Monday, November 7, 2011

ING NYC Marathon Race Report: Mrs. Miller Runs New York

11/6/11 will forever live in infamy. This is not going to be a mile by mile race report, because, quite frankly, I don't remember things mile by mile! So, in orderly fashion, let's go borough by painstaking borough, NYC STYLE! Let me ruin the end of the story, proverbially turning to the last page of the book early: I FINISHED THE ING NYC MARATHON!

Staten Island: Getting to the race was L-O-N-G. I didn't anticipate 30 minutes on the ferry THEN 30 minutes on the bus! I didn't arrive to the start until after 8:30. Thank God Mr. Miller convinced me we didn't need to leave our house until 7am! Unfortunately, I couldn't find my childhood neighbors, a brother and sister, who were running it together :-(. I had throw away clothes and barely needed them. The weather was crisp, warm, and barely breezy. This was going to be a good race day. As time wound down, I watched the Wave 1 and Wave 2 run across the Verrazzano Bridge.
(Sidenote story: As I slowly moved toward the start, I really appreciated the overweight working smoking a cigar and blowing it in our faces. Stay classy S.I.)
Suddenly, it was my turn. My turn to begin my 26.2 mile journey. I got to the start and had to pee. Really pee. Like going 20 minutes before the had never happened pee. Decision time: go back or stay put. I stay put. I began the start. I promptly tripped less than a mile into the bridge; apparently the paint on highways is somewhat raised. Not good for this runner who is known for tripping less than gracefully! I made it over the bridge, and into Brooklyn.

Brooklyn: Brooklyn take me in. I got into Brooklyn and it was somewhat quiet. It was completely unfamiliar to me. A few miles in and the crowds got louder and prouder; I liked that. I got a ton of "Go Kristin!"'s and high fives from little kids (You know, because you can't leave anyone under 10 years old hanging!). Surprisingly, I got a little bored. Brooklyn is the longest stretch of the marathon in one borough, and the unfamiliarity and endlessness got to be a bit much. I named it: Brooklyn A.D.D. This is where I've seen too much of the same borough and want OUT. It didn't help that I knew my cheer squad was in the next borough waiting for me. Okay that's probably the real reason I was plagued with Brooklyn A.D.D., but still, B-r-o-o-k-l-y-n come again cheered their hearts out, and I am forever grateful! Adios BK!

Queens: Hello Home Borough!!! As I entered Queens I was INSTANTLY familiar and excited. This is my town to run tonight Rihanna, recognize. As I ran through each water station, it was becoming increasingly treacherous. Runners weren't adhering to etiquette and discarding cups from to the side, but rather, right in the middle of the course. Slid a few times. Again, clumsy runner here. I took people's advice and waited until the end, and you'll find the peppiest volunteers because no one takes water from them! I used my iPhone to call Mr. Miller and let him know I was approaching, and he let me know where to look. Suddenly, there they were:
My light at the end of 14 miles thus far. My work wife Alyssa was with them, she's not pictured. I'll try to find one because she's a good friend, great supporter, and child sponsor!
My dad holding my family's sign!
My mommy hugging her smelly little girl.
Mr. Miller smiling after a sweaty kiss (Not sure if we got it on camera...)

Needless to say, this was an amazing cheer squad. They were inspiring and loud and proud! I got choked up leaving them. I knew I had only 12 miles left. I could do this. I felt good. I entered the Queensboro Bridge and was immediately frustrated. Again, runners etiquette: If you're going to walk, move to the side. Nope. I'd say 75% of the people were walking, and they were ALL. OVER. THE. BRIDGE. I had to bob and weave and it was frustrating. I could run this bridge. I may run slow, but I wasn't walking. I didn't want to be the jerk to say "Run or get out of the way!" but I sure felt like it. Thankfully I used my manners and quietly channeled that into running a tough hill. Enter 1st Avenue.

Manhattan: Now mind you, I still had to pee. We're now 15 miles in and every port-a-potty is a game time decision. I chose no every time. I figured if I ran I'd sweat it out. It technically worked! Manhattan was awesome. Cheers, noise makers, signs, it didn't matter who they were cheering for specifically, they rooted for anyone and everyone! As we approached the Bronx, I braced myself for the wall at mile 20 and the bridge shortly thereafter. (Sidenote: I had a dream last week that I didn't hit the wall and entered Central Park perfectly only good marathon dream!) Mile 20. No wall.

Bronx: Bridge. No wall. Mile 21. Moving strong. The Bronx was OUT AND ABOUT! Rappers screaming my name, church goers singing and encouraging, it was AWESOME. It was not as nearly as quiet as I had envisioned. Bronx, thanks for giving me a fantastic push back into Manhattan! Spoiler alert: Dream came true. I never hit the wall. I may have been slow, but I did this, unlike most things, gracefully!

Manhattan: Mile 22 got me big time. Not in the way you're thinking. There was a really cool feature for the race called "Support Your Marathoner", where family and friends could record a video or a digital message to be shown on a screen when you ran over a sensor. Well, it happened for me. As I rounded Mile 22, the screen above me flashed a video of Mr. Miller and Lambeau Puppy waving and smiling. Tears. I got all sorts of choked up and it pushed me to meet them on 95th Street and 5th Avenue. This was the home stretch. Of my very first marathon. No wall. No peeing.
I ran right up to them! (My legs look good here!) My friends Nick, Rebecca, and Nadia joined in the cheer squad to get me to the home stretch. They were amazingly louder than Queens and excited!!!

Rebecca jumped in to run! Rebecca would be the girl to my left in fierce heeled boots, an adorable jacket, a flashy white purse, and running with me!!! She kept up for a 1/4 of a mile. R, you're the bestest. I love you too much!!! After this I ran by the Team World Vision cheer section and they were STOKED! I loved their energy and support. THANKS AGAIN TO ALL MY CHEER SQUADS!

Central Park: (It's not a borough, but it is epic in its own right!) As I entered the park, the crowd was definitely still alive and well. I even got a slow clap chant! However, it wasn't enough. I needed an extra boost. So I put on my ipod and let the music take control/let the music move you. That selection of music is as follows:

The Time (Dirty Bit) - Black Eyed Peas
Any Way You Want it - Journey
Otis - Jay-Z and Kanye West
All I Do is Win - DJ Kalle
We Found Love - Rihanna

Then, it was time to become a finisher.

The final .1 of the marathon. My childhood neighbors' parents were there, siblings, fiances, all in the grand stands waiting for their family members who were about 10 minutes behind me. All of a sudden I hear "KRISSSSSTTTTTINNNN!" and my girl Stephanie is screaming her heart out! Then I see Carl and Vicki and I start BAWLING. Down to the very end, I was supported. I was cheered for. I was pushed forward.

The finish. I crossed the finish line, tried to hold it together for a good finish line photo, and then sob/heaved/sobbed. It was the most fulfilling moment to complete a project that has taken not only running, but the sponsoring of children. It all hit me there. It wasn't just about the run. It was about making a difference in the world THROUGH THE RUN. I got my medal picture taken, and then things turned ugly. I don't want to ruin a great post about a life changing experience, but dearest NYRR, that finish line walk to exit the park is unacceptable. I am slightly claustrophobic, and I almost went into panic mode. From the finish to finding the exit, it took 20 minutes of muscle tightening standing and moving an inch, standing and moving an inch. Thankfully, I found the exit, and my loves with my warm clothes!!! I finally peed, well over 5 hours after I had initially had to go. It was sweet, glorious, and a lot! Thankfully I found these cool people with my belongings. They helped dress me, change my socks and shoes, etc:
My cheer squad! NOTE: That's only HALF of my family in the photo! I'm one of six kids!
Proud mommy and daddy. They had an adventurous day running around the city with Mr. Miller!
Proud husband and trying to calm down his near panic attack ridden wife. So glad to be in his sweatshirt.
The whole gang together. After this, we had quite the taxi ride home, but it was worth it to simply be sitting.

Marathon finish time: 5:10:23

This is a really overwhelming thing to write about. I really didn't want to write a review yet. However, I wanted to remember things as vividly as I could. I'll end with a quote I saw in the Nike Town Store:

"The real purpose of running isn't to win a race, it's to test the limits of the human heart."
- Bill Bowerman

My heart has been tested. My body has been tested. My mind has been tested.

I am a finisher.

I Run New York.

1 day since the ING NYC MARATHON!!!
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