The Marathon That Wasn't

After the Frankenfooter Half I didn't have much time to get running in before my trip to NYC. I had to work back to back 10 hour shifts for the first 3 days after and that makes it hard to get runs in. On Wed, Halloween, I figured I needed to try to get something in. I went to run on the treadmill and my legs were just cramping up really bad. I tried to stretch my calves, but that didn't work. I got 1.5 miles in and decided maybe it was best to rest those muscles. I got on the elliptical just to keep the cardio going for another 20 minutes. Better than nothing!

Then Friday came and I was off to NYC. I wasn't sure if I was even going to make it because many flights were delayed or canceled due to hurricane Sandy. Jim was going to run the NYC Marathon, and we were both running a 5k that Saturday. Then as of Wednesday the 5k was canceled but we were told the marathon was still on. So, off the the airport we went. Our flight was only 40 minutes delayed. We landed in New York and were very excited. And cold!
Landing in NYC

We took a shuttle to the hotel, put our stuff down, and headed to the expo. There were tons of people and after they checked IDs Jim got his race packet. He was very excited and I was excited for him! We took some pictures, bought some marathon items, and checked out the vendors. We spent quite some time there.
Pictures of race-day signs on the expo wall. I thought there were fun =)

Jim and I against the sign backdrop

It was only after we left the expo and started heading to dinner that we found out the marathon had been canceled. And we found out by getting texts from people back home about how they were sorry about the race being canceled. 

Needless to say no one was happy. We could have canceled our flights and hotel with no penalty had the mayor stated that the race would be canceled back on Wednesday. But now we were there in NY, and there was no race. Yes, maybe the race should have been canceled and that might have been the better decision, but there was no need to wait that long. Runners had traveled from all over the world to run this marathon. Now there were there for no reason. The only thing to do from this point on was the make the best of the rest of the trip.

On Saturday we headed to central park to see where the race was supposed to finish. The finish line was still standing. The bleachers were all set up. There were boxes of water and gatorade, apples and bananas, just sitting around by the finish. Why weren't those being donated? I didn't get it. There were many people running through the park in their marathon shirts still completing their 26.2 miles. A couple ran by us with their bibs on - F.U. written over their numbers. People were taking pictures, some were crying that their dreams had been crushed.
Finish line

Bleachers set up by the finish

By later on that day there was a Facebook group for a Run Anyway Marathon. People were getting together stating that on Sunday morning they were still going to meet and run their marathon. They were going to follow the old NYC Marathon course - 4 loops around central park. There were getting volunteers together to handle water stops and to watch over runners items that needed to be left at the start. Runners came to NY for a race, and a race they were going to have. We decided we would join them. 
I obviously knew I wasn't going to run 26.2 miles. I wasn't expecting to run much at all that weekend. I figured that maybe I could get a few miles in on a treadmill at the hotel, but I wasn't prepared for a long run. I brought my older runner sneakers, and didn't really have any running clothes geared for 35 degree weather. My long run for that weekend was supposed to be 9 miles. Maybe I'd get close to that. Italian it was Saturday night!

Sunday morning came and we got ready to head to central park to run. It was cold. The trains weren't running properly, and the park wasn't too far, so we braved the walk. We got to central park and there were so many people!! It was pretty amazing to see how many people got together to still complete their race - or at least some part of it. There were spectators in the bleachers. People had pom-pons and cowbells and race signs. Bags with runners clothes lined the side of the paved path. Being from New York I'd be hesitant to just leave my items aside, but we did it too. And then we got ready to run.
Makeshift bag drop

Getting ready to start running!

We started running around the park. I have always loved Central Park, but even living in the city for most of my life I have never been to the most northern parts of it. It was nice seeing a bigger part than I had even seen before. There were so many people running, and tons of people spectating too! I felt like I was in an actual race. Random spectators would cheer you on, people handed out water. It was amazing how this whole "event" got put together in such little time. And it was fun! And very different from what I'm used to.
I wasn't used to the cold, but I usually run better in cooler temps so that should have been OK. I was very cold though. This made me realize I should probably get some cooler weather running clothes so when the temps go down at home, which they sometimes do, I would be prepared. I had my older sneakers, so I wasn't going to have the ankle support I was used to. I was a little nervous about running like this because I didn't want to hurt myself. I just figured if anything started to feel funny I'd stop. And the course was hilly. I don't do well with any sort of incline - as my heart rate tends to jump and I get very fatigued. 
On part of the marathon course - at the mile 24 mark

We started running around the park. Stopped to take a picture or two. The hills were hard for me, but I made it up! I don't think they were that bad, but like I said before, any incline makes a run rough for me. I got water at a volunteer water stop. We also stopped at the hot-dog carts to get water at some points. Interesting. We ran by museums and the ice rink. We ran by the lake and the boathouse. I usually am not too observant about whats around a course when I race, or do any running for that matter - I just focus on the run. This was different. I was amazed at the amount of spectators cheering people on. I was seeing this park I was so used to being in, in a totally different perspective. I got to see parts of the park I didn't know where there. It was the first time I had run this long of a distance without music and without my calf compression sleeves. 

We finished the first loop at about 6 miles. Back to the "finish". Many more runners had joined in on the run. We decided to do another loop. I was feeling a little tired, but after some convincing we started running again. The hills didn't seem as bad this time around. It seemed as if more people where cheering and watching. And soon, we had completed 12.4 miles. I guess I got my long run in for the week! At the "finish" again, we decided to sit on the bleachers and spectate for a bit. 
Spectators watching at the "finish" line. 

After spectating we walked to grab a bite to eat. Then back to the hotel to shower and change. And get warmer! It had been 38 degrees when we started running! 

I have done 2 half marathons and several long runs and I'm always very tired after. This was the first time I didn't have to nap after a "race". I was a bit on the tired side, but my legs felt pretty good and I wasn't exhausted to the point of needed to just pass out. Maybe my body is getting used to this whole running thing. 

The rest of the trip was fun. We went to two shows, visited a friend in Brooklyn, met with friends in the city for dinner, and ate a lot. Now I'm happy to be back in warm Tampa, and ready to start running my series of half marathons. I have 5 races to do on 5 back to back weekends and I know this is going to be a challenge. Especially so because I've been sick this whole past weekend up until now and have not done any type of training or cross-training. 

The first of these halves will be the Women's Half on November 18. Then Space Coast, Rock n Roll Vegas!, Holiday Halfathon, and Jacksonville Bank. Hopefully my legs don't fall off!