Oh Lord, I can't believe I actually qualified, trained for, and ran this marathon! I have had my eyes on the NYC Marathon for a long time as the biggest marathon in the world. In fact, I have had my eyes on a marathon for a long time. It's so difficult to believe you can actually make your body run 26.2 miles at once.
But with the support of my friends, the right running schedule, and the right strength training and stretching schedule, yesterday I successfully ran my first marathon. This is totally going on my resume by the way.
The NYC marathon started with the pre-marathon expo on Thursday, October 30th, 2014. The pre-marathon expo ran through Saturday, November 1st. I went on Saturday, which was such a rainy day that I got frightened that the race itself was going to be a wash-out. But I had the best time at the expo - making videos, taking photos, learning about KT tapes - it was a blast. If you do plan to run the marathon, I would advise that you go to the expo on Friday so that you don't tire out your legs on Saturday walking around.
My only qualm with the expo is that they did not get the "Baggage" vs. "No Baggage" option right for so many of us. This could be the difference between taking a few minutes vs. an hour to get out of the park on race day.
Here are a few highlights from the pre-marathon expo:
People say don't run with music, but I knew there were points where I would need Eminem yelling at me so I had one ear in the iPod and the other listening to the crowd. I also had my name and my country across my chest so people were calling me by name.
We started the marathon in Fort Wadsworth park in Staten Island. Finding the right corral sections is super easy. They have so many volunteers helping direct people. You get some bagels, some coffee or water, and you are ready to go.
Miles 0 to 2: The first 2 miles go over the Verrazano bridge from Staten Island to Brooklyn. The wind and the elevation of this bridge makes you doubt yourself. But it is at the beginning, so you know you can get through it.
Miles 2 to 13: Then the route goes through Brooklyn up until about mile 13. I have to say that in a lot of Brooklyn (especially Fort Hamilton and Downtown Brooklyn), the cheers were awesome. That really pushed a lot of people through. Some of the Jewish neighborhoods were a little tame, mostly because it was a work day for them.
Miles 13 to 16: Next is into Long Island City in Queens, where the cheers start up again. And then over the Queensboro bridge and into Manhattan on 1st avenue at mile 16. The Queensboro bridge was tough as well. Now, if you thought people were cheering before, this was the point where I couldn't hear anything on my iPod. The cheers were insane in the upper east side! I had some friends over here as well so the moment I walked into Manhattan, my dropping energy levels started to soar.
Miles 16 to 22: We continued in Manhattan up until like mile 19, and then crossed the Willis Avenue bridge into the Bronx. We were only in the Bronx for a couple of miles until about mile 21. It is afternoon at this point and so the crowds have started to dwindle. People in the Bronx are not as many but each person cheers loud so it was great. Then we crossed the Madison Avenue bridge back into Manhattan on 5th Avenue. And them OMG the crowds really started to scream our names. I really need it at this point as my legs were starting to get numb.
Miles 22 to 26.2: As I stepped back into Manhattan, I met a few more friends and these were actually the most enthusiastic ones. Some friends ran along with me, others screamed me on, and this gave me the energy to smile all the way to the finish line in Central Park.
This was a once in a lifetime experience, and even if I do it again, I will always know that I finished the first time with a big smile on my face all the way through. I'm very grateful that I did not feel injured until much later in the race, and I was able to keep going without stopping.
Thank you to all who supported me! I really appreciate it! Now on to the next challenge :)
Cheers Eights & Weights!