I woke up at 3AM and I didn’t sleep much the night before. Marta woke around 4:30 AM and we dressed in our race best and headed out the door. We walked to where the buses were located and hopped on right away – no waiting and they took us all the way to the Island. What a deal. The weather was perfect and we only had five hours to wait for the race to start. I think I called David with a whole bunch of “WHY AREN’T YOU HERE!?!” messages. Really, why doesn’t everyone show up five hours early? My life would be so much easier.
After David finally arrived we lined up in our corral. We were in the very last corral. We missed the New York New York theme music and all the fanfare at the start and it took nearly an hour to cross the start line. Yeah. Up at 3AM start your race at 11AM. And don’t forget the time change, it was also LUNCHtime. I wasn’t really hungry but I think it psychologically damaged me. Seriously.
The Verrazano Bridge was eerie. We were at the back of the pack, it was a quite uphill, downhill and into Brooklyn where we caught up with the 4:45 pace group, more like a pace wall actually.
Brooklyn was awesome and my favorite part of the race. I was feeling strong, the weather was perfect and the crowds were amazing. A little after mile 7 I saw Amy and Linda. We waved, I tossed my long-sleeved shirt and we kept going. Then something amazing happened, people started to cheer for me. My Runner Susun Susan shirt gained me instant fame. Wow! Thanks Amy!
I was feeling great. We were checking our pace regularly and passing people left and right. It was awesome. The people in Brooklyn were awesome. Even their garbage cans were awesome!
We kept a steady pace as we moved into Queens. I don’t remember a lot about Queens, but I do remember the bridge, which was uphill, both ways, in the snow all the way to the 16th mile. I started to lose it here. It took everything I had to get over that damn bridge. Only ten more miles to go and I prayed there wasn’t another bridge.
David made a call to Mrs. T to find out where she was located. Manhattan was crazy but we were still ahead of 4:45, but just barely. Around mile 19 David found Mrs. T and the rest of his family of supporters, he slowed down and gave Mrs. T a kiss. I kept going. I knew if I stopped I wouldn’t start moving again. My legs were cramping. David was talking to me, encouraging me and I didn’t even have an extra whisper to respond with a thank you. I was determined to do this. I knew I could do 4:45. And then I saw another bridge. At that point I think some very bad whispers came out of my mouth and I knew I was beat.
In the Bronx the bands were loud. I tried, but I started losing ground. My legs just wouldn’t go. I told David to move on, but he stayed with me. I did my best but we were now down 90 seconds from our 4:45 pace. It wasn’t fair. I knew he could do it and I was holding him back. I again told him to go and leave me at mile 21. He did and I’m glad, he finished in 4:46. He probably would have done a 4:40 if he hadn’t stayed with me for so long. I am very grateful he did though. Those were the hardest and smartest 21 miles I’ve ever run.
At mile 22 my legs just locked and stopped. I was so angry. I walked long enough for the cramps to subside and then I ran again. I repeated this through the rest of the race. I saw my sister at mile 24 and she snapped a picture.
I was tired, cold, crampy and grumpy. I think it shows.
My new goal was to finish in 5 hours. That I could do, I knew it. I made it to the finish line and runners stopped. And walked across. Why? I yelled a “move it” and gave one small sprint to try and get under 5. I didn’t make it. I finished in 5:00:02.