The NYC Marathon
NOVEMBER 6, 2006
What a day. It's been years since I was actually up for a sporting event. Boxing has become more of a workout for the past 15 years and I replaced the competitive part with illustration, I suppose. As I wrote earlier, my entrance into the Marathon was slow. I had not really thought of it until I ran a half in Philly. It was a HALF marathon. A HALF. The marathon was great until the half and after that I slowed a bit, enough to make my average mile 8:06. Six seconds per mile meant I did not qualify for the Boston Marathon which is 3:30. Still, it was great AND the hardest thing I've ever done. The race very exhilarating and I was relatively loose and pain free as the day started. I worked my way up into a faster area prior to the race and found the 3:30 pace team. When the cannon went off, (a real cannon!), we all roared this amazing cheer. I moved forward and crossed the starting line about 3 minutes after the start. I was energized and moving fast. Everyone was. I maintained that pace for about 13 miles and then I started to slow down. Not by too much but 2 or 3 seconds a mile until the slowest of 8:30 around mile 20. I picked it up at the end but not enough to break 3:30, but pretty darn close. I came in 4698th place. In my gender I came in 4142nd place, and in my age group I came in 915th! Right after it was over I crossed the finish line and my legs were done. They were wobbly and they make you walk almost another mile to get your gear. That was really hard AND they tell you to keep walking and not to stop and stretch. I am in real pain today, unable to easily go down a stairway (and I had to go to the Society of Illustrators today!). Despite how I feel, I ran it fairly well. I maintained a relatively steady pace and ran out of gas right at the end. That's how you want to run it if you are going for you best, to see what you can do, run it fast as you can without crashing. The so called 'wall' that people speak of was a mental one, not so much physical. Watching handsome, young runners who look like they could not only finish but win, cramp up and stop, wobble sideways or pass out in the Bronx and Harlem made what I was doing seem crazy. I thank ALL of you folks who mentioned that I was running or wished me luck, it really means alot. Drawger rocks! No photos yet. Just stories.
Elizabeth and Cassius. I ran too fast in the first part and Elizabeth missed me twice. Cassius was more into his inflatable noise makers. I finally saw them at 93rd and 5th. It raised my spirits so much.
These are the results. The race had 37, 954 finishers, the most ever. I came in 4698th place, but I like saying I came in 915th *cough* in my age group, *cough*
My beloved Nike/Nano device worked like a charm. The graph is an indication of how relatively even I ran the race, but in the middle you can actually see it go down at mile 13. It's all mental. I had great rock to run to, and U2's "Beautiful Day" and "New York" gave me chills as did ending the race with Pete Townshend's "Street in the City." I made the playlist for the run, noting the time as I added songs. Over the Queensborough bridge into Manhattan I heard the song "Quadrophenia" by the who. It was all I could do not to cry.
~A special thanks to Dave Flaherty and Christopher Hitz for their articles and Dave for his animation. YOu all are great. In a related thank you, Drawger has been so great for me, my spirit and for living in the moment. I'm sounding like a drunken Irishman, but it's from the heart.
Brightroom is a company that shoot pictures of you during your run and they got me looking focused, weary, bleary and happy to be finished.
© 2023 Tim O'Brien