It is now two days after the New York City 2011 marathon, which I finished in 4:12:12.
My body is feeling amazingly well considering. No soreness. I’m just really tired.
I was supposed to be in the green village, wave 2, with a start time of 10:10am. I took the Staten Island ferry over at 7:30 in the morning. Once off the ferry, all the runners take a shuttle bus to the start villages, which are crammed with 47,000 runners getting excited, taking photos, eating bagels, waiting in lines for porta potties, drinking coffee and Gatorade, laying on the grass or fidgeting in lines waiting for their corrals (the corrals are where you line up for the start) to open. The temp was about 50°. When I went to get into my corral for the second wave they had locked the gate and wouldn’t let me in even though it was 9:50 am! I then had to wait in an ornery stampede of runners in front of the next corral gate for another 30 minutes to start with the last wave.
Of course this was troublesome to me because I had eaten based on a 10:10 start and having waited already for two hours at the start I was getting really geared up to run and waiting in front of the gate for another 30 minutes with hundreds of people right up your ass also getting irritated by waiting was really irksome.
I finally started at 10:40 at the Verrazano Bridge. The bridge along with the first few miles were quiet and nice. I was running a lot faster than I should have been for the first 13 miles because I was so excited to get out of the waiting time, my body felt good, and I wanted to catch up with my pace setters. Going through Brooklyn was splendid. I had my name taped on the front of my shirt “Brooklyn” on the back. The crowds were fun and it was thrilling running through neighborhoods that I love including my own. I saw Ted and Claire at around mile 7 and Jen Cox at mile 11ish. In Williamsburg another runner, Brian, caught up with me and said he’d been following me and enjoyed my play with Brooklyn fans. We both were shooting for a 3:50 finish so we tried running together. We did this for a couple of miles but then I started cramping in my intercostal muscles. Once I started cramping I had to slow down. We were going at about an 8:30 pace. My first half split was 1:55. My goal time was 3:50 because I wanted to qualify for the Boston Marathon. However, it was unrealistic. Once I hit the Pulaski Bridge and went into Long Island City I wasn’t feeling well, as if I was hitting a wall too early but didn’t want to eat any more because of the cramping and yet I felt hungry. I had changed my power pellets from Cliff Blocks to Chomps for race day, but had never trained with Chomps. I wasn’t sure if the Chomps were messing with my system. Maybe I didn’t eat enough the two days prior? Maybe it was the late start? Maybe it was air from drinking from my bottle? Maybe it was too much Gatorade and not enough water? My running pal, Suma, also in the third wave but with a blue start, caught up to me and we ran together for one mile but she was running really strong and there was no way I could stay with her. At mile 16 I thought I had a pebble in my shoe and I kept on contemplating stopping to shake out my sneaker (come to find out it was my sesamoid bone). I briefly stopped at a medical station on First Ave. and ask them if they could give me anything for cramping in my shoulders and they asked “massage or ibuprophen?” I couldn’t tolerate stopping for too long so I just kept running and adjusted my hands so that my shoulders rolled out and down. The cheering, although great in Brooklyn, annoyed me the more difficult the race became for my body. I needed quiet. I didn’t need my iPod. Runners around mile 19 were walking and they annoyed me because I was tired and I was having a hard time dodging them. I wanted to stop a couple of times but when I did my legs seized up and when I started running again they didn’t want to behave so I realized I couldn’t stop even though I desperately wanted to stretch. My head kept saying things like “why am I doing this?” The only productive thought was “keep going and the distance will eventually disappear.” I don’t really know what my average pace was after the Queensboro Bridge but I just persevered and made it. I slowed down significantly. It was hard. The last mile running back into Central Park was a relief. I saw Nicole and Elizabeth and Paul cheering. Seeing them made me happy. I was thrilled when I crossed the finish because I was finished.