This expo, at the pier in the top left of photo, would have been
easier to get to if I had swum across the East River
Oh, I'm supposed to take the footbridge over
the Depths of Despair to get to the expo?
We were supposed to stay over my sister-in-law's basement apartment in Cobble Hill the night before the race. This would make race morning very easy, only a two mile jog to the start. Imagine our surprise when none of the 6 keys we were given worked. In the pouring rain. With kids having to use the bathroom. Badly. So we headed back home to Long Island. In the pouring rain. With kids having to use the bathroom. Badly. I called The Emerging Runner (ER) hoping to catch a ride with his friend from Queens. Luckily, there was "enough" room.
Race morning I woke up at 4am after a restless sleep full of nightmares of me waking up at 8:30am, ruining the race for my three friends whose numbers I had picked up. I had a sore throat which I attributed to
yelling at scolding my children the night before for their usual car hijinks. I was out the door at 4:30 and arrived at Kin's apartment in Flushing in fifteen minutes. The Petite Pacer, Leah, and ER walked in the door minutes later. Kin's friend kindly volunteered to drive us on his way to the gym. It was a tight squeeze, but manageable. We saw smaller, fuller cars of clowns runners along the way.
We got to the start at 5:30. There was plenty of time to check bags, take photos, get corralled, and use the bathroom. TPP and ER were starting together in Corral 6 of Wave 2. Kin wanted to start at the very end. Although I was assigned to Corral 8 of Wave 1, I decided to move 6 corrals back and start with Leah for some company. It's much nicer to hang with friends at the beginning of large races like this. I also knew I wasn't going to PR. I barely logged 20 miles per week post-Boston, and the one 13 miler I ran the week before was interrupted with lots of walking breaks with friends. This was just a medium long run among 27,000 fellow runners.
From left to right: Leah, TPP, and She Is Out Walking
The Usual Suspects
I didn't catch his name, but the man who sang the Star Spangled Banner was amazing. We finally got moving around 7:15. We started down Washington Avenue, then turned right onto Flatbush for an out and back. As I was heading back, I glimpsed fellow blogger A Fast Paced Life heading out looking very concentrated. By the time I realized who she was, we had already passed each other. Also, I don't know her name and didn't have enough time to shout, "Hey, A Fast Paced Life! It's me, She Is Out Running..." That would have been weird.
It was pretty crowded at the beginning. It was difficult to pass people. At one point on Ocean Avenue a guy crashed into a metal gate. He must have tried to pass on the outside (as I did often) and misjudged his footing in the crowd. He bounced back up quickly and laughed it off.
We headed into Prospect Park for four miles. There were some inclines, but also some shade. I didn't go through my normal bathroom routine in the morning because I was up before the butt crack of dawn and rushing to get out the door. My body protested to this coup de sleep somewhere before mile 5. I ducked into a porta potty at 37:52 and finished at 39:50. I made sure to take accurate note of the time so I could tell Mary Wittenberg to subtract from my net time accordingly. We exited the park at Mile 7 and headed down the long five mile stretch of Ocean Parkway. Most of the runners sought shade from the right side of the road. I was drinking Gatorade from every hydration station and pouring water over my hat. A girl was retching loudly on the side of the road. A concerned police officer came to her aid. Around Mile 9, nature was calling my name again. I again noted my time in the porta potty, another minute.
We ran under the Belt Parkway and I could see the Coney Island exit sign. The end was near. We made a right onto Surf Avenue. I passed a woman making the strangest moaning noises as she breathed. Strange because she was doing it so freaking loudly! I thought I ran onto the set of a porno flick! We made a quick left toward the boardwalk. I passed Mile 13 and saw the finish line ahead. I crossed at 1:51:53, an 8:33 pace (Which was really 1:48, Ms. Wittenberg...).
Finish at Coney Island
The volunteers shuttle you down to the end of the boardwalk. There was no escaping beforehand. Believe me, I tried. Leah finished shortly after me and we met up by the large red Eiffel tower/windmill/parachute ride structure (see photo above). I ate a banana and had another water. We got on line for the porta potties again because I wanted to take my wet sports bra off and put my sweatshirt that I had wrapped around my waist on. We chatted with a couple of men on line. I immediately recognized the Boston accent. Of course, we talked about the marathon (they ran 2014, also).
Leah and I scavenged a couple of heat blankets and waited for the others to arrive. First TPP showed up, then Kin, and then finally ER. ER was looking flushed and shaky. He said his vision was off so we brought him to the medical tent. The doctors gave him some food and drink and made him lie down. They took some tests (even blood!) and wouldn't let him leave until they were confident he wasn't going to conk out. Thankfully, he didn't have to go to the hospital. By the time he was done, it was close to noon. Instead of taking the F train back to Queens (via Manhattan!), we jumped into a cab.
All told, it was an okay race, but a bitch to get to. The logistics are too much of a pain in the arse, unless you are staying in the city. I won't be doing this one again.
Postscript: ER will be following up with his doctor before running again. My "scolding" sore throat is actual a bacterial infection. John was killed by a drunk driver in December 1964. Toad was reported missing in action near An Loc in December 1965. Steve is an insurance agent in Modesto, California. And Curtis is a writer living in Canada.