Tuesday, November 30, 2010

New York: Slow to Arrive

Typically, I’m on this stuff within a few days. Run it, think it, write it. But NYC … NYC was different. NYC wasn’t a race, I guess that’s the main thing. It was a foray, a Northwest-Northeast cross-country weekend bolt, a visit with friends, a tour of the metropolis. There’s no tale of running derring-do to tell. No bid for sub-three glory here. As a runner, I arrived in a shambles and was glad not to leave in whatever a degraded shambles is called. I ran four or five times in September, did a 15-miler, hmm, three weeks before the race? Then I ran once or twice more in the 10 days before Race Day, November 7. This was for the simple reason, as I explained earlier, that my body, this summer past, said: Enough, emphasizing the point with all manner of woes. So as far as a goal went, it was to survive the race without any of my issues blowing up, to return from New York not on crutches, not in need of immediate surgery, and then able to go about the business of not running for a long time while the injuries healed. And this has come to pass, or, at least, is unfolding.

Despite missing a PR by one hour and ten minutes, there’s very little more I could have asked of the 26.2 miles from Staten Island through Brooklyn, Queens, into Manhattan, over the East River to touch toe on Bronx soil before returning to Manhattan, and on into Central Park for the finish. I freaking adored the crowds. All of us were heroes, fasties and plodders alike. In Brooklyn especially I remember feeling the crowd in a way I hadn't in a race since Boston. And First Avenue was everything I hoped it might be, a big gambol up the broad boulevard. It was there that I finally hooked up with Steve. Forty-thousand runners and we found each other. I got a big kick out of being next to my old pal as he crossed the finish line in a time more than a half-hour better than what he’d done at Berlin, his previous marathon. And it was pure delight to be greeted by Mary Anne’s then-4.97-year-old daughter, Mara, afterward, who eying the finisher’s medal dangling from a ribbon around my neck squealed, “Pete, you won!”

Indeed I had. I had jetted from Portland to New York, had dinner with Mary Anne, then met a succession of her cool friends, spent time with the aforementioned cutie-pie Mara, as well as her father, the inimitable Miro…. And when it seemed like there would be scant Steve time, we ended up with several hours together the day before the race, and he got to meet Mary Anne and she him, and I was glad for that. It was just a swell weekend. Not that I don’t have a complaint! Call me a wimp but I’m never doing the New York City Marathon again. I do not want to sit my candy ass out in the early-morning cold at Fort Wadsworth for three hours before taking off on a marathon. Great race. Stupid pre-race.

A little album of pictures I took during the race is online.