First off, congratulations to everyone who ran nyc '08 yesterday! I'm so proud of all of you, whether you PR'd, accomplished your goals, or simply completed the 26.2. No matter how many you've done, a marathon finish is truly a spectacular feeling!
Second, thank you SOOOOOO much to everyone who cheered for the runners yesterday! It really was the fans who carried me though. I'd especially like to thank the Captain and CB, who traveled through the boroughs and spectated at multiple spots--not an easy feat! I cannot thank you enough for being there for me, even though you pushed me onward when I stressed my desire to stop at mile 23 ;) Also, a big shout out to the P's, who cheered from afar via updates from athlete tracker, and the DDS, who I know was thinking of me while on-call. You three are the best!!
My own experience yesterday was more or less what I expected. I finished, felt strong, and experienced knee issues. Not crippling knee issues, but issues enough to slow me down and cause many stretching breaks throughout miles 21-26. But I am still happy to have been able to finish and be out there on such a beautiful day sharing that course with fifty-some thousand others (plus the amazing fans)!
Here's how it all unfolded.
Marathon morning: Our alarms (about seven of them) were set in the threes. Sadly, we had to arise so early so we could catch our midtown bus to Fort W. It was not ideal to sit around freezing for four hours before the start (what is it with the wind on Staten Island?!?) . But we managed by taking frequent outhouse breaks and sipping "sports drink" (if you were me) to stay animated. TB (BQ!!) and flygirl (PR!!) provided some entertainment as well ;)
Go time: Once it was time to check the bags, I feared for my warmth. But the sun had come out and the masses of people were enough to keep me toasty. I was in corral A of the second wave, meaning I was a few yards from the start line for the 10 o'clock start.
The beginning: I wanted to hold a steady pace through the first ten. My goals were to take in the energy of Brooklyn but still zone out a bit. At mile four, I spotted my favorite fans--giving both of them a special greeting ;) Waiting at mile eight was a current 4th grade student of mine with her parents. She held a super sweet sign and gave me a big hug. I double high-fived all parties present. A few blocks down the road was Flyer YP--I wonder if the picture he took will come out... Continuing up the winding Bedford Ave, I zoned to the 'pod. Flyer JS passed me and went on to finish in under four hours!
The middle: I had my doubts about the Pulaski and Queensboro Bridges, but they were not nearly the trouble I thought they'd be. In fact I welcomed the solitude of the latter--the fans were great, but this was a nice break. I maintained a steady pace and used the tunes to distract me. My half split was 2:16, which neither concerned nor excited me.
The entrance to Manhattan was by far the best! The energy of 1st Avenue was so invigorating. I spotted my good friend MC shortly after arriving in Manhattan--she had climbed some scaffolding to see over the crowds! My PT was with her, perhaps wondering how the knee was holding up. Not too much farther up 1st ave was my boss, who was holding a big sign and taking pictures (she's awesome!) I was feeling good, which was evident from my pace. I chugged onward to double high-five another student and her family who were just before mile 19. The sign and cheers were perfect! I made it to mile 20 without a hitch and was glad to see Flyer PD playing the bagpipes on the Willis Ave bridge.
The end: Shortly after passing mile 21, I felt the knee pinching. It wasn't awful, but my nerves got the best of me. The combination of sustaining myself on power gels all morning and worrying about my knee caused a bit of nausea. I did not want to barf in front of a larger group of my students, who I knew were waiting just north of mile 22. At this point, stopping to stretch was a priority. Every half mile or so, I pulled over to stretch the band. It wasn't getting a great stretch, but I tried anyway. Seeing my students was a relief, mostly because I felt free to puke if necessary (turns out it was a no-show). Shortly after that was the Capt and CB again--they urged me onward saying I was so close!
At mile 23 was my friend JH. She ran me home two years ago, and despite the fact that she was wearing Uggs yesterday, she happily jumped in and did so again. I *needed* that! Just babbling away about anything and everything really helped distract me from the knee. Somewhere in the park I spotted Uptown Girl and Flyer BC. I still needed frequent stretching breaks, but the end was in sight.
Finally, for the ninth time in my life, I crossed a marathon finish line. This action never seems to disappoint--it's such an amazing feeling. I had done it again, and could now proudly walk all of mile 27 ;)
point two: 2:09
For number junkies:
Finish Time: 4:43.24
The rest of TS scored some crazy-fast times! Two PRs (3:21 and 3:24) and a solid 3:29 finish. They reported that they ran much of it together, which must have just been awesome! You guys were a blast to hang with this weekend! Thanks for coming out here!! (Of note: Among the five of us, we have over 40 marathons...not including ultras...)
We reunited with no real significant flaws and headed home to shower, change, and refuel at Awash. Admittedly, this was a much better choice than wings and beer. I am learning in my old age.
And yay for personal days! Sleep and good eats, not to mention icing the band and popping Vitamin I, were all on the agenda. There might have been a trip to Barney's as well...
What's next? All of the R's: rest, relaxation, refreshments, rockin' parties, and... report cards :(