Oof. I have no idea where to begin with this recap. I truly thought that the NYC Marathon would be the most amazing experience of my life. But it wasn't. Not even close.
The first cool thing I did was go to the Asics tweet up with my friend, Ari, at the NY Public Library. It was rainy and kind of gross outside, but I got to meet some cool people I follow on Instagram and we got free Asics gear, which was a score all around.
After the tweet up, we headed to the expo. I won't go into crazy detail about that because once you've been to one major race expo, you've been to them all. Sadly, I didn't find anything I couldn't live without and I had purchased the NYCM back pack the week before, which I am in love with. I want to snuggle with it at night, I love it so much.
As for the race, well, let's just nothing I wanted to happen, happened. Except for the whole finishing every single mile of the course and then some, according to my Garmin. First of all, let's talk wind. The wind that day was so incredibly strong that it actually knocked some people over and the wheel chair start was moved off of the Verrazano bridge for the safety of the competitors. As I was running along the bridge, the wind actually ripped my ear buds out multiple times and caused my iPod to pause. But it was still one of the coolest parts of the course.
I didn't have high expectations for a good finish time for this race because of the wind and the fact that I had been sidelined for a month due to my knee injury, but I also didn't expect the wind to make me feel so, so sick. My lungs burned for the entire race and it was not from exertion.
I won't bore you with a mile by mile recount of my experience, because over all, it pretty much sucked. I'm probably the only runner on the planet that has run the NYCM and thought it was miserable. One thing that really contributed to my misery was that I found myself at the very end of the course support for the race. The course has a 7 hour time limit and I have no idea if that time limit starts from the first wave or the last, but it seemed to happen way too early.
There are no sweepers and you can finish the race even after the 7 hour time limit, but let me tell you how demoralizing it is to see all of the emergency vehicles and listen to an endless loop on loudspeaker saying, "this is the end of the New York City Marathon" for an hour straight because they were moving at the same pace as me at that point. The longer I had to hear it, the more upset I became until I pretty much ran out of steam.
I'm not sure how I got caught up in that procession, though, which just adds to my frustration. I was in corral A of the last wave, which started at 10:55. That processional came through when I was at or very close to mile 20. It was only 4:00, meaning I had only been on the course for 5 hours and was definitely set to finish under 7 hours. Now, my pace slowed exponentially at this point because I was so upset about a whole bunch of things, but I still finished under 7.
I think I would have had a better outlook if I wasn't beating myself up for being at the end of the race. Never mind the fact that there were tons of runners behind me. Also, I was incapable of doing math at this point, so in my mind, I was going to finish an hour later than I actually did.
And the Wall of Sound that everyone talks about on the Queensboro bridge in every recap I have ever read? Yeah, that shit is non existent for the later runners. I had imagined that experience for years and so I kept pulling out my ear buds over and over hoping to experience it for myself. Nope.
Luckily, two very good friends, Abby and Debra, talked me off the ledge via text when I was losing my shit at about mile 17. So, a huge heartfelt thank you to both of them, because I was so upset and so miserable that I wished I had someone with me.
It was not the race I trained for nor hoped for, but I did it. Every last single mile of that course. And you know what, a week later, I'm feeling pretty impressed with myself. I was sick, injured and hadn't run in a month in an effort to save my knee for the race itself. A month ago, I could have pulled off a 5:45 time and it took me an extra hour to finish. But I finished. And it's going to be a really long time -if ever- that I do a full marathon again.
Also, the poncho is super warm and kitten approved.