The short story is that I crossed the finish line around the time that I expected, but was about 10min behind where I'd not-so-secretly hoped to be. And while I beat Edward Norton by two minutes, I still lost to "Dubya". It's a respectable time for a debut marathon so I can't complain, but my 1:47 / 1:59 splits show that I made the rookie mistake of setting the bar a bit too high.
The long story is that I was having the time of my life until around the 19-20 mile mark. I flew through the first 16 miles effortlessly, and managed to stay strong over the QB bridge, where I felt right at home. But then the the roar of the crowds on 1st Ave urged me on to my fastest two miles of the race, another rookie mistake.
That sneaky gradual climb toward the Bronx is where it started to hurt. The crowds got a lot quieter, the miles started to add up, and after I passed the Robin Hood cheering squad at mile 20, my legs started to give up on me. I'm almost ashamed to admit that after the 22nd mile marker, I started taking short walking and stretching breaks every mile or so to relieve the cramping in my calves and quads.
After slowly making my way over the rolling hills of 5th Ave and Central Park East, I took my last stretching break on Central Park South. There, a random spectator patted me on the back, told me to keep it up, and sent me on a final surge to the finish line. I'm secure enough to admit that I almost cried when I crossed it, both from relief and from the feeling that after all those miles of preparation, the race itself had come and gone too quickly.
Now to the fun part. Here's a selection of photos I've borrowed from my incredible cheering section (thank you everyone for coming out!), organized by my lovely wife/manager/editor/agent/head cheerleader:
Cheering team, Mile 9, complete with confusing signs. The one on the left shows me beating P Diddy and other celebrities that I mentioned last time.
The international contingent was out in full force, especially the French.
Not to be outdone, the Japanese showed full spirit as well.
Then of course the runners in costume.
Banana Guy gets props for a costume that could be considered running related.
And anyone who can run the race in a full body costume deserves respect. Especially since I'm sure a lot of them beat me.
Me high-fiving my wonderful fans in my 'hood. I also picked up a "rabbit" here to lead me the next few miles to Harlem. (shh.. don't tell Wittenberg)
Me, as seen by the Robin Hood contingent at mile 20. Surprisingly vertical considering how I felt at that point.
My full cheering squad waiting for me at the Time Warner Center, while I did the post-marathon death march to the baggage trucks and back.
Me in my mylar blanket, thanking the woman who not only organized and herded 15 people around to cheer me on throughout the course, but has also been my biggest cheerleader in spite of all the hours I spent running and being grumpy.
P.S... Congrats to everyone who was out there running with me on Sunday! This was the largest marathon field in the history of running (which probably makes it the largest mass-market sporting event ever), and 99% of those who crossed the starting line made it to the finish. Excellent work!
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