Immediately following the Long Beach half marathon in October, I was fired up for more races. I researched marathon training plans for individuals as well as group training programs. I sought advice from friends, including one who has trained others. I was full of doubts and questions.
Do I have the time to train? Do I really want to give up sleeping in on the weekends? Do I want to risk injury? Will training and running the marathon make me hate/fear/dread running? The last was my greatest fear. I could deal with an injury, but my self-doubt and motivation was another issue.
Instead, I signed up for shorter races with Lori. I scaled back my running goals for November and concentrated on getting faster. And then I went to New York.
According to the NY Marathon iPhone app, our friends, multi-colored dots on a Google Map, were still in Brooklyn. Despite that, we rushed downstairs with our hot chocolate and breakfast burritos to wait half a block away at 5th and 127th. According to the coverage of the marathon on television, the elite runners were currently on the Madison Avenue bridge. In a few minutes, they’d be passing through Harlem.
We finished our burritos and waited on the shady side of the street, cameras in hand for the leaders to approach. We barely had time to snap pictures as the elite men and eventual winners ran by clocking 5-minute miles. They made it look easy.
We took a break from our post and walked to Rite-Aid to buy poster board and markers. Sean knew several people running the marathon and I knew a couple. I made signs and for the next few hours we cheered both friends and strangers. When it got too cold, we went back to his warm apartment.
While I had fun cheering, I also was jealous. I wanted badly to jump in and run the last six or so miles of the course, but I was in jeans and had just eaten a big breakfast.
I ran the route the next day, albeit backwards. Bundled up and with an iPod Shuffle full of podcasts and music, I ran my usual route to and through Central Park. Halfway through the outer loop of the park, I passed the marathon finish line. I dodged workers busy dismantling spectator stands and temporary fencing. A few tourists and runners (easily identifiable with their marathon bags) posed for photos under the sign. I smiled and kept going.
Early the next morning, I returned to LA. I went back to work and signed up for the LA Marathon.
While I’d had my finger on the trigger since running Long Beach, my weekend in NY definitely made me squeeze it.