2013 ING New York Marathon Race Recap

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The Empire State. New York, New York.

Ahh. New York.
New “If I can make it there, I can make it anywhere” Stinkin’ York.
There is nothing like it.
Period.

I should just end the recap right here, but ‘Short and Sweet’ is not how I roll.

I ran the 2013 ING New York Marathon, along with over 50,000 of my closest friends on November 3rd. 50,000 runners. Running. All at once. That’s insane. That’s Guinness Book of World Records material right there if you ask me. I ran as a proud member of Team Fox in support of the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. I blogged about my decision to run with Team Fox, here, in an earlier post.

I had decided that I wanted this marathon, my 2nd New York and my 3rd one this year (Psycho Colby!) to be about Something Bigger. I wanted to run for a purpose greater than my own. That’s not to say that running a marathon isn’t an awesome achievement in and of itself. It is. It’s epic. It’s a monumental, life changing event. Totally transformative. But this time? I needed it to be about something more. I needed to run this one selflessly. I needed for this run to be impactful. And boy did running with Team Fox fit the bill exactly.

Stuff

Crack of Dawn, Marathon Village. A cold whipping wind is blowing. I am bundled in an old snuggie and a 2XL sweatshirt. I am in search of coffee. I look like a rag picker in Newton’s.

Guy: Oh Hey! You’re running for Team Fox! As in, Michael J. Fox? Parkinson’s right? Cool!
Me: {Grinning wildly, beaming with pride} I sure am!
Guy: {Does his best Ylvis’ What does the fox say?’ and croons} How does the Fox run?

Guy then promptly erupts in side-splitting, knee-slapping guffaws, wipes his eyes, snorts “Oh man. I kill me!” and trots away in a pink and orange Dunkin’ Donuts hat pulled down to the bridge of his nose before I can utter a witty retort.

Runners. They slay me.

And so the day begins. I am excited. Not nervous, excited. I am ready to make Team Fox proud! I hunker down in Marathon Village with several of my new found friends. We chit chat and nibble on bagels and bananas. {Spoiler alert: I decide to give my banana away, like a damn fool. This lovely gesture comes back to haunt me at mile 19. Oh keep reading. You’ll see.}

I am on the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, wedged between an ecstatic German man who is excitedly thumping me on the back, and a petite ballerina who is semi-freaking out, stretching her calves. I unwillingly shed layers of old clothes, clad now in my Team Fox singlet and bright orange arm warmers. It’s chilly. And really windy. Even so, I am ready. The Start! In my humble opinion, this is the best part of the New York Marathon. There is nothing like hearing Sinatra being sung by 1,000s of runners from everywhere but here. The accents. The smiles. The ENERGY! A melting pot of happy runners! It is what makes New York so special. Running over the Verrazano among a sea of runners, riding a wave of determination, resolve and grit until the sweet, bitter end. Jesus. It is why I run.

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(Photo credit: REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)

And away I go! It’s chilly and windy but I’m falling into a nice rhythm. I feel good. I’m moving along nicely. I’m thrilled. As I zip through Queens and into Brooklyn, I can’t help but notice the amount of New York’s finest. They are EVERYWHERE. The police presence is palpable. They are in the air and on land. Bomb sniffing dogs with their partners line every corner along every block. This is what running a major marathon is like in a post Boston Marathon World. It saddens me, but I am grateful for the NYPD. And incredibly impressed.

The miles tick on as I run swiftly through the city. All through Brooklyn and into Queens— I feel fantastic! I am drinking Gatorade with water chasers at every stop and eating Gu when I need to. Miles 1 to 16? Sheer awesomeness. I had a score to settle with the Queensboro Bridge. Last time I ran over it was in 2011, I pulled my calf muscle and pretty much limped, swore, ran and cried my way through the rest of the god forsaken marathon. It was my undoing. This year? BRING IT BRIDGE.

The Queensboro Bridge is the one place void of spectators. It is quiet. Except for the patter of feet and the sounds of your own breath. But when you come down the backside of the bridge back into Mahattan?!?! Hold on to your Newton’s people! You have ARRIVED! Manhattan Baby! You feel like a freaking ROCKSTAR. It’s a cheering frenzy. It is here that My Other Half caught a glimpse of me, fist pumping and high five-ing my way down First Avenue. Like a boss.

Until.
I hit The Wall.
For the first time in my running life.
Empty.

Mile 19. East Harlem. It comes on like I am slowly sinking into a tar pit of despair and broken dreams. What the hell? I’m not cramping. I just can barely move my legs. No! NO! NO. Are you kidding me?!?! I just passed a Team Fox cheering station! This can’t happen to me. WHY ON EARTH DID I GIVE AWAY THAT BANANA AT 7AM?!?! For a moment of sheer panic, I fear I can not go on. In my glycogen depleted fog, I almost believe it. And THAT pisses me off. I start talking out loud to myself. Like a loon. I DID NOT RUN THE NEW YORK MARATHON FOR TEAM FOX TO QUIT. I have never quit anything in my life. And I am sure as shit not going to start now! I scan the crowd looking for something, ANYTHING other than Gu which is failing me. All I see are cheering cupcakes and hotdogs, holding signs and rooting for their friends. Holy Mirage. I am STARVING.

I’m coming up on Mile 20 and I see him. My Oasis. He has a half peeled banana. He is raising it to his lips. I swear it is glowing. I reach up, will my body to move, and snatch that banana right out of his hand like an animal. He jerks back, momentarily stunned. He then watches while I jam that whole thing in my mouth with what I can only imagine is a deranged look in my eye, and scamper off like Igor in Young Frankenstein. A total fiend. I have stolen a banana- practically out of a man’s mouth- in Harlem.

I am not proud.
He wasn’t handing them out.
HE WAS EATING HIS GODDAMN BREAKFAST.
Rock bottom. I tell you. Rock. Bottom.

I manage to consume 2 more (legitimate) bananas and chug 2 cups of Gatorade. Slowly, I begin to fluff up. I am picking up speed. Sadly, I see the 3:50 pace group pass. They run away from me. If this were Another Race, I would be devastated to have them pass me so late in the game. I am sad, but not thwarted. That’s not why I am running. I know there is another Team Fox Cheer station ahead around Mile 23 and that’s really what I need to run past. Team Fox. My reason for running. I needed to hear them cheering, to be inspired by their energy, their fight.

Then I see this guy cheering…

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And this is my reaction…
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BOOM! And THAT’S how a fox runs!!!!

Reborn! Recharged!! Redeemed!!!

Homestretch! I can see the finish and man, she is GLORIOUS!
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16 thoughts on “2013 ING New York Marathon Race Recap

  1. HAHA…AMAZING. Your marathon hit a different type of rock bottom and you crossed the line like a rockstar! Before I continue…how many people had those stupid Dunkin Donuts beanies! Were they in the swag bag at the expo or something???? Such a great experience, entering into the lottery again for next year and may fundraise if I don’t get in. As for your experience, congrats for taking the right approach. Invasion of the Banana Snatchers. Great memory for you and that guy who will no longer eat on the course.

    • They gave those beanies out in the Marathon Village! Very happy to hear you’re entering the lottery again! I just might too. 🙂
      I seriously can’t eat a banana these days without thinking of that poor, stunned man.

  2. Post holiday Blog catch up time…You are ONE. bad. ASS. Runner. chick!!! Made me cry and laugh- thank you and Tina for a glimpse in your CRAZY exercise adventures…Love you bad ass chicks!! ❤

    • Well I’m glad you’re all caught up!!’ If there is one thing Tina and I aspire to be is BADASS! So here’s to many more Badass Adventures in Running!!! So happy you stopped by! 🙂

    • Thank you Angela! I’m blaming glycogen depletion and inadequate pre-race fueling. (Suddenly I turned into Dr. Colby 🙂 !) You know, I have spent roughly 17 years of my career in diabetes research. SHAME ON ME. My life was glucose metabolism. (“Was” being the operative word seeing as how I completely dropped the fueling ball and apparently all things glucose.) Ahh live and learn! Such a great experience even if I did Grand Theft Banana that guy’s breakfast. So happy you are back! 🙂

  3. I cannot remember how I got here, but thanks to google land, I’m so glad I did. I must say this is the best race report I have ever read! “Bananas are for monkey”? No they are not! ah-ha-haaa ;oD

    • Aren’t you a breathe of fresh air?!?! I’m thrilled you found us!!! In fact I’m sending Google an edible arrangement as we speak! I still can’t believe I snatched that banana. Cheeky monkey that I am. 🙂

      So glad you’re here!

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