Monday, November 10, 2014

Race Report: The 2014 TCS New York City Marathon - Part 1

I'm back! It's mostly been within the week so this counts. Last weekend, I ran my fifth NYC Marathon. It was as wonderful as it's been each of the last four times, with the added bonus of being my best NYC performance by a good margin.

This training season was unpredictable. It started out strong in terms of mileage, but I can't say it was predictably good in quality. I ran a few awful half marathons and an awful 18 miler and started losing confidence. At some point in the month prior to the race, I decided to make peace with it and not worry quite so much about what I anticipated would be a lousy marathon.

But, let's start at the beginning. I spent the week before the marathon refraining from doing too much running. My last run prior was a brisk 3 miler on Friday. On Saturday, I went to the expo and then attended a lovely pasta dinner hosted by Elana Sassypantsmagoo. It was a great pre-race meal and it was nice spending that time with so many friends who were also running the marathon.

As a quick aside, this marathon outstripped any other in friends I knew who were also running it. It was  a far cry from the first NYC Marathon I ran in 2009, in which I knew no one This time, I think I knew 10-12 other people also running! Many of the people I knew who were running were doing so for the very first time. I loved experiencing it with them and I can only hope they all enjoyed themselves as much as I did (and always do).

I got home at a reasonable hour and did manage to get to sleep around 12:30, which is not an awful pre-race bedtime for me. Plus, we all benefitted from the end of Daylight Savings Time. The marathon is one of two or three times in the year when living where I live is extremely convenient for purposes of running. I was able to wake up a little after 6:00am to catch the 6:41 bus and get to South Ferry at about 6:53. I was supposed to meet Jeremy, Nick and Amortya there to catch the 7am and we made sure to pick a specific meeting point, as Jeremy and Amortya had planned not to have their phones.

As 7 approached, Amortya had not yet arrived and we finally had to go inside to catch the ferry without him (he caught the next one) because Jeremy was in Wave 1, which was scheduled to start at 9:40am. Everything on the way to the race went very smoothly, although it did take quite some time to get from the bus to the start villages, presumably because of the increased security.

Once we arrived, we headed straight back into the Green village, since both Jeremy and Nick were assigned there. I was Orange, but much preferred their company to being lonely in the correct village. Jeremy didn't have much time there at all, as his corral closed at 8:55 and we arrived around 8:30. We had some coffee, Jeremy had a bathroom break, and then he was off. Nick's wave was up next, and his corral was set to close at 9:20. After some hanging out and another trip to the port-a-potty, Nick also departed. My corral was next, so I took my own trip to the bathroom (these things need to be appropriately timed) and started applying my anti-chafe spray and shedding the rest of the things I'd brought to the start. Well, except for my sweatshirt, which I wouldn't ditch until a little before mile 3.

Verrazano Selfie!

Once it was time for me to line up, I made my way to the corral and had the good fortune of finding two of the pace groups, which were exactly the ones I thought I might join. There was the 4:30 group and the 4:15 group. Anticipating running with the 4:15 group made me a little uncomfortable, so I decided to start with the 4:30 group. As the cannon went off and everyone in my wave began to cross the start line, Frank Sinatra's New York, New York played. It was enough to make anyone get a little emotional.

Well, this post is getting a little long so I think it calls for a two-parter. To be continued!

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