As promised, just a little late - And i did not read it so i wouldn't be tempted to change it.
my ny experience from last year...............................
well, i wasn't going to do it, but i know many of you are wanting it. Thanks, glad to hear you like my stories. But to make things easy i just am sending this to already created groups to make it easy for me. So, Please please please do not feel you have to read my marathon story. As most of you know, it could be a book. But my goal is to not make this long - HA! yeah right!
One thing i did not realize about entering the NY Marathon was how emotional it was going to be for me. Growing up in that area, working next to the World Trade Centers before 9/11 and the amazing friendships i have up there all created an unexpected experience for me.
Race morning my best friend since the age of 5 drove me to the start. I was quite nervous on the drive and feeling a little sick to my stomach. It meant the world to me that Jumana, my best friend, like a sister, was driving me to one of the largest most popular marathons in the world. So i was nervous for the race as well as getting choked up for the meaning behind it. We don't get to see each other much (about twice a year), and she certainly doesn't get to see me race much any more. So there was the first lump i felt in my throat that i fought so it would not turn into energy depleting tears. It meant the world to me though that she was there for me helping me get to this goal i have not been able to beat.
Said my good byes and made by way to the runners village in Staten Island, the first of the 5 boroughs that the marathon goes through. Thousands and Thousands of runners all over the place (45,000). But the amazement is how organized the race has this set up. Color and # coordinated. I had to make my way to the blue area. Got my bag checked, used the bathrooms and into my corral. Not too bad. The corrals seemed nicely spread out so it wasn't overly crowded.
But then......40 minutes before the start they take down the ropes and tell you to start moving on down toward the start. So now, you are more like a sardine crammed by too many people. For the first time ever, i realized i have claustrophobia. I got the same feeling as i do when i swim with people around me. Anxiety, shallow deep rapid breathing and heart racing. I always thought i got that swimming well for i was not sure. I didn't think i had claustrophobia though. I got really upset and almost was in tears and felt that i can't do this feeling i need to get out of here, there is still 40 minutes before we start, and i couldn't breathe and my chest was really tight. Of course i am not going to split. So i pushed my way through to the fence and just got up on the fence looking out and away from the crowd and got my breathing undercontrol. As we moved forward closer to the start i stayed on the edge by the Jersey Wall to make sure i could breathe. This was not fun for me. I felt very alone. My great friend Dawn from college was suppose to be running too. She and i have run many races in the past together. An injury kept her out this time and i was really missing her as i had trouble with hyperventilating. I knew she would have helped calm me down. I did get to visit with her 2 nights before though.
It was a chilly morning, but not damp and the sun was shining very nicely. I kept my junk clothes on till about 2 minutes before they started us. It was perfect.
Where i stood, 3 fireman stood on the other side of the jersey wall from where i was. A quartet from one of the broadway plays sang the national anthem (it was awesome) and a whole new world of emotion came over me. NY had always been a huge part of my life, but since i had moved away from it, i had not had much of a connection with it since 9/11. So the picture around me couldn't have been more surreal. The fireman, the anthem, the flag blowing, NY. I started thinking about these fireman that stood before me and 9/11, and how i commuted into the trade centers every day for work before 9/11. I had moved away from the area before 9/11 and this was my first time since just having that peaceful moment with a place close to home to me. Something i didn't realize i needed. But i so did!!!
This time the lump turned into tears as they continued singing and i whispered the anthem to myself. I had to let the tears out, I couldn't get rid of the lump otherwise. But it felt good and i knew it was bringing me even more good energy to get me to that finish line fast. I stood there waiting and already, i couldn't believe how unbelievable this marathon was already setting into my soul. That the experience already was bigger than any other race i have ever done. I can't even express it in words. My words are not doing it justice right now. sorry.
Finally, we start the race. See, i knew i couldn't keep it short, just starting the race part and already have a book for you.....
We started with about a 2 mile trek over the Verazzano bridge, taking us from Staten Island to the 2nd NY borough - Brooklyn. The bridge is the longest suspension bridge in the country. It was beautiful. But it was sooo cold due to the wind. I couldn't wait to get off it as my foot was frozen and was causing pain in my foot.
Once off the bridge you head up Brooklyn and into the 3rd borough - Queens. Getting off the bridge into Brooklyn brought on more emotions as the crowds cheering was unbelievable. Already! Their voices just carried you up the streets, knocking down the miles. Queens brought on another emotional bout as my Dad worked there as i grew up and it was nice to think about him looking down at me running with i'm a sure a huge smile, as he had always been my biggest fan when it came to running.
Then we headed into Manhattan, the 4th NYC borough. Just when you thought the crowds couldn't get thicker or louder, it did! Manhattan had an energy of its own. And at mile 16 the energy was needed by all. As all the runners hugged the left side of hte road to get the sunny side i stayed on the right as my best friend was going to be near 72nd and 1st cheering me on and we said i would run on the right so it would be a little easier to find me. Looking for her kept me so strong and excited. And sure enough, i heard my name and the excitement in her voice and the others with her. I can't even explain what went through me. Sounds cheesy but the best way i can explain it is that it felt like a golden spark was darted into my soul and spread throughout my entire body. I was elated. I couldn't stop smiling and my pace picked up by quite a bit. Seeing my bestest friend out there got my emotions again, another lump in the throat, teary eyes but with a big smile. I think other runners thought i was crazy. But i'm sure they were envious as i went by people for the next 9 miles (the last 9 miles) as if they were standing still. At least that is what it felt like.
The course then took us up into the Bronx, the 5th and last borough, back into Manhattan into Central Park where the crowds and cheering were even more so. INTENSE! Unexplainable. Truly an experience you have to live.
The finish wasn't far and again i couldn't stop smiling. Every time i went over a timing chip i had a wholesome smile as i thought to myself how i feel so good and i am going to be getting this goal of mine i never thought possible and that at the same time i am feeling this, everyone watching me online is seeing it too and smiling with me, and many of you that train with me or know me really well are feeling it with me.
I never felt that miserable i can't wait to get to the finish line feeling. I felt good the entire time. I may have had too much left in fact that may help me with future marathons in believing i can even take it down a little more.
There was a sign that really stood out to me. All is said was "pain is temporary, pride is forever." i smiled when i saw that and said to myself, i am feeling that pride right now and loving it and going to use it to keep me strong for the rest of this marathon.
There was a ton of NY singers and bands all over the course. Staying alive was my favorite. Brooklyn had a singer that probably should not have been singing, made me laugh.
All in all is was a great marathon. I knew it was intense with the amounts of spectators and runners there would be. But never imagined it would hit home as it did.
I do have one more thing to add (sorry)
My friend Dawn who ran with me in College and has done some marathons and in the same vote with me that we have just been unable to figure out the marathon adn that is always beats us. I never in a million years would think i could run one in the low 3s. She asked me after "how did you finally do it? how did you finally crack the marathon code?" my answer was simple = "CONFIDENCE." it is somethng i preach a lot in my running class, it is somethng i have worked on lots with myself and it has helped in all my races but the marathon.....till now!!!!!
i trusted that i could run a 3:20, i crushed that with ease and now i think i can do even better.
"BELIEVE IT AND ACHEIVE IT!"
so what now - i plan to continue to inspire others....................