I'm here! I flew into JFK early this morning, dropped my bag at a friend's office, and headed straight to the Expo -- then headed right back out. I don't mind crowds, but that was too much for me. It was really packed when I went and seemed to be lots of other travelers and international runners. I budgeted about $100 for marathon-branded impulse buys, and now I'm a little regretful that I didn't buy a single thing. The sheer quantity of things to buy and the general commercialization of the race was overwhelming. Will I wish I had bought a NYCM-emblazoned jacket? I guess if I decide later that I want something I can look for it online somewhere.
The important expo-related errands I had to do are now done: I got the correct size NYCM tshirt (NYRR always seems to run out of smalls and I would have cried if they gave me a men's medium, or something), the chip on my bib was tested (it works!), and I figured out my ferry time (5:45am).
It's kind of silly to sit down and share goals for my first marathon. I've never run this far before, and even though I think I'm well-prepared, I don't feel like I know enough to make predictions. (I have mad "respect for the distance" and I believe finishing is itself an accomplishment.) Still, I like thinking in terms of goals and feel motivated by them, so I thought I'd share mine before the race.
"A" goal: Have a non-traumatizing first marathon! This means:
- Don't be late!
- Don't be underdressed and stuck shivering at Ft. Wadsworth.
- Don't experience horrible chafing.
- Don't get injured and end up dragging myself half-alive to Central Park.
- Don't go out too fast!!!!!
More "A" goals:
- See my spectators!
- Meet Bitchcakes!
- Hug and/or high-five as many people as possible.
- Be sure to notice when we pass 135 & 5th: My old cheering spot. I was standing on the SW side of this corner when I decided I would run the NYC Marathon.
- Wave to all the firemen on top of their trucks.
- Eat all my fuel without incident.
- Get my name printed in the Times on Monday, 11/4. (Does anyone know the time cutoff for this?)
- Enjoy that moment with alone with just runners (no spectators) on the Queensboro. This bridge is what the hills of NC have been preparing me for -- and I'm going to be sure to run the entire thing.
- Negative split!
I expect to finish between 3:55 and 4:20. It's a big range, but that's the best I've got. I don't know how this thing is going to go down! Of course, it would be so fun to go sub 4 at my first marathon, and I think my training compares to others who have done it. Still...I think running sub 4 would require me to lock in to my pace early and then leave basically everything out there on the course, and that requires a kind of comfort with the distance and risk-taking that I don't think I have yet. I've gone back and forth about this a little bit -- I picked up three pace bands at the expo today -- but I don't think I'm actually going to wear them. Despite my curiosity about pacing, time, and endurance science, I very strongly don't want my marathon day to be about that. I haven't used my watch for pacing during training, and it doesn't make sense to start now.
(In thinking back to my first half marathon (the Hamptons Half in September, 2011), my goal was to "just finish" and it was wonderful. I started out very slowly and realized after mile 6 or so that I felt great. I sped up with every mile and finished with nothing left.)
Finally, I want to be in a state of enjoyment and happiness all day long! I'm not injured right now, my little sore throat that was stressing me out two days ago now feels fine, and I can't believe I'm lucky enough to get to run this marathon -- a big, happy, long run with runners from every country in the world, in my adopted hometown, with my family and friends from all different parts of my life cheering me on (virtually and in person). I can't stop smiling every time I think about it.
You can also track up to 5 runners on the website on race day. If you're tracking me, please let me know!
I'm in Green, Wave 1, Corral 17. Am I alone? If anyone else will be nearby, let me know! I'm bringing a newspaper and I'll share!
Thank you, Internet! I can't believe anyone reads my little blog, and it's been so fun to have this space as an outlet for all my thoughts, hand-wringing, and gushing about this race, which I've been talking about for over a year. Good luck to everyone else running and THANK YOU to everyone spectating online or in person!
See you on the other side of 26.2!