Sorry, I digress. I highly recommend the NYC Marathon. The atmosphere is fantastic. There are so many people-runners and fans. The entire city shuts down for the event as well.
When I ran, my uncle lived in the city. This means that my family and some friends came and piled in his one bedroom apartment. It was crowded and so fun! They cheered the entire day and met me at several stops. By the end of the day, they were just as exhausted as I was from darting around town to catch me at different mile markers.
There are so many people that run the race and so many fans, that you have to carry a phone and have a plan of attack if you want to see your cheering section. We had 3 planned meeting spots along with chosen sides of the road. They were on the opposite side of the road because of a miscommunication for one of the stops and I never saw them...cue meltdown from me at mile 16. I never expected a race to be emotionally draining as well as physically draining.
Most races thin out as you get towards the end. The NYC lets more than 30,000 runners participate. This means that there is very little thinning. The following pictures are from mile 23 which is right before you enter Central Park.
I know you can't tell from my face, but I was thrilled to see my family. I didn't train properly for this race, so I was pretty much done at this point and I still had over 3 MILES TO GO!!! That is not a good feeling.
During the last few miles, you are in Central Park. It is beautiful and peaceful because there are not as many fans lining the way. I was having a rough time and walking for a bit when someone came and patted me on the back. He reminded me that there were only 2 miles to go and I had already come so far that I might as well run then. He was right!!! I started running and by the last mile I felt like I was flying. Turns out that it was an 11:30 mile (much slower than I had been running), but it still felt like a kick. lol!
Since you finish in Central Park, meeting up with friends and family can be difficult. The finish line is packed with fans who have been there all day, so it is impossible for new people to meet you there. I ended up walking 2 miles to meet. We all look pretty worn out. :)
Running is all about perception. Attitude and being mentally in a race are just as important as having the cardio endurance and strength to finish.
The NYC marathon was probably my favorite race that I have ever run. It felt so good to be surrounded with so much love and support. I was so proud of myself for finishing in 4 and a half hours...mostly because it meant that I got to be in the NY paper the next day. (They put in the results for everyone who finishes under 5 hours.) I have a shadow box with the paper, blanket, bib, and finisher medal to remind me why I love running and how much work it is to train for a marathon.
What is your favorite race that you have done?
Have you ever had a meltdown while running?
What is your favorite distance to run?