Well I successfully completed the 2010 Bank of America Chicago Marathon and the ING NYC Marathon! Whew! What a ride.
First off is the Chicago Marathon. I had a strong training base going into this marathon. I was as prepared as a I could be. The day of the marathon began well. The temperatures were in the 60s climbing to a very hot 87 degrees! I hung in there until about mile 16 when they put up the "red alert" for the heat. I began pulling it back and ran/walked the rest of the way. I finished with a 5:04:55. I was proud of my time. I wore a yellow shirt with my name sewn onto it and I was absolutely amazed at the cheers I received from the crowd. The crowd support was like nothing I had every experienced in my life. There was only about 1 mile at the fartherest point north where there was not a lot of support. It was a great day! My dad, mother and father in law, aunt, cousin, and my husband came out to support me on the 26.2 mile course. It was everything I had hoped for and more. I choked up as I rounded the last corner and saw the finish line. It was the most amazing thing I had every done and I was so proud!
The following week I rested. I was lucky enough to not have any injuries from the marathon. I was stiff and sore for a few days but that subsided by the weekend. The Sunday after the marathon I completed 10 miles and continued on with my training. I was essentially on my taper for NYC. I added a few runs during the week along with some strength training. The next Sunday I was down to 7 miles with 1 week to go to NYC. I felt great. I was doing some great mileage and felt strong and ready to take on NYC.
Fast forward to the ING NYC Marathon... What an experience! Sorry Chicago, but NYC has you beat in terms of the "marathon experience". The day started around 6:30am when my dad and I went down for the continetal breakfast at our hotel. We then took a taxi to the Staten Island Ferry. After a hug and "Good Luck...Be Careful" from my dad I was headed onto the ferry. The ferry took us right by the Statue of Liberty and that is where I shed my first tears. As we got off the ferry in Staten Island we were hustled along to a line of waiting buses to bring us to the start villages. The bus ride was a long 3 mile ride. I found my start village (Blue) and after a phone call to my dad and my husband I checked my bag and headed towards the corrals.
It seemed like I waited forever for the 1st and 2nd waves to go out. Then, it was my turn to enter the corral and begin the walk to the start. I remember looking up as we approached the bridge and thinking..."Wow, I have to run over that monster!". And then I heard the airhorn go off and the sweet sounds of Frank Sinatra's "New York New York" came over the loudspeaker. Everyone, I mean everyone in the corral started belting it out! What a feeling! And then we were off...crossing the brige into Brooklyn and laughing at a sign that said "GET OUT OF BROOKLYN!"....crossing into Queens where a guy was holding a sign that said "In our eyes you are all Kenyans"....shuffling up the Willis Avenue Bridge and coming around the corner into the Bronx...crossing into Manhattan and hearing the screams from 1st Ave...seeing the first signs of Central Park...passing the Chilean miner....heading down the home stretch....seeing the finish line...tears running down my face...crossing the finish line....
Once I had crossed the finish line a wave of nausea came over me. There were so many runners around it took all I had to keep my breakfast down b/c someone would have gotten puked on! It seemed like it took forever to finally get to my bag, call my dad and meet up with him. My right foot was a bit painful and my legs were stiff and sore. I checked my phone to see what my final time had been and I saw 4:38:33...... I just stared at it for a minute thinking I was hallucinating. Everyone always says that you do not run NYC for time b/c of all the hills but I had just bettered my Chicago time by about 26 minutes. Holy cow!
All in all I loved both marathons but NYC was my favorite by far. I am so proud of what I have accomplished this year. I started the year in Huntington Beach California with a 1/2 marathon, did Chicago's Rock and Roll Half Marathon in August, ran the Chicago Marathon in October, and finished off the year with the ING NYC Marathon in November. I PR'd every race I ran.
I have a deep respect and love for the longer distances. I will run more marathons for sure. Now, to look ahead to next year and see what other states I can leave my mark on.