8 months of training lead me to the day on Sunday, November 6th, 2016.
I arrived to NYC on Friday morning and went straight to the Marathon Expo. There was so much excitement, I couldn’t believe it was finally here! Picked up my bib and my shirt and went into the expo. There was so many vendors offering loads of stuff. Most notably at the Expo I met world famous Meb Keflezighi: Olympic runner, NYC Marathon winner, Boston Marathon winner. That was a highlight of the day.
I also signed up to volunteer at the expo passing out the participate shirts. I have volunteered at many runDisney events so I knew what to expect. I immediately made friends with an infectious woman and we choose to work together. A gift for volunteering was the purple logo shirt and a pin, nice keepsakes.
After the expo, I did some eating in the city and went to see a Broadway show.
The following morning on Saturday was the Dash to the Finish 5k which is part of the marathon weekend and I had also opted to volunteer at this event, another opportunity to be apart of all events. I helped prepare and hand out bag of food and waters to finished at the end of the race which finished at the same point the marathon would the next day.
My friend Matt who traveled with me was running the 5k and he said it was a great run! (He was unable to get into the marathon) We spent the rest of the day exploring the city as it was his first time there! In our marathon packet was a coupon to One World Observation deck so we took advantage of that.
That brings us to race morning! I got ready and headed out towards the start line at 6am. The moment I walked outside the streets will filled with runners all headed to the same place. It began all the excitement of the day that this race had taken over the entire city.
The subway was completely packed with runners headed to the Staten Island Ferry which would take us to buses, which then would take us to the start village. I arrived at the starting area around 8:30am, showing what a journey it takes to get there.
I was in the Green Wave 3 so I just about an hour before the start of my race. Found the Dunkin Donuts cart and got some coffee and a bagel and waited for the announcement to move into the corrals.
Once in the corrals, it wasn’t long until we were moved to our starting line on the Verrazano Bridge in Staten Island. Being in the Green Wave, we started on the lower section of the bridge. This was a bit of a disappointment but exciting nonetheless to getting ready to start.
At the beginning of races, I always start out too fast. I know I do this. I acknowledge I do this. And yet I continue to do this. It’s all the excitement, it’s crowded and I try to keep up so I don’t get pushed out of the way. It’s just of of those things. The bridge which is quite long (at one point the worlds longest bridge) and also very windy and cold. But once over the 1st of 5 bridges we’d be crossing, we were into the Brooklyn and immediately greeting by streets full of supports with signs and cheers and they would continue to fill the entire route of the race. It’s always incredible to see people out there who made signed and took the time to come out and watch.
Brooklyn felt like it would never end! It was the majority of the race route. But at the half way point, we finally were crossing the 2nd bridge: Pulaski Bridge. This bridge was pretty flat, so it was tough. We spent a short time in Queens running straight to our 3rd bridge, the Queensboro Bridge into Manhattan. This bridge was much more challenging of an incline, but once over the bridge we were again greeting by more spectators.
Into Manhattan there was more spectators than I had seen at any other race I’ve ever run. Crowds deep lined the streets of 1st Ave as we ran straight ahead on rolling hills though the island to the Bronx.
Mile 18 was special. Some great friends were waiting there, with a sign hand written for my cheering me on. It was a much needed sight as I pushed on.
Bridge number 4. I knew it was coming. My legs were getting tired. My breathing was great. This was the moment I realized I should have work more on strength building! But I had to power on. I needed to keep my momentum. Everyone is watching.
My GPS was no so accurate in the city. I knew this as I was trying to navigate the city prior to the race. However race day was no different and all my times and distance was off so I stopped paying attention to that. I was however able to read my splits from the office race app! That kept me on track for that goal time of 4:30
Once though the Bronx around mile 20 and on to the last bridge and down 5th Ave, the end was near!
The sun was starting to set, as at 3pm was super early because of daylight saving ending. The wind picked and and the shadows were chilly. But the end was near. Running along 5th Ave which boarders Central Park was just as packed with support.
Mile 23: Entering Central Park, 3 miles to go. Pain setting in, the cold evening air hitting my tired legs. Hills. Central Park is full of hills. Damn all of the hills after 25 miles of running. Mile 26: The finish line is in sight. That’s when the emotions sink in.
All that training. All of the planing, its brought you here. Crying while running is quite difficult but it’s hard to hold back the emotions of completely something you worked so hard for.
This was one of the greatest experiences of my life and I will never forget it. I hope to run it again soon! Below are so photos from the weekend.
This was also the first major run with my Apple Watch Series 2, and it lasted the entire day long beyond the race, very impressed.
A huge shout out to Kyle Kranz who has been with me throughout this journey keeping me on track though his online coaching! If you are looking for a running coach check him out at KyleKranz.com, absolutely a great asset for any goal.