Alright, so this post is about two weeks late… but I have a million excuses for that, not the least of which is that (even though it was only two weeks ago) the New York City Marathon is not even the most recent race I’ve run.
But I ran it.
I finished it.
I experienced every single mile in foot killing, calf cramping, brain crushing, soul breaking joy-filled-agony, plodding through the streets of five NYC boroughs.
It was a long day. From hotel door back to hotel door, I was gone and on my feet for the better part of thirteen hours.
I met lots of people. A few I shared conversation with. A few hundred thousand I passed in blur of running, a day filled with the endless noise of a quarter million spectators mashing against the quiet effort of fifty thousand participants.
If you haven’t seen the video yet, it’s mindfully over-the-top, but I think it captures the frantic build-up and epic mood of the race:
There were more hills than I had expected, both up and down, the elevation never seeming to stop changing whether it was a massive climb over a huge bridge or just a slight incline up or down a city street.
My leg cramped up pretty bad at 28k. That was a worst-case scenario that I was ready for… but hopeful to avoid. My muscle didn’t comply with my advance planning and careful prep, however. I hobbled a good five klicks before I found a BIOFREEZE station and slathered a handful of that goop on my calf.
Momentum was tough to find, too. There were people. So. Many. People.
Having trained in the remote and quiet asphalt trails of Edmonton I knew there would be people, but it was in such contrast that it really became a performance factor. Even just stopping to stretch out my cramping calf muscle, I was inches away from cheering crowds trying to (unsuccessfully) motivate me through my pains. And then to find a reliable pace and path to the finish in the bustle of people was a little bit like trying to get to the airport in rush hour: Possible, but more frustrating than one might hope.
It was an amazing experience, of course. Would I do it again? If I didn’t have to run the race, sure.
After three marathons I’m pretty solidly convinced that the marathon isn’t my bag… or at least I’d need to do a helluva lot more training next time, and that’s simply not compatible with my life right now.
In the end I rolled across the finish in less than five hours: not amazing, but factoring in the fact that this will go down as one of the most difficult races I’ve ever run, I’m happy that I finished standing up to be honest.
Over the few days I was in New York and doing race-type things, I took a lot of video and a handful of photos. Here are some of those photos: