I’m only a few weeks late with this recap…whoops! Better late than never?
When I last left you, I had summed up my Brooklyn Marathon experience. I signed up secretly, I finished (two weeks post-NYC Marathon), the end. If that was enough info for you, you can stop reading this post now. If you want the “super exciting” details, here you go!
So, this was my first NYC Runs event. The best thing about this race was the fact that it started at 8:30 AM and we didn’t technically have to be there until 8:29 (well, if we hadn’t procrastinated picking up our bibs, that is). Since we still had to grab our gear, I dropped my running buddy Meghan off while I parked the car. The only issue I had was that it wasn’t clearly noted where exactly the starting line was. I’m sure all the local Brooklynites just knew, but I am not from Brooklyn nor did I know my way around Propect Park. This did not bode well for me when I was already cranky and looking for every reason to get back in my car and go to brunch. Nonetheless, I followed people who looked like they were potentially running a marathon that day (very risky) and eventually found the start.
The “bag check” was a little roped off section manned by a race staff member. We threw our stuff in that general vicinity and off we went. It literally took 5 seconds. Phenomenal. I LOVE THE SIMPLICITY. Then, we were given rubberbands to count our laps; after every lap, we were instructed to switch one rubberband to the opposite wrist.
Did I mention we had to run 9 loops of Prospect Park? Even though there was a guy with a laptop at the beginning/end of each loop telling us how many laps we had left, the rubberbands helped us out justtttt in case we messed up or he disappeared (the horror!). Not to mention, it was SUPERFUN to switch them over. I was just beside myself with glee when I was down to one rubberband. It’s the little things, folks.
Meghan and I started in wave 1, corral 1. (That was my joke for the day – there was only one, mass start. HAHA.) After a couple smaller loops, we began the longest section of the race: 6.5 big loops around the park.
I will proceed by reviewing the thought process that went through my head from start to finish:
Miles 1 – 3: Denial. “What is this? What is happening? Why am I here? What is this thing you call ‘running’? It’s mile 1 and my legs feel like hell. I’m quitting and going to get a bagel.”
Miles 4 – 6: Frustration. “I guess I’m running a marathon. This freaking sucks. Why do downhills hurt so much? WHY IS THIS HAPPENING. Are we getting LAPPED right now?! What the FUUUUUUUDGE is wrong with me? Why won’t I just quit?”
Mile 7: Distraction. “What’s this? We have a cheer squad?! This is fabulous! You guys are just calling me crazy because you love me…right? I will continue thinking about seeing you until I see you again; at which point I will repeat that process.”
Miles 8 – 10: Bargaining with Meghan. “Can we switch a rubberband yet? Can we walk through the water stops? I’ll buy you a beer later if you say yes. Can we switch a rubberband yet? Remember when we agreed we would walk through the water stops? Can we switch a rubberband yet?”
Miles 11 – 13: Delusion. “Why do uphills feel so much better than flats and downhills? Have I died and gone to runner heaven?” (True story: the uphills must have taken a lot of pressure off my legs and hips, because everything felt so much better while trudging uphill.)
Miles 14 – 16: Excitement. “More than halfway! The pain is somehow subsiding. I’m feeling better than before. How is this possible? Either I’m delirious or I’m just feeling more confident. Realizing that my legs are miraculously holding up and I’m not going to crumble today is a big hurdle to clear. I’m not running any faster, but I feel better overall. MENTAL STENGTH FOR THE WIN!” (Strange-but-true fact about me: the further I am into a race, the better I typically feel mentally. Totally opposite of what it should be, I know. I think I just start feeling like “victory” is within reach.)
Miles 17-20: Gratefulness. This was the point at which the loops started to get reallllly boring. A friend jumped in to run a loop with us. “Hi friend, thank you for joining. Please never stop talking. No, I don’t care what you talk about, just pretty-please keep distracting me.” This friend actually kept up with us easily while holding a cup of swedish fish (the snack, not the aquatic animals) and a purse. I was okay with it.
Miles 20 – 26: Motivation. I tried to rally the troops (well, troop) and focus on a goal I came up with as we approached these last few miles: finish under 5 hours. But poor Meghan was struggling. (For the record, she was on her third marathon in about 5 weeks. Rock star!) We started walking a little more, although I couldn’t tell a difference between the pain when running and when walking. It basically hurt either way. At one point, she shouted “I DON’T WANT TO SEE THIS ICE SKATING RINK AGAIN!” I giggled because it was true…I was so sick of seeing the same stuff over and over (x6). So, I tried a little tough love. I wasn’t sure how she would take it, but thankfully Meghan didn’t scream at me when, in the last mile, I said something like “COME ON. We’re picking it up. Let’s get it done.” (She obliged and still speaks to me to this day. Phew!)
26 – 26.45: Additional frustration and fleeting motivation. “MY WATCH SAYS WE HIT 26.2 ALREADY. WHY ARE WE STILL RUNNING. WHY IS THERE AN UPHILL RIGHT NOW. THIS IS NONSENSE!”
After running every single step together, we eventually finished (did you ever think that moment in this post would come?) hand in hand. It was the BEST feeling to not only stop running, but to accomplish this goal. I’m a Maniac! Having a pal with a similar goal helped immensely; I could never have done this without Meghan being there every step of the way. Because we both simply wanted to finish and had no qualms with taking it easy and sticking together (no matter what happened, we agreed) our tandem-running worked out well.
Walking to the car was absolutely brutal (we totally got lost in the park) but by the time I got home and took a shower I was feeling almost energetic. I was moving around much better than I did after the NYC Marathon. I was so much less sore in the days following, too. I don’t know the science behind that (slower running? Less effort?) but for whatever reason, I felt good. Giddy, even.
If you’re a “numbers” guy or gal, here you go:
We stopped to drink water and walked some of the downhills (a more frequent occurance as the miles ticked off, as you can see) but I’m still happy with our strong finish. I didn’t “crash” and my nutrition was spot on.
Still can’t believe I did that. (Glad I did, ’cause look at the medals!) As usual, running has again helped me feel more empowered, strong, and thankful for my health.
What’s one thing you’ve done this year that has made you feel empowered?! Do share!