Friday, November 12, 2010

Sunday Bloody Sunday

Nyc is one busy city

The night before, Team Fat Cyclist went to dinner and Fatty presented us with our team shirts. Sweet swag from Pearl Izumi. It would be so cool to be a sponsored runner.

Game time!

I feel great, slept well, extra hour has made me feel awesome. I am ready to run NYC the worlds largest marathon.

I met a couple other Fatty runners in the lobby and we hoped a taxi to the ferry. We timed the trip perfect, after we got off the ferry, we laided around in the lobby.

I had big fears about being cold as shit for 3 hours. I had foot warmers, hand warmers, layers of clothing and all supplies to make a small camp adventure on Staten Island a positive experience.

The starting city was a mess of people all huddled together keeping warm. Some runners were standing around in only shorts and shirts others had layers on top of layers. They were turning blue and looked like they were hating life.

My corral opens and I enter, it was only a short wait until they took us to the start line. As tradition calls, the cannon goes off and Frank Sinatra "New York New York" is playing on the speakers. Epic!

I start running and can not believe how crowded the road has become. I am trying to get a pace going over the first bridge when it happened. Bam, I strain either my calf or Achilles on my right leg. I am pissed, I slow a little to see if it will loosen up. After about 1/4 mi I pull to the median and rub down my calf. I can't believe this is happening to me. I run again, it begins to scream and seize up. I begin to talk to myself, I am pretty sure it is out loud. I have to stop again, I stretch and tell myself "I will finish"

I jump back onto the road and start down the backside of the opening bridge. I am at mile 1 of 26.2 and I can not run under 9 min. miles. Every time I push under 9 min. and my calf seizes up with knifing pain. As we pull off of the bridge, I decide my PR is gone and I will just run at 9min. pace. At that moment I let the goal of a PR go and decide I will try and enjoy a nice long run.

I am now headed down 4th ave. in Brooklyn. As I run, the smells of food and crowd is cheering loud. Bands seemed to be every 1/2 mi and the water stops are at every mile.

I tell myself, my calf will loosen up later in the race and I will have all kinds of stored power to finish strong.

Around mile 6 I pull into a first aid tent and ask the volunteer to massage my calf. Hoping this would help it loosen up. I head back out onto the course and take in the sights. Each neighborhood has its own feel. Kids line the streets with parents giving high fives.

I come to the half way point at 2:07 and tell myself, that this day is going to be a very long day. I try and keep positive, but my mind is going into the pain cave. My calf is killing me and with every step the pain seems to be getting worse. I tell myself it makes sense to walk 1min and run a mile. I do this until the bridge back over to Manhattan. At that moment, I begin to crumble, the bridge is a lonely place, no crowds just silence. I walk and walk and walk.

I make it across and head down to 1st ave. this is where the crowds are packed and screaming. I want to run but my leg is killing me. I run some and walk a lot. It was a very humbling experience. The streets are lined with barricades, if not I would step off and head back to my hotel. It was at this moment, I tell myself I will make it to Central Park, I will finish this race. Then at mile 18 I look up and there she is Philly Jen.

Jen and a group of Fat Cyclist supporters are there with signs and positive vibes. I stop and give hugs. They are great, they give me some Reese's pieces and they are the best tasting treat I had all day. The mile after this visit was my fastest of the second half.

After what seemed like an hour, I cross into Harlem. I was in what seemed like a fog, I knew it was only a 10k to the finish. I just kept moving, walking, jogging.

Before I knew it, I was headed south along the park. As I entered the park, all I could think about was why I was running. I was here to fight the fight against cancer, I was here for a bigger reason than some PR. I looked up and saw a man with the name DEAN on the back of his shirt. It was a sign, I work with a Dean who lost his son to cancer, and the night before the race he emailed me and wished me luck. I followed this man for the next 3 miles, he lead me to the finish.

I learned a lot about myself this weekend and in the process, I supported a honorable cause.

Below is my favorite picture of the weekend, Fatty and the Runner

That night when I returned to my hotel room, I took off my tights an revealed a bad looking ankle or cankle.
That's one ugly pic! Swelling has gone down, but I still have pain on both sides of my ankle and calf. I will wait one more week to see is a MRI is in my future.

Oh by the way, I did pick up some bling

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1 comment:

  1. robert
    what an incredible story of endurance and perseverance. it hurts to let go of a goal so early on in the race. the fact that you dug deep and finished to honour the memory of a little boy lost to cancer is a tremendous reminder of how fortunate we all are. thank you for sharing robert. hope your ankle/calf heals. xo