Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday! NYC Marathon '09 Race Report

So it is now over a week later (apologies), and I'm still obsessing about the business that went down on the morning of November 1st. I had a post written and ready to go, but it was just so long and so dense (and probably only interesting to ME), I decided to rewrite it as a series of photos with long-ish captions. There are some great race reports HERE if you want to read more in depth accounts, otherwise, enjoy the pics (courtesy of Nixta), and go HERE if you want to see more.

I almost lost my voice while introducing Cait to the joys of cheering on complete strangers. Whoo! Go Everyone!

I had three tickets to the Team For Kids seating at the finish line (NYRR takes care of its fallen soldiers), so I hustled Nixta and Cait out the door by 8:45am to walk up to Central Park and watch some runnin'. The night before I predicted that at least two people were going to leave Central Park inspired to hit the Marathon next year, one of those two being me. I wasn't sure who, but I knew there was going to be a conversion at the park. It was the Marathon that got me to make a huge change in my life last year, and I knew it was going to hit someone hard again today. Both Nixta and Cait were happy to be there, but made it clear that they were there for novelty more than anything else. Right. Okay.

We got there at about 9:45, as the top hand bike and wheelchair finishers had already come blazing through, but we got to see many of the middle pack finish. Those guys are TOUGH.

The NYC Marathon is one of the toughest in the world for wheelchair and hand bike athletes. There was a small incline where we were sitting just before the finish line. By the time they got to this point, these guys were feeling pretty destroyed, and many had trouble making it to the top. Dig deep, Wheels! You are almost there!

When I kept hearing about the slow pace for the ladies and saw Paula came limping in at 4th, I was pretty surprised. Paula leads early, Paula sets a fast pace, Paula WINS. ALWAYS. She collapsed as she crossed the finish line, and Mary Wittenberg and Deratu Tulu were there to help her off the course. Later found out she had tendonitis, and had set a slow pace throughout the course to try and battle through it. Ladies won’t try to surge on Paula. Paula will see your surge and raise you, and then BURY you if you try to pass her again, so for 15 miles, no one wanted to question the slow pace she had set. Daunay finally made a move on the Queensboro Bridge and Paula didn't cover it. After that, it was over. Poor Paula, I hope she recovers soon and I hope she comes back next year, because watching her run is pretty incredible.

1st (Derartu Tulu): This lady has a wicked finishing kick. I would not like to be chased by this lady.


2nd (Ludmila Petrova): This lady won NYC in 2000, and came in second last year. This lady will CRUSH you.

3rd (Christelle Daunay): The close up shots we took came out a bit blurry, but I love the message of this one, because frankly, this lady is lucky Paula wasn’t feeling too well because otherwise she would not have placed, but she did pretty great for her first NYC Marathon.

4th (Radcliffe): This lady was in blinding pain for the majority of the race, and STILL finished 4th. This lady is a machine! This lady also looks like she has been carved out of stone. Sorry no front pic (Nixta was so distracted by Lady Paula's pain, he was a little slow on the draw), but this one is pretty great anyway, right?

So all I remember from the finish line when the male elites came through was looking for the Americans; Meb Keflezighi and Ryan Hall. When Meb came charging through in his USA shirt, The crowd went BANANAS.

Meb's finish!

1st (Meb Keflezighi): This guy is the first American man to win the NYC Marathon since Alberto Salazar finished a 3 year streak in 1982. Was very powerful to see the emotion on his face as he ran towards the finish line. Have seen him interviewed a few times since Sunday, and I don’t think it could’ve happened to a nicer guy.

2nd (Robert Cheruiyot): This guy has won the Boston Marathon 4 times. This guy knows how to run a Marathon, and is known for dropping the pack HARD on the First Avenue stretch. You can’t roll against him (unless you are Meb).

3rd (Jaouad Gharib): This guy only started running when he was 22! He won silver in the ‘08 Olympic Marathon, and is kind of erratic. During the race you would see him breaking out of the pack frequently to set a pace that the rest were just not interested in holding, and then he’d let himself be reeled back in, only to bust out again.

4th (Ryan Hall): This guy is only 27, and is relatively new to the distance, but is being hyped as the next big thing in American running. He has a beautiful stride, and is another contender for ‘nicest guy in the world’. He and Meb train together at Mammoth Lakes, Ca.

So after the pro racers were done, the rest of the field started streaming in. And this is where it gets REALLY fun.

I caught a few of my TFK teammates came through, but the only one I knew personally from the NYC practices was this guy! Evan is a seriously good Marathoner, and I know he has 2 more planned in the next year. I hope he runs NYC with TFK again next year, because I’d love to learn from his experiences. Go Evan!

The ‘cheering section’ I was in was pretty quiet. Cait says it was a lot of polite Midwestern relatives waiting for their runners to come through before they started showing some love. This guy was one of many who asked the crowd to hurry up and make some noise, because he was at mile 26.2 by god, and he wanted his just reward; ‘Lets hear some love, you assholes! I just RAN this bitch!’

Edward Norton ran with several Maasaii warriors to raise awareness for Maasai Marathon project. No sign of Norton. I'm sure this guy got tired of him and ditched him around mile 10. I'm just kidding, Ed Norton. You aren't semi-irritating at ALL.

There were a LOT of costumed weirdos. Some costumes were great, some were creepy. I personally don’t see the point, but if this guy thinks that dressing as an Incredible will make him go faster, well....ok.

This guy has ruined Minnie Mouse for me for life.

After hanging around for about 4 hours, we had to leave; Nick and I were both recovering from a nasty case of the flu, and I couldn’t feel my toes. Of course MANY of my friends came by right after we left, and I apologize for not being there to cheer for them. I hung in as long as I could guys, and I am so proud of you all! I am a little sad I didn’t get to run with you, but next year...its on!

PS-It is now over a week later, and Cait has started working her way up to running 5 milers and Nixta has all but signed up to run the NYC half and maybe full Marathons next year! Can I get a whoop whoop?

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