Presented without comment: the full race summary. Well, okay, a few comments. :)
It was definitely one of the best New York moments I’ve ever had and one I will remember for a long time. It was everything you can imagine; everything friends told me it would be. You start your day in Staten Island, cold and excited. Frank Sinatra comes on the loudspeakers singing “New York, New York” and you almost want to cry (don’t worry, this is a common theme throughout in this race). I missed my “start time” so I had to scramble around figuring out which group I wanted to go with next. This means pushing yourself to the front of others and waiting another twenty minutes or so in the cold so you can get into the corral.
Brooklyn goes by incredibly fast: the crowd just pulls you along. You hardly notice that you’re running a race until you get to the Pulaski Bridge. I didn’t really think the course was all that hilly; Queensboro is perhaps the biggest climb and I just took that one slowly. As much as I complain, I think maybe I secretly like hills. It’s also the first time in the race where it gets quiet (very few people watching from the bridge) and you start thinking things like “why am I doing this?” and “oh. my. god. those Kenyans have already finished.” I found out later that this is where Haile (my all-time most favorite runner!) sadly dropped out of the race.
I can’t even tell you how many people I saw cheering – or how many kids I high-fived. And I was incredibly surprised to see lots of friends and family in the crowd: thousands of people and somehow you find each other. I wrote down nine or so locations where friends were camped and stuffed it under my wristband to keep it safe. I made sure to say ‘hi’ and high-five every one of them. Note: a little piece of paper jammed inside your wristband during a race gets really sweaty but is a great thing to save post-race.
I got into a slower pace on First Ave thinking I should just coast and eat and pick it up again post Bronx. Then, at mile nineteen-something, I unexpectedly started getting really tight in my left hamstring. I tried to stretch it out at least eight different stops but to no luck. It wouldn’t go away and just got progressively worse (it eventually moved to the calf) as the miles went on. It was _incredibly_ painful. I’m not going to lie, I definitely wanted to cry, but thought it might not be so cool with 10,000 people and a few cameras watching me. Maybe it was just me, but at the time it felt like I was the slowest kid on the block and it felt like everyone else was running so fast. That made me even sadder. Spectators would shout out words of encouragement like “you’re almost there!” and “come on, you waited so long and trained for this day!” And all I could cough back was “back off, lady! i’m dying here!” (I’m kidding!). I had a lot more time to think about outcomes: a part of me was half-expecting the legs to loosen up so that I could finish strong. There was also a small thought that if it got any worse, I probably would have had to stop because I couldn’t see myself walking through that. I jog-walked (is that a thing? if not, I just made it a thing) the rest of the race.
Oh well, next time. Wait, I can’t believe I’m actually saying that. :)