Back in 2011 on Sunday the 6th of November I joined over 47,000 other runners in the ING New York Marathon.
Those that kept up with my training blogs and videos watched me go through the many ups, and then downs from injuries, which in the end meant my training all but stopped 5 weeks out from the actual marathon. Not ideal, but that’s how it rolls, so we just get on with it.
So here I was in New York, the city that never sleeps, a very exciting place to be, as it turns out too exciting! I realize now that the night before the race is not the time to have too much fun.
Unfortunately, upon our return to the hotel we popped into the lounge bar. I of course, with a race to run the next day was to have a non-alcoholic drink. Everyone knows that drinking before a race is not advised as it certainly won’t help you run the next day. But alas I spied what looked like a rather scrummy cocktail called the ‘Stress Reliever’. Fantastic I thought, I’ll only have one; famous last words!
The next morning when I awoke at 5.15 am I certainly didn’t feel like getting up (for obvious reasons). But this was not a day to lounge in bed, it was a day to run a marathon. However, I did make a note to self… never drink before a race again!
I grabbed my gear and made my way down to the lobby where a group of us walked a short distance to catch the buses which would take us out to the starting point.
The bus ride seemed to take forever and lurch over every bump…. but maybe that was just me in my fragile state. Once we were cruising over the Brooklyn Bridge I knew it wouldn’t be long before we got to see where the start line would be.
After the bus dropped us off, it was a short walk to the entrance point. Once we were cleared by the security officers we we made our way to the designated start areas. The officials had erected a big TV screen so as we waited we would be able to see our wave come up to tell us when to make our way to the starting pens.
The officials had everything running like clockwork and I thought the needs of the runners were catered for extremely well. There were loads of portaloos and due to the nature of the day, people were happy to talk to complete strangers as they waited in the coolness of the morning.
To combat the morning chills I had popped out the night before and bought two bright yellow towels and I utilized the plastic poncho from home. They did their job and were very easy to dispose of later on. It’s good to note that if you are a first time runner you have to hand your bag to the trucks quite early on, so the articles of clothing you are left wearing you either run in, or leave by the side of the road.
I had a quiet wait as I sat there contemplating what was ahead of me. I had decided the night before that I wouldn’t wear my iPod and I am so pleased I made that decision. The bands and people around the course were amazing and I would have been disappointed to have missed the energy they created.
Before I knew it, I was standing on the Brooklyn side of the bridge ready to go. My fragile physical state aside, I was excited about the prospect of seeing so many boroughs of New York.
As we began our run, they played ‘New York, New York!’ an excellent motivator for what was to lay ahead…..