So the day started off pretty early even with the 9:40AM scheduled Orange Wave 1 time. I had an assigned ferry time to Staten Island (start of the marathon) at 5:45AM. After getting all of my running gear and layers on, I jumped into an Uber and made the short drive over and this day was really going to happen!
After the 30 minutes on the boat and a bus ride to the start area, it was clear that security was one of the biggest concerns when it came to the race organizers, from dogs sniffing bags to officers with their metal detector wands being waved along runners as we entered the start line village, it was sure that this was going to be safe day for all to enjoy.
Once runners got settled into their designated corral areas to hangout before heading to the start, the wind was blowing and luckily for most, there was coffee and hot water being offered to runners along with some other pre race snack options. I took advantage of the hot water being poured while grabbing a few bites of various bars that were there.
With still a few hours before even thinking of dumping my gear at the gear check trucks, I found a comfy location to sit down and eventually lay down to get a little extra shut eye. Before dropping my head down I did make sure to set another alarm on my phone just in case my quick nap was longer than I needed it to be. I think I got maybe about 20 minutes of shut eye which was refreshing. However, the wind was howling and I was freezing even with several layers on including a free beanie they were handing out, which I used as a double layer since I already came into Staten Island wearing a beanie.
After sitting for a bit, I started to shiver from the cold that the wind was bringing in. I had one of two options at this point either shiver and save my legs or walk around to get my body temperature up but at the cost of having to walk. I opted to walk around and get my body temperature up.
Finally the announcements were being made that the Wave 1 Orange group was going to open in 10 minutes, this meant I would finally shed some of my layers and make my way to the start line.
Lined up in the corral, I was filled with emotions ranging from anxious to excited. This TCS NYC Marathon was about to really happen for me! The National Anthem was sung, the elite men were announced and the count down from ten was underway. There shot the cannon and here we went.
The course would take us over the Verrazno Narrows Bridge, essentially 1 mile up and the second mile down. This is one of the two parts of the course that I really remember, the other portion that I remember was another bridge that had a little challenge for me was around mile 15 at the Queensboro Bridge.
For the entire 26.2-mile journey to Central Park, the environment outside of the actual course is what proved me with the most memories. Even after chatting with people after the race, they asked about certain parts but honestly I didn’t remember so here is the break down of how this race is the BEST race I have ever been part of.
The energy of the spectators was absolutely amazing. Millions of people lined the streets to cheer on random strangers that traveled from near and far to run this amazing race in their city and their boroughs. Each borough people had signs that welcomed runners into their specific neighborhood or borough, each one had their Welcome to ____ and Thank you for visiting ____, as if it were a competition between New Yorkers. The amount of sideways high-fives was awesome, as well as people yelling “GO DUDE IN GREEN” or GREAT JOB 5113″. It was all truly amazing. I was also able to witness the amazing support for the NYPD, as runners thanked them, then the crowds would go crazy and yell for runners who were NYPD!
The runners who participated … each one had a unique story of their journey from the first time marathoner (including my friend Pat) to the 27 time NYC Marathon finisher who I met on the subway well after I finished, each one Got Their New York On. At the start I was able to meet a coupe of New Yorkers who were trying to run with the 3:05:00 pacer, where I started as well, though I decided to pull away quickly into the race so I could focus on my own race day plans. Along the course I was around the group of New York runners who I met at the start and they included a “Good job Cali” as they ran along side me, suddenly I made a couple of friends along the run. Each runner in this race was genuinely excited and supportive of one another along the course and to finish the 26.2-mile journey strong.
Another strong moment of the course that I really do remember was whipping around to see the 30k mark where I was feeling fresh and comfortable with my stride and everything else. At this point in the race, I had planned to pull back and just run comfortable because I knew that I had already ran some miles at marathon pace, since I was planning on running this marathon as a training race for my next up coming marathon in 5 weeks at the California International Marathon. However, with running based on feel, I opted to see if I could just keep moving along.
As I kept moving we started moving into Central Park, an indication that the marathon finish line was getting closer, not to mention the excitement of the crowd that roared with each runner passing them by. As I was passing through Central Park, I heard someone cheer my voice and I looked over and saw it was November Project co-founder Brogan! Yup, I finally got to meet this dude in person in the marathon and gave him a quick hug.
With about 2,000 meters to go, I was feeling very good so I started to push a little bit more, knowing that a possible personal best was achievable. So here I went, I pushed to see what I could throw down for NYC and walk away with one of those awesome souvenirs in the form of a memorable race, trip and personal best at one of the greatest races in the world. As the final stretch came about the 800 meter sign was well visible and it was time to give the final push as runners were routed back into Central Park for the finish. The same finish as some of the world’s best marathoners had just crossed about an hour before I would finish.
There it was the 400 meter sign, where I would throw everything I had towards my 24th marathon finish with an official time of 3:09:01 a personal best by 24 seconds and my second Boston Marathon Qualifying time!
After crossing the finish, I was excited to get that medal and make my way to grab my gear to celebrate this marathon with my cousin, Lo, and his girlfriend.
With a needed shower completed, we made our way to Smith’s a nearby American Grill to get some grub. I was starving because I didn’t get to really grab a bite during the whole day, with the early wake up call and waiting around in Staten Island.
The marathon day didn’t stop after the run. There was another exciting event I was looking forward to that started at 4:00PM at the Skechers Show Room in NYC. This event would be by invite only which I was fortunate to get invited to by Nuun Hyrdation.
The Post Marathon Party would include a deejay, food, beverages and an opportunity to meet other people who participated in the marathon at some capacity from running to working and marketing. The guest of this event would also have the opportunity to meet and chat with 2 featured guest …. yes MEB and KARA! The great thing about this event was that it wasn’t overly attended and packed so it allowed for people to chat and really get to know one another that we might have only gotten to know through quick emails, phone calls, or through social media.
Along with meeting folks and chatting for a number of hours. Skechers put together some walk away gift bags which included a free pair of Skechers shoes, a bottle and tube from Nuun, and other goodies from various companies.
After an joyous day, it was time to head back for some shut eye … but then I wanted a little bite to eat, so we stopped by a falafel spot just before getting back to Lo’s. This place is so good that I have had 3 falafel sandwiches with their in house hot sauce in my short stay here in NYC. Yes if you can’t tell not only did I enjoy the race, but stuffing my face was something that I had to do while out here too!
One final post coming up tomorrow regarding Marathon Monday that closes off the TCS NYC Marathon experience.
How was your weekend? Did you run a race? How did you do?