New York City Marathon – Chemo Shemo
The New York Marathon was my 14th full marathon in my 9th state. I had been waiting to run this marathon for a while. I had been rejected by the NYRR lottery the last three years and received an automatic entry for 2013. I had run Chicago two weeks prior and I wasn’t really properly trained, but I knew the people of New York and the other runners (all 50,000 of them) would carry me through to the finish.
I had met with my medical oncologist the Friday before the marathon for a check-up and chemo “therapy.” She prepared me for the worst. “Yes, go,” she said, “but be prepared to listen to your body. Be prepared to stop if you have to. Remember you are a winner for just beginning the race.” My retort, “But Al Roker ran the NYC Marathon in 7:09. I can beat that!” Her comeback, “But Al Roker wasn’t on chemo.” D’oh! Damn good point.
Regardless, I set out on Saturday, November 2nd to the NYC Marathon Expo to pick up my bib and shop! The expo was outstanding, yet humbling. NYC is one of the World Marathon Majors – behind Tokyo, London, Berlin, Boston, and Chicago. All the major running apparel and accessory companies were exhibiting – including my favorites Pearl Izumi, Sweaty Bands, Running Skirts, NUUN, Fitbit and Tiffany & Co. (okay they aren’t a running brand per se, but they were selling official apple charms and crystal).
I got to listen to the pros speak – Josh Cox, Desiree Linden, Time Deboom and Dr. Louis Burke – at the Powerbar booth. I got to sample yogurt, bars, drinks and shop, but the highlight of my day was when Mr. Bart Yasso introduced me to Summer Sanders in the Runners World. How cool was THAT?!!I spent the remainder of the day hanging out with my college friend and his friends in the city, but soon it was time to turn in for the big day!
I headed out at 7am to the 1 train to make my way down the Island of Manhattan to the Staten Island Ferry. Low and behold, I bumped into my friend Abby from Abby’s Road to Amazingness right in front of the ferry station! It was kismet to share the NYC Marathon experience with her.
We slowly made our way on the ferry, past Lady Liberty and onto the buses which would transport us to the runner’s village. There we said our good-bye’s because we were in different starting corrals and waves, but having a friend in a crowd of 50,000 runners was AMAZING!
Considering I started out at 7am and my wave start time was 10:55am, I really didn’t have alot of time other than to use the facilities and make my wave to the corrals. My wave was blue and I was in corral 58. Port-a-potties were set up in the corrals for last-minute stops. Loud speakers repeatedly announced that peeing off the Verrazano Bridge would not be tolerated (thank goodness)! We slowly made our way to the start. God Bless America was sung and we were off to run 26.2 miles through New York City!!!
I cannot express how awesome the NYC Marathon is to run. I don’t know if it was the crowd of runners – 50,000 strong, or the support of the spectators from each of the 5-Burroughs. It was an experience that every single marathon runner should experience. It is that awesome!
It honestly seemed the miles flew by. Even the ones where I wanted to die – miles 19 & 23, flew by. The highlight of my run was seeing my friend, Julie, at mile 22! Julie is also undergoing treatment and somehow she spotted me in the crowd and I crossed the street to run and hug her!
The stars just seemed to align. It was the prefect temperature, I felt good, and I didn’t hit the wall. The only thing that went through my mind was Forrest Gump, “I just felt like running” and I did!