Tag Archives: Yurbuds

A Hard Fought 26.2

8 Nov

Sooo… I ran NYC on Sunday, as everyone knows.  I don’t know where to start.  I guess at the beginning…

My mom got in town on Friday, and she showered me with belated birthday gifts — home made pumpkin cookies, (my mom is SUCH a good baker and they were AMAZING) my favorite coffee from my favorite hometown coffee shop (why can’t NYC have a Boston Stoker, or at least something that tastes similar?) and a beautiful new red coat that I LOVE.

These are not the cookies my mom made, but they look like them... I may or may not have eaten all the cookies already...

We went to Jackson Hole for dinner, where I got a delicious turkey burger (I am obsessed) and sweet potato fries… then we went to bed.  Saturday morning, I slept in, which was GLORIOUS, and went for a quick Pfitzinger-prescribed 4-miler in the park– 2 reservoir loops.  It was, oh, sort of a nice day.

THIS is what fall is about. Eff that bday snow storm!!

Reservoir lookin' marvelous!

There were SO MANY people in the park, and the excitement was palpable.  I had to really work to reign in the energy I was feeling and keep it at a slow-ish pace.  I told myself, “Bank this for tomorrow!”

Then, mom and I went to the expo where I saw Deena Kastor and gazed at her creepily admiringly from afar for quite some time.  I felt extra jealous of the girls who actually got to hang with her on Friday (including Meggie and Kelly.)  I also bought some yurbuds, because they PROMISED me they would stay in my ears and when I tried them on and jumped around a bit… I believed them.  However, I haven’t actually run with them yet, so the jury is out.  (Decided to run the marathon music-free.)  But I will report back once I do!

Mom and I returned to the UES , did a little shopping, and grabbed some bites of delicious pizza from Farinella.  YUM.  After a little more shopping and hanging out, T met up with us and we got some dinner at my neighborhood go-to, Wicker Park.  Take a wild guess what I got to eat.  (Hint– it rhymes with Berkie slurger.)

I went home and prepped my marathon attire and waiting-on-Staten-Island attire.

Trying everything on-- that is about 4 long sleeved shirts over my running tank, an old scarf, a "blanket" from the Columbus marathon, my running shorts under paper pants purchased at the expo under $7 jammie pants purchased at CVS (love them; kinda wish I hadn't tossed them) and two pairs of gloves

Here is everything described above, plus some old sheets and an old bathrobe that I used to cover up with

stuff to sustain me on Staten and during the race, including handwarmers, lip balm, water, my trusty Starbucks Doubshot (aka jet fuel) PowerBar, Honey Stinger, Garmin, NY mag, and Vanity Fair.

I wrote out very explicit directions for my mom on how to get to where she wanted to catch me first, at the Atlantic Center in BK (around mile 8.)  I didn’t think it would be too bad– just take the 4/5 at 86th Street to Atlantic Avenue…

I slept (not well), got up, got ready, and grabbed a cab to the NY Public Library, where I boarded a bus to SI.  Once on SI, I settled onto my sheets and took everything in.  I was glad it wasn’t NEARLY as cold as it had been last year.

I wish I'd gotten a better shot of this dude (standing against the truck.) He was wearing a ratty old suit and holding a tray with a champagne bottle duct taped to it. What makes people do this? It's hilarious, but seems kinda pointless and like it would get really old a few miles in!

You can't really see it, but a woman was wearing a dress, an apron, and a bonnet. She looked cute, but again-- seems uncomfortable!

I drank my jet fuel, ate my Powerbar, read some of my NY mag, gave my Vanity Fair to a woman from the Netherlands (who apparently had been led to believe there would be “more to do” on Staten Island)… and then I got a call from my buddy Emily and was thrilled when she joined me!

Looking pretty at 7:30 AM. Kudos.

We chatted a bit about her upcoming nuptials, I used the port-a-potty about 3 times, and then they announced that my corral was closing in 10 minutes… so I kind of panicked, stripped off all my layers but the crucial ones, (tank and shorts) dropped my layers in the donation bin, and entered my corral.

herded like cows into the corral

Then I realized that I still had, like, an hour to wait and stripping off all my layers may have been a BIT rash.  I was cold!  (But in the end, I’m glad, ’cause they don’t donate anything left in corrals or on the bridge if I’m not mistaken.)  I went pee one more time and we slowly began to make our way on the bridge.  I soon had to pee AGAIN and was feeling jealous and straight up angry at all the dudes who were taking care of that with reckless abandon

The dude in blue in the back is just one example of the MANY who were using the great outdoors as their own personal potty. This is literally the ONLY time in life that I envy dudes.

I was REALLY wishing I had saved at least my bathrobe so that I could easily pop a squat with the bathrobe covering everything up, but that was not the case.  I knew I was going to have to make a stop somewhere along the course.  GRRR.  Anyhow, some guy saw me shivering and gave me his jacket, which he was intending to ditch.  I considered using THAT to cover my lady bits while peeing, but didn’t want this guy to be disgusted… so instead I just put it on and it did keep me warm, so thank you, kind stranger!

An NYC firefighter sang a beautiful rendition of The Star Spangled Banner, and I got a little emotional and patriotic.  THEN the gun went off, everyone cheered, and they started playing the perfect song, Sinatra’s “New York, New York.”  I sang along and felt a swell of great love for this city that has broken and won over my heart time and again.  (Cheesy, I know.  But true.)

We crossed the start, and I texted my mom, my bro, T, and my buddy Fatima (who was waiting just over the bridge in Bay Ridge with her husband) that I was on my way.  I still had absolutely no game plan, and just kind of ran without thinking much about my goals.  I did, however, see a bunch of grapes running ahead and had fantasies of running the whole way with him.  I figured it would be easy for my friends and fam to spot me if I just said, “Look for the grapes!”  But alas, grape man was too speedy.

there he goes!

I was delighted when I saw Ken and Fatima right where they said they would be– in front of their building.  I may or may not have thrown myself at Fatima with great vigor.  Ken was snapping pics, so I can’t wait to see those. 🙂  I briefly felt bummed that they don’t live on the ground floor, because it would have been amazing to dash in there and take the pee I so desperately wanted to take… but having been over for dinner before, I recalled that their charming apartment was at least 4 flights up.

After seeing them, I focused on my next spectators, my wonderful friend Alli and her boyfriend, JC.  But I spotted a line of port-a-potties that looked sparse, so I dashed in (no wait!) peed, and dashed out, feeling very pleased with myself for having taken care of that.  Then, I caught sight of some green balloons up ahead and knew it was some pacer.  I decided to catch whatever pacer it was and try and stick it out (if it was reasonable) because then THEY would serve the purpose I wanted grapes to serve early in the game.  (“I’m near the x:xx pacer with green balloons!”)  I caught him, saw that he was the 3:40 pacer, and thought, “I may as well give it a try for as long as possible.”

And it worked like a charm.  After thinking we had missed one another, Alli and JC spotted me, thanks to green balloons.  They took some sweet pics, too!


That's some excitement right there...

Dang. SPOILER-- I looked NOTHING like this at the bitter end of this race...

After I saw them, I realized I was pretty darn close to the Atlantic Center/mile 8 where I was supposed to see my mom and T… and hadn’t heard a thing from either of them.  I gave my mom a call and got no answer.  I got a text from her a bit later saying the trains had been screwy and they missed me.  I’d like to take this opportunity to say F*CK YOU, MTA!!!!!!  Seriously.  I felt HORRIBLE that my mom had to deal with that.  She is obviously not a native New Yorker, and the subways are definitely not very intuitive here.  I was proud of her for figuring out to take the R train when she was unceremoniously dumped off at 42nd Street, due to a “customer issue” or some bullsh*t, because you KNOW that the conductor didn’t give any helpful announcements and that there was no guidance whatsoever.  Can you tell I’m a bit peeved about this?  Anyhow, back to the race…

I felt awful that they’d had to deal with that, but forged ahead, sticking with 3:40 dude.  I started feeling pretty tired around mile 10 and wondered if it was a bad sign, seeing as how I was not even halfway there yet.  Every time I stopped for water or Gatorade, I lost 3:40 dude (Is he superhuman?  I NEVER saw him stop!) and then had to speed up to catch him again.  But I was with him as we passed out of BK into QNS, past the halfway mark (my watch told me around 1:50) over the Pulaski Bridge, all through QNS, and as we entered the Queensboro Bridge.  I was ready to make the Q’boro Bridge my b*tch, since it is MY bridge.  (Um, obviously not really, but I was telling myself it was, because I do run it a great deal– one of the perks of having a bf who lives in an outer borough!)  I pulled AHEAD of 3:40 man and kept at it.  I saw a girl wearing a veil and a tee-shirt that said something like “6 more days!” and congratulated her as I passed her.  She and I had a quick exchange (“Thanks!  Have a great race!”  “You too!”) and then I heard a voice behind me say, “Is that Katie?”  It was my buddy David!  I love how there were something like 47,000 people running, but I managed to see a buddy mid-race!

The Q'boro Bridge-- connecting me to my beloved since May 2010, causing pain for NYC marathoners since 1976 (before this, the entire marathon was run in Central park... which sounds freaking brutal.)

We chatted for a bit as we sailed over the bridge and down into the wall of sound at First Avenue.  I lost David, since he was looking for his family, and I became a bit distracted because by then I had about 7 unread texts and was kind of starting to regret for the very first time the fact that I welcome texts during a race.  I LOVE getting the support and it also helps a great deal in finding spectators, but I couldn’t keep up!  I knew there were a bunch of people I really wanted to see along First Avenue, but I couldn’t remember where each person had said they were.  I was frantically reading texts, fully aware that I wasn’t taking in the First Avenue crowd the way I wanted to.

T texted at some point saying he and my mom were near my apartment and I realized they were going to miss me AGAIN.  My mom called me as I passed 83rd Street, frantically saying they were at 82nd and 2nd.  I sadly said I was passing by 83rd and First and they had missed me.  I was bummed, and I realized I was slipping further and further behind the 3:40 pacer.  I got a bit of a lift when I saw Ali around 88th Street and my friends Danielle and Steve around 90th… but then the crowds thinned out as I ran further and further up First Avenue and into the Bronx via the Willis Ave Bridge.  I could see the 3:40 pacer, but I knew I wasn’t going to catch him, and I looked at my watch trying to gauge my finish time.  It looked as though it would be under 3:50, which made me very happy, but I was tired and hurting and wanted to be finished! My brother sent me a text asking me how I was doing and I responded, “Dying.”  Obviously an exaggeration, but I was feeling pretty low by then.

The Bronx was pretty painful for me, but I made an effort to smile and acknowledge everyone who cheered for me.  There is something so heart warming about marathon spectators to me.  As I left the Bronx and re-entered Manhattan, my brother texted asking where I was.  I responded, “Just entering harlen (sic) passed 21.  Had to slow way down so tired”  I remember feeling like I was crawling and watching the 3:40 pacer disappear into the distance.  (In looking at my splits post race, I actually hadn’t really slowed down too much, which surprises me.)  I got water at the 22 mile stop and walked while I drank it.  Walking felt AWESOME and I briefly considered walking the last 4 miles.  Then I called myself something that starts with a “P” and is a synonym for a cat… and started running again, certain I had lost a ton of time (again, looking at my splits, miraculously, this was not so!)

As I approached 5th Avenue, I got a bit of a boost.  The crowds were thick and the enthusiasm was crazy.  Lots of people cheered for me by name, and I felt myself picking up a bit.  However, that dreaded Fifth Avenue incline was pissing me off.  It was about at this point when I thought, “This is my last marathon.  I am NEVER DOING ONE AGAIN.”  But I was still excited to finally see my mom and T and I DID see them just after I entered the park.  The excitement from seeing them took me past the Museum (mile 24) and down Cat Hill.  But although I knew I was super close, I also felt as though I was still so far.  I was dreading getting to Central Park South, ’cause I knew the crowds were going to be thick and I was going to look at as crappy as I felt.  But I saw my friend Molly as I entered CPS and waved vigorously at her (and crashed into the dude in front of me while doing so, oops, sorry, dude!)  I passed the “half mile to go” sign and thought not, “almost there,” but rather, “how am I STILL not done?”  But then I saw the finish.  The sweet, sweet finish.  I noticed there were about 3 dudes in front of me and decided I had to “chick” them all… which I did…  and then I was done.  3:45:35.  My second best marathon time, only 3 weeks after my PR!

But the agony was not quite over.  I was feeling pretty beat up.  Destroyed, in fact.  My calves were screaming at me.  I tried to sit down on the pavement (off to the side) but a medic quickly grabbed me and forbade me from doing so, saying my muscles were not going to respond well to that (she was probably right, but at the time I wanted to punch her.)  She kindly let me lean on her and helped me walk while we looked for a better place to sit.  A LOTTA walking, man.  People in the past have always complained about the end of the NYC marathon and all the walking it entails and I’ve never understood how that irks people… ’til now.  T called and I was tearing up as I told him I was in a lot of pain and would call him once I got it together and left the park.  I felt bad for being so terse, but I was hurting.  The volunteer made small talk with me (probably hoping to take my mind off the pain) and I asked her if she was a runner.  She said no and that she just volunteers for fun, which warmed my heart.   I bade her goodbye with many thanks as she left me sitting on a bench, feeling much, MUCH better.  I gulped down my Gatorade, ate pretzels, chatted with 2 other runners who had also taken refuge on the bench, and finally got it together to walk again.  My dear friend Molly B met me outside of the park and I was so happy to see her face.  She also gave me a hug and her fleece, which was a lifesaver, since I was shivering uncontrollably.  (Two post-marathon space blankets were not quite keeping me warm.)  We grabbed a cab and took it downtown to where my mom and T were anxiously awaiting.

Since this is epic, I’m ending it, but long story short– I felt pretty much fine shortly after exiting the park, had a delicious meal with my mom and T, and am signed up for another marathon at the beginning of February.  Yeah.  That whole “never running a marathon again” is a distant memory. 🙂

my splits

Congrats to all who read this entire post, because you put in about as much as effort as I did running the damn thing. 🙂

All finished, on the bus home with T 🙂

With mom, after a celebratory dinner a 5-year old would enjoy (a hot dog and mac and cheese!)... and a beer.