Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Hey! I don't know about you, but I'm feeling 26.2! (part 2!)

It feels like a perfect night to dress up like hipsters!!!!
Or runners slash hobos... Oh yeah!

4AM. It was go time.
I had slept quite well and felt very relaxed as I moved thru my normal pre race routine. Get dressed, make and pace food, drink a few inches of coffee and some water, put on ALL THE CLOTHES to keep out the very chilly weather.

Eric and his Aunt Mare were kind enough to get up at half past ass o'clock with me and drive me to Giant Stadium where there was bus transport to the stop. This was a piece of cake, I jumped out of the car, got right on a bus and we were off!
We hit some truly remarkable traffic in the last few miles of the trip. Since I do not know the lay of the land very well it is hard for me to say what caused this, other than the obvious- 50,000 runners all trying to get to the start! I absolutely was not complaining about the delay as it meant more toasty warm bus time. It was chilly (about 43) and there was a steady wind blowing, with some stronger gusts from time to time. So, not terrible by any stretch but not the worlds greatest day for an outdoor picnic with 50 thousand of your closest pals!

Eventually (around 7:20) we arrived, disembarked and went through some serious security. Compared to the fairly relaxed feel at Boston this was a big change (thank you!) They gave you a clear bag for your things, you went thru airport like security screening, cops, the military, bomb sniffing dogs, helicopters everywhere (and a friend in the know mentioned that what we did not see what really the stuff keeping us safe. wow.) I have no problem with extra security and felt very safe!

I was in the orange village and it was quiet and peaceful for exactly 0.2 seconds and then everyone and their brother arrived. Even though I had a couple hours until race time it went quickly. The organization was top notch, getting into the corrals was easy, it didn't really feel like much time at all until we were heading to the bridge to get the party started! During this time, my feet had frozen solid but otherwise I was ok. I highly recommend overdressing, bringing a small blanket and plenty of handwarmers.

The start was really exciting and even though it was really windy on the bridge the sun was coming out and turning the day into a beautiful one. My plan was to maintain a reasonable and maintainable pace for the first half and then either step it up or back it down depending on how I felt. Solid plan, right there. Immediately off the Verrazano there was a taste of things to come- about 50 drummers playing away on the side of the road. Incredible! And loud.

Security was tight.
The first 5K- Just trying to warm up the feet. I believe I ran the 1st 5K in 25:01. Pretty maintainable speed.

The first 10K of the race was just crazy! I never expected Brooklyn to be so jam packed full of excited spectators (1st timer here...) At that point the weather was just great though so people were out in droves, there was music around every corner, the energy was amazing and it was enough to keep my mind off my funky feeling cold feet. I can see how it is easy to get too pumped and go way too fast thru here! Two things on my side though were my cold toes and the wind- while it certainly was not overwhelming there was a constant headwind which made running a conservative pace feel much more difficult than it was. I finally warmed up around mile 5 and peeled off all my extra clothing, and braced myself to get super sweaty.

It never happened.

Thru 10K in about 48 minutes. I had warmed up. I already felt minor aches from my upper hamstring but I had expected that.

Around mile 10 I was still feeling pretty good. Definitely not in the effortless, miles flying by way that I felt at Smuttynose but things were decent.  At this point it also began to get cloudy, the breeze took on a more frigid feel and a few drops of rain fell here and there. And I basically froze my face off. Hands, arms, thighs- damn cold. But better that then 95 degrees and dying so I put it out of my head and concentrated on getting to 16 where Eric and his family were waiting. I ate some picky bars, drank a little water, and thought warm thoughts. I knew that before mile 16 my goal was to get to the halfway point and evaluate how I was feeling.

I made it to the half in 1:43-ish. Faster than it felt. Legs definitely not having an easy day.

The Queensboro Bridge is my own personal Heartbreak Hill. I had no idea how tough it was going to be, I had no idea how eerily quiet it was, I had not a clue that it is made of the hardest surface known to man. It made me want to cry. I started having knee pain, foot pain, ankle pain. My hamstrings cramped up multiple times. I could not believe how stupid that stupid bridge was.
As I came closer to the end I started to hear something and at first was sure it was traffic. The noise grew steadily louder, and louder, and as we reached the end of that accursed bridge and ran around the corner I realized it was the crowds on 1st. The noise literally HIT me and took me by immense surprise. Over the din I heard Eric and Family shouting to me and caught a glimpse of them thru the utter mayhem. I was so glad to have the distraction of the enormous crowd because with the amount of pain I was in, at a smaller race I might have walked. No way did I want to have to admit to THAT though!

I had made it to the 16 mile point in 2:08. I wished to die.

I like getting to the point where there are only 10 miles to go. I must admit though, that these were not an easy 10 for me. I decided (per my game plan) to ease up a bit and see if things felt better. Not one part of my legs felt good at this point and nothing I did gave me any relief. So, as any legit runner would I said "suck it up, buttercup" and kept on running. Shockingly, my pace did not falter too much in the second half although I clearly slowed down somewhat it was not a huge embarrassing disaster.

After 16 my thought was on getting to 20 since my mindset is always "anyone can do a 10K!" It felt like 16-20 took a really, really long time.
But I made it to 20 in 2:41 My pace was slipping but I felt like even if the last 10K took an hour I'd still finish a minute over my goal time. So, still no disaster!

You know what WAS a disaster!!!??? Those damn last 4 miles. They went on, and on and on!!! This course is harder than anyone gives it credit for (thank heavens for the crowds- without them it would be kinda no fun!) My legs were SCREAMING!!! I just wanted to be finished and never run another step ever, ever again. I saw Eric and Fam at mile 24.5 when I was shuffling along in the most zombie like way imaginable. They said I looked great. They LIE!

Look at my FACE. I'm like "fuck this!"

But then I see Eric and Family and I'm like "WHEEEEE I LOVE RUNNING!"

There was no way that I could kick it up for the finish (or even muster a smile for the camera.) I finished, stopped, put my hands on my knees and groaned for about 10 minutes. Or more like 5 seconds because the medics yell at you to keep moving! Knowing that all my race pics were going to look like I was near death I snagged a finisher picture (smart move) then I did a 2 mile death march to meet Eric. This was not fun, not fun at all. I actually cried a little because I hurt like I had been hit by a train.
But I finished, in 3:35:57. Not my fastest, not my slowest. Exactly what I had planned on.

I do look pretty darn good. *humblebrag*

Once Eric found me I was shivering violently even though a super nice stranger had given me a hat and gloves. (dear stranger, I know I thanked you at the time but that was the best thing anyone could have done for me!!) Eric zipped a sweatshirt around me rendering my arms trapped, and meaning that he had to pour water down my throat when I was thirsty. Hah! With not an empty taxi to be found we proceeded to walk 20 blocks (yeah....) to a hotel room that our friends had so I could take the hottest shower ever. OMG. Amazing. Life saving!!

NYCM Finisher!!! In a warm hotel!
It took me a couple hours before I felt human again but once I began to recover I felt great.
It wasn't an easy race and October wasn't a restful month! It was completely worth it though, this might have been a once in a lifetime experience and certainly is one I feel fortunate to have had.

Eric and I headed out for burgers and to have a look at times square on post running legs. There were many people walking around with medals, and lots of finishers coming back (freezing cold!) adorned in the orange ponchos. It was so much fun!

Very shortly after we sat down for more food and a beer we heard from our friends who had finished too! They walked (gimped) to find us and we celebrated our success and running prowess! There is nothing more amusing than sharing race war stories and we did just that. a really perfect way to finish up the day!

Hahaha! Finished! ....thank heavens....
And now, just one more thing to wrap it all up.

Here it is!!! The sign that inspired my greatness! Thank you random stranger!



  1. Security theatre - Ok, maybe it's my memory, but I thought that the Boston bombs were placed amongst the crowds at the finish, and not carried there by runners? Such being the case, just what is the point in using metal detecotrs and explosive sniffers on the runners?

    1. Better to be safe than sorry! And who is to say that there isn't some psycho runner out there.....? We all hope that is not the case but in this day and age it pays to be a little careful :-) There was also a tremendous amount of crowd security- in order to get into the family meeting area Eric had to go thru the same "airport" security so it was all encompassing.