The NYC Marathon is different from other marathons in a multitude of ways. First of all, you wake up in the wee hours of the morning and take a bus from the NYC public library to the start of the race on Staten Island. I was meeting my Woodland’s Fit peep we'll call her RunnerC), and we were scheduled to take one of the buses leaving at 6 am. The marathon began at 9:30 am. Our wave started at 10:40 am. As you might have realized, there is a lot of waiting between when you arrive on Staten Island and when you actually race.
I was completely overzealous and woke up at 4:30 am. The time change that morning freaked me out and I was sooo worried that I was going to somehow screw up setting the alarm clock and not make it to my bus on time. Trust me, if anyone can screw this up, it’s me. So, I have 2 cell phones – one woke me up at 3:30 am (because the time did not change) and the other woke me up at 4:30 am (because the time did change). Stupid cell phones. It only took me a few minutes to get ready, so I took the time to double check and make sure I had everything I needed. It wasn’t even 5 am when I was done. Our apartment was a mile from the library and the Hubby agreed to walk there with me. In a hotel, I would have taken a cab, but since we were in an apartment, I wasn’t sure if we’d even see a cab on the way. Lucky for me, we discovered that we were only a block from where there was a perpetual line of cabs waiting and ready to go 24/7. So, we grabbed a cab which resulted in me having about 50 minutes to spare before meeting up with RunnerC. Rather than hanging out on the cold, dark street, I headed over to the nearby McDonald’s. I probably could have just sat down, but felt like I should buy something, so I bought an Egg McMuffin and ate half of it. While in McD’s, I encountered a couple of other runners, but mostly I encountered quite a few young people still intoxicated from their night out, LOL! They were quite entertaining.
Finally, it was time to meet RunnerC and head for the bus. It took about an hour to get to our stop, because the roads were already pretty congested as we got closer to the start. The “Athlete’s Village” was larger than I remembered and there were definitely more porta potties than I recall. The live band was already playing and people were dancing around. Once we found our designated part of the Athlete’s Village (it’s separated by wave colors – blue, green and orange), we laid out the small tarp I brought and just hung out. We grabbed the coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts and just watched the flow of people. I also had a small blanket and was wearing multiple layers, so the 38 degree temps didn’t seem too bad. RunnerC and I met a nice man from London and later a guy from France, so we chatted it up with them for the next couple of hours. The guy from France (Vincent) had actually been to Houston before, so we talked about his experience there. And, our new friend from London discussed our Governor, Rick Perry, with us….we thought it was funny that he even knew who he was! As the sun started to rise, the temps warmed up quickly and the blanket was no longer needed.
Here are some pics from the Athlete's Village:
Here's the stage with the band already playing!
Finally, we heard “God Bless America” and then the cannon. It’s so anti-climatic, because you have to stand there for several minutes before you can actually start moving. It’s a NYC Marathon tradition for the song “New York, New York” to be played after the cannon, so we just slowly walked forward while singing and dancing to the song. Finally, we began to pick up the pace and before we knew it, we were running (albeit slowly) onto the Varrazano-Narrows bridge. It’s a massive bridge and we were on the lower deck. Every so often, there’d be a work truck with flashing lights and the workers would cheer and then the crowd would roar. Fun! It was deafening, but completely awesome! My Garmin was all wonky on the bridge…I would look down and it would say we were at a 15:35 pace one minute and a 5:27 pace the next. The bridge is about 1 mile of uphill and 1 mile of downhill, and it felt awesome to finally be on the downhill side.
IT IS INSANE.
My Garmin post race - my chip time was 4:57:52, but I forgot to stop the watch right away!
Because of the road closures and massive crowds, it took us about an hour just to get RunnerC back to her hotel. Then, it probably took another 15 minutes to find a car to take us back to our apartment. Crazy!
Here we are after the race proudly showing off our medals!
Looking back at the race, I think it was even more amazing this time around than it was in 2003. Seriously A-MAZ-ING! As much as I’d like to do this one again, I think it might be awhile. And yes, next time I will do hill training!