Well guys–I’m back in Hawaii–with a grateful heart and VERY SORE LEGS. 🙂
I don’t even know where to begin! I have so much I could say about my overall weekend in New York City: The travel, the people, THE CITY!, the subway, the incredible FALL BEAUTY, the COLD, the lovely apartment we stayed in…
Even more I could say about the marathon itself: The vibe (UNREAL,) the entertainment (So much fun!!) the scenic route, the cold wind, the bright sun, the PAIN IN MY LEGS, the cramps in my stomach, the bridges, the boroughs, the freezing cold finish zone, and did I mention the PAIN IN MY LEGS?
But really, you don’t have time for all of that.
So, instead I will share FOUR HIGH’S and TWO LOWS from the race.
First for the STATS:
I finished the marathon in 4 hours, 19 minutes. My pace up until mile 18 was somewhere around a 8:30 minute mile, and then I slowed to a near crawl in the last couple miles. 🙂 I did NOT walk, other than to drink at the water stops, but boy was I tempted!
Lance came in eight minutes ahead of me for a 4:11 finish. Gretchen finished in 4:04–I’m certain she would have gone faster if she hadn’t held back with me for most of the race, but she’ll deny it. (Good friend, right?) I am completely happy with my time, considering the short training season, and all of that. Since I’ve done two marathons in the past (one in 4:11, the other in 3:23,) the crazy competitive side of me can’t help but feel like my time was slow–but I’m being realistic about all of the factors. And I’m again so grateful to finish injury-free!
HIGHS and LOWS:
HIGH: NYC VIBE:
OK…The crowds lining the NYC Marathon are UNREAL. I had heard about them before, but now I know. There are bands, and cheering, and a unique crowd lining each borough. The night before the race, some suggested that I write my name on my jersey so that people could cheer for me. I went ahead and did it and can I just say: BEST ADVICE EVER!! I felt more like a rock star than I have ever felt in all of my life. I had hundreds of strangers yelling MY NAME as I ran by. “Go Monica,” “You got this Monica!” “Looking good MONICA!” I was so fired up around miles 6-12, it was like a runners high on crack. I was high-fiving the crowds, smiling ear to ear, and feeling on top of the world. Expending so much energy then may have contributed to how horrible I felt by mile 20, but I’d do it all again in a heartbeat. If you ever run the New York City Marathon: WRITE YOUR NAME ON YOUR SHIRT.
(And if you happened to have been in the crowd for that race–I want to THANK YOU with all of my heart!)
HIGH: Gretchen and Lance.
This entire experience would not have been half of what it was without my brother virtually training with me for the past seven weeks, and Gretchen by my side. Gretchen and I ended up running together for about the first 18 miles, and sharing that experience with her was a huge highlight. We were very near to Lance all along the way, but in the end
I let him pass he passed me and beat me by a solid eight minutes. I’m extremely proud of my brother.
HIGH: My family.
The virtual tracking system they have at the NYC Marathon is fabulous. Using just my name, anyone in the world could track my progress along the run. Dave and my boys (as well as my parents, and a bunch of other friends,) were on the computer tracking my every mile. When I started getting encouraging text messages from my family with “Mom–You made it to mile 14–way to go!!” and “Keep it up–we’re proud of you!” I seriously had to fight back tears. I am positive that if I didn’t have my family cheering me along I would have slowed down a LOT sooner than I did!
HIGH: Running for a Cause.
This was the first time I have ever run for a charity. Running for my nephew Micah, and every kid with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, was an absolute privilege. I prayed for Micah throughout the run, and when the pain got really bad, I turned my focus to every family I know of that is facing a fatal disease. I turned my energy into prayer for them, and considered all of the challenges that they face. Then I THANKED GOD for my family’s health, and vowed to never ever take it for granted. Pain is a funny thing, and it can really give you a perspective that is hard to come by when you are sitting comfortably. I am so glad that I was able–even in that small way, to share in the suffering of others.
LOW: Marathon Logistics:
From BEFORE the starting line, to AFTER the finish line, this race was a lot of work. With 50,700 people running this race (a world record, by the way!) there is no getting around how complicated it is. We initially complained because our wave started so late (10:55 AM) but thank God it did. Getting to the race alone took subways (so packed to the limit one runner next to me was on the floor, nearly passing out,) a ferry ride (complete with police boat escort and a gunman right along side of the ferry–just a little creepy,) and then a bus ride. We then had to walk a long time, in the very cold to get to the right start zones, check in, check bags, and on and on…
What I’m saying is, we were really tired before we ever began the race.
The end of the race was definitely the biggest disappointment for me. Once we crossed the finish line we still had a LONG walk to get out of the park…and sadly, it was in the coldest, shadiest part of Central Park. As my sweat dried, and my leg muscles FROZE up on me, I seriously contemplated going to the medic tent. My only problem was–I couldn’t come up with a “real medical problem” to complain of! All I could think of was “Everything hurts and I’m really cold,” a sentiment shared by at least 50,000 other people that day. I was as miserable as I’ve ever been in my life. I shuffled like a 90-year-old with Parkinson’s Disease, teeth chattering from the cold, while entertaining fantasies of a taxi that could bust through the security gates to JUST GET ME HOME. I hesitated before every curb working up the will power to step up or down. And this time I promise, I am not exaggerating. I stopped a complete stranger to ask if she would tie my shoe for me. Yeah. That bad.
LOW: It’s already over?
The weekend in general just zoomed by. Like any great event, I had such a built-up anticipation for everything; Time with my brother, enjoying the city, and everything else just felt like it whizzed by me. We hardly got a photo of the three of us, and the few we got were pre-race, freezing cold, and really bad. We couldn’t find each other at the end of the race, so all three of us shuffled home alone. The fun of the finish line just wasnt there. We cancelled dinner plans for after the race (because I COULDN’T MOVE,) and suddenly I’m back in Hawaii wondering where the time went.
****Obviously, it is fantastic to be home. Levi forgave me for abandoning him, and my bed has never felt so good in my life. I cancelled school today to get caught up on laundry and so we could all just enjoy being together. I love my family so much.
I’ve got a little lineup of fun things for you back here, but it may take me a few days to get back up to speed. Until then, THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for being so awesome. Your support has made such a difference in this whole adventure!
Now for a few photos that I captured on my iPhone
In order from the first subway ride of the morning, to pre-race piles of clothes people ditched, to mid-race craziness that I took in my hyper-manic state, and on to Central Park for the finish. I’ll be getting official “race photos” soon so I may share those later.
Finally–For those of you familiar with NYC, here is the course map:
And click HERE if you want to see a video drive-through of the entire course. (might be a bit boring, but if you’ve been there you might enjoy the ride…:))
I think I’ll do one more post-race download next week to talk about my overall feelings about running, marathons, and future plans…It’s still too fresh to talk about now. 🙂 IF you happen to have been in the NYC Marathon–please share in comments, and tell me a high or a low for you. And if you’ve ever done a marathon or any race you’d be willing to tell us about–PLEASE DO!! Half the fun of it is sharing it with others!