Paying it Forward (52toNYCmarathon)

I am taking on the NYC Marathon in 52 weeks and I will be 52 years old. I am going to do my best to try to have weekly updates on my training. #52toNYCmarathon

Week 1/52


I have been able to start building my core strength and flexibility back with some planks #Thanksplanking and yoga and foam rolling. Not fun but I feel better today than I have in quite a while. I feel like a run but I am holding off until tomorrow even though the weather is perfect now and less so tomorrow.

Week 0/52
NYC Marathon 2013
I spent the better part of a week in NYC arriving on Halloween. Thursday, I volunteered 6 hours at the NYC Marathon Expo held at the Javits Center. I would highly discourage anyone running the marathon to volunteer as a lobby or interior marshal because standing in one spot for 6 hours is really hard on the body! My legs and back were so tired.

photo 3The great thing about volunteering at the expo was seeing so many of the runners walk. I was able to help so many, even without speaking my a second language. I helped by directing them to things like their bib pick up, tickets for their pasta supper, gift bracelet for deferring from last year’s hurricane interruption or transportation Sunday morning to Staten Island where the starting line is.

My dear friend Rosalie made sure that she and her family came during my volunteer shift so I had to honor of wishing her well before her 5 borough run of 26.2 miles. It had been exactly one year since I had seen her at the Red Baron half and she looked as vibrant as ever!

After the expo, I was fortunate to attend 2 American Ballet Theatre performances in which my son performed. That was wonderful!Banksy-n-Me

After getting to give Arron a hug after his matinee, I walked uptown a few blocks to catch the last light of the day and photograph one of the BanksyNY pieces. It was at 79th St and Broadway and was so crowded with people taking photos that I was lucky to get mine taken before the light totally failed. The reflection of my flash is on a piece of protective plexiglass that someone put over the painting. I posed as though I was thrilled with the child’s efforts on the carnival game.
I was also able to spend some time with Amy as she practiced on her unicycle. She is progressing so quickly lately!

Huggling while waiting for Jogglers.

Huggling while waiting for Jogglers.

Amy allowed me to stay with her the night before and after the marathon. She lives on a section of 1st Avenue that the marathon runs along. As we sipped our morning tea, it was crazy to hear roaring cheers almost shake her building as the first runners came by.AmyMarathon

The friends I was hoping to support weren’t due on that section of the course until early afternoon but we got into place about noon in hopes of seeing some of the jogglers that were entered this year.

It was really tricky crossing the avenue while runners were going but we saw that others were successful in doing it. It really took bravery to step out into a river of oncoming runners but once you were out and started dodging them, it was easy to navigate to the other side.

I had set up 2 ways to track my running friends. I paid for text alerts to be sent to my phone as they crossed certain mile markers on the race course. There was also a free application that Amy could check on her phone. I felt being 3 blocks after the 30k mark would allow me time to see them even if the alert was delayed and I told them to look for me on the right side of 106th St.

1st Ave before the race.

1st Ave before the race.

1st Ave during the race.

1st Ave during the race.

Ilaina was about 5 minutes ahead of Rosalie according to the 10k, 15k, half-marathon and 25k texts alerts we got for both of them. We waited and waited for that 30k alert. I shielded my eyes from the glare of the sun and scanned the pack just in case the alert was delayed. The below video (thanks to Amy!!) starts with me thinking I just saw Iliana’s tutu in the “middle of the pack” as you will hear me say. I am holding Iliana’s banana ready to hand off to her when, like a lovely angel, Rosalie emerged. Listen to the surprise in my voice as I scream her name and scramble to get her Gatorade chews from my left pocket. It was like she appeared out of the sky!

We never did see any of the jogglers nor Iliana. I was sad and even a little grumpy because I never got any further alerts on my cell phone, not even their finish times. Amy did get the alerts on the free app but the 30k was ridiculously delayed. We were back in her apartment warming up when we could finally cheer that everyone we had been tracking had finished the race successfully!wellafter

We later went out for burgers and the street went back to almost normal as the sun set. I snapped a photo of a sign that had cheered on a runner named Courtney. I hope she too had finished.runner

The next morning, after hugging Amy, I made my way across town to the bus stop. In the long line of people traveling to State College or Pittsburgh, I recognized a bright orange poncho that NYC Marathon finishers came away with. The fellow that was wearing it was even wearing his finisher’s medal so I jumped out of line to snap a photo of him. I congratulated him and was so happy I could finish the last moments in the city with another memory of the marathon.

I made some notes for folks interested in running or watching the marathon in the future.
• Go to the expo as early in the day as possible to avoid the crowds and lines. The first day is least crowded.
• Runner tracker apps (free or otherwise) aren’t 100% trustworthy and may be delayed or crap out all together.
• For a runner and spectator to connect anywhere on the race route (or after) have a predetermined spot that is hopefully less crowded than others. Have the spectator/family member dress in something bold. It will be up to the runner to spot the spectator/family member.
• Runners who want to be cheered by spectators, put your name on your shirt in large contrasting color to your shirt. Try to not have it wrap around too much because they are viewing you from an angle, not front on.
• Neighborhoods that are cut in half by the marathon course will occasionally have pedestrians crossing the course.
• For those that need to cross the race course, the early runners are very fast but the next wave of runners is very dense. Be super careful crossing.
• The pack does loosen up as the miles go on.
• Projected spread sheets of when to expect your runner to be where are only good as long as they have nothing take them off their pace.
• A huge percentage of runners are international and may not understand English. Cheer them anyway and try to pronounce their names.


3 thoughts on “Paying it Forward (52toNYCmarathon)

  1. OMG!!! I was so happy to see you my friend!!! I kept looking for you and then BAM!!! There you were!!! Right where you said you would be!!! Thank you so much for the gatorade chews and the hug…it was just what I needed!!! LOVE the video and you!!! I will be in NY next year to cheer you on to the finish line ❤ You are going to be awesome!!!!

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