2004 new york city marathon
one of the most intense, interesting, satisfying experiences of my life. massive sensory stim. it was stunningly beautiful -- visually, aurally, faith-in-humanity-wise. i learned a crazy amount. i ran as well as i could. at the end, i had zero left -- just as i'd hoped.
that said, i didn't run it overly well relative to my recent training. it wasn't one of those runs that feels amazing, physically -- maybe because i had to back off my training the last two weeks. anyway, that didn't seem the point at the time. [it's the point a little more now -- a micro divine unrest that has me looking to big sur in april.] i was worried about my i.t. band for the first eighteen miles -- really worried through six, pretty worried through thirteen, mildly worried thereafter. i stopped to stretch a couple times through thirteen, and maybe three or four more times in the second half. i don't think i stopped to stretch after twenty.
actually, once i was at twenty, i felt confident about my i.t. band and i started to pick it up. especially after twenty-two. the stat i'm happiest about is that my last split [20-26.2] was the fastest relative to my fellow runners. overall, i think i ran 7:40s or better -- but the stretching pulled me down to 7:59 official.
more numbers: i finished 2468 out of 36500+ finishers. [now they're saying 2466, but clearly that's not as cool a number.] i was surrounded on both sides at the finish line by frenchmen, two deep. [one of them had major problems upon finishing, which made me, in my super-emotive state, produce a few modest sobs as i watched the absolutely stellar medical volunteers walk him around, supporting and hugging him.] so for the last mile, i just remembered, i was hearing 'viva la france!' my race time was 3:29:38. net time was 3:29:12. i had been on track for a 3:21:42 at the half marathon split, but it was not to be. here's the whole deal.
so i was close to the front of all runners at the beginning -- it took only 26 seconds to cross the starting line. that because my number was low -- because i'd been wicked optimistic about how fast i'd be four years ago when i first signed up. so i was with all the fast looking dudes. [speaking of dudes, 306 women finished ahead of me.] the fun looking people in the gumby outfits were behind me.
we hit the first mile marker at 8:24. the second at 15:00. then i tried to chill out. i set up with the people with the 3:15 pace team. [i didn't realize for awhile that these folks were divided between the pace team and the pace setters.] the sound running over the verrazano was astounding. i was on the lower level. there were [i'm pretty sure] two streams of runners on the top level. [i was in the 'green' group.] there was this amazing pitter-patter of thousands of running shoed feet -- one of many all-satisfying granular sorts of sounds. and this one was spatialized all around & above. so sweet. then this tug boat below blew its horn, and you looked over and saw it streaming red, white and blue streams of water high into the air. amazing. then you began to have people looking over bridges at you, cheering you on. the support got a lot more crazy from there.
i just about learned, maybe, how to drink and run. i'd never done it before. i sucked at it at the beginning. collided a little on my first try [and it was probably my fault]. held him up, though; no harm done.
there were times when you went from the sound sphere of one band right into another, like passing through gravities. the was some funk that was happy. but the only music that kicked me a little was something that was or sounded an awful lot like 50 cent. that was pulling out of the bronx back into manhatttan.
it was amazing to high five little kids. i did that for a couple blocks at several points -- in brooklyn and queens. it was no doubt a net loss, energy-wise. but it sure did feel good at the time!
joe and molly made a delicious dinner for me the night before. pasta, bread, salad. i slept about 3 or 4 hours. the bed was very comfy.
[i guess these are sort of random order now…]
bekah dropped me off at the meadowlands at 6:45 or so. we got a little lost getting there. [and some folks in a minivan had thrown their lot in with us: whoops.] but we had time to spare. there was some problem with the busses; there were delays. there was also a traffic jam on staten island [at 7:30 a.m. on a sunday -- what the?]. but i sat next to a great guy -- calming: wayne tate. an attorney practicing in rural kansas. he'd run three or four marathons before.
i felt a little rushed at fort wadsworth. i was there for about an hour. i stretched a lot; but maybe not so much as i'd hoped.
i didn't see mike. i didn't see bekah [twice]. luckily, she was talking with my mom -- who was tracking my progress online. [very helpful.] looking for her made me a little distracted around mile 18. i didn't see anyone i knew.
i got gu from the powerbar people. i got too many -- i had a chocolate one that i didn't want to carry around with me. i had in my hands a water and two gus. i was befuddled. i tried to find someone in the crowd to throw the gu to -- if they would trust it. i wound up trying to lob it to someone: it arced and hit a female cop on the head. i cowered. she didn't even turn around.
a few people said my name. that writing on my shirt was faint. next time: big and bold. it made me happy when someone would say my name.
i liked the quiet of the bridges.
i forgot to put vaseline 'neath my pits. my nipples were bandaided, though. after the race, i noticed that my pits hurt; i didn't notice it much at the time, though.
i might lose a toenail -- right foot, middle toe. never hurt, though.
here's me at 13.1 plus or minus 5 [i think]:
here's me at around 25:
at twenty or so, coming out of the bronx, i knew my i.t. band would be okay. although i was getting tired, i sped up. maybe that wasn't till 22 or 22.5, actually. at some point, i realized that i was going to have to pick it up to get under 3:30. i tried to run well. i remember that at mile 23 or so, i was concentrating on form fiercely. i was running very well -- passing many people. but only doing, maybe, a 7:00 or 6:50 mile. but it felt swift. after that, i oscillated between holding on [to a 7:30 pace, i guess] and trying to kick. i kicked maybe three times in the last mile and a half, but i could only burst for a couple hundred yards at a time: then my legs said nope.
it doesn't look like it, but there's some uphill at the end there. i tried to lean forward, keep my head down and sort of whisk along.
after the race, the people were so incredibly nice. there seemed to be a lot of love around. i was glad it was over, and smiling and coming close to crying. this last mostly because of kindnesses of people to one another.
the space aged heat blankets are amazing. and, as mike had said, they sound wonderful -- another amazing granular sound -- as you go from loud cheering to the hushed, subtle, manifold swishing of these things.
when i finally got to the family reunion area [and bekah wasn't there -- stuck trying to get across a skinny footbridge with two hundred thousand other poor folks], this tall, beautiful, 54 year old [as she told me] woman let me use her cell phone. this struck me as so immeasurably kind that i did choke up, and couldn't speak for a minute. i think she looked around for medics, just in case. she had run marathons before, she said. she was nurturing and supportive. i left a message on bekah's cell phone. [it was so loud that people, including bekah, couldn't hear the ringing of their cell phones.]
it was good to see bekah. i bundled up in my furry fleece. i felt great. my quads did hurt a lot. [they would hurt more later. next time: more protein and carbs immediately after the race; elevate feet and legs.] i didn't mind walking down to penn station. we rode back to south orange. i saw a guy in his fifties who had run it. i shook his hand on the way out. we exited with a woman who had run a 3:24 [and was disappointed] and had lost her husband -- who had also run it. she was hurtin' and, not being the spouse with the car keys, was about overwhelmed with the prospect of having to walk up a two mile long hill to get home. we gave her a ride. that was good.
joe and molly were extremely kind when we got to their house. they fed me stuff. i took a shower. it was so good to take that shower, and so good to drive home, and so good to sleep a rich, deep, satisfied sleep.
[i'll probably write more later, as i remember.]