WE "heart" NYC!
Photo with Bart Yasso at the Marathon Expo. Lord knows his famous 800's were a staple in our training. His book signing booth was slammed. For those of you that haven't read his book yet "My Life on the Run", pick up a copy and check it out. It is very entertaining & inspiring. It's amazing story what one runner can accomplish in a (half of a) lifetime.
It's here! I have been looking forward to this race all year. I have been training for this race all year. Cindy and I ran it together three years ago (my first marathon) and it was soooo hard and painful so needless to say I was a bit nervous. Cindy was running it with me again this time so it was going to be a rematch of sorts, 5 bridges to take down with my twin soldier at my side. I was so happy that I would have Cindy with me as my pacer and sherpa. I was praying that after her speedy finish at Marine Corps Marathon last weekend that she would a bit tired and willing to run my pace...Best Case a 3:30 and More Likely Case a 3:40-3:45 which would qualify me for Boston (my running goal of 2008/2009).
It was going to be a super early start we planned to get up at 4:15 to catch the 5:00 am bus. The good news was we were gaining an hour with the time change that night. My alarm went off as planned and I was up and at em going through my prerace routine. I even threw in a few stretches for good measure. I was wasting time in my room waiting for Cindy to come knocking (she's always the first one ready and chomping at the bit to get to that race start line!). Well it was 4:40 and she still hadn't come knocking so I headed out the door off to her room. I knocked...and knocked...and knocked and finally a sleepy eyed Cindy answered the door in her underwear. She totally blew the time change thing somehow. At this point I starting barking orders...get your Running Skirt on! Get your shoes! Grab your Garmin...lets go. I was freaking out! It was quite unnerving that my Race Sherpa / Pacer was not getting us off at a good pace! Oh no...not a good sign. We raced out the door and headed out to the streets of NY to track down that bus when Cindy realized..."oh shoot....I didn't even brush my teeth!". She laughed it off and we joined the ranks of all the nighttime zombies in running clothes coming out of everywhere headed towards the Marathon Bus.
We got coralled onto the bus and made our way through the city and on to Staten Island where we got dumped off into the freezing cold Runners Village. We thought we were prepared for the elements with our extra layer of velour sweatsuits (what were we thinking!) and our gloves. We were 2 popsicles within 2 minutes of getting off that bus. Uuuugh this was going to be a very unpleasant 4 hour wait! We scurried off to find our Blue Start area. We spotted a big white canopy in the distance and decided that would be our best bet. Just about that time someone walking by ditched 2 long pieces of cardboard and Cindy ran over and swooped them up. I looked at her like she was a crazy person and she said "Trust me...you will thank me for this later". We got to the tent, which was jam packed full of bodyfatless shivering runners ridiculously huddled together on the ground. Some laying on blankets, trashbags, newspaper...whatever they could find or were smart enough to bring with them. (Why didn't we plan better???) We decided the warmest place would be right smack dab in the middle of them all where we got lucky and secured a prime 4' peice of real estate. Cindy quickly arranged our cardboard and we decided lying down on them next to each other would be our best bet. We were 2 spooning twins. It was still freeeezing cold though and we were wasting way to much energy trying to keep warm. The wind was breezing right through the tent and it was miserable! As race sherpa, Cindy decided she should go forage in the forest for some food. We had searched unsuccessfully the night before for some bananas, as apparently every other runner in Manhatten had beat us to them.
After an eternity Cindy came back bearing two tiny cups of Dunkin Donuts coffee and 2 oversized trash bags. I told her I wouldn't drink coffee before a race but then hastily grabbed it out of desperation for warmth and drank it down. After the freezing walk back to the tent it wasn't even hot but barely warm. Unfortunately while she was gone I had lost a big corner of our real estate to a large somewhat smelly intruder. Cindy was pretty miffed but I told her to take it easy because the big guy was actually putting off quite a bit of heat. Desperate times call for desperate measures! We climbed feet first into our trash bags and pulled them up over our entire bodies. Within minutes Cindy and the intruder were back to back all cozy and I actually felt warmer. Not quite warm but much more tolerable now. Those trash bags were a saving grace! We were lauging at how ridiculous and homeless we looked and snapped a few pictures. We stayed in the "warmth" of the tent as long as possible and almost missed our start. We had to sprint to get to the start huddle on time. On the way an angel from heaven walked up to us and said "you two look cold...would you like some handwarmers? " We both dropped our jaws and said "seriously?". She handed over two beautiful hand warmers. What a kind lady! Thank you handwarmer lady! We love you!
The winner of America's Got Talent sang the National Anthem...awesome...and then we were off! Uuugh my legs were not feeling good over that bridge.
Mile 1: feeling freezing cold and legs feeling very tired. Im thinking "uh oh...not a good sign" and just then my sherpa shouts out "don't worry if your legs feel tired...you are just cold and it will take a few miles to warm up". Ok...theres hope yet. Sure enough at mile 4 I was finally feeling my toes in my shoes again and the legs were there and all systems a go.
My faithful Sherpa was almost always about 4 strides in front of me. It was so crowded that it was virtually impossible to run next to each other for the majority of the race. That and everytime I got next to Cindy she would speed up. At least 80% of the race she was running in front of me with her head fully turned back to me yelling "come on...come on!" while pointing down to the pavement next to her. I don't know how she didn't run over someone or trip on one of the bazillion potholes or huge grooves in the course looking back like that. It was so funny and maddening at the same time. She was a great pacer though and set me off with a nice buffer. Whenever she asked me "how do you feel" I wouldn't answer because I knew if I told her the truth (I felt good) that she would speed up. I just wanted to save a little for those bridges because they were my downfall last time. I didn't want my wheels falling off the bus just yet.
Photo at mile 16 - check out our new Cheetah Running Skirts, "Cheetah Pink" & new technical long sleeve & tee shirts! All part of the new Running Skirts Spring line 2009! Coming soon!
At mile 16 the hubby was supposed to jump in and run with us to the finish, or as close as he could get to it. Well 16 came and went and there was virtually no way he could have jumped in to the race. The streets were completely baracaded and police were everywhere watching the course. I was a little disappointed but at the same time relieved because I didn't know if I could put up with his fresh legs and goofy mantras to the finish. Somewhere before mile 17 though he popped up out of no where clapping supper loud and shouting "you got it! you got it! woo lets go!" He had a 3:30 pace bib on and he was now a part of our mission. I now had a Sherpa and a Cheerleader. He was so loud and just kept yelling "you got it...you got it". I knew he had good intentions but I am sure he was driving all the other runners around us nutso!
About every mile Cindy would shout out some instructions:
"relax your shoulders"
"watch your heelstrike"
"shorten your stride"
"relax your arms"
"the hay is in the barn" (my favorite)
I could see other runners around us taking heed and following my Sherpa's instructions...it was funny! At one point my legs started feeling heavy and I was starting to think about it way too much then someone in the crowd shouted "winner winner chicken dinner". Huh? This was somehow hilarious to the 3 of us at this point and enough to distract me and carry me through.
On the beast of the bridge, with the rubbery covered grates, I tripped and almost wiped out. My nose was about a foot from the pavement when the Cheerleader and a runner next to me caught me by my elbows somehow in the nick of time. I jarred my back, ouch, but collected my parts and found my pace and carried on. I thanked the guy on my left and thanked my Cheerleader who was again shouting "you got it...you got it!" It was time for some new material! My Sherpa was way ahead in the distance looking back and pointing down to the pavement on her left.
Then we were in the Bronx (a favorite spot on the course) and I was still on pace and feeling good. My legs were getting heavy but still keeping the pace. Whenever we would approach a water stop I would shout out "gatorade" or "water" and both my Sherpa and my Cheerleader would appear instantly with my refreshment of choice. I think it was becoming a competition between the two of them...who can get it faster :-) Needless to say I was spoiled and well taken care of. About mile 23 I began to slow up a bit. My Cheerleader starting using the kids to try and distract me. He started shouting out "I can doooo it! I can doooooooooo it!" which was our daughter Avalon's race mantra at the Keebler Kids Mile at Legoland this last year. It was funny to me but surely maddening to the other runners. I didn't respond because I didn't want to encourage him further but he was already on a roll and didn't need any more encouragment. "you got it! You got it! You got it! Clap clap clap" over and over and over and over. Finally I shouted out to him "quit saying that!". I was thinking of shouting so much more to him but didn't have the energy to waste. At mile 24 my Sherpa shouted it was "time to run". I knew what this meant but didn't think the legs would follow suit. I felt like I was runnng in slow motion but each time I looked down we were still on pace by some miracle. I noticed I was super thirsty all of the sudden...dying for water. At mile 25 my right hamstring started cramping...oh no! Ouch...keep the wheels on...keep the wheels on! "Come on Come on!" Sherpa was shouting back and pointing down to that spot on the pavement. Try as I might, the legs just wouldn't move faster and that cramping hamstring was slowing me down. Just then Cindy circled back for me and shouted "this is the last mile...horse to the barn". At this point I realized we were on track for a 3:30 and all was well. I ran as hard as I could (not much faster) trying to catch Sherpa and the Cheerleader (who was still yelling and clapping "you got it...you got it!). With the finish line in sight I managed to get next to Cindy (she must have ran backwards to me). She shouted out "Bellhops" and I grabbed her hand and knew what I had to do. A 1 - 2 - 3 jump to a bellhop finish. I'm not sure that my heels clicked off the pavement but in my head they did and it was a beauty!
Just like that is was over. I kissed my Cheerleader and hugged my dear Sherpa. I couldn't have done it without them.
Once I had collected my brain I asked the Cheerleader "why did you keep saying 'you got it!' over and over?" It turns out he thought he was playing the part of an official paceleader with that bib on and he thought that is what the paceleaders do. He didn't want to get kicked off the course so he was compelled to shout out "encouragement" to his "team" the entire time.
Our official time was 3:29:23. Boston Bound!