The 2013 New York City Marathon was going to be my 4th NYC Marathon in a row (or 5th if it wasn’t for a hurricane), and my 91st race ever.
I’ve shared some in this blog: there was a bunch of medical things that happened to me in the last months, including an ulcer, two falls, wild leg spams/pain, a labral tear and a couple of other things I don’t even want to talk about. As you can assume, I barely trained. The ulcer was the worst: for two months, I was eating so little I could barely walk or stay awake, so no running. I got really weak, lost a lot of muscle mass, and all hope. But the truth is, the marathon was so far removed from my day-to-day, with all I had going on, that I barely thought of it. I even got proposed to and married in the middle of it all, traveled for work, etc. Running was secondary.
The week of the marathon was tough. I was working a lot and, mostly, trying to figure out if I could actually run or not. Or if it was wise. Or if I’d make my leg pain worse. I didn’t run one step the two weeks before the marathon, had an MRI that week, saw another doctor on Thursday, had pain constantly. Waiting until the last 3 days was driving me crazy. Plus I was working at the expo and with a million commitments to even rest.
Thursday, the second doctor of the week said Go. I said OK.
Panic and Doubt settled in. I am not ready. I haven’t trained. How long is this gonna take? I knew I could finish it but I had no idea what kind of pain I’d have to face. I’d had pain in half my marathons. This, my tenth marathon, would be a different monster. I kept telling myself that when I run the 2011 NYC Marathon I was in way worse shape, as I had sat on my butt for 3 month with a foot stress fracture. I didn’t even walk for 3 months! And I did the marathon, finished strong and had no pain during or the day after. This one would be easier. Telling myself I’d be ok, and I knew how to push through anything, I headed into race day.
Pictures of the expo, elite athletes at the media tent, here:
Sights of the marathon VIII #INGNYCM #nycmarathon
Sights of the marathon VII #INGNYCM #nycmarathon
Sights of the marathon VI #INGNYCM #nycmarathon
Sights of the marathon V #INGNYCM #nycmarathon
Sights of the marathon IV #INGNYCM #nycmarathon
Sights of the marathon III #INGNYCM #nycmarathon
Sights of the marathon II #INGNYCM #nycmarathon
Sights of the marathon I #INGNYCM #nycmarathon
Saturday I worked at the expo until 5 and then attended our Autism Speaks athletes dinner (for work) at the Hard Rock Cafe. I got home around 10 and went to sleep!
I got up around 5 and by 6:15 I was at the terminal. There was a LOT of security everywhere this weekend. And I mean EVERYWHERE. In the terminal, at the expo, in the ferry, getting off the bus, in each corner on the course, on the rooftops. EVERYWHERE. You felt safe (or watched!) no matter what!
Blaise and I sat on the 6:30 ferry just because we got there so early. Our plan was to catch the 6:45 or 7 am ferry, YES, for the first wave at 9:40… we saw so many people who were in wave 3 or 4 there. I am not sure why people head there so early. And not sure why they like to freeze out there in the cold for hours… oy. Once we got to Staten Island, my corral buddies Tessa and Tree and Shawn were there, hanging out in the warm terminal. We sat for another half hour catching up and talking race.
Around 7:30 we left the SI terminal for the buses, they’re right outside on a short two block walk.
As soon as we got to the Athletes’ Village we went straight for the UPS trucks as we assumed they closed at 8:30 or something and it was that time. We left our bags and proceed to our tent. Somehow, I had a qualifying time for the Local Competitive Corral. What is that? Well, there’s the elite runners, then the subelite, then my group, and then the rest of the runners. As we were supposed to be fast, we get to line up right at the head of the Green wave (elite are in the blue), but we get our own tent with food, with our own portapotties, and a lot of local friends! JACKPOT!
We waited there for 30 minutes, 5 minutes before the gun we undressed. We had a tall wall on the right so we were protected from the wind (yey to being in the GREEN corral). We had piles and piles of clothes on the sides. It was nervewracking for me to be that far high up and close to the start, but I had great company…
My friend Helen was in the subelite corral, which was right on top. She took the picture below… What a bunch of weirdos we all are…
I was starting to get a bit nervous. I kept telling myself “I am a runner, I know how to do this with my eyes closed” but being around all these fast people was a little intimidating. I KNEW (I would have bet money right there) Tessa was going to go onto have a fantastic race. I saw it in her face. She was quiet but relaxed, like a ticking bomb ready to explode, about to unleash the beast she had been nurturing for a while. In a few seconds, we’d hear the national anthem, Mary Wittenberg, Bloomberg, the gun, Frank Sinatra’s New York, New York, the excited footsteps on the lower deck and I knew I would helplessly lose her. But I knew she wouldn’t let her (and mine) dream go. I shouted a few Go Tessa, You Got this as she run away from me. She’d go onto a 3:16, a 7 minute PR, insanely-precise run race, and I knew, as soon as the race started, within 10 steps, before she even left me, that I had nothing in me. Nothing. That I had no business being there. That I wasn’t prepared for what was ahead and I was going to be taught a lesson. I tried to relax and do my best to salvage the carnage but I couldn’t relax. Everyone was passing me at 5, 6, and 7 pace and it was crowded and we were going uphill and the bibs were being shaken by the wind and I could feel the footsteps above and thought about the many hours I still had until the finish and I was so scared of tripping and falling and my legs were so dead, and I was cold but I was hot and it was so crowded and fast… I couldn’t relax. I did my best to settle and find my rhythm… but I couldn’t. The race was stronger than me and I wasn’t prepared, I wasn’t trained mentally or physically to control it, or to control myself. I just did my best to not despair…
Edited- Part 2 is here: My 2013 New York City Marathon Race, part 2
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