we had set our alarms for 5, and a wake up call for 5:15. despite what the “penguin” had said, i was exhausted and passed right out, sleeping very soundly. i think i was over-stimulated. the alarm went off and it was time for breakfast. the night before we had stopped in the lobby to grab bagels with peanut butter so we wouldn’t have to deal with the crowd in the morning. i sleepily sat in my bed eating 1/2 my bagel and chugging water. then i laid back down for a little catnap. when i finally did get out of bed, i wasn’t that tired. we looked at the weather...and it was freezing! actually it was below freezing, in the mid-twenties. yikes. we got dressed, putting on many layers. i wore:
• a long-sleeved running shirt
• my lovingly decorated singlet
• an old-long-sleeved surfer shirt
• my $4 walgreens sweatshirt
• a black wrap sweater
• running shorts
• disposable gloves
• adidas baseball cap
my accessories were: fuel belt, ipod, 7 goos, license, 10 bucks and camera.
we headed down to the 2nd floor where the team was meeting. the nerves were palatable. we took a few photos. i realized with my odd mix of clothing i looked like a homeless person. about 10 minutes later it was time to head downstairs. while fundraising, demps promise was that if he reached his goal, he would run with a redsox cap in honoror of bouv’s love of the redsox. he had made it so i giggled to see him in a sox hat, where he had written in marker, next to the B “ouv”. awesome. we assembled in the lobby waiting for the busses to arrive. ramon was giving everyone last minute instructions that generally were to stay as warm as possible until moving to our corrals. the line was moving slowly and the time ticked away. we made a last minute bathroom run...and still no bus.
finally, they arrived. 1/2 of us were on the first bus, and 1/2 on the second. we realized that it was already 7:15 or so...and the race was starting at 7:40. i started trying to organize my last few things...goo’s, ipod, layers...because by the time we got there we were pretty much only going to have time to pee and then the race would begin. ramon was adorable, a nervous dad taking kids for their first day of school. we found a spot and started stripping off layers and stuffing goos in our belts. with my camera, my “fanny pack” only fit 4 goos, so i pinned three to the outside. the last thing i needed to do was take my windpants off - i almost fell over, and ramon grabbed me, “careful! you don’t want to get hurt even before you start!” that would have been my luck.
finally i was ready - demps headed over to the start, charlotte and i had to pee again. we got in short porta-potty lines, but unfortunately, they were not the fastest moving. i’m not going to get into detail, but grooooooooooooooooooooss. it was my fastest pee-break ever. it was 7:37 ack! we started walking fast towards the trucks to drop our bags, but then once we heard the announcer starting, we started jogging. i could not believe we were late! it was freezing out but i was not cold at all - adrenaline and nerves had taken over. charlotte and i met back up again, and started running around looking for our corral...before we got there...BANG! the pistol went off and finally we found a spot to join in the crowd.
“roxie!” i turned and there was katie running over to us! we all shrieked excitedly and went along with the crowd. charlotte pulled over to ditch her pants, and i decided to ditch the two extra shirts i had on. katie had seen demps around, and we kept looking for a red sox hat, but to no avail. we had a little distance before crossing the start line and we cheered and smiled big dumb smiles the whole way there. we were in a crowd but it wasn’t terribly congested. charlotte and i looked at each other, wide eyed and exchanging big grins! this is it! we crossed the start line with katie and cheered our little hearts out. then...a little trouble. charlotte asked how many goo’s i should have on the outside of my belt...three. there was only one left. just over the start and down two goos. i couldn’t remember if i had only planned on one extra, or two. char carried the last one for me, and also had plenty of extra clif blocks, but it made me a nervous - i’d either be short energy or have to “try something new on race day” which we all know is not a wise thing.
i looked left and there was demps! yeah!! we were running. in. the. marathon. the first few mile or so was definitely a blur of hooting and hollering and waving to the crowds. there were scary (no offense here, but they were) christians on the route with huge signs saying that we were all going to hell, and to claim jesus as our savior. you had to laugh, because it looked like over half the people out there belonged to one charity or another, i likely bunch of candidates for burning in hell.
at the first mile marker we were way ahead of pace - just over an 11 minute mile. we wanted to be really careful with our pacing and run the first third no faster than 12 minute miles. we were supposed to have a general race plan, and we did, but it was really loose. the general idea is to pace yourself in thirds. the first third you should feel like you are really holding back. the 2nd third you speed up a bit, but you’re still holding back, and finally, the last third you let go everything you’ve got left. so until we around mile 9, we were going to go slow and steady. at mile 16, we would make a judgement based on time and how we felt if we were going to try to beat the 5 hour mark.
demps’ knee was feeling good so he slowly inched away. we waved and i hoped that he’s be good throughout. i was a little worried he was going too fast considering his injury, but i knew i had to trust that he knew how he felt. everyone has to run their own race.
the 2nd mile we were still a little fast, but closer to the 12-minute-mile we wanted to be running. there was tons of team in training purple in the crowd - it was amazing. lots of fans with team in training signs, cheering us along. somewhere between 2 & 3 (i think) we saw the first tnt training section, where the head mentor, and two coordinators were cheering. helena, the head coordinator, is a cheering maniac. she ran up beside us screaming her head off, jumping up and down, hollering “yeah new york! whoooo jen & melissa!!” some people from another chapter laugh and called out “wow, your chapter’s fun!” fun and crazy! soon, there were my parents & sister, on the other side of the street, equipped with both digital and video cameras. cute. we waved and hollered at them and continued on our way.
since it is the rock’n’roll marathon, there were bands every mile, which definitely broke things up and made the miles go pretty quickly. we were feeling great, and i didn’t have any of my typical mile 2-4 crankiness. as we ticked off the miles, we were trying not to think of the run as one big run, but rather smaller more manageable ones. we lasted to mile 4 before it was time for a bathroom break. we found one with a small line. the water stations were all themed. i can’t remember what that one’s theme was but there was someone that just kept running “you’re right on target!” to all the runners going buy. a girl behind us in line laughed and said “yeah, on target to finish.” ha. we hoped.
i knew my friend from high school was going to be somewhere around mile 7 with a big yellow sign with animal balloons, so that was the next “chunk” if you will. we took in the crowds the bands; we sang “brown-eyed girl”, made bets on how many times we’d hear “sweet home alabama” and gave hi-fives to the kids on the side of the road. there was a guy that was in our general area for most of the run who would yell whenever he saw us “new york, new york!” every other stop had accelerade - a gatorade-competitor. it was a little bit chunky, but not bad. it was, however, sticky so we tried not to spill it as we guzzled. the first few miles were also pretty ugly, aside from some interesting old signs, but after mile 4 we turned into a more residential strip and it was much nicer. the sky was ridiculously blue, and in the sun it didn’t feel too cold. there were well-meaning spectators handing out water and snacks, a giant hot-air balloon, and little cheering squads everywhere. we were right on the money as far as our timing, and feeling great.
we got to 16th street and i knew aimee would be out there soon. sure enough, there she was, all bundled up with her husband, holding a huge yellow sign that said my name and “THS class of ’94 is so proud!” i waved like a maniac, and stopped to hug them both. aimee used to be a running champ - when we were in high school she was ranked nationally - and throughout all the training and everything she’s been so supportive. so when we stopped, she cutely urged us on “go go!” and soon we were at mile 8.
i think mile 9 was the 2nd pee break and time to pick it up a little bit - we were going to go for 11:30’s or so. we passed a clock which gave us the temperature - 33 degrees!?! amazing how adrenalin can keep you warm. around mile 10 we ran into my mentor kelly and irene, who is just the best. she is an older lady, with the heart and determination of a lion. i think she’s in her early 60s, and her husband has been fighting a difficult disease, and she was running for him. over the last 5+ months we had all seen her at practice every day, saw her running get stronger and stronger, and i was so glad to get to spend a little time on the road with her. i ran ahead and snapped some photos of them, and one of the “new york new york” guys jogged up and offered to take one of all of us. he ran so far a head i thought for a split second i had lost my camera, but of course that didn’t happen. he snapped some of the four of us, we waved goodbye to kelly and irene and we were on our way again.
three more miles until another tnt cheering section. thet were going by quickly, and we felt lucky. then at mile 11, i started feeling...not so good. suddenly i was acutely aware of the bottom of my feet. they hurt. a lot. my left leg, especially my quad, had started to get crampy. charlotte was feeling great, and i, well i simply was not. thinking that i still had 15 miles left made me really nervous. i convinced myself that it was merely a late on-set of those aches and pains i usually get, but i had lots of little doubts in the back of my mind. i set my jaw, thought about bouv, and concentrated on one foot after another. we were using our ipods for a bit, and the music definitely helped. but mostly the crowds really kept you going. i couldn’t help but smile and say thank you every time someone shouted my name. i think it was around this point that we saw a woman holding a sign that said “I am alive because of you. Thank you Leukemia & Lymphoma Society”. how could i worry about sore feet?
finally we saw that beautiful 13.1 sign!! knew my family would be waiting around the half-way point and that would give me a needed boost. sure enough, a minute or two later i saw themin the middle of a big team in training crowd. we ran over and i hugged everyone, we were all yelling, and my sister took a photo of me and melissa. my mom, nearly in tears, exclaimed “you girls look so good!” and my dad filmed it all. we were continuing on and i ran at the camera yelling “only for you bouv!” we were off again.