Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Marathon Interrupted: A "Race Report" from this past weekend

As all of you probably know, I was supposed to run my first marathon this past Sunday. Although I had mixed feelings about whether it should go on, I resolved to make the best of it. On Thursday, I went to the expo, and picked up my bib and shirt. Apparently, as I found out later, mine must have been a mislabeled shirt - no x-small on the planet would be too big on me and fit my friend Rachel perfectly. It was probably a medium. Oh well! 

However, some things were not meant to be. The next day, I get a text with the following news:

At first, I couldn't believe it, so I called everyone I could think of to try and confirm it. Ultimately, the guy sitting in the pedicure chair next to me did so, and I saw it shortly after on the TV in the nail salon. 

Although in my heart I knew that cancelling the marathon was the right thing to do, I still needed to go through a mourning period, so to speak. I started running in late 2010 with the focus of taking two years to qualify, then train for, NYCM 2012. A person can't just be expected to get over something that they've been dreaming about for two years, no matter what the reason was. 

I spent Friday and most of Saturday in shock. On Saturday morning, I went out to run in Central Park, and in an attempt to cheer myself up, I decided to wear as much orange as possible. 

I don't know whether I was trying to put salt in the wound, but I deliberately routed my run so that I would pass mile markers 24, 25, 26, and the finish line. I hadn't planned on doing a full loop of the park, but the transverse I had planned on crossing was closed off, so I didn't have much of a choice. 

Later that morning, I had brunch with Warren, who flew into NYC for the marathon, and his wife Kristin. They were very nice people, and although we had never met in person, we had corresponded so much online that it felt like we were old friends. 

After spending some of the afternoon at my brother and sister in law's apartment looking at their wedding photos, I went home, and that night, my shock turned into anger and sorrow. I was angry at the mayor and NYRR for not doing the right thing three days earlier, and I was devastated that two years of building towards a dream was suddenly wiped out. I was in a bad place emotionally that night, and to make matters worse, I was feeling guilty for being upset, as thousands upon thousands of people were far worse off than I was. 

Shortly after the marathon was cancelled, I made plans with a few friends to run some of the marathon course together on Sunday. A huge group of runners went to help on Staten Island, while even more runners completed the marathon distance in Central Park. Both sounded like great ideas, but I personally didn't see the point of running 26.2 if it wasn't official, and I really needed to have a cheerful day of running with friends in hopes that I would get out of my mental funk.

I met Kathy, Wallis, Sarah and their friend Al on the Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bridge. After running across the Brooklyn bridge, we picked up the marathon course, and ran it all the way to Queens via the Pulaski bridge, then back across to Manhattan via the Queensborough bridge. Since Kathy's hip was acting up, I walked up the Pulaski bridge with her, and managed to get a couple of pictures in with the help of a tourist. 

I got about a total of close to ten and a half miles in, and I felt great the entire time.  After we finished our run, thanks to the handy navigation skills of Wallis, we found a diner near the Queensborough bridge to get coffee and brunch. I ate my weight in pancakes and bacon. 

To my surprise, Kathy presented homemade medals that her kids made for us after learning that the marathon had been cancelled. Mine says "faster than 3:59:59" on the front and "don't stop running on the back". Her kids are really the sweetest, and I can't wait to give them a big hug (or a hi five if they prefer it) when I see them. I think that this will be my favorite medal of all time!
Wallis, me, Kathy, and Sarah 
While all of my running friends have supported me in numerous ways, Wallis was the one who wrote my training plan, and while I never got the chance to see what I could do in a marathon today, I am sure that whatever I would have accomplished would have been largely due to her help in crafting what I jokingly call the "Wallis Pfitzglover" plan. It was a 16 week plan that peaked at 50 miles, which was essentially a tamer version of the Pfitz 18/55 plan. 

While I am disappointed to never know what would have happened if I ran in the marathon, the entire group run experience put things in perspective. I was so angry last night that I considered not even running NYCM, but after running some of the course, I started to feel excited again. 

I originally had wanted to cancel the party that my parents were throwing tonight, but they told me that the ice cream cake had already been ordered. Well, as talented as I am, eating a Haagen Daaz ice cream cake by myself is not happening, so we still had people over and ordered pizza and salads. 

There are tons of pictures which I plan on posting on Facebook soon, including pictures of the signs that my parents had made me in anticipation of the marathon, but here are a few favorites. 
Me & Amy - the roommate who got the brunt
of my taper / hurricane madness
Dad & Me. He takes much better pictures
than Brightroom
Mom & Me in front of one of the signs that
she worked so hard on
The source of my crazy running gene & me
Zahava, me & Lily. The hat that Zahava is wearing
says my name, then "NYC Marathon 2012". These
hats will be recycled for NYCM 2013
As my father put it, he used to joke that only an act of nature would prevent me from doing NYCM 2012. Although that actually happened, life goes on, and it's time to come up with a Plan B, which is why I registered for the Rock n' Roll DC Marathon on March 16, 2013. I didn't really want to wait another year to attempt my first marathon, and hopefully I can build upon the training for this one and use it to propel me into my second cycle. I may not be a marathoner in 2012, but nothing will stop me from being one in 2013! 

Thanks for reading! 

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