To quickly sum up, I DNF’d at yesterday’s marathon.
I knew I was in for a painful experience given my A) inflamed tendon around my left ankle, and 2) my lack of mileage over the past four weeks (see A). But, instead of deferring for next year (oh, HELL no, I’m not running a marathon shortly after I return from my honeymoon), I woke up at 5:00 a.m., rode a cab down to the Staten Island Ferry Terminal, and ventured to the start with a boatload of my friends from near and far.
Related: If you’re partaking in a large race, be it New York, Chicago, Boston, or what have you, traveling to the start with a group of your friends reduces some of those pre-race nerves and pressure. You may or may not even learn fun facts, whether they are true or not (giraffes are NOT mute, they simply make too high-pitched of noises for humans to hear).
Nice Police Academy sweatsuits. Photo by Maura.
And, after chatting with friends in the marathon village, we went into our respective corrals and waited to head to the start. I was lucky to find Bethaney, TJ, and Mary, and the four of us took photos (duh) and waited for the cannon to fire and that glorious tune of Frank Sinatra’s New York, New York.
The New York City Marathon start is, truly, epic. Heading over the Verrazano bridge hearing only runners footsteps with the sight of Manhattan to your left is something I’ll never forget.
“YO! Welcome to Brooklyn, USA” was the sign we were greeted with when coming off the bridge. The first few miles of Brooklyn were pretty crowded, and spent a lot of my time trying to get around people without exerting too much energy. I saw some friends at the 10K, which gave me a jolt of energy. The crowds in Brooklyn were incredibly loud, but, unfortunately, couldn’t drown out the dull pain that was starting in my tendon around mile 8. My new goal was to make it over the Queensboro and up First Ave. to my parents, and if it hurt too bad there, I would pull out.
At Mile 10, that dull pain turned into a throbbing pain, and I could feel it with every step I took. I stopped and talked to a cop.
“Shugah, what’s wrong? Are you alright?”
Truthfully, I was feeling fine mentally and my nutrition was fantastic. Unfortunately for me, I knew I couldn’t do much more without really screwing up my foot. The lovely cop and a local Brooklynite spectator pointed me to the nearest med tent “about four blocks up next to the band.” As there were three bands within the next six blocks, that didn’t help me much. I found a med tent at mile 12.
Everyone was extremely helpful, and a lovely woman wrapped up Lefty Lew with a bag of ice.
My new goal was to make it over the Pulaski Bridge where my comrades were, so I could leave with them (and also contact my folks so they didn’t get too worried). When I asked how far it was, no one had a clue. A fellow runner in a space cape spoke up.
“You can head to the subway with me if you want.”
I stared at her blankly.
“….Wait. What train runs through here?”
“….They said the G train.”
No dice, lady. For those unaware, the G train may be the absolute worst train in the City. And seeing as it was a weekend, no doubt we would wait 40 minutes for the next train.
I chose to run over the bridge.
At the top of the Pulaski, a woman started shouting, “WELCOME TO QUEENS!,” my third and final borough in roughly two hours.
I found my comrades, and told them it wasn’t my day.
Truthfully, I’m fine with my decision. I’ve learned a lot this season (don’t run a long run in racing flats; don’t run two marathons back to back). I need to take some time to let my body heal.
There will be another New York City Marathon. And on that day, I will run over the Queensboro Bridge and into my backyard. And it will be a great day of redemption.
Congrats to everyone and all of my kick ass friends who finished yesterday. It was a great day at the races!