Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Start spreading the news....

Ah...New York...what a wild ride.

I'm not sure where to start...with the marathon...or leading up to it...basically the whole trip was a blur.

Well let's start with the good stuff: WE FINISHED THE MARATHON!!!!!!!!

Ben, Dan, and I woke up at 4:30 a.m. Sunday morning feeling slightly more anxious than we wanted to admit. The day before we had walked through Central Park and saw the finish line. Two things happened at this point:

1. Right before we crossed the 26 mile banner, Ben and Dan took a great photo, demonstrating a move, that I am pretty sure both would still struggle with completing today:


2. We all started to feel incredibly anxious, nauseous, and found ghost pains all over our body, which is how I continued to feel until we crossed the start line.

So nervous, anxious, and excited we caught the subway to Manhattan, took the 6:15 a.m. ferry out to Staten Island (with a great view of the Statue of Liberty, and two girls doing the walk of shame home after a wild Halloween night, not expecting to be surrounded by 44,000 runners--classic). Then on to the buses to Fort Wadsworth and let the waiting begin.

Since the race didn't start for another couple of hours, the four of us (Annabelle met us there) sat around, ate bagels, waited in the bathroom line, wrote our names on shirts, and got more and more nervous. Two things I learned to bring to future races from this ordeal: your own toilet paper, and something to sit on. Annabelle took off first since she is much faster than us, and then 30 minutes later it was time to start.

The marathon started with a cannon blast, and good old Frank Sinatra singing "Start spreading the news" and then we were off. The whole marathon was incredible. Fun at times, agonizing at others, but overall a memorable experience that I will never forget.

The first 11 miles ticked off pretty easily, especially with the help of the cheering crowds in Brooklyn and awesome bands. We high-fived, pumped our arms in the air, laughed, and throughly enjoyed ourselves. Unfortunately during Mile 11, Ben's poor IT Bands flared up, and at Mile 14, we made a heart-wrenching decision to each run at our own pace. I caught up to Dan at Mile 17 and we ended up finishing the race hand in hand, with Ben just a little bit behind us. Miles 18-22 were the toughest for me. I wasn't winded or tired, but by that point everything started to hurt...the bottoms of my feet, knees, hips, and lower back. To say I hit the wall would be an understatement. I basically hit it, and then drug it behind me for a few miles. But once we reached Mile 23 I started to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It also helped that I saw Michael J. Fox cheering for Team Fox right before that mile marker.

The last 3.2 miles Dan and I didn't stop, or even get liquids at the aid stations. Instead we committed to finishing, soaked up Central Park, and finished with smiles on our faces. When Ben crossed a little later I cried. If you've ever had IT band issues you know how painful they are...and to run with them hurting for 16+ miles is remarkable, to say the least. At one point Ben said he would just plant one leg and sweep the other one around so to not bend his knees...amazing is how I describe him and his efforts....amazing.

Annabelle was waiting at the recovery tent with Michael (who was working the event), and we sat and shared stories, huddled under our foil blankets, and sat in shock. Overall, it was more memorable then I can describe.

During the run, especially toward the end, I thought that this was probably my last marathon. However the New York Times, captured it beautifully. The next day they ran an ad saying "Today, I bet you think you'll never do a marathon again....See you next year." Now that the pain has worn off, I'm ready to set a new PR...

Maybe next year.

Annabelle at the Expo. (This was the easy part).

On the Staten Island ferry...tired, nervous, and excited. (Statue of Liberty real small in the back).

The four finishers and the man that made it all happen.

Here are some other fun pics from the trip:

Ben and Lego Chewbacca.

In Central Park.

On top of the Empire State Building.

What a marathon finisher's plate looks like the day after the race.