This was one of THE.BEST.DAYS.OF.MY.LIFE!!
The night before my husband lovingly made me spaghetti and meatballs, along with Italian bread for my pre-run meal. I went to bed early, but had difficulty falling asleep. I had never been so afraid that I wouldn’t wake up for a run, than this day. I had my iphone alarm, my husband’s iphone alarm, and the night stand alarm all set. I woke several times during the night. My wake up time was to be 4am, but at 3am I was up and just laid in bed thinking about what this day was going to bring.
My husband and I left the house around 4:45am to drive into Manhattan. My meeting place was at John Jay College. I was on a bus to leave there at 6:30am to head to the start line in Staten Island. Once in Staten Island the bus dropped us off at a meeting place, where I hung out until about 8am, before making my way over to the Green Village corral starting area, as I was told it took some time to walk there, along with security checks.
Once at the corral start, I walked around and took it all in. There were SO.MANY.PEOPLE, runners from different countries, volunteers, photographers-it was not like any run I had ever been at before. I was very emotional, and all I could think about was: what am I getting myself into-lol. The view of the Verrazano Bridge was beautiful. The day was beautiful-blue, clear, sky, cool but sunny. I had my throw away clothes on, sweatpants, two sweatshirts, gloves, sunglasses and a running hat. There were waters, tea, coffee, bagels, energy gels available for all the runners and hundreds of porta potties!! I had snacks tucked into the side pockets of my running pants-honey stinger gummies, and pretzels. I also had my iphone charger in my flipbelt around my waist.
My take off time was 10:45am, third wave, corral C. Twenty minutes before we were allowed in the corral. Once there, I was shaking, this was the moment I had worked for, for a year! The National Anthem played and the corrals were broken down and we began our walk to the start line on the bridge. I began dropping my throw away clothes as we walked. My starting line was on the lower level of the Verrazano Bridge. Before I knew it the cannon went off and Frank Sinatra’s New York, New York was playing as we began our run.
As I began my run on the lower level of the bridge, I texted my husband to let him know “here I go” and was on my way. Everyone who wanted to, was able to track me via the TCS NYC NYRR running app with my bib number. I took in the views of lower Manhattan as I ran, and the sights and sounds of the journey I was beginning. I took a lot of pictures along the way, all the Welcome signs to each borough-Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, Bronx, as I entered each. Once I came off the Verrazano Bridge, there were so many people cheering us on, music on every block and photographers along the way. IT.WAS.AMAZING!! At one point, about the three mile mark, the runners that started on the lower level, merge with the runners that started on the upper level, I found this to be such a cool moment of all of us coming together! I always wear my headphones and listen to music when I run, but for the most important run of my life, I didn’t need to, I did keep the headphones in so I’d hear when my family texted. I took in all the energy from the crowds of people, it was unbelievable!! You just cannot understand it, until you run it!!
I was running through beautiful places in Brooklyn I had never been before, tree-lined streets, brownstones, loved it! Restaurants and bars had their doors and windows opened, people were on the streets cheering, bands and DJs playing all types of music, (heard the Rocky theme four times along the run)!
Before this amazing day, I had taken in a few events the NYRR was hosting at their Run Center giving details on the course and running coaches hosting open events discussing what we should look out for, things the coaches wished they had taken more time to take in and/or enjoy when they had previously run the TCS NYC Marathon. One of those things, was a church in Brooklyn that had a choir singing on their front steps. The coaches had said the choir were amazing. As I was running by, I realized this was the church with the choir, and slowed down, turned around just in enough time to hear a glimpse of their beautiful music, smiled and continued on my run through Brooklyn smiling. I just couldn’t stop smiling the entire run! I was so happy to be in this moment!
I had never seen so many tables of water and gatorade, lining both sides of all the streets throughout all the boroughs with so many awesome volunteers, all with smiles of encouragement! There were tables of sponges, to cool us, volunteers handing out bananas in Manhattan and the Bronx. There was also a Biofreeze area, where runners could stop and get some rubbed on their sore spots once in the Bronx, because by this time, everyone’s body was aching!
I was super excited as I approached the halfway mark, 13.1, on the Pulaski Bridge into Queens. My family was waiting in LIC, I was so looking forward to seeing them! As I approached I saw them all in their neon green custom-made t-shirts that said J-9 with a picture of the NYC skyline and TCS NYC Marathon underneath with the date November 4, 2018, waiting at 44th Street-it was fantastic!! I stopped and hugged and kissed everyone, took selfies and chatted with them all. I was going to enjoy this run and take the time to be with everyone, finish time of the run didn’t matter, just enjoying every moment mattered!! After a few minutes, I continued on my run. I had more family waiting on First Avenue in Manhattan and was looking forward to seeing them also.
The toughest bridge was approaching, Queensborough Bridge. By this time I’d run 15 miles and the Queensborough Bridge has a steep incline. Once we level out on the bridge, there are stunning views of lower and upper Manhattan, and I stopped to take a few selfies! As I continued along the bridge, the next amazing moment was approaching, the decline off of the Queensborough Bridge onto First Avenue, with the roar of the crowd! The bridge has an unusual quietness, as no spectators are allowed on any of the bridges, but once you come off the bridge the roar is everything I was told it would be! It really energizes you and gives you momentum! First Avenue was packed! My family was waiting at 65th Street, as I approached I was so excited to see them, stopped again, hugged, chatted and took selfies, it was amazing! Once I left them my next group to run to was my NYRR Group Training Coaches in the Bronx, but first I had to make my way up First Avenue, and looking up First Avenue, it was a long way to go! I took in all the cheering and the music and continued on!
As I approached the Willis Avenue Bridge, I was excited, I had made it to the Bronx, and 20 miles completed! More great music and cheering crowds as well as awesome volunteers!! My group training coaches were waiting once we ran around the corner of Western Beef, and as I turned and heard my Coach Binu yell my name, all I could do is smile. I stopped and took selfies with Coach Binu and Coach Mel! It was fantastic! Their words of encouragement, just wonderful coaches!! Coach Mel ran with me for a bit, and after a mile, I continued on and she returned to the coaches cheering section. The next bridge, Third Avenue, back into Manhattan was approaching, only a few more miles to go! Another beautiful area of Manhattan I had never been before, Marcus Garvey Park with brownstones across from it, turned onto Fifth Avenue and heard another roar of the crowd! I was now heading down Fifth Avenue, counting the street numbers to 90th Street, Engineers Gate, to the East Side entrance of Central Park and the 24 mile mark, and the final push to the finish!!
I didn’t hit the “the wall” that I always heard about it, but my body was aching and at times I slowed down to a quick walk, massaging my thighs. At one point, a runner passed me, and with words of encouragement, told me “you got this”. All I could do, was mutter, thank you and continued on. At 90th Street, there was a T.V. screen that had “cheer cards” that family and friends could make for you on the TCS NYC Marathon app, rotating on the screen. My friends at work had made me one, and I thought how cool it would be to see it as I approached, well I did! It was exactly what I needed to push me through to the end!
Into Central Park I went, the crowds were big here, the space narrow for us runners with the crowds, but again it was amazing!! The roar off the crowd taking me through Central Park and out to 59th Street and down to Columbus Circle. As I saw Columbus Circle in the distance all I could think about was I’m here, I made it!! My husband was waiting right before the finish line, and I was so excited to see him! He’s my biggest supporter and has been to every run, waiting for me always, at the finish! An Irish band was playing along 59th Street as I ran by and a DJ as I approached Columbus Circle and entered back into Central Park and the last few meters of the TCS NYC Marathon.
My husband was there on the left side of the park, under the tree where we had watched the 2017 TCS NYC Marathon. I stopped, we hugged, kissed, took a selfie, and off I went to the final uphill push to cross the finish line and complete the biggest run of my life!!
I was overcome with so much emotion, even as I type this, I have tears in my eyes! It was just an overwhelming experience! There were photographers everywhere, and thanks to them, I have the most fantastic pictures that truly captures my happiness of this MOST.AMAZING.DAY!
Receiving the medal was very emotional, the volunteers were amazing!! Took more photos, received a heat sheet, my goodie bag and made my way out of the finish area.
I headed back to John Jay College to meet up with my husband, have a bite to eat, re-group, relax and relive the moments of this amazing day!
As we left Manhattan, I couldn’t believe what a long day it was, as by now it was in the 9pm hour and what I had set my mind to do a year ago, I completed! I relive this day from time to time, and get tears in my eyes each time. It was just THE.MOST.AMAZING.DAY!!