A Half Marathon Story in Two Halves, Part I

I know, I know… I was so excited to be free of my confines that I completely neglected to tell you about the race. Be forewarned, I will never be able to do the experience justice. It was the most exciting day of my shoe life and equal parts the best, and worst.

The excitement the night before was at a all time high. I even forgot to pose for flat runner, one of my favorite rituals. I mean, even during the pre-sleep bib pinning and lying out of the outfit, I still didn’t think of it. There were hours to get it done too, I tossed and turned in box for a long, long time until finally falling asleep. As you would imagine, the wake up call came early. Between getting dressed and then my person and her friend struggle with getting small, clear discs into her eyelets, we were out the door and on the street before I was fully awake. Glitz the flip flops secure in her clear drop-off bag and a pocket full of breakfast (coconut chocolate chip flavored CLIF bar = crack) we were ready to hail a cab. At least, that was the plan. Another pair of sneakers stood at the curb, their person also sporting a race bib.

“Wanna share a cab to the park?”

Turns out that all of the roads leading to and fro our hotel block were already closed off to most traffic. Thankfully, our new friends knew of an alternative travel option- the subway. We took off together, at a brisk pace, through a still somewhat dark city, toward a set of stairs leading under ground. I can’t say that it was the cleanest floor I’ve ever walked upon, but we weren’t on it long. No sooner had our people had swiped a shared card (a Metro one, whatever that means), a giant silver train rumbled into the station and we boarded what appeared to be the half marathon express. Seriously, almost everyone was wearing a race bib and there were more running shoes than the shelves from which I came. Only then we got off the train about fifteen minutes later and joined what appeared to be every runner in the world. Clearly, an exaggeration, but when 20,000 pairs of shoes come together, it is complete and total chaos. At least that’s from my point of view. My person, somehow knew exactly where to go.

A pit stop to drop Glitz off,  “see you guys later!”,  before heading through the first of several security checks: an officer checking bibs, who directed each of us to walk under an arch of sorts, I thought that I heard it was used to detect medals, but that can’t be right, none of us had even started, no less finished as yet. Next  up, a wall of officers who waved wands up and down the front and rear of every runner. Magic wands, for luck, I’m sure. It was after this blessing that we were finally inside Central Park and could look to locate our corral. So many people. Yet, only the last wave of the runners to take on NYC as registered participants. As we stretched and warmed up within our section, 13.1 miles away the elites were nearing the finish line. My person was probably receiving her second magic wanding of luck from the police officer at our corral entrance just as Molly and her Sauconys broke away from Joyce’s Adidas and took off on the last 800 meters solo.

Then, somehow, it was 8:30. Ninety six days from when we opened an email from NYRR.org telling us that we would be ‘flying through the streets’, we took off…

Through the six, seemingly endless miles of hilly Central Park:

2015 nychalf start

It was during these miles that we realized we never had breakfast, and that CLIF bar? Long gone. Plan B- Gatorade and the emergency Swedish Fish which were, thankfully, still on our person.

It was during these miles that we met the pace vehicle girls. Two spirited young ladies in a black Chevy Suburban, tasked with driving behind the pack at the speed of 15 minute miles. They sped up for a bit and drove alongside each of us back-of-the packers, explaining that once they passed us for real, we had two options- board the sweep bus, or continue to Water & Wall Streets via the sidewalks.

It was during these miles that we met the marshals. Two dedicated bicyclists who have been working the NYC Half for years, who had, in fact, ridden to the finish line once already that morning having ushered in the elites before circling back to keep us safe.

Most importantly, it was during these miles that we met Brigadeiros.

TO BE CONTINUED…

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