Monday, 6 November 2006

The marathon

Well what a day! Had to be at the bus for 5.15am to catch a lift to the start. 37,000 bleary eyed runners were sheperded military style onto buses for the 30min bus ride. I arrived at the start at 6am. Everything was outdoors so it was a long four hour wait in the cold. Thankfully it wasn't as bitterly cold as the day before but still nippy. I had two pairs of trackies on three tops, a thermal coat, hat scarf and gloves and still had to keep moving to stay warm.

Met Raf at the start so I at least had someone to chat to whilst standing in portaloo queues. We also had laugh at some of the sporting attire about; masses of lycra, shellsuits and the odd person in fancy dress. I had to divert my eyes on numerous occasions as men lunged in tight lycra in front of me and I had an unfortunate full frontal experience with a portaloo as I opened the door on an unsuspecting young man!

There was masses of lycra as far as the eye could see, the overwhelming stench of Deep Heat (and portaloos as the hours went on) and various stretching implements. The atmosphere was buzzing though and there were bands for entertainment, free breakfast and tents to huddle in.

I started on the blue start which is for mid speed. Raf started in green for the speedy ones and Kate (who I met the day before) was starting in orange so unfortunately I didn't have anyone to run with. When the race kicked off there was a military fly over and we hit the longest suspension bridge in the world with a steep incline. The first seven miles were fine but at mile 7 i started having problems with my knee. It kept locking up and getting more and more painful so i had to stop and stretch it out.

The race took us through Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx and Manhatten. Hills were everywhere and were extremely unforgiving. I hit the wall at mile 17 just after coming across a bridge famed for being the wall zone. It was a mile of uphill in pitch black and it was seriously tough. After mile 17 I struggled. My knee was giving me more and more gip and the hills were unrelenting. Even the last 200 yards were uphill! The crowds were fabulous which really helped. There were thousands of people supporting over the last few miles in Central Park. I finished in a time of 04:45:53. Much slower than my time of 04:31 in the London Marathon but this one was much harder! Anyhoo my comp is about to die so better go!

lunges, the scent