37th Annual ING New York City Marathon
My day started at 3am when my alarm went off, 7 hours and 10 minutes to go before the start of the race I have spent the last 4 months training for.
At 4am we left the hotel to get a cab to the New York City Libary where I woudl catch my bus to Staten Island. It was mandatory that we get to the bus stop before 5am. The tempreture was 31 degrees and quite windy (VERY COLD!)
At the bus stop there was already a hive of activity with lots of people saying goodbye to loved ones as only athletes were permitted to board the buses.
I arrived at Staten Island at 4.40am it was still dark and still cold, we were issued with garbage bags to help keep us warm, tea, coffee, bagels, smoothies, tylenol were also available. We all settleed down on the grass and prepared ourselves for the 5 and a half houe wait for the start.
More and more people arrived as day broke and the bands started to play music lines for the hundreds of porti potties bacame longer and I amazed myself by how calm I felt, the whole thing just felt very right. The atmosphere was that of thousands of like minded people form every walk of life representing countries from all over the world.
I checked my baggage and realised that I had ommitted to put my skin lubricant in my bag, oh well I had my running shoes and my legs so I figured everything else would just fall into place.
The gun went off at 10.10 and an airport jet flew over the start line a mexican wave of cheers went down the line of 37,000 runners it was amazing. I reached the start line at 10.19am and hit the chip mat and officially started my first marathon. The bridge shows both the first and second mile markers as you leave behind staten island and head into brooklyn. The crowds are amazing every street is lined with people banging anything that makes noise, shaking cow bells screaming cheers of support holding signs of inspiration it really is an event involving the whole city.
Things went well although I felt cold it was bearable I drank Gatorade at every other aid station until I hit mile 15 this is where we entered the bridge from Queens into Manhantan, the cold was unbearable, everytime I took a deep breath to bring my heart rate down my chest was frozen! A huge sign saying 10 miles to go took away the pain I knew then I was on the home stretch. From Manhattan we went back through the bronx and then back into Manhattan, the atmosphere realy pumped up at this stage. Lots of athlete had slowed to a slow walk, heads sown and looking defeated, supporters were coming over to them encouaging them on it was great.
At mile 20 I took my first power gel and it really spurred me on on 10k to I was on the way to my medal!
We entered the park at 23.5 miles and carried on through cheers fit for an olympian as I entered the finishing shoot 1 mile from the end I felt a wave of emotion that was impossible to describe, with 200m to go I picked up speed and sprinted through the finishing line, I had done it !!
We colleted medals and foil sheets and then walked for almost a mile to collect baggage, so many athletes with tears of elation running down thier faces others hugging running partners everyone was so happy.
I walked SLOWLY back to the hotel with a very tired body, active mind and full heart with the great pleasure of knowing I completed the ING NYC Marathon 2006 in 5 hours 22 minutes and 04 seconds.