I was not a happy camper. I was really scared of what could happen. I had a list of exit strategies, but still, I wasn’t sure it was a good idea to even bother…
Luckily, I had a bunch of friends come over to distract me. At 7:30 pm a few of us headed to Central Park to watch the pre-marathon fireworks on the finish line.
Here’s us: JFlecks, me, my sister, and cheeky runner!
I was sitting down, because of course, I was about to run a marathon in a few hours! Then… the fireworks!
(that’s my fuzzy face!)
Sunday! Race Day!
Blaise and I both missed the same ferry, shocker! The train and the ferry is always a great sight on Marathon Sunday, full of runners…
We still got to Staten Island with time and met up with Patricia (the pregnant Paula Radcliffe) and soon enough we were at the Athlete’s Village! It was COLD!
Two seconds later, a runner I never met before told me I was a celebrity and that he read my blog. Kindacrazystuff! (G, hey!!)
Another second later I met up with Mr. Bacon and soon they all headed to their corrals as they were all in the first wave. It was cold, around 38 with a LOT of wind… and I was not sure what I was getting myself into… Soon enough I was freezing in my corral. First time in two marathons in a row that I make it to my corral on time…
Man, was I EXCITED to be there!. Scared stupid but excited. The nutrition plan was easy and proven effective: 1 Gatorade cup every two miles. 1 gel every 4 miles. And 1 S-cap at mile 20. Simple enough, but I sharpied it into my hand to to keep it all in check.
It was sunny, it felt like a glorious day was ahead. My mantra was “Boston“, I had written it in my hand too. I wanted to run free and relaxed like I did in Boston. If I was to DNF or have a crappy race, at least I wanted to enjoy whatever miles I could do. 10:10 am, and we are off to Frank’s “New York, New York” just like every year. It was way more crowded than the last two years, and we were walking for a couple of minutes after we crossed the start. Ah, blah.
I love the first two miles in the bridge… You see the island’s skyline in the distance. It’s very very distant, but you just feel like it’s pulling you close with every step, and I was drinking it all in… I thought about a lot of things, about how lucky I was that I didn’t really mess myself up more in those falls not to be there, about how lucky I was to be in that moment in that place, and about the many people that were in the course waiting for me… I wanted to give them something back… I was really inspired to make it happen. I wanted to be free, to RUN free and really take it all in, but no matter what pace I could do, I wanted to save it to be strong in the park. That’s where I fell apart in the last two years and my goal was to have enough to feel strong there, in my own backyard. I needed to do at least that. The strategy was to run relaxed, get off the Queensboro in one piece, and leave it all for the last 3 (undulating) miles in the park.
After two miles we leave the bridge, I keep checking my heart rate monitor to make sure I am not pushing too much. I know I can’t care less about the pain, but I really wanted to save it for the last miles. I run into a team mate, we chat for just a bit and I go. Two miles later I see my sister (Ana) and my friend Flor cheering in the assigned spot on 54th st! I yell “diez puntos“, a common phrase in Spanish that means that I felt like a 10 (out of ten!)… They jump, scream, and I keep going. It was SO great to see them so soon. I was feeling great, here’s the picture they got.
Then I see some calves ahead I recognize… I am not kidding, Jeff’s (avisualperson) calves are just thatspecial! I know he’s much faster than me (I definitely didn’t want to run with him!!!) so I wonder what is he doing there, and he was trying to catch up to the 3:40 group. I stay back! Two seconds later, on 47th St, I see my friend Kaz, who is up before noon just once a year! This guy is a celebrity, ehem. A mile later I see my friend Galya (I’ll get her pics soon) and then my other friend Ibra a few blocks later! I was seeing everyone… I was so engaged with the whole thing… I read EVERY sign, I high-fived (only with the right arm!), and I smiled at everyone who said my name. We really do have the best spectators here! When I looked up I saw I had just done 10 miles, what? HOW? I felt as fresh as new! My ribs were pretty quiet and I think it was because I made sure to breathe very shallowly… and I was really careful that no one got too close to my arm… I was a bit paranoid even! So, at mile 11, I see Michelle, holding an Argentinian soccer jersey… every time I saw someone who came out to support me on this day, I would weep for two blocks… A few blocks later, there’s cheeky runner!!! She jumped in the course and ran with me for half a mile while taking pics, see?
A half a mile later, Dimi jumped in a run just a bit too, because, who doesn’t want to run this marathon even if it’s just a couple of blocks?
And we go to the Queensboro… it is QUIET up there, and the climb can be brutal. There were a lot of people walking, but I was ready for it… Well, more like I was looking forward to it this time around. Then I knew this race was going to be over way too soon.