My head wasn't in this race for the last few weeks. Training was hard, I thought about just not running a few times, and shook it off. As race day loomed closer my anxiety level continued to heighten, but at that point nothing was going to keep me from running. I broke one of the number one rules of racing -- I ran in something new. Let's be honest though, by the time the weather report was calling for 30 mph winds with 40 mph gusts, I wasn't going to be running in ANYTHING like what I had trained in. I bought a new pair of compression tights the day before hoping that it would keep me warm.
I left with plenty of time to make it to the start line. Or at least I thought I did. Here I was concerned that I would be outside freezing for two hours -- instead I stressed over getting on a train. Who's bright idea was it to not run the 6 on a weekday schedule MTA??? From the ferry to the start line the buzz and camaraderie was amazing. It is one of the reasons I so love running.
The Irish gentlemen behind me at the porter potties were honestly hilarious, and the Peruvian in my corral was in the same boat as me, having not trained in this cold weather we huddled together praying for warmth.
Every time the cannon (which ominously sounded like the one from Hunger Games), my heart surged. Finally, it was time. It was my turn to run one of the greatest marathons in the world. And I was as ready as I could be.
Going into the first stretch, I decided to go at a comfortable pace and not fight the wind. Good thing, since while on the Verrazano I was practically going sideways. My slower pace had me feeling really strong as I wove my way through Brooklyn. I was so incredibly impressed with spectators. I had never traveled outside of Manhattan to watch the marathon and really didn't know what to expect. The energy was infectious and I loved every moment of it. Especially as I rounded around mile 4 and saw one of my colleagues with a glitter filled sign!
As I rounded into Queens I was still feeling quite strong. It was the first place I would get to see my husband, and my favorite little person (Sofia), who had instruments to make noise as I came by. I made a diagonal bee-line for them, so happy to have them out there supporting me. This was especially helpful as I was one mile out from Queensboro Bridge, which I knew was going to be the toughest part of this part of the race. I was so focused on just getting through to Manhattan that I didn't stop to take pictures of the scenery like so many others were around me. I regret it now, but I do think if I had stopped I might not have started up again.
The wall of sound is real people, and it was awesome. As I began my trek north to Harlem, I saw Janie and Marissa and got a surge. As I headed up in mile 20, I started to feel the wall approaching. I took my first walk break, and then I saw Shari...got a hug and started up again.
I started playing head games at mile 21. The 'ol "5 miles, you do that every day" and the "you can't quit now, this is the easy part." I started the marathon shuffle and just kept going for as long as I possibly could. The wind was picking up again, and making it a little harder. The mind games continued, as I the "rolling hills" continued to take a toll on my legs. At mile 25 I just couldn't do it any longer and decided to walk so that I could run across the finish line. Had I not walked I might have finished before 5 hours, but I still feel like it was the right decision.
I was so happy to have crossed the finish line before dark, and while it was a PR, I ran one of the best marathons in the world, and I finished.