ING New York City Marathon 2010

The 2010 ING New York City Marathon
Runners set off on the Verrazano Bridge
from Staten Island to Brooklyn

 I felt great Marathon morning! I needed to catch the 7am Staten Island Ferry, so the 6am alarm was actually a sleep-in for me.

The weather was perfect. Sunny, chilly, and not a breath of wind. The lack of wind is apparently a rarity for the New York marathon, and I was pretty happy about it. The subway was full of fellow runners, with their tags laced into their sneakers, wearing baggy, old sweats ready to be discarded once the race began.

Two bagels, a cup of coffee, and a lot of nerves later, I was standing in front of the starting line, listening to the familiar ‘final instructions’ before a NYRR race. Then a cannon went off, and Sinatra’s ‘New York, New York’ rang out. I cried, how could you not? All those weeks of training, the 4 hour long runs on the weekends, the injury, the nerves, the pressure, all culminating in this one morning, setting off with thousands of others in the first marathon I’d ever attempted. In my hometown, NEW YORK CITY!

My dear friend Maggie and her Dad (both NYC marathon alums!) had taken my t-shirt and pasted my name on the front and back. So when I ran off the Verrazano into Brooklyn, all I heard was people screaming my name as I ran past. It was crazy, I didn’t get used to it until about halfway through, but what a difference it made to hear your own name and feel like people were personally cheering you on.

Between mile 7 and 8, I saw my husband Fran, and my friend Maggie. I was so excited, I jumped around like a crazy person when I spotted them. I kept seeing people I knew among the spectators along the way, which was a huge boost. Lots more friends I didn’t see later told me they’d picked me out in the crowd. When hundreds of people yell your name as you run by, it’s hard to see the familiar faces among them, even when I knew where people would be waiting.

Me at the Half-Marathon mark, and feeling good

One of the best moments in the race came right after the horrible hard slog of the Queensboro Bridge. That bridge is so steep, at one point I looked at my watch and saw that my pace was over 15 minute miles – I walk faster than that usually! There are no spectators on the bridge, either, so it’s this long, steep, tough section where you have no cheering support, just the sound of your breathing and the footfalls, breaths, and groans from the runners surrounding you. But right towards the end of the bridge, just before it becomes a fast downhill, this noise begins. It sounds like the soft roar you hear when you hold a seashell to your ear. It gets louder and louder, and then, as you come fast down the bridge exit and round the corner, you see First Avenue, and realize the sound is the most enormous crowd of spectators screaming as you race onto the Avenue, your entry into Manhattan.

At the 40km (close to 25 miles) mark – in Central Park,
getting SO CLOSE to the finish line!

Somewhere along the way, I felt something happen to my right leg, around my hip. It was my left ITB that bothered me so much in training, so it was unexpected to feel something wrong in my right leg. I did my best to ignore it, popped a few Advils (not recommended, but I was desperate!), and kept running. By the time I got out of the Bronx and back into Manhattan, I was so pumped up and running on adrenaline, I no longer noticed it at all.
I definitely got a second wind in Harlem. The crowd there were wonderful, and by the time I got to Fifth Avenue, I felt fantastic, and my pace got much faster than it had been. At one point, around the mile 22 or 23 mark, I heard someone yell, “You’re nearly done with this hill!!” I felt so good, I hadn’t even noticed we were running uphill at that point. Then  I knew I would finish, and I would finish in a great time. The hardest part for me about the last few miles was that it was so crowded in the Park, particularly around the last couple of water stations, that it became difficult to navigate around the other runners.
I finished in 4 hours, 1 minute, and 46 seconds. I cried with joy crossing the finish line. As I slowed to a walk, I realized there was something seriously wrong with my right hip. It was very difficult for me to walk. Someone from medical helped me hobble along for a bit, then I found my husband, and we gingerly, slowly made our way back to Brooklyn on the subway. After stretching, rolling, and showering, I felt okay, and went out with friends for pizza and beer. When I woke up the next morning, I couldn’t put any weight on my right leg. I was in a great deal of pain. As I found out at the doctor a few days later, I strained tendons in my hip, the adductors and flexor tendons. Not a great way to recover post-marathon, hobbling around and trying to commute and work on crutches. But even the injury will help me prepare for my next marathon (because of course I am hooked now!).
Thank you New York! I loved every minute running you.
What an amazing feeling! Crossing the
finish line of the ING New York City Marathon!


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