Dec 2, 2014

Daily thoughts -Brooklyn Marathon 2014 Review

I find it impressive when I see people with very busy lifestyles who still manage to write almost a daily or even weekly entries about their latest going ons in life. I love to share what my recent activities are unfortunately at the end of the day I barely have the time to put away some of the things i propped on the bed like the cats' treat dish (my cat likes to have her night snack on the bed) my diary, highlighters, keys, books, notebooks, remote, phone and pens to name a few. November was one busy month and a great one at that. A good friend of mine named Joy flew from California to run the NYC Marathon. I celebrated my birthday at Olive Garden Times Square with Joy and my hubby. I also tried to squeeze in two long runs and a wonderful dinner with some friends before my scheduled marathon last November 16.

Yes I finally ran my most anticipated first US marathon this year. There are other things Id like to celebrate and share but this was probably the one that i consider the highlight of my month so for this post id like to share that wonderful experience.

Ive been training for this event for 4 months. Prior to the grueling 4 month training plan, I have been trying to also squeeze in some quality runs just for the heck of it and joined a half marathon and a 4 miler last spring. But even after doing 2 20 miles for my long slow distance runs during the weekend I still didnt feel I could do it. It has been quite some time (10 years to be exact) since i ran something this far and the weather hasnt been that accommodating the past few days prior to the race.

but i already paid the registration fee and it was too late to back out. that was $95 bucks which is still considered a budget for a marathon ( my friend paid over 200 for her entry to the nyc marathon).

a week prior to the race i went to brooklyn to pick up my packet a fitness expo. it was not as packed like the fancy race i went to last spring but im glad they still had something for this race albeit it was a small one.

On the night before the race i tried to go to bed at a decent time around 9pm. Unfortunately i woke up at 11pm got hungry and made myself and the hubby a snack. I tried to hit the sack around 12pm but couldnt sleep anymore. I managed to get some shut eye around 3am. I woke up around 530 and had coffee, oatmeal and two sandwiches.

I kissed the hubby goodbye before 630am and ran to the subway because the scheduled train was supposed to show up at 632 am. I checked the app the previous night and it says that i needed to take two trains to get to my destination. the train didnt show up on time and when it did it went local. it was starting to really piss me off. another mistake i made was getting off at 42nd street only to realize that the d train doesnt stop there. so i got on the c that showed up and got off at west 4th street. another runner was there with his wife and we waited impatiently for the next train that would drop us off directly at prospect park. I had an interesting conversation with the wife of the runner. Her name is Rebecca and she was a tall gorgeous lady who reminded me of Nicole Kidman. Her husband named Hans was to run his first marathon. She shared how he just decided early this year that he wanted to try this feat. he said he also just got a plan online and followed it. It was such a cool experience to meet someone who was doing the exact thing as me except he was ten years older.

When the train finally showed up after probably 15 minutes of more, we were all relieved. The train ride didnt take long. finally we got off at our stop at 15th street prospect park. Ive been to brooklyn before near the park before to see the botanical garden and the museum but never got around to seeing the park. I think the trees were absolutely beautiful this fall. I dont have a lot of photos to show though because it was just too cold and i had my gloves and jacket on the entire time. We were all supposed to be at the starting line by 8:15am and we got there at around 8:00am just in time to walk towards center drive and hopefully still use the toilet before the race.

This race was a small community kind of event. The number of runners who were supposed to participate were capped at 500 limit. the race results show that 413 showed up. It was a simple event and even the baggage check was just a small section of the grassy lot corralled with a string. There were several porta potties by the starting line and when we got there its like everyone who was going to run were all lined up to use the toilet. Ive read reviews of this race course and a lot of the runners were cursing the dreaded hill. If there was something i hated more than the hills it was the nasty porta potties. I used it twice, once before the race and at mile 3 and it was truly disgusting. I tried to take my liquids moderately for fear of having to use the porta potties again. Thankfully i never had to use it again. The weather was merciless. It was extremely cold and I'm not yet quite acclimated to the sudden drop of temperature and running early in the day. During the weeks I trained I did experience rain and cold weather but nothing quite like the one that morning. Also I've never ran earlier than 12pm during my training.  I start at a very slow pace at the beginning of my run and tried to just gradually increase the pace but still relatively slow all so i wouldnt end up with an empty tank by mile 20.

The park was very beautiful and I really enjoyed running around the entire park. however circling that plot of land 9 times is a different story. I may want to visit prospect park in the near future but only when the weather is above 60.  The loops got a bit confusing after I was done with the first 2 small loops. i went to use a porty potty and asked two guides whether i should proceed towards the hill or if i needed to turn left and start the third loop from the end of center drive after the finish line. both of them first said i needed to just go straight towards the hill. then changed their mind and said they think i need to turn left first and circle one more lower loop and then go towards the hill, then changed their mind again afterwards. it took them 2-4 minutes to figure it out before finally deciding that the second direction was the right one. i honestly didnt know which was right but i just followed what they told me. fortunately it was the right direction. my concern was, what if they gave me the wrong instruction? i wouldve ran towards the direction of the hill and all 26 miles then still be disqualified because i have missed going back to center drive after running the second loop. There was no colored band on this event and you just have to figure out the map by yourself before showing up.

i appreciated that there were people cheering us on despite the biting weather. it was really cold and some kids with their parents were chanting our bib numbers and telling us we look great lol although i knew that was a lie because the official photographer just emailed me my photos. my face was all pinched and in agony like i was about to give birth to both a human and a turd hahaha.

i have only two major complaints about this event. one was why a lot of people were using the same path we were on with their baby prams and some were even walking their dogs. i mean i love dogs and babies but it was kinda difficult weaving in and out of these people. I wasnt running fast but they were just there like rocks with tiny legs on slow mo. someone even wanted to cross the path with her horse. yes a horse! and im terrified of horses (i had a traumatic experience as a kid getting of a horsedrawn carriage. the horse accidentally stepped on my foot. not his entire foot though otherwise my foot wouldve been smashed but still it was enough to spook me out forever). my second complaint was some people who were handing out water and gatorade kept switching the label around. id be grabbing a cup from the guy who would say water only to find out it has gatorade. then when it was time for me to get gatorade, id be getting water instead. what the hell right? but these were volunteers taking time out of their sunday to be there to help make the race a little bit manageable so im not going to be all bitchy about it. other than that, i think this event was handled pretty well. we had bagels and bottled water afterwards. i forgot to mention that the technical shirt was very nice.

anyway no conceit intended but the hill wasnt as bad as i thought. the hill at central park is a lot steeper and difficult than this one although i had to run this loop 6 times.  By mile 22 however I was about to say ive had it. I tried to distract myself with the glory of having to show off my medal to push me through those last 4 miles. It was truly worth it and thank God it didnt rain and I didnt hit the wall.

i have more respect now for long distance runners because this was not easy. I may not have gotten an astonishing finish time but I was pretty proud of myself that day dragging myself out of bed on a cold morning, putting up with that crazy weather for nearly 6 hours, almost gettting frostbitten when i got to the finish line while  eating my bagel. I could hardly walk to the subway but i still managed to make it home in one piece without collapsing. The hubby was so proud of me calling me his champ. For a day it was really great to feel like one. Sometimes you dont really have to technically be on the podium to feel like the real winner of a race. When you go above and beyond what you expect of yourself and come out still smiling then in my opinion you are just as good as the top finishers because you did your best. I have to give myself a pat on the back and a hug except that would look really silly.

The medal was huge by the way and oh so awesome!

See you next year Prospect Park!

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