It has been a while, so I hope I remember everything...
Marathon morning came and I was supposed to be at the bus to shuttle you to the start line at 5am, so I set the alarm for 3:30 so I could get up, wake up and head to the subway to Bryant Park. Well I set the alarm for 3:30am, but the clock was 12 hrs off. So at 5pm, it was set to 5am. Luckily I woke up at 4am and saw the clock. I rushed to get ready and headed out the door. I got to Bryant Park and just followed the crowds to the never ending line of buses. I got right on and off we went. The next 4 hours were really long. My wave didn't start until 10:20 so I tried to sleep, but it was too cold. I just surfed the internet on my blackberry for the most part, ate a little and drank a little.
Pretty soon it was 9:30. I waited in line for the restroom one more time, dropped my bag off and headed to the start corral. It was amazing the amount of people crammed in there. I am glad I'm not claustrophobic.
I'm in the corral on the left side.
You could hear in the distance the announcer starting the race and we finally started walking towards the start line. New York, New York was playing and we were really doing this.
The first mile was on the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. It seemed like it would never end. It did have a great view of Manhattan, Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. I wish I had a better camera to take pictures, but I did take this with my phone.
I looked at my Garmin and saw I was running about 8:30 miles. It was a little faster that I planned, but my heart rate was down and I felt good so I stuck with it. At mile 2 we started seeing the crowds forming now that we were near the first neighborhoods. I was at mile 3 before I knew it in just under 28 minutes. Not too bad. I made it to the 10k point (6.1miles) in 55 minutes. Actually a bit faster pace on miles 3-6. The next few miles were a bunch of the same. Tons and tons of people cheering you on and the never ending mass of runners. I even caught a couple vikings at mile 8.
About mile 12 and we are all still a huge pack in a Jewish part of town.
At 1:55:50 into the race I was halfway done. It was at this point where I started to think that I had a shot of finishing in under 4 hours, something I was hoping to do at the Tulsa Marathon a couple weeks later. I was going to try and save my legs for that, but feeling this good I couldn't.
Mile 13, feeling good.
I got on the phone and called Kim around here to let everyone know where I was. They were waiting at mile 15 for me. Unfortunately, I missed them there. As soon as I passed that point, we were under the Queensboro Bridge and I didn't have cell service. As soon as I made it into Manhattan, I called them to let them know I made it past them. They then hustled on over to mile 24-25 to see me there.
Mile 16is, from the Queens Bridge
As soon as you get in the city, you start seeing people again as you take a left curve off the bridge. You keep curving around and all of a sudden you are on First Ave. To me it was like a wall of sound. People 5-6 deep on both sides of the road. It was amazing running up this 6 lane street with all the people cheering.
It seemed like we were going up a hill forever and I started feeling the miles. Someone was holding out bananas so I grabbed one. The last thing I felt like doing was eating, but I stuffed it down. I knew I needed the real food. I started feeling better almost at once. That random person helped me keep going.
Right before mile 20 I started feeling tired again when another spectator was holding out orange slices. Those were the 2 best quarters of an orange I ever had. I think the sugar hit me all at once. I looked down at my watch and I was still running about 9 min miles. At this point all I had to do was hold on.
Just before mile 20, we head into the Bronx
I was still feeling OK, but I just wanted to make the turns and head back into Manhattan and get to Central Park. Mile 21 came and I was on my way.
Mile 22 came and we were in Harlem. That was quite an amazing part of the city. People playing drums on the sidewalk, gospel choirs singing from the steps of their churches, and kids running up and down with the runners. It seemed like that lifted people spirits a little.
At mile 23 we finally got into the park and the first of the hills. Stupid, stupid hills. The last thing you want to do 23 miles into a race is run hills, but here they were. The crowds once again helped as they got louder and louder as you entered the park.
At miles 24 I saw my mom and Kim on the side lines and gave them a quick thumbs up. I was so close to my 4 hour time I didn't have time to spare going over there so I was gone too fast. I think mom got a good picture of me running though.
Then one of the best signs ever.
One more mile...
People started falling apart here. Lots of people walking, trying to stretch and just trying to make it through. I tried not looking at them though, I wanted to finish running.
We turned a corner and I thought we were on the home stretch.
But we weren't. This mile was extra long I think. Finally the 1/2 mile to go sign. Almost done. Then the mile 26 sign.
I was just barely hanging on. I was trying to run as fast as I could but felt like I was standing still. Then a slight turn to the left and we saw it, the finish line.
I made my way around the last of the straggling people and crossed the finishline with my hands in the air.
I looked at my watch and I did it. I finished the 2008 NYC Marathon in a new personal best time of 3hrs, 58mins, 22secs.
They handed me my medal and foil blanket and we were ushered down a long corral to food and our bags that we dropped off at the start.
I finally made it out of the chute and found the family. I tried to clean up a little, changed socks, put on some warm clothes, took a few pictures and we headed back to the hotel. Everything happened in a blur that day. At first it seemed like it would never start, then it was over.
We went out that night to Hard Rock Cafe and I had a celebratory beer and hamburger. All in all, it was great race I would recommend everyone try.
7 months ago