NOVEMBER 6, 2005
I was bib number 33504 for the 2005 NYC Marathon. It was my first but probably not my last (editors note, it is now 2014 and this probably will be my only Marathon, a 1/2 Marathon is another story), I don’t know my official time yet, (will fill it in later) but it was over 4 hours.
Today, I hurt, no pain killer though (editors note, I wonder why?), Sitting in the airplane seats kind of stiffens you up and I am walking about like an 80 year old. The books say for some, many, maybe most, running a marathon is a life changing event. Not for me though (ed. Now having a child, that is a different story!), Never thought I wouldn’t finish, only if I had an injury. Maybe I wouldn’t call it fun, rather motivating. Motivating to do better, motivating to be different than the average, motivated to “keep moving forward”, as my friend Lee Zinser says. I had hoped for a time under 4 hours but the 93% humidity and 71 degree weather temp spoiled that. It must have been great spectator weather.
We arrived 6 days before the event and had awesome weather. The first 2 days upstate at Wallkill were superb with glorious weather and very colorful fall foliage. In fact, the night after the marathon, at our victory party at the Clinton Cafe in Cobble Hill, it started to rain and the streets were carpeted with newly fallen leaves. We couldn’t have asked for anything more. It was exciting during the race to see Jenny and John Wolff at mile 7 and mile 25. Just missed them at mile 17. That was a miserable mile. In fact, once we started crossing into Manhattan at the bridge at around mile 15, it was hard going for me. I had a few spurts of energy, but I was mostly hungry. Not sure a 10:10 start time is preferred.
Spectators handed out orange slices, which were perfect, I grabbed a chocolate chip cookie from a stranger at around mile 18 and some double mint gum from someone in Harlem, could have been poison, I didn’t care. In fact in Brooklyn, just before Williamsburg I saw spectators at outdoor diners, right there on the race route eating. I think fried chicken. I really wanted to sit and join them. New York City really supported the race. The most exciting time was when we entered Manhattan. We could hear the roar as we crossed the bridge coming in, it was thrilling.
The crowds of participants in the race were amazing. Shoulder to shoulder the whole race. When a straight road dipped, you could see thousands upon thousands of people in front of you. In fact, they limited how fast you could go. You had to weave in and out of the racers. I was with about 50 people who were weaving through the ‘slower than 4 hour’ crowds. until about mile 14, than i lost them. Running through the water stations seemed hazardous due to the sheet number of racers. Crushed wet cups all underneath your feet, it felt really slick. I didn’t see anyone fall but I guessed anywhere after mile 18, if I was to fall, I would just assume stay down. Glad I didn’t fall. I never really had to use any of the mental techniques the books talked about. Coach Ripley had some in some races you have to piece it together to finish. I started thinking that was true as the urge to walk would come over me. It was a mental battle. I only had general pain, and no specific pain, so I did not think there was any need to stop. It was just the subconscious exerting it’s power over the body. The moment you stopped concentrating, after mile 18, the body would stop to walk. Also the mind would say, I”ll get to the Bronx and only walk there, or, at the next mile marker I am going to walk a little. I stopped running and started walking, probably 5 times after mile 18. Never for that long though. Finally after mile 24.5 I willed my body to quit stopping and run to the finish.
I loved the signs people held up, “Pain is temporary, but Glory is forever”. It is true about the pain, but when your in the midst of pain, that is little comfort. Especially when I would think this is my first marathon so all I need to do is finish, why worry about a fast time. That was true. It think with a marathon, that is always the case. But my friend Laura, who also ran the race was disappointed with her 4:50 time. She was an experienced marathoner and really wanted to beat me.
Lee really wanted to beat 5 hours, he did it in 5:02. Coach Ripley qualified for the Boston for the second time and proved himself to be a true marathoner. Ralph Goedecke distinguished himself once again as support crew extraordinaire. Both by getting us to the start on time and for holding balloons and cheering at the half way points as well as having the van ready at the finish. All in all it was a memorable experience Despite not remember much of the specifics, the race seemed to go by in a blur, although I would swear time slowed down between miles 22-24 (Those took forever).