Sunday, May 1, 2011

Start Spreading the News

Big news - last week the drawing was held for the New York City marathon, and would you believe it - I'm in!  Tens of thousands of people enter to run this classic marathon, and the field is limited to "only" about 50,000.  Many more than that enter the lottery, and are sadly turned away ... "maybe next year."  Fortunately, there is a special rule that if a person doesn't get in through the lottery for three years, their persistence (and misfortune) is ameliorated by being granted a spot automatically.  I figured, what the heck, there's a chance I'll get in, and if not, I'll have started that 3-year clock ticking.  Running is going well now, but I'm not getting any younger!

I got in.  How about that?!  I hate to boast loudly, because I have friends who did not get in - again.  A year is a long time to wait, just to try again.  Here I got in on the first try... but that's how "odds" work, after all.  I'm going to run the New York City marathon!  (Any readers over in NYC want to put me up for a couple of nights?!)

It's on 11/6/11.  Only 8 weeks after Ironman, which may make for a fall of very sore legs.  But, at least I can be confident that I'll be in good shape, and have my long miles in!  Here's a funny sentence that just went through my head: "Ironman will be great training!"

I give credit to marathon karma.  See, last year on my way back from Athens, I connected in Newark.  After the 13-hour westbound Atlantic flight, the last plane to Madison had already left, so the connection was overnight.  I did this intentionally when I set up the travel, because I thought first, a night in NYC is cool and second, a lengthy stop will be a good chance to start taking care of that ugly westbound jetlag.  It also crossed my mind that I might just wake up on Greece time, and have a great chance to go to the City early and see the marathon.  Well, at 3:30am, I was indeed wide awake (9:30 in Greece!) and headed downtown.  All the runners were heading to Staten Island for the start, so the early morning scene at the finish in Central Park was quiet and nearly empty.  I couldn't help but feel the draw of that course - it has a special magic about it.  That ING blue and orange... the big city... I got a photo near the finish, but didn't dare walk beyond the 26-mile banner: this is sacred territory, and I knew there was only one way to get down to that finish line: earn it.  Get lucky in the draw, train diligently, then, some November, run 26.2 miles to get there.

Without a whole lot of time before the plane back to Wisconsin left, I took the subway across town to head off the racers.  I made it there in time to see the wheelchair racers, pro men and pro women come by.  Wow!  Definitely a world-class field, including the current world-record holder, Haile Gebrselassie - who retired after that very race.  To see him in person was a thrill.  To see him in New York amidst all the excitement of the NYC marathon, having just completed my own pilgrimage to the site of the original marathon, was even more meaningful.  Sure, there was a statistical chance of having my name drawn - but as I consider how I looked to NYC last November, and how it made me feel, there was a special connection that caused me to enter in the first place.  New York City here I come.

1 comment:

  1. Yaaaaaay for getting in to NYC! It really is a race like no other. From crossing the Verrazano Narrows bridge to the tune of "New York New York" to the cacophony of Brooklyn to the final miles through Central Park, I assure you, sore legs or not, you'll love every last minute of it!
    Consider staying at the Beacon Hotel on Bway. It's close the to subway, Trader Joe's, Manhattan Diner and the FINISH LINE!