This post is dedicated to a devoted reader Dani, and her request to get my ass in gear and finish this recap! Plus, I’m avoiding cleaning my house and writing a blog post is much more tolerable than dusting and sweeping.
Recap review – my last post had me crossing the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. I know, I know; an entire blog post and I only went two miles!?! I apparently recap as slowly as I run. But to get this recap completed by the time I run my next marathon in April, I’m going to bullet point random observations. Here we go:
- Getting off of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge was super cool. We were in Brooklyn and we were greeted with a ton of people, signs, cheering, balloons and overall excitement. I think the first few miles of Brooklyn had more spectators than the entire 26.2 miles of the Med-City Marathon we ran in May. No offense Rochester, but you could benefit from a few more spectators.
- The people of Brooklyn were giving out high-fives and I was definitely taking what they were giving. I don’t think I missed a high-five opportunity in all of Brooklyn. If there was a little kid with his hand out, I slapped it!
One crazy observation about the high-fives in Brooklyn (and all the marathon) was the number of adults who were giving away high fives as well. That never happens. The adults typically stand there pretty quiet until they see the person they specifically are cheering for or maybe they’ll give a polite golf clap and the occasional “good job”, but that’s about as excited as most adults get while watching a marathon. But not here. These people were seriously IN TO IT! The vibe was contagious.
- So contagious in fact that I think I danced more through Brooklyn than I did run. If there was a band playing as we ran past, I was jamming. If there was a boom box hanging out of an apartment window, I was groovin’. I wanted to show my appreciation to those that went out of their way to provide entertainment for us. And I just wanted to have fun.
The number of bands and musical stages on the course was crazy. I could not believe how much entertainment there was and how diverse. It was so fun. The urban drum line, the gay and lesbian marching band, rock bands, gospel choirs – you name it and we saw it. There was way more music on this course than the two Rock N Roll races we’ve run. HHHmmm, seems wrong in some way. I think the Rock n Roll Series need to take a serious look at NY and step up their game.
- As I mentioned in my last post, there were a TON of porta potties at the starting village and I used them all. So imagine my surprise when I found myself having to pee. I was completely envious of all the men who stopped to pee at the bottom of the VN Bridge in Brooklyn (seriously, that grass and those trees are very well hydrated and fertilized!). They were able to just whip it out and go but there was no place for a female to go. And of course there were porta potties on the course but the lines were so long and I just refused to stop and use one because the wait would have been too long. I was just hoping the “feeling” would go away after a few miles and I could forget about going to the bathroom.
- Well, no such luck. A few more miles and I still had to pee. And I still didn’t want to wait in line for a porta pottie. And there is no place to pee outside in Brooklyn. Or is there? Just when I was trying to deal with the fact that I may actually have to stop at a porta pottie, I saw a gas station up ahead with 4 or 5 cedar bushes along its parking lot. You know what 4 or 5 bushes equals on a marathon course? Deluxe, no waiting bathrooms! I decided to detour to the bushes as did a handful of men. I did not care that I would be sharing my bathroom with strange men. I figured there is no shame when it comes to marathoning, besides the first bush on the left was the “women’s” bush and the others were the men. I was fine with this. Plus I had Brian to stand and block the view from the left and I was pretty hidden from the right. And I figured I could just stick my ass far enough into the bush that I would be very well hidden and no one would be able to see a thing.
- Sticking your bare ass deep into a bush only works if the bush is thick enough to NOT have my ass come out the back-end. I’m guessing you can see where I’m going with this. Yep, my ass was definitely visible from the other side, which technically was the side that was facing the marathon course and all the other runners. Oh well!
- Done peeing in a bush, pulled up my shorts and I’m once again on my way. But why the hell does my ass itch? Bad?!!? Well, I found out that when you stick your bare ass deep into a cedar bush, you tend to bring back half of the bushes needles with you on said, bare ass. I did not see that one coming. I truly didn’t expect to have needles attached to my ass and I certainly didn’t think they’d hurt as much as they did. This is one “hurt/chafe” that I never expected to have to deal with during a marathon. Oh, the story that this one pit-stop has given me! (Side note: I went to the bathroom after the marathon while at dinner and I actually had needles fall on the floor and onto the toilet seat. I also had needles fall off when I took a shower later that evening. Seriously, I kid you not! That’s how much of that bush I still had on my ass. Good lord, I truly must have stuck my ass all the way through that poor bush! I’m laughing all over again as I type this. You can not believe how many needles were stuck to me.)
- Running through the first half of Brooklyn just made me so happy. I was soaking it all in. Soaking!
- Jolene was around mile 8 and based on where she thought she’d be located we knew we were going to be approaching her soon. And sure enough, we spotted her and her cowbell on a corner. We actually spotted her way before she noticed us. I’m just glad we knew where to look for her or it would have been really hard for us to see each other. In races this large I think it’s way easier for the runners to find the spectators than spectators to spot the runner. A spectator can actually get dizzy trying to scan the crowd of runners. And if you don’t scan the crowd and concentrate on one area, you are in jeopardy of missing your runner.
- We spotted Jolene, posed for a picture (what, me pose? Shocking!), took a snap shot or two of Jolene, I ditched my sleeves with her (which I later found out she thought were my socks?!?! How and why would I ditch a pair of socks?!?! And more importantly, how nice was Jolene to take and carry what she thought was a sweaty pair of socks!) and were back on our way.
- After running past Jolene we snaked through the rest of Brooklyn. We ran through a truly beautiful residential neighborhood with great old townhouses. It was a neighborhood much like the one on the Cosby Show. So pretty.
- But after peeing in a parking lot, seeing Jolene, running through pretty residential hoods, I was getting a bit bored with Brooklyn. Sorry Brooklyn – no offense, I just had 3 more boroughs to see and I wanted to get on with it. I was getting anxious not knowing how much longer we were running in Brooklyn and once anxiety sets in, it’s usually a quick trip to crabby-town.
- Yep, anxiety and crabbiness set in. Not to the point where it ruined my experience – and hopefully I didn’t ruin Brian’s experience – but enough, nonetheless.
- A random observation I noticed throughout the marathon but it was first observed while in Brooklyn was how difficult it was to run through the banana food stops. Because thousands and thousands and thousands of runners had already run through the banana stop, taken a banana, eaten it, and discarded the peels on the road, it made for an INCREDIBLY slippery run. I just remember thinking how odd it was to have to watch my footing. I also just remember thinking that there really needs to be a better way to handle this situation. People have to fall on all of those discarded and slippery peels. I mean hell, that’s what banana peels are known for… making people fall.
- I also noticed how tough it was to run through the water stops too. For a somewhat similar reason. The sheer volume of discarded cups make it really kind of tricky to run through. And unfortunately the cups weren’t all squished or matted down. Many were still full size and that made it even more difficult because you couldn’t just run over them, you had to shuffle through them instead.
- Neither the banana stops, nor the water stops, were anything I’d complain about. They were just by-products of a marathon with 50,000 runners.
We, and when I say we… I mean Brian, snapped a ton of photos in Brooklyn and during the first half of the marathon. I was feeling badly for Brian for having to carry the camera the whole time and not being able to be in any of the photos so I offered to carry it for a while and snap some pics. Well, I do not have the running/picture-taking multi-tasking skills Brian has, that is for sure. And I also don’t have his speed. So when I stop to take a photo, I can’t catch back up to him. Hence the picture I took of Brian where he’s actually stopped and has turned around to come back for me. Oops!
- Just a few more miles and we were crossing the half way mark – whew. And we were also leaving Brooklyn. I felt like we could get on with the rest of the marathon now. Time to see what the other three boroughs had in store for us.
- Bring it on Queens, Manhattan and Bronx. Whatcha got for us?
And with that I will take a pause until next time. I guess this means I will actually have to clean the house. Damn.
But until next time,