I was up at 5am and out of the apartment right on time at 630.
I rode my bike the 10 miles to the start, taking my usual route - the Pulaski to Queens and then the 59th St Bridge to Manhattan -
From there, it's a straight shot up 1st Ave, from 60th Street to 125th Street. While riding north on 1st Ave, someone pulled along side of me and asked if I was headed to the race. I responded "Yes" before I even knew who it was. This was not unusual - I bump into friends all the time when I'm on my bike and especially when on the way to a race. However what WAS unusual was who this person was - I looked over and it was Mary Wittenberg, the President and CEO of New York Road Runners! Incredulously, I greeted her "Hi Mary!" She was also riding to the race, on her elliptical bike thingy -
She asked me where I had started riding from that morning ("Greenpoint - Mile 12 of the Marathon!" I respond) and asked if it was dark when I left (Yes, very!). She asked if I always ride to the start of the races. I told her yes, I ride, or else I run there if I have to do extra mileage that day. And as we rode along, we continued talked about what else? Running! In the span of about 2 miles, I threw all kinds of information at her -
- that I met her at the Brooklyn Half pre party
- that the I run for "beer and medals" quote in the previous installment of NY Runner magazine was mine
- how last year was supposed to be my first marathon
- that I'm training right now for this year's marathon and doing really well - better tan I was during last year's training
- that I ran my personal fastest mile ever last Sunday at the Fifth Ave Mile (she congratulated me and told me that was especially impressive considering I'm in the middle of marathon training.)
- that the 18 Mile Tune Up in August was my best paced long run ever
- that I'm running Grete's Half this Sunday and the Staten Island Half the following Sunday
- and oh yeah - that I'm SO EXCITED to run the marathon this year and know every inch of the 26.2 mile route
We split up in Harlem when she stopped to take photos of the newly paved and awesome bike lane that finally extends all the way up 1st Ave (thanks DOT!)
Then I took the Willis Ave Bridge into the Bronx -
and I made my way up the Grand Concourse to the start of the race -
It was already packed with runners but I was right on time for once - I had 40 minutes to do all my pre race rituals - stretch, social media stuff, bathroom, take pics.
|bathroom lines. seriously.|
As I was waiting for the bathroom, Mary passed by on her elipctical thingy and spotted me. She said it was nice riding with me. I couldn't believe she acknowledged me again. What a class act. Thank you, Mary!
Still waiting in line for the bathroom I ran into my friend Ethan. I was going to take a picture of us both but suddenly realized I didn't have my camera! I was so upset, I couldn't believe it wasn't on me! I jumped off line and ran around, backtracking all my stops but didn't find it. Then I went all the way to my parked bike and sure enough, it was there in my basket. I couldn't even believe my luck. I was so thankful it was still there and that I realized it before the race started. Despite that drama, I was still able to use the bathroom and even get to the corral before the start -
|walking to the start|
We approached the starting line and I thought about today's goal: Melanie scheduled me to run the 10 miles at "race pace", which honestly, I wasn't sure what that meant but I assumed it meant I should push it as much as I could. Before long, the gun went off and I was crossing that starting line!
|here goes nothing!|
When I first start running, I try to assess how my body is feeling that day. I can usually tell what kind of run I'm going to have within the first 2 minutes of running. On this morning, it felt like I was running slowly but my body felt ok - nothing was bothering me. I reminded myself it was a mostly flat course and that I was going to push it as much as I could.
I made it to the first mile in about 10 and a half minutes, so I was actually running a little faster than I thought. This was a very good start.
As we ran north on the Grand Concourse, I thought about how back in my 20s, I would drive my car on this road, never in a milion years thinking I'd be biking on it or running on it. Yet here I was. Running a 10 mile race. And training for the New York City Marathon! It still amazes me when I think about it sometimes.
|love this guy. and my shadow.|
|what a gorgeous old theatre!|
Shortly after photographing that beautiful old theatre, I noticed a very blonde woman standing on the left side of the street. Within a nanosecond I realized it was my 'work Mom', Maureen. She was there to see her son and waited to see me too. I ran over to her and hugged her very briefly. She told me "Go, go! Keep running!" and so I did. But it gave me such a boost. It was an unexpected and very nice surprise to see her. And her timing was perfect - because right after I saw her we ran down a hill, under an overpass, and then had to come back up the other side. It was a little steep. But I told myself I would not walk it.
Then there was another shot of motivation on the other side - we were about to be passed by the fast runners! I love courses like this, where you get to see the fast runners finishing. The runners on my side of the course cheered and clapped as they saw the first guy coming in. He was the overall winner (he finished in 50:36!!!)
and look, there goes Mary again -
and here comes the first woman (she finished in 58:33!!)
This was one of my favorite parts of the run - the 2 miles or so that we ran while watching the faster runners on the other side of the course. I looked out for my fast friends and other North Brooklyn Runners members, so I could cheer for them. I was having so much fun watching them I actually forgot I was even running. I was on auto-pilot for a while.
Finally I came up on Wonder Woman -
That's my friend Amy, who I had been looking for at the corral earlier. I'm so amazed by her progress and dedication. With 3 kids, a husband and a job I honestly don't know how she makes time for herself and her goals, but she does, and it's really admirable.
The course continued to Mosholu Parkway - another street I had driven on and never thought I'd be running on.
I was now 5 miles in and still had not walked. I knew by this point I would not let myself walk. I was going to give this run everything I had...
As we were looping around Mosholu Parkway, I spotted my friend Saville on the opposite side of the course. Naturally, he spotted me too. And stopped his run to make sure I know how he feels about me -
That got quite a few chuckles from the runners in my vicinity. That man is a nut.
Around Mile 7, I heard someone running up from behind me call out my name. It turns out it was my friend Mike. He started running not that long ago. And this was going to be his longest run ever today. I knew he'd be able to do it, even if he seemed a little unsure of himself. I thought I'd be at the finish line first, there to cheer him in. But no - right after taking this photo, he passed me and beat me to it. And good for him!
It wasn't until Mile 8 that I even had to stop for water. Up until that point, I was feeling fine with no need to hydrate. I don't know how I managed that. Maybe I was lucky with the weather because usually I'm very parched a mile or two in and stop at almost every water station. I grabbed a cup quickly and walked swiftly as I drank it. (And I'm proud to say that 10 or so seconds was the only walking I did in the whole race!)
Finally I saw Mile 9 and that meant only 1 mile to go...
Close to the finish, the runners were treated to a great cheering section from this family in their apartment window -
and then finally I saw it in the distance - the finish line - I gave it a little extra and ran towards it and crossed it!
Not only did I finish but I met my goal of running the entire course. No walking at all, other than the few seconds it took me to drink that cup of water. I was so proud of what I had done. But honestly it felt really strange to only run 10 miles. I felt like I wasn't finished but I was glad I was!
After finishing, I ran into Ethan and we got the photo we couldn't get that morning when I had lost my camera -
Then I had some water and a bagel and watched some of the other runners come in. I wanted to see Amy cross the finish line but wasn't sure where she was. She texted her location, 9.7 miles, so a friend of hers and I ran back out onto the course to meet her and finish with her -
Then it was time for more pictures -
This is Anna & Cynthia. Cynthia told me they are blog readers and fans! I was more than happy to get some pics with them :)
That's Rowell in the center (and his coach on the left). He's an instagram follower I've been trying to meet up with at a few runs now...
As I was heading out, I saw these awesome dudes and their awesome bikes -
Before I left the Bronx, I caught this modification to "River" Av - someone turned it into "Rivera" (for Mariano Rivera, naturally)
Then I left the Bronx. Here are some photos from the bike ride home -
|2nd Ave, East Harlem|
|on 2nd Ave with lots of yellow cabs|
|on the 59th St Bridge, back to Queens|
|working on the Statue of Liberty piece at 5 Pointz|
|puddlegramming from 5 Pointz|
|The "Bionic Breakfast" and pancakes|
Then I went home to shower and look at my pictures. Here are my results.
My overall pace for the run was an 11 minute mile, which is a really good pace for me!
Finally, here are my splits by mile -
Coming next Sunday - my 20 MILE RUN! - the super long one. *gulp*