Monday, November 3, 2008

Race Report - Part 1: Pre Race

Before anything, I just want to say that there isn't enough than can be said about the NYC marathon spectators. They make the marathon experience truly memorable year after year.

Per my previous post, the 3:19:xx time is official. The gun went off a couple of minutes late, thus the 18 minute differential instead of the 20 I had expected. It's nice to have that closure.

Pre Marathon
With everything already preppred, all Sara and I had to was to get up and get dressed. Seemingly simple, but neither of us could sleep until about 2am. Luckily the short sleep was not an issue. We took a cab to 38th and 5th at about 5:20am, but we were redirected to 42nd and 6th to enter the bus line. I didn't mind it so much, but I've always wondered how too much time on my legs affects race performance. Once on the bus, it was about a 25 min ride to Staten Island.

Sara and I decided to settle near the first group of warm bodies at the religious activities tent. We were just outside the tent, but at least we weren't out in the open. Still, it was very cold. I think it was in the high 30's and windy. Sara wasn't very comfortable and I felt bad about that. This was her first NYC marathon and I wanted it to be a good one. Not far from us was a lady asleep on a pool inflatable with a pillow, blankets, and a garbage bag - obviously a veteran. If there's a second time for Sara, I'm sure the pre-race experience will be better.

One of my problems race morning was over-hydration. In the span of three hours, I used the bathroom seven times - and it wasn't just a little tinkle each time! Everytime I got comfortable with Sara, I had to get up again. I also waited about 30 mins in line waiting for a couple of cups of hot tea to warm us up. Again, I wondered how too much time on my legs on race day affects race results.

We finally got in to the tent after some people moved out, presumably because they didn't want to participate in the worship services. Once there, we were able to relax better and even lie down for a few minutes. I used an inflatable pillow someone had left behind and Sara got cozy on some cardboard next to me.

After about 20 mins of rudimentary comformt, I shed my warmers, extra socks, shirts and gloves. I had to make my way to the the UPS trucks to drop off my bag and to the pre-start area.

It all moved pretty quickly from there. I stretched for a few minutes then made my way to the starting corral. Once there, I found that the corral for my wave had already been closed. If there was an announcement for the first wave to get into the corrals, I definitely missed it. This was the first year that NYRR had decided to use three separate waves 20 mins apart and it showed. I don't remember it being so disorganized last year. I tried to make my way to the front of the corral anyhow. I was stonewalled at a couple of places, but stayed calm so as not to expend any useless energy. I managed to make my way near the front and luckily there were some port-a-johns! Needed to make a final pit-stop before the race.

After a few minutes of waiting, we were finally cleared to move to the start. We waited a little longer as some locals sang America the Beautiful and God Bless America. Finally, New York New York blasted on the speakers to the excitement of everyone in the starting area, and I knew the adventure was about to begin!

Race details coming tomorrow.

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