This weekend was the 2015 TCS New York City Marathon weekend and I made my way to the Big Apple on Friday morning to take in the scene and tackle the 26.2 mile course through the five burroughs of New York. The entire experience was one I will never forget.
On Friday afternoon, I hit up the race expo to pick up my bib number, shirt and bag of goodies. For those who know me, you may be surprised to know I also sprung for a marathon jacket and will wear it proudly going forward. The race expo was a really well orchestrated event and there were a lot of familiar faces at the expo in terms of running vendors including The Running Griffin sponsors Honey Stinger and Sparkly Soul!
Thanks to the magic of Twitter, I was able to find a shakeout run with Bart Yasso at Paragon Sports on Saturday morning. A great group of runners hit the store at 8AM and made our way out into the streets for a 3 mile warm up run. It was a great way to meet some other runners who would be tackling the marathon the next morning. After the run, I made my way over to a great outdoor market and then went to the World Trade Center Memorial. Having never seen the memorial before, it was amazing how quiet it was at the memorial; you could literally hear a pin drop. I was able to find Ace Bailey’s name on the memorial and decided to focus on all the good that has come out of tragedy, particularly with the Ace Bailey Children’s Foundation, for which I have been a supporter for the past five years.
After a nice pasta dinner Saturday early evening I made my way back to the hotel and went to bed nice and early to rest up for the big day.
Sunday morning was now upon me and I hopped in an Uber to head to the Whitehall Terminal where the Staten Island Ferry shuttled runners over to Staten Island. Though there was a little bit of a delay boarding the ferry, trying to transport that many people is no yeoman’s task and all things considered it went quite smoothly. After the ferry ride, a bus ride took us to the starting area. The starting area was remarkably well organized and featured plenty of space, port-o-potties, coffee and more! Before I knew it, my wave and corral were being called and it was time to tackle the course.
Once the starting cannon went off, it was onto the Verranzano bridge lower deck. Running on the bridge was quite an experience but then hitting the first wave of crowds in Brooklyn was all the better. My favorite section of Brooklyn was early in the run when revelers were having an old school block party while blasting “No Sleep Till Brooklyn.” I can imagine that on this day, there is probably no getting sick of the Beastie Boys on repeat.
For the first half-marathon I ran the race pretty well, actually picking up negative splits at some points. But with about 10 miles to go the legs started to get sore and tired. No matter how much fluids and energy I was taking, it seemed a little harder to keep pushing along but I was determined to get there.
Heading up the road before making a turn into Central Park was a gradual incline that certainly made itself known on the legs. Once inside Central Park, knowing there was just two miles to go a renewed sense of energy was present and I started to run a little bit better. The last mile the emotion of knowing the end was just down the road made each painful step a little easier and crossing the finish line was amazing. Though this was my seventh marathon completed, there is something about crossing the finish line that is always moving. Having a volunteer place your medal around your neck simply can’t be beat.
The people of New York and the spectators who ascended upon the city for the race were, simply put, amazing. The crowds of people cheering you along seemed to never stop. Revelers were cheering the entire way, sanitation workers clapped you along, police officers were waving and dancing as you ran by. The signs along the course included a plethora of “That’s what she said” related signs mixed with a healthy dose of Donald Trump related signs inclusive of “You will hit the wall at Mile 20. We should get the Mexicans to pay for it” and “I’ve never met a marathoner, but I am sure they are good people.”
The music on the course ranged from DJs to high school marching bands, a Latino church choir to a gospel choir at a Baptist church, rock bands to bagpipers, solo performers to a Japanese drum line. The music demonstrated the diversity of each runner tackling the marathon course and it helped push me along.
I finished the 2015 TCS New York City Marathon with a time of 4:48:24. It wasn’t my worst marathon, but certainly wasn’t my best. But you know what, I finished. I completed the NYC Marathon and am still standing and still able to blog about my experience today. Thanks to the good people of New York City for making it such a great experience!