The two weeks leading up to November 4, 2012 NYC Marathon were insane, to put it mildly.
I got a sinus infection. When you get a sinus infection 9 days before a marathon and your doctor is a runner, you don’t mess around:
I wasn’t sleeping well because of the sinus infection, but by the 2nd day of the meds, I was feeling much better. My final long run of 8 miles, I ran without a headache and without feeling like I was sucking air through a straw, was a good one. Mary, Amy, and Jen all came out to run with me on one of my favorite (and hilly) courses. I knew I needed to kill those hills one more time before the race.
Then there was Sandy. Then, there was no marathon.
I’m going to preface the rest of the this post by saying that I am grateful beyond belief for what I have. My family, friends, and neighbors have all been affected by the storm, some severely. We lost power for 6 days. It goes without saying that I am thankful for blessings in my life, but I had to say it here and now, because some of the rest of this post might be construed as woe-is-me. So every time there’s a woe-is-me moment in this post, I’m going to footnote it with a “*”, and then you’ll know that really, I am thankful, grateful, blessed and I do realize it. But I am also human, and I try to be truthful in my writings. So I am thankful, and I am extremely disappointed. The two emotions are not mutually exclusive – they are allowed to co-exist inside the same brain.
Anyway, we were without power all week and were hanging out at Chris and Erica’s house (who had power and heat and the internets) when we heard that New York Road Runners had cancelled the marathon. At that moment, as it sunk in, I had a good cry*. I was truly and utterly disappointed*. All I could think about was how I had been working toward this race for almost two years. That’s longer than I planned for my wedding, longer than carrying a pregnancy. Well, a human one, at least. My family, Mary, Jen, and several others had been planning on coming into NYC to cheer and celebrate with me. I felt like I was back at the playground and some kid named Sandy stuck her tongue out at me and taunted, “Too bad, so sad, your granddad!”*
Oh yeah, and UGH! Why couldn’t they’ve decided that sooner?! A cancellation 36 hours before the event is not cool…not cool!
My mother and brother had driven from Ohio for marathon weekend, and were at a hotel in Allentown, PA. I really wanted to see them. And now, after hearing about the cancellation, sleeping in a very cold house most of the week, throwing out yet another refrigerator full of food, and general elevated stress levels, I really needed some Mom Hugs.
I was also one big giant walking carb after a three-week taper period, like a tightly coiled spring, itching to run. I decided that If I couldn’t run NYC, I would find another way to run. I searched for Pennsylvania marathons, and came up with the Lehigh-Delaware Heritage Marathon near Easton, PA. It still had openings, and I signed up that very night. So early Saturday morning, my husband, the kids and I were off to take our cold, powerless selves to the Keystone State!
After picking up my race bib and packet (yay for technical t-shirts!), we met up with my family in Easton. When I finally got that big hug from my mom and brother, I could feel my shoulders lowering a bit. We all visited the Crayola Experience (the old Crayola factory-turned-tourist-attraction). Dan and I turned ourselves into a coloring book:
It’s really a fun place. It got two ink-covered thumbs up from both of my kiddos!
Later, after we checked into our hotel and had dinner, I started to get nervous. I laid out my racing stuff. I couldn’t quite wrap my head around the Twilight-Zone feeling of it all…I’m running, but not in the place I had planned? It’s damn cold – what do I wear? What was the course like? It had a hill…that’s all I could find on the website. Impromptu racing calls for leaps of faith, and going with the flow – and I had to make myself be okay with that.
Then I got a super-duper surprise text from Mary:
The text says it all. (But in case it doesn’t, she was coming to cheer me at this marathon.) Say it with me now…HOLLA MARY!
As I’ve learned to do the night before other races, I took my trusty sleep helper, strapped on my sexy plantar fasciitis boot, and fell into (mostly) peaceful slumber. Tomorrow I would run a marathon.
We woke up, packed ourselves up, and check out of the hotel (a feat in and of itself at 6AM with 2 young, sleepy children) and drove the hour north to the start. I stepped out of the car…OH MY GOD, IT’S FRICKIN’ FREEZING IN HERE DR. BIGGLESWORTH!
I’m so glad I packed my warmer layers. It was below freezing at the start (8 AM). I realized this would be not only my first marathon, but my first truly cold-weather run of the season. I was fueled and hydrated, inhaler-ed, Garmin-ed, and ready to go. The marathon organizers and volunteers were very nice and welcoming to us NYC marathoners, which is big of them in a way, because let’s face it, we’d have rather been at the base of the Verrazano Bridge at that moment.*
The gun sounds, and we’re off!
Stay tuned for the race recap, coming soon!
*I am thankful, blessed and grateful for my health, family, friends, and stuff. Always and forever.