Sorry for the delay folks, I know it’s been awhile since I posted about the NY Marathon. I last left off with Brian and I entering the starting village. If you forgot what all led up to my experience up to this point, I encourage you to go back and read the post from December that fills you in a bit on my observations of the happenings prior to arriving at the village.
And now I continue…
Brian and I arrived at the starting village with plenty of time. I would rather sit around with too much time on my hands than be rushed and not be able to enjoy myself and worry about time constraints. We had time to look around, take in the crowds and even take a photo with two other runners from Green Bay that we ran into. We ate our breakfast/fuel and peed more times than I can count. The amount of porta potties that they had in the starting village was staggering. I want to give NYRR major kudos for having a plethora of porta potties. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
As we got into the starting corral I was a mix of nerves and excitement. I get this way before every marathon, but this time it was different. It was excitement for being a part of something that I know thousands and thousands of people want to be a part of. I felt nerves for the unexpected and for the expected. I had heard, read and watched all the history on the NY Marathon and I knew what to expect. And while that excited me, that also frightened me. What if this once-in-a-lifetime event that is on my bucket list… that I trained two years for… what if it doesn’t live up to the hype? I built up this moment so large that I just did not want my expectations to be larger than the experience really was.
In the corral we were crunched behind buses as we waited for the canon to blast and the marathon to get underway. But prior to the start they played New York, New York by Frank Sinatra. It was incredible. Just that song, in that place, surrounded by all of those people as I was prepared to run 26.2 through all 5 boroughs — it was the perfect start to the race. Obviously the race organizers knew it, as it’s been the traditional start song for years, it just set the tone for the rest of the day. I knew, “if I can make it there, I can make it any where…”
Wow, what a way to start a marathon? How could we not have the best run ever? But then again, it is 26.2 miles and anything can happen.
The start of the marathon takes all runners up and over the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. It’s seen in some of the most iconic photos of the marathon. And it was what I was absolutely waiting for. And it did not disappoint. Just after hearing Frank Sinatra send me on my way, I started climbing the elevation and making my way up the top deck of the bridge. The view was spectacular, the crowd of other runners was immense and the feeling was exhilarating. I couldn’t help but think, “this is what it’s all about”. It’s not going to get much better than this moment, right here, right now. I’m part of the NYC Marathon and it’s underway. Oh baby!
At some point during all of my marathons, I contemplate the age-old question, “what the hell am I doing here?” It’s usually during a point in a marathon where I’m struggling and I’m swearing and vowing to never run again. But this time I started asking myself the question and it was early in the race, actually during the first two miles as I was going over the bridge. There were no spectators at this point, no bands, no hoopla. Just other runners and my own thoughts. I took the first two miles to be reflective and figure out, “how did I get here?” It’s pretty sappy but running a marathon in the midst of a job that isn’t going well and after two years of training and one natural disaster; makes for a good gut check. I know I tend to be a realist (I refuse to call myself a pessimist) and I don’t always see the glass half full (usually I just see the glass as needing more beer). But running over the Verrazano Narrows Bridge after having so many friends and family wish us luck, and realizing we are lucky enough to be healthy to run the marathon, and at a point in our lives where we are financially able to make two back-to-back trips to New York, I couldn’t help but get a little choked up. While I am often criticized for focusing on the negative things that happen in my life, I really do appreciate the good too. And this was definitely one of those good times. And not only was being able to run the marathon a good time, but the fact that I could use the marathon to see the other good in my life, is the beauty of running. It lets you see life through a different filter and this filter wasn’t too shabby.
So here I am running the marathon, I just finished the bridge and am at approximately mile two and I’ve already contemplated my life, made mental recognition of my great family and friends and did a run/dance most of the way over the bridge. Wowzers! This is going to be a long race!!
And a long blog post apparently too. I think this is a good break and a good place to stop. I will try and get another post that moves along a bit faster than this one and hopefully I can get to the half way mark in the marathon with my next post.
But until then,