Tuesday, November 08, 2011

NYC Marathon 2011

It's been 4 years in the making. The ING New York City Marathon has a few methods for guaranteed entry but I'm just not fast enough or live close enough and also didn't want to fundraise. My options was to try my luck at the lottery. When I started, there was the guaranteed entry where if you were rejected for three straight years, you were automatically in the race for the 4th. So, 4 years in the making. I hear they're getting rid of most of the guaranteed entry methods in the near future. As usual, I ran this with my friend Reshma.

The full photo set is here.

The marathon expo was crowded and pretty insane. I'm usually okay in a crowd but I had to get in, get my stuff, and get out.

Marathon day started in the pre-dawn hours. By the time we signed up for transportation to the start, the latest option was the 5:30am bus. And our start time wasn't until 10:40. Yup, 5 hours in the freezing cold.
Verazzano Bridge - pre-dawn
Trying to nap

It had started to warm up by the time we started so everyone was able to shed some layers. All of the clothes left at the start (this is just a small bit of what was discarded)
Pre-race - clothing donation
is being donated to the homeless.

Finally (FINALLY!) at 10:40, we were underway. It took a long time for the crowd to thin out. The longest part of the race was in Brooklyn. I had motivation to get to at least the 15 mile mark because my friend Josh was going to be somewhere around mile 8 and Sonia was going to be around mile 14. I felt great at mile 8 and I was starting to feel the fatigue at mile 15.

I had been having ankle problems leading up to this race. I was ramping up the mileage way too quickly and my body couldn't keep up. In trying to take pictures and recording the race, it would force me to slow it down a bit and give my ankle a break. On the Queensboro Bridge, there was a section that had a beautiful view of both Queens (I think) and Manhattan so of course, I stopped and took a few pictures.
Over the Queensboro Bridge
Over the Queensboro Bridge

The Queensboro bridge was the bit of hell that everyone talked about. It seemed like an endless uphill and I walked it to save some energy. Back into Manhattan and I was ready to go again until I really got into the Upper East Side and noticed the slight but long incline. Around mile 18, my ankle started to bother me and the Bronx felt like it would never come. Crossing the bridge into the Bronx was a welcome sight! An even more welcome site? The entrance into Central Park because it meant the end was near!
I finally made it to Central Park!

Between miles 24 and 25, I saw a couple of people laying on the side of the road with police and medical personnel standing over them. I did not want to be them, to have come so close to finishing and being unable to do so. At this point, it hurt my ankle to walk and my quads didn't have it in them to keep running so I did the best I could to just finish. 6 hours and 29 minutes later, I finally crossed the finish line. My brain could not form coherent thoughts and the only things I knew were that I had to get out of there for the 7pm dinner reservations and I needed to stop at the medical tent for some ice for my ankle.
Icing my ankle in the medical tent

The exit chute was the longest I've ever experienced. Normally, when you cross the finish line, there's a couple of hundred feet where it's only the finishers and the people trying to put medals on you and give you water and food. They blocked off the exit chute with some high walls and I must have walked 2 miles just to get from the finish line back out to the street. Seriously, we all just traversed 26 miles on our feet and we have another 2 to go? It was incredibly hard to get a cab and I ended up hopping on the subway to get closer to the hotel. I finally managed to get a cab as people were getting out and there was a woman who started walking towards it with her two kids as I was standing by the door. At that moment, my feet didn't work so well but I would have jumped her and wrestled her for the cab then and there because my feet were not going to take me the 10 blocks to get to the hotel.

Dinner was pushed back to 7:30 and I got a half rack of ribs. I wish the ribs were a little fattier but I can't complain because the thought of them did help me get through the end of the race.

It was a great race. New Yorkers throw a great party! Thanks for having us!