Monday, November 8, 2010

Day #3 - NYC City Marathon (a bit delayed)

Okay.....I had forgotten to finish my blog....well, here it goes :)

This was one of the most amazing experiences in my life!!!! This may have been my slowest marathon but truly one of the most amazing! This is a MUST if you have a marathon on your bucket list!

(Sheena getting excited for hitting the road!)

Our day started at 4am. We get up and ready for the marathon. Down to the lobby at 4:45 am and waited for our group so we could leave for the library at 5:15 am. The buses were lined up around the NYC library for a city block. Every efficient volunteers putting you through the cue. We made it to line up #1. At 5:45 am we loaded the bus. At 6:30 am we arrived at Stanton Island.

(Sheena and Kevin on the bus heading to the start line)

I have never seen so many buses carrying so many runners - EVER! We all said our good-byes and good lucks and separated to go to our color corrals. I was in orange and Kevin was in blue. I was super happy that Natasha and Ross was orange as well. It made the hurray up and wait game way better. We all dressed in our layers and found shelter from the cool wind. The feeling of sitting and waiting among all the runners was crazy. We looked around and it felt as though we were in some sort of a tent refugee camp. There we spread out our plastic and foamy mats to sit on. We then layered with plastic, heated blankets, and disguarded clothing. This wasn't the fun part, but yet it was all part of the experience. This was pretty slick! They had hot chocolate, tea, coffee plus bagels and yes Dunkn'Donuts. The John on the spot toilets were plentiful (not pleasant though!). After a little bit, I had to get up and walk around to see what was going on. Afterall, this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience! Off I went to find a hot cup of coffee :)

(Ross and Natasha sharing some warmth)

Marathon start times are as follows: wheelchair division, 8:30 a.m.; professional women, 9:10 a.m.; wave 1, 9:40 a.m.; wave 2, 10:10 a.m.; wave 3, 10:40 a.m. Yes waiting until 10:40 am until we get to hit the pavement.

As our wave was called to the start line, Natasha and held hands among the crowd of people from all over the world. Natasha recalled that every single marathon that she has run, Kevin and I have been a part of them. Thank you so much Natasha! You were music to my ears and wings to my heart on race day. If I couldn't have been with Kevin at the start line, I am so happy that I was at the start line with Natasha! We walked holding hands so we wouldn't get separated and then we could see the bridge.....yes the bridge.....and it was the startline! Yes, this was real! Then the song, "New York, New York" by Frank Sinatra was playing. I wouldn't have expected any other song!

Off we went.....across the start line, across the bridge. Wow....a dream come true! What a view! Gorgeous! All the sudden, the time we spent waiting to start had complete didn't matter. We were off! Yes....running the New York City Marathon...the world famous race. We were about to experience what everyone had been talking about and experiencing all the fuss!

(Natasha on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge with Manhattan in the background)

We stayed together for only a couple of Kilometers but I could not keep up with Natasha as she had trained, and this chick....well, training wasn't a priority for me unfortunately. (oops!)

This race, you are NEVER alone in this race! As Natasha race ahead, she stopped, turned around to me and yelled, "Hey, there Jared from Subway!". Famous person sighting #1. Yup, Jared from Subway sweats, grunts and moans like all the rest of us running a marathon. Yup, no special treatment, except he had an entourage.

I continued on my journey and loved every minute of it! Yes, even the rolled ankle, big blister on my heel, the tummy problems and the hours of spent on my quest of the finishline, but that's what a marathon is all about....the unexpected.

Highlights of my marathon:

1. Running with Natasha!

2. Being told by a stranger that he loved me :)

3. Taking pretzels from a stranger in Manhattan (I was hungry!)

4. High-fiving the bar patrons on 1st Avenue - WOW!

5. My Brooklyn Friends (random strangers I talked with)

6. The countless Canadian Flags along the route and the cheers of "Go Canada!"

7. My new friend from New Jersey, Hector Rivera. A fellow TNTer who ran his first marathon in NYC. I needed to help someone, and asked if I could help him finish his race and cross the finishline. Together, we finished!!!!

8. All the wonderful cheerful and encouraging NYC police and fire personnel along the way. I realized afterwards I didn't take a single photo of these awesome folks.

9. Running into people from Calgary on the run. Yes....thankfully I ran with Sandy from Calgary several times. It was so awesome to see you again. Crazy how we had to meet in NYC for a run. Thanks for running (and walking) with me so much!

10. Wonderful people from New Zealand who helped me find my way home after the race. I had no idea where I was or how to get back to my hotel. So, these wonderful people waiting for the subway said I could follow them to their hotel, which was a couple blocks from my hotel. They were a God Sent! They were absolutely amazing to me and got me back to my hotel, safe and sound!

And finally, we ran through all the boroughs - Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, Bronx! Wow....I cannot express the appreciation I have for all the people of this wonderful city! All the thousands of volunteers and the thousands of people who were there from the crack of dawn to the darkness of the night. All of them still cheering as though each one of us were the winner of the race. Simply amazing!

Final words..........
I learned so many things about myself on this race. I learned that I am not a quitter; I CAN do anything I want to do; I understand how much my body can do and take and then I can give just a little more; I LOVE mankind and we don't give it enough credit! I would recommend every person who can run experience the NYC Marathon. It is an event more than a race!

Well............finally I am done this blog for the ING NYC Marathon for 2010. I DID IT!!!!

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