booth at the expo! I love their products! I scored some good swag here.|
|I’m not sure if the flower was edible or not, but I ate it anyways.|
|Farewell, Picky Bar. You’ve been so good to me.|
I don’t normally like to stand around waiting in the staring line corral, but with having to manage 50,000 other runners, I had no choice but to go where the loudspeaker voices told me to. In six different languages, I might add. Sometimes I find that striking up conversation with strangers around me can help calm the nerves, and that certainly helped at this event. But the thing is, at such a large international event like this one, It’s kind of hard to tell who speaks english or not! After we moved to the starting line, I had a guy from London to my left, and an Australian lady to my right. All of us were English speakers, though they were chattin’ about kilometers. Both had flown to the city for the 2012 marathon only to be met with dissappointment, so both were also feeling the excitement of finally getting to accomplish a goal. Ironically, the guy from London has been having similar luck (none!) with the London Marathon Lottery. He advised me that sometimes it’s easier to get in to international marathons. Noted.
Finally, with a rather large bang, we were off. I got to start at the same time as all the elites, so that was cool! The very first mile of the race was over the Verazzano-Narrows Bridge. Except, my wave got to run on the lower level, which was essentially a wind tunnel. It would ultimately take me about 4 miles to fully warm up. The vistas from the bridge were beautiful, though. Somehuman hurdles people felt inclined to stop in their tracks and take pictures! From the bridge, all 5 Burroughs were visible and the fire boats put on a magnificent water display down below. The crowd of runners was thick. I wondered how long it would be like that, as it was difficult to maneuver around people. So I just didn’t. My goal wasn’t to win, it was to finish and enjoy it. In retrospect, being slowed down in the beginning where I’m normally riding an adrenaline high and running too fast, paid dividends later on.
As the miles clicked by, the spectator crowd only grew. I am always entertained by reading signs, even if they’re for other people. Anytime I see a sign of encouragement for some other Jenny, I act like it’s for me and I get all excited. I’m such a dork.
I knew the security was going to be tight in the wake of what happened in Boston, but I still found myself amazed at how many police officers there really were. Normally I like to thank police officers for being there and for blocking the intersection or directing traffic, or whatever they’re doing to make the course safer for us, but with at least six per small city block, I needed to save my breath!
The plan was, I was going to meet Deeds at mile 16 just as we came off the Queensboro bridge onto Manhattan Island. And he was going to give me my final two gels so I wouldn’t have to carry them. YEAH. RIGHT. So much for that idea. I think there were about 15 million people there in that one spot, and despite him (and a few other people he recruited) screaming my name, I still didn’t hear them. I felt so bad about this! Logistically, it had to be so difficult for him to get to this one spot, and I blew it! Fortunately, I knew that there’d be Powergels at a water station ahead, so at least I didn’t worry about my nutrition. We texted, and he was going to meet me 6 miles ahead. Yay for subways.
As the miles clicked on, I was kind of surprised to find I was still clipping along at a decent pace. My knee wasn’t hurting, my stomach wasn’t revolting, and the fatigue that was setting in was expected and mentally manageable. The thought crept in that I should fight on, and give the race all I had. So much for my amended plan and for victory laps!
It was then that the beautiful scenery and beautiful day, and all things beautiful and wonderful that I was so grateful for faded away and the the suffering set in. But that’s ok, because now it was time to buckle down and do work. Except for one moment when running through central park in the final stretch, where there was this surreal small chunk of time where orange and yellow leaves were floating down over the course like slow-motion confetti. For a brief moment I pulled my head up and remembered where I was. It was so beautiful. Here I was, about to finishthe New York City Marathon. A dream come true. I was so grateful, so happy, even with the deep fatigue and two miles to go. But then the moment passed and I pushed on. This is what I looked like in those final miles:
|Now the world knows how I deal with a runny nose.|
And finally, the long awaited moment:
|Wow, way to color coordinate, chic behind me!|
I did it. While it was not my first marathon, it was definitely one of my most memorable. Given everything that happened leading up to it, it felt amazing to cross that finish line. It was also my 2nd fastest marathon! Go figure!
|March of the Orange Penguins|
|Deeds after an exhausting day of marathon runner tracking!|
All said and done, I want to thank my parents for their support and and sponsorship and helping me accomplish this dream. They saw the disappointment in my face every year when I applied for the lottery, and didn’t get in. The city has a special place in my heart as it’s where my Dad took me for my 9th birthday. Fond memories of taking trains, walking tons of miles, getting a sore neck from looking up at the tall buildings, standing on top of the World Trade Center and eating food on the frozen sidewalk came rushing back as I was running the five Burroughs on November 3rd. I vividly remember we had talked then about someday coming back after I became an adult, and doing the father-daughter trip again. Now, that’s probably not going to be possible. But just know Dad, those 26.2 miles were for you.