The day started obscenely early, as I had to be on the bus in front of the NYC Library at 6 am. My man got up with me & walked me there. We passed a fake Rolex vendor just outside our hotel & he asked me if I was on the track team. I said no, and he wanted to know why I was dressed like I was. I told him I was running the marathon & he said, "I hope you win.!" I laughed and said, "Me, too!"
|If you can't be fast, be fashionable|
Arrived at Fort Wadsworth on Staten Island with 45,000 of my closest friends and headed to the starting village. This was probably the hardest part of the entire day. I got there at 6:30 & didn't start racing til almost 11. Tough wait. Soon enough, though we were herded into Corrals (is there anything more aptly named?), and headed up to the starting line. I was in Wave 3, the last wave, and after "God Bless America" was sung, the starting cannon boomed, and we were off to Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York." We crossed the Verazano-Narrows Bridge and headed into Brooklyn for the next 13 miles. Now, let me say that when I saw we were running 13 miles through Brooklyn, I wasn't all that excited. But, oh my gosh, did those Brooklynites change my mind. The crowd support was amazing, they had prepared wonderful signs, I've never high fived that many people, and the entertainment was superb. There were tons of great bands, including steel drums, bagpipes, hard rock, soft rock, jazz, even a Lady Gaga wannabe. All awesome, but my favorite of the entire race was at Emmanuel Baptist Church, where they had the entire choir on the steps singing for us. The only neighborhood that was very quiet was the Williamsburg Hasidic Jew community. But, having done my homework, I already expected that. And there was some cheering, just not by any of the men. My man met me between Miles 3 & 4, and did a pretty great job of documenting the race with my camera. He deserves a medal for his race around all five boroughs. He navigated the subway and raced from one point to the next. He met me approximately every 4 miles, although we somehow missed each other on mile 19. He met me as I entered Central Park & encouraged me and helped me pick my pace back up a little. He wished he could run it for me, and by that point I kind of did, too. He's already asleep, by the way. He's more tired than I am.
|The limp had started|
I was a little afraid my emotions would overtake me, but there were only a couple occasions where I teared up. The first was at Mile 9 (I think) when I saw the Asics jumbo tron, and as I ran past, the messages from my family and friends appeared. I didn't realize it at first, until I saw the one signed "Bratchild", which has been Kaitlyn's nickname since she was a kid. Read the message & she had included a picture of her, Misty, and Carlos and it was like all my kids were here with me. It was definitely one of the high lights of the race. Also had wonderful messages from Connie P, and several other friends. Didn't get to read them all, had to keep moving. Thanks, guys. You were all running this race with me, my prayer list included all of you.
Let me say, I felt the power of my prayer warriors throughout the day. You kept my stomach contents intact, my legs moving forward, and the sore throat I woke up with completely at bay. Thank you so very, very much. I could not have done this without you lifting me up.
On into the Bronx for my other, somewhat surprising favorite band today. A group of young men were rapping and it was very personal by that time, as I was in the back of the pack and running by myself. They encouraged sang to me and got my feet moving again.
Finally got back to Central Park and there was my man, taking all the junk I no longer wanted, and walking with me the last three miles. I can't even describe how much that meant. On mile 25, I dug very, very deep and picked the pace way up. My legs didn't like it, but hopefully they'll forgive me in a few days. Ran the last 200 meters or so and crossed the finish line upright and smiling. Actually, I was laughing. Got my medal, and then came the tears. Couldn't find Gary and walked around for nearly an hour looking for him. Yeah, my legs kind of hate me right now. But, we found each other and started the trek back to the Belvedere. That was the longest ten blocks of the day.
|100 meters to go|
After a cold bath, then a hot one, a Venti coffee from Starbucks, a warm salty pretzel, and a bottle of Gatorade recover, I'm icing my knee and basking in the glow. You never forget your first time, and the great thing about this one is that it didn't matter what my time was, it was still a PR for me. :) I don't know what my final time was, and don't really care. It wasn't the time I wanted, but I'm okay with it, considering how much my knee bothered me.
The final teary moment came when I opened my Facebook page and saw how many of you were tracking me, praying for me, rooting me on from Mississippi (and other states). I was completely bowled over by the messages and comments I received. You guys are absolutely amazing. Thank you.
I saw a LOT of real heros on the course today, and Gary made pictures of a lot of them, which I'm sharing below. One of my favorites was the man I passed about mile six who was a quadruple amputee. Yes, that's right, missing all four limbs. He had double prosthetics and was moving from side to side on the course, high fiving the supporters. Really took my breath away. Here are some of the other true heros of the day.
|The wheelchair frontrunners. I think the winner was under 1 1/2 hours.|
|This man ran the entire race bent over. He was never able to stand upright. And I think he beat me!|
|This guy did 26.2 in full gear|
Thanks, New York, for a true bucket list experience. It was second to none!! And if I see the fake Rolex dealer tomorrow, I can't wait to tell him that I did win, after all.