Monday, September 20, 2010

Preparation for NY Ing Marathon

By Heidi's coaxing, in November I threw in my hat for a spot for NY.  After five months of waiting, on April 7, 2010, the announcement came and miraculously my number came up.  What are the odds that I would get in my first try? I didn't expect it, but the marathon gods beamed down on me. The chances were 1 in 9.

I remember that day so vividly. Heidi has talked about her NY experience many times over which finally stirred excitement in me.  I've always said, someday I will do it.  Never in a million years did I think it would be 2010.  That morning, we anticipated the announcement at 12 noon, Eastern time. At 9 am, we logged on to the site.  The first 10 lucky names flashed over the ticker tape over and over.  I figured, they didn't have their act together, I'd give them another hour.  Maybe by then they'd post it alphabetically.  An hour passed, the same darn names flashed across my monitor.  I called my husband to check my home email, maybe my bank's security wall is not letting me get the full info.  He saw the same names I've read.   Heidi couldn't view it from her work either so she got her husband to log on using her sign on.  Then that's when the lightbulb lit.  I should have checked my log on, instead of the website. I was so nervous, I couldn't remember my password. But it came to me eventually after I calmed down. Nervously, I searched the site for good news or the bad news. At first, I was confused, because it said "accepted". I didn't know whether that meant "accepted" to be in the lottery pool for consideration or actually "accepted" to run in the marathon.  It was not until I scrolled down further when I read the sentence "Spread the news to your friends in...Twitter and FaceBook."  Then I knew, I was in.

The revelation was bittersweet.  I was dissappointed to find out that Heidi didn't get in.  My first thought, if she didn't go, I would have to defer my entry to 2011.  I can't imagine running this course on my own.  It's too big. And frankly, I am a little hesitant about traveling 3,000 miles across the country on my own.   Taking the whole family would proved to be too costly, especially in this economy.  I wished they could go with me.  (That just means, I'll have to try again.)

That night, Heidi decided that she would raise $2,620 for charity just like she did in 2008. That's another sure way to get in. That was all I needed to hear to make this happen.  'Proud to announce that Heidi has met her goal well before the Oct 8 deadline to raise funds. 

Fast forward to September, I've gotten my bus assignment for NY.  I was assigned to the 7:15 Staten Island Ferry Station.  If I am not mistaken,  I'll be on a boat to get to the start at the Verrazano Narrows Bridge.  (I hope those ferries are safe, because I can't swim.)  Now I just have to wait for my official Runner's Handbook due out in October.  It contains everything from what the bib number color coding means, map of the five burroughs of NY, instructions on where and what, schedule at the Expo, etc.  Actually the bib number is a lot trickier to read.  It is not as simple as having the the runner's number in it.  It contains your wave assignment, your corral system, and your start villages.  It's complicated but they've got this down.

I heard that the Expo at the Jarvis Center is quite breathtaking.  I can see how easily we get carried away in the excitement and end up unnecessarily expending more energy by walking through the halls. We'll have to remember to save our feet.

Since our marathon start won't be until 10 a.m., we'll have 2-3 hours to kill beforehand.  Why do we have to be there so early, you ask?  Imagine 44,000 runners trying to get to the start all at the same time. Top that off with 2 million spectators on both sides of the road, 5-6 people deep along the course route.  It is a logistical nightmare. But then again, NY has been hosting this marathon since 1970. They've had a lot of practice.  Waiting 3 hours is a small price to pay.  Well, as long as they have bagels and coffee at the start I'm game.

I'm curious to feel what it's like to wait at the start.  So I YouTubed the 2009 marathon start.  All the people screaming and high-fiving each other was infectious.  I felt their excitement as if I was standing there with them.  Then I heard Sinatra's signature song New York blaring in the background...."Start spreading the news...I'm leaving today..."( My heart just skipped and I started tearing up.  If watching this video right now has this effect on me, I can't imagine
how I will feel that day.

November will more likely be cold.  It was suggested to bring warm throw-aways to keep warm.  At the start, runners strip to their running garbs and toss the clothes to the side.  All the clothes are then donated to local salvation army. 

I can't wait to see NY. They said that this is the best way to tour the city. I have a bad habit of looking down on my feet when fatigue hits.  I will have to remember to look up.  I'm afraid of tripping and slipping on banana peels and sticky GU gel packets.  When Heidi ran it in 2008 and she mentioned the sea of flattened Gatorade cups strewn on the ground.  With all those runners, I can imagine how it would be challenge to keep the roads swept up in time.  In smaller races, volunteers can clean up almost immediately.   But that would be a tall order for NY.  One eye on the ground, one eye up. :-)

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