So, yeah…it’s been three weeks and I haven’t posted my race recap. Most might not be interested anymore, but I’ll write it anyway.
The New York City Marathon is quite literally unlike any other marathon in the world. The size of the field, the number of volunteers and the logistics involved make this race absolutely unforgettable. I was lucky enough to receive my entry through the lottery on my first try (sorry to those who’ve been trying for years) and this was my second year in a row after running for Team Up with Autism Speaks in 2015.
It was great to know what to expect this year which left me able to enjoy the day more without worrying about the fine details of when, where, or how. One of the best experiences of the race is the start village. This year I was assigned the orange corral and when I arrived I was greeted with an amazing sunrise.
The weather was about as perfect as possible for early November and the few hour wait in the start village wasn’t bad. I met up with Chris before the race and we wished each other good luck before I headed to the start corrals for my wave 1 start.
What I think New York does better than anyone else is the start. The introductions of the elite runners, the singing of the National Anthem, the boom of the cannon signaling the start and then the playing of “New York, New York” as you begin your journey of the five burroughs is truly a sight to behold. If this race is not on your bucket list, add it!
Now, on to the race. It didn’t go well. I wasn’t expecting to run a PR after a good run in Chicago weeks earlier, but I was hoping for better. Unfortunately, the week leading up to the race I injured my groin at work and wasn’t 100% healthy when I lined up on the start line. I tried to run a fast race but by mile 11 I knew it wasn’t possible as the pain began to get worse.
I understood there was more to the day than the time at the finish so I continued on. I first saw my wife right at Mile 17 on First Avenue in Manhattan. It was exciting to see her since she wasn’t able to come along last year, to have her there to share the day with, and because she had pain killers! After stopping for medicine I was back on my way, albeit way off target pace.
Although I was in a decent amount of discomfort, I took in the sights and sounds of the final miles more than I remember doing last year and I took my disappointment and tried to encourage others as they passed me. Jen was waiting for me just before Columbus Circle with about a 1/2 mile to go. I ran over and gave her a sweaty hug and big kiss – thanking her for supporting me this year as I began to get emotional about the day, the disappointment of the race and everything I did this year.
For the first time ever in a race, I took my phone out near the finish line and recorded a short (and very shaky) video. I crossed the finish line in 3:31:23. Although I know this is a respectable time, it was disappointing to finish over 16 minutes slower than Chicago. Despite the time, I received my medal with the biggest smile on my face.
I know I’ve written a lot about how running has changed me. The reason for frequenting this topic is because running does change you. The changes aren’t just physical, but mentally and emotionally as well. Every time I train for and run a marathon, I learn. I learn to ignore the naysayers and the self doubt that all to often creeps up. I learn about discipline, dedication to something, and most importantly, I learn that hard work has more benefits than a time on a clock.
I watched as my family supported me, as my children wished me good luck every time I went for a run, and as I ruined shoes and some clothes along the journey to the Finish Line in Central Park after running over 1,900 miles this year. Now, I’m watching as the calendar creeps toward 2017 and as my body continues to recover from injury preventing me from running. I look forward to the next chapter and where it takes me and wonder what I’ll learn along the way.