Ever since I became big on photography, I had wanted to run at least one marathon with a camera and soak in the atmosphere. As a runner, when I all out race, I don’t notice anything around me. I don’t see the scenery, supporters, volunteers, other runners, etc. The NYC Marathon may be the largest marathon in terms of runners but it is definitely my favorite one overall. Knowing I was running a marathon 3 weeks before this was the opportunity to do what I had wanted to do for a long, long time! While Mohawk Hudson didn’t go as planned, I decided the morning of the race not to back down from my original idea of seeing the marathon through a lens. I have to say, 3 days later, I’m still excited to look at the photos and relive the magic that is Marathon Sunday in New York City.
My day started bright and early at around 5am to the sounds of Ace of Base telling me “It’s a Beautiful Life!” and text messages from friends making sure I’m awake. Totally normal. Breakfast of choice? Bagel with Trader Joes Cookie Butter (omg yum!) and Tart Cherry Juice. I’ve been drinking this ever since my last marathon 3 weeks prior as it’s an anti-inflammatory. Two thumbs up for this stuff. Finally it was time to head out to the ferry in my sweats and head out to Staten Island with 50,000 of my fellow runners.
The ferry ride over was nice as it was filled with friendly faces to ease the nerves that come along with running 26.2 miles. We laughed and enjoyed the company before heading off to buses to take us to Ft Wadsworth. Once there, it was time to head to my corral and start mentally preparing for the journey ahead. I couldn’t stop smiling and turned into a chatterbox with those around me (sorry about that!). I love meeting people – those that have run this 15 times to those that traveled as far as Australia to the first marathon runners. All have converged for this amazing experience.
Finally the cannon provided the start of the NYC Marathon (and it still scares the crap out of me each time!) as well as the tunes of Frank Sinatra’s New York, New York. There just is no other start like this. As I made my way up the bridge, I smiled looking at the NYC Skyline and the sea of runners ahead of me. Taking my camera out, I snapped a couple pictures of the scene. No, it didn’t include the many that were taking care of business….sigh.
Heading off the bridge we arrived in Bay Ridge in Brooklyn. Brooklyn is the best borough – whether it is due to the early point in the race or not is subject to opinion. I love Brooklyn (not just because I live here!) but because it just has the most pizazz and entertainment value. While 1st Avenue in Manhattan may have the most people, it doesn’t have the same character. Anyway, I remember running down 4th avenue and noticing the firemen out hanging out on their trucks, spectators just yelling and screaming for us, and rows of people. I stopped for a picture with firemen – why notJ
Heading towards downtown Brooklyn/Park Slope, I knew this was my first opportunity to see people I knew. Since I was on the left side of the street, I had to yell across to Steph and Matt! Thanks guys! Heading towards Ft Greene, I knew my Brooklyn crew awaited. Making the turn by BAM I saw them and I sprinted over to them for a photo of courseJ The girl in the middle? We don’t know who she is – but hey she looks happy to be a part of the crew.
Powering ahead I knew it’d be a while until I saw friendly faces again. I hit the half way mark at the Pulaski and felt great. I was psyched to continue on through my foot tour of NYC. Seeing the Queensboro I knew an exciting portion was ahead! Heading down I stopped for a photo and you’ll see why 1st Avenue is quite the party! I saw Kevin, Chanthana, Eissa, Lara, Andel, Dima (and the Res Dogs) heading uptown. So much fun! I had the biggest smile on my face – theme of the day really!
Crossing over the Willis Ave Bridge I knew this was where the infamous wall awaits (aka mile 20). The Bronx has really brought it and they delivered again on Sunday. I ran into Lisa and ran with her for a couple minutes. There were some classic signs and Amy and Tara awaited just before the final bridge of the day, Madison Avenue.
Harlem is always entertainment. The one thing that gets tricky is the spectators start to head into the streets making it very narrow for the runners. Heading down 5th Avenue, the long uphill came and went. I felt amazing! Like I was flying. Hitting the park, I beamed. Snapping pictures, high fiving spectators, and yelling for more noise! Central Park South came and I attempted to video the finish (turned into more of a battle of epilepsy). I saw KPV from the Res Dogs and gave her a high five. I crossed the finish line in 4:07:xx? Time didn’t matter but this was the most fun I’ve ever had running a marathon.
I wish I could explain how awesome it was to experience NYC in this limelight. I hope the pictures are a start. Thanks to everyone that came out and made the NYC Marathon what it is – a giant party and celebration.
A sea of space blankets for as far as the eye could see walked towards exits of the park and I made my early exit for my lovely orange poncho. Be jealous! It actually is pretty nice – and lined!
The after party brought war stories, smiles, and plenty of adult beverages. I got back to Brooklyn around 10:30pm after an amazing day in NYC. Thank you, NYC, you really are amazing. It has to be said that this fell on the two year anniversary of a turning point for me – so I’m thankful for everything. What’s next? I honestly don’t know. I don’t have a race on the horizon and I’m hoping to keep it that way for a while. Time to start thinking about 2014 and what that will bring. Hopefully a lot more healthy miles, smiles, and pictures.
See you on the run! (Note: There are about 250 pictures overall from the race – tough to dwindle!)