14 November, 2008
Home again. What a holiday! What an adventure.
I have had such a great time. It is hard to believe that it is all over. Thanks to my wonderful friends, Darryl and Gidget, I managed to survive and stay sane.
Three marathons completed:
Chicago 12 October 2008, 4:38:31
Niagara Falls 26 October 2008, 3:56:04
New York City 2 November 2008, 3:49:01
After my Chicago experience I seriously considered not doing the Niagara Falls marathon in order to be better prepared for New York. On the Saturday before Niagara I ran on an athletics track and seemed to be in bad shape but had a feeling I needed to try some hills. So on the Sunday I did about 8Ks of hill work which I coped with quite well. That gave me enough confidence to tackle Niagara Falls marathon.
Thankfully there was no repeat of Chicago at Niagara. Though my left leg gave me some cause for concern, it was a much more enjoyable run and I was confident that I should be able to give a repeat performance in New York a week later.
The lead up to the New York Marathon was a great experience in itself. The Marathon Expo was awesome. My credit card took a bit of a hit. I caught up with CoolRunners, Rags, Vurt and Ellie. On the Saturday, Race Day eve, we took part in the International Friendship run. The course ran from The United Nations to the marathon 26 mile mark in Central Park. There were 16,000 participants. It was a great event. Runners were displaying flags and country colours and having a good time. We just walked the whole way, about 4k I think.
On Saturday night we went to the pasta party at Tavern on the Green in Central Park. What a piece of organisation that was. They had a huge marquee and arranged it so that people were given various attendance times so that it meant the the many thousands of diners could receive their pasta and drinks, be seated and eat with it seeming like there was no pressure to eat an move out. The queue just kept steadily flowing in at one end, people dined in a fairly casual manner with terrific music pumping everyone up, and then they flowed out the other end with an ice cream in a cup and some cookies. Amazing!
We had to be on the bus at 6:00 AM in order to get to the starting area on Staten Island. It was very very cold. My group was scheduled to start at 9:40. It was a relief when we were called to head for our starting corals. I was among the first few to make it to the coral. I was standing there shivering when low and behold, who should walk in but CoolRunner Rags. Chatting with Rags helped pass the time until we had to move to the start line.
The race itself was absolutely incredible. I loved every kilometer of it. I just ran at an easy pace. Anything under 4 hours was going to be a bonus. If I could equal Niagara, all the better. The atmosphere, the crowds of onlookers, running through the streets of New York, chatting to other runners, I was all a wonderful experience. By about mile 21 my legs were killing me. From the hips up I was fine. From the hips to the tips of my toes was all pain, but I wasn't going to let that spoil this great adventure. I was wearing a singlet with AUSTRALIA on it so I got plenty of Aussie, Aussie, Aussie's form among the crowds lining the course.
Running along 1st Avenue in Manhattan was awe inspiring. It was a sea of runners from one end to the other, almost 4 miles. I was thrilled to reach the finish line in 3:49:01, 7 minutes better than my Niagara Falls time. I had achieved my goal of three marathons. Sure, Chicago was disappointing, but I did finish and it was a wonderful event. Chicago is a beautiful city and I have been through 29 of it's neighbourhoods.
I have to pay tribute to Darryl and Gidget, who not only had to drag me around for almost 6 weeks, they completed the Chicago and New York City marathons and the 10K event in Niagara Falls. That is a fantastic effort. As the Americans say, "Gooooood Joooob". We did go on to do another marathon event....last Saturday we spent 14 hours at Disneyland.
Well the adventure is over. I hope the memories will stay with me for ever. Thanks everyone for all your support. It has meant so much to me.