Statan Island Ferry
This time yesterday, I was 5 miles into the NYC Marathon. This morning, my quads hate me and stairs aren’t my friend and I’m thankful for the day off. What an experience NYC was. It seriously was a party like no other!! I woke up yesterday around 530. I had a wake up call and had about 10 alarm sets on my phone. I was hoping my iPhone would reset because of Daylight Savings time and the falling back an hour. Thankfully it did and I was awake on time. I ended up taking a cab to the Staten Island Ferry which was nice because there was no one on the roads. I was dropped off in about 10 minutes and walked right in the Ferry to one that was loading. It was nice to be able to see Manhattan from a different view, that’s for sure. Once we got to Statan Island, there were busses shuttling runners to the start. I did take advantage of the indoor bathrooms at the Ferry stop before hoping on one of the buses. We were jammed on with some people standing in the aisles while other people who got on first were lucky enough to get seats
Once we got to Fort Wadsworth, we were drilled by security to see our bibs. No bib means you were turned away. That would have
Me in front; Back (L->R): Jen Marston (In white; Jack Marston's Daughter), Jason and Clair (In pink)
been a shame!! I would have cried right there if I would have forgotten my bib. The start was like a village of runners. People had sleeping bags, tents and blow up floatation devices for pools. There was a religious services tent and I went over. It was multi religious where we said a few prayers and some people gave some testimonials and then at the end, communion was given out to those who wished to receive it. I was smart enough to bring my phone charger with me to top off my iPhone and was able to plug in my phone and have a 100% charge on it for the start. Another I would have cried moment if I would be without music. But more so the phone part of things to contact people on course. There were announcements the entire time I was in the Start area going on in different languages (French, Spanish, Italian, Dutch I think) and that was fun to hear. There was an entertainment area with music and where we could watch the start of the pro women’s and wave 1 start. The way NYC Marathon works its start is that there are 3 waves that start at 9:40, 10:10 and 10:40. In each wave, there are 3 color groups (Blue, Orange and Green). When the groups line up on the Verranzo Bridge in Statan Island, the Blue and Orange groups start on top of the bridge and the Green group starts on the lower level of the bridge. While waiting for my corral to be let into the start, I ran into some other Jack’s Fund Runners and we walked to the start together when we were allowed in. We were all getting anxious just because we had been waiting around for 3 hours. We were told we were the most rowdy of the groups from the announcer. A few minutes before we started, a NYC Firefighter sang God Bless America, to which we all joined in.
At 10:45 we were off!! It was so cool to see runners from different countries with their shirts on. I saw people from Sweden, France, Italy, Mexico, Columbia, Denmark, Spain, South Africa, England, Australia and on and on. It was awesome!! The first 1.5 miles or 2, was on the bridge from Statan Island to Brooklyn. Since I was in the Green Corral of wave 3, I was on the lower level of the bridge. All you could hear were the feet of runners hitting asphalt. When we came out of the bridge, we hit some highway with people cheering from overpasses which was SWEET! We actually didn’t connect with the Orange and Blue groups until mile 3. When we met up with them we were hit with a bunch of fans and spectators. Fan and spectators mean energy, music and signs. It was really a motivating thing to come up on and exciting to hear them. The high that they gave me kept me going and not noticing any of the slight inclines the first 5 miles. There were some people who were handing out tissues and paper towels. That was useful for the runny noses (sorry mom, I forgot to bring my own) that I often experience during my runs. There were kids asking for high 5s and if you don’t have the heart give them high 5s, you’re insane!! Any kid offering them, I took initially, but there were times where I was in a zone and just kept going. There were people in front of their churches cheering and choirs singing in front of their churches which was awesome. At one point before mile 7 or 8, there was a sign that said “you are 38.4% done”- I appreciated that it didn’t say you’re almost done. We crossed into Queens briefly via the Pulaski Bridge and then took a turn for Manhattan around mile 14.5 via the 59th street bridge. That’s another bridge I hated because of it’s slow incline. We hit mile 15 while in the bridge and when we came out, we were closing in on mile 16. The best sign in the bridge said “Does it make it easier that there’s only 10 miles left?” When I came out, I ran along the right side of the fans to get them pumped up and got a load of high 5s. That was fun!!! I was feeling ok, but my legs were starting to burn. At mile 17, I met up with a friend of mine who was holding a powerade for me I had left with her Saturday. It was soooo needed since I hate Gatorade or at least the gatorade which is usually provided at races. At mile 17, I was 3 hrs into the race and I was thinking as long as I can hit 5 miles in the next hour, I can PR. We then went up 1st Ave to the Wills Ave bridge (which also decided to have some hills and incline, which was horrible) and into the Bronx for a few miles. I would lose track of which mile I was on every once and awhile but somehow, I managed 5 miles between hrs 3 and 4. We got back into manhattan with 4 miles left. I at least knew that there were 20 city blocks to 1 mile so I used that to figure out where I was in some cases. Heading up 5th ave, there were some more hills. Or slight inclines- whatever you want to call them. 5th Ave and Central Park were filled with people!!! And by filled, I mean elbow to elbow and 3-4 people deep. It kept you going even when your quads hurt and you’re cursing under your breath. I made it into Central Park and there was 2.2 ish miles left. Knowing that the home stretch was near was encouraging, but at the same time, knowing there was still more hills to come made me think “What have I gotten myself in to?!?!” I was struggling because I couldn’t find someone to focus on who I wanted to pass. I was able to get with the 4:50 pace group and that kept me going to my under 5 hr goal. Once I saw them, I just didn’t care what the time was, as long as it was under 5 hrs.
I crossed the finish officially in 4:52:46. I set a new PR from Chicago last year by 12 minutes. It took awhile to get out of the chute. As I walked through, I was given my medal and a cape to keep me warm. The volunteers handed me a bag of food and water and I slowly made my way to get my bag I checked at the start. There was starting and stopping going on and I was trying to just stay standing at that point. I could feel myself wanting to sit down, but I had to convince myself to keep moving. It took about 30-45 minutes to get out onto the street. I was trying to get a cab, but that effort failed miserably. I ended up walking about 1.5 miles to the hotel to get my bags and went and showered at a friends house before taking the train to Philly. My friend and I were laughing at my sorry attempt to put my shoes on after the race. That and my plan to eat whatever I want for the next week. I was exhausted last night and got a good night sleep and am only feeling yesterday’s race in my quads.
I loved this race. Honestly, it beats the Chicago Marathon. It really is an awesome environment to run in. Although the little inclines would be fine on any given 4 mile run, when you’re 20 miles into a race, they’re worse than normal! I can cross off the “run in a nationally televised race” and “get published in the NYTimes” off my bucket list :-). And say I’ve finished the NYC Marathon!