November 19, 2013

2013 ING NY Marathon Part 1 - Expo & Marathon Eve Dinner

Yikes. How does time pass so quickly? It's hard to believe the NY Marathon was over 2 weeks ago already! I guess it's time to get these recaps posted before the memories completely escape this aging brain of mine. :-)

I was accepted into the 2013 ING NY Marathon on Guaranteed Entry through the lottery system. I first entered the lottery back in 2010, the same year I ran my first marathon at Walt Disney World. I knew this race was a big deal in the running community back then but only from an observer's point of view. Each year, the marathon came and went, and each year, I was not accepted. When this event was cancelled in 2012 due to Hurricane Sandy, it never even occurred to me that the New York Road Runners would be able to accommodate 2012 and 2013 participants with the 2013 event. In fact, after 3 years of trying to get into the race, I didn't even apply for 2013. I was shocked when NYRR emailed me in May to find out if I would be registering under the Guaranteed Entry program. Uh..... YES!!!! And so my journey to the Start began.

Hubby and I arrived in NY Friday night (race day was Sunday). I've been to the City one other time in my life. It was a whirlwind 36 hour business trip that left me hungry to come back. This would be hubby's first time here. Our hotel was on the outskirts of Korea Town, just a stones throw from Madison Square Garden and the infamous Macy's on 34th St. Here's a view of the Hotel Stanford from a double-decker bus tour we ended up taking later in the trip. How funny that the tour drove right by it!

The Expo was a short 15 minute walk from our hotel. I was totally unprepared for the crowds or the line to get in!

I was so excited to pick up my race packet. As soon as I stepped inside, a rush of emotions washed over me and it was all I could do to keep from crying. I almost didn't let hubby take this pic of me holding my bib because I thought I was going to lose it right there on the Expo floor.

After packet pickup, we hit the Asics booth to see what kind of race merchandise was still available. Of course, since it was nearly noon and the Expo would be over in 5 hours, there was hardly anything left for Women that wasn't an XS. Here are a few other highlights from our brief time at the Expo.
Hubby and Summer Sanders at the RW booth

Me and Bart Yasso at the RW booth

Hubby (in red) at the FDNY and Burn Center booth.
The retired firefighter on the left was on the cover of a magazine, standing with former Pres G.W. Bush right after 9/11.

We headed back to the hotel so I could rest up before the big Marathon Eve dinner in Central Park near the Finish line. I have made mistakes in the past when traveling for races where we have walked around waaaay too much in the days leading up to the event!  

Going to the dinner would serve as a dress rehearsal for Hubby since he would be meeting me at the Finish after the race. NYRR sent out a link to a public transportation website where you can enter your Start and End location and it will provide you with several options (subway, bus, etc) and approximate travel times. We were less than a 10 min subway ride from Central Park! Of course, we had to take pics since this was our first ride on a NY subway together!

When we first arrived, the line to get into the tent was humongous and we almost bailed on it completely. If not for the fact we paid $40/ea ahead of time, we probably would have found someplace else to eat. But I'm SO glad we hung around. We got in line, stood there (moderately frustrated with pre-race anxiety!!!) for about 10-15 minutes when a couple randomly walks up to Hubby and me to tell us they have VIP tickets we can use to just walk right up to the front of the line and skip the waiting. Whoa. Really? We thanked them profusely and headed to the main dinner tent.

The tent was hopping with loud music and energized runners! Security was tight of course. Everyone and their belongings were being searched before we could enter. Once we were inside, enthusiastic volunteers served us some salty but otherwise delicious salad and a couple of pasta varieties. Four other runners joined our table - two of whom we learned had never run a marathon before; NY would be their first!

Marathon Eve dinner tent in Central Park

After exchanging marathon and training stories with our dinner buddies, we headed back to the hotel, snapping more "marathon support" pics around the city including a big banner across the Macy's building on 34th St and the Empire State building that was bathed in orange and blue lights that night in honor of the race!

With my body and mind fueled by the spirit of the marathoners at dinner and the city, I knew I was as ready as I was going to be. Time for sleep. Tomorrow is going to be one of the biggest days of my running life!

To Be Continued.......

1 comment:

Johann said...

Visiting NYC is one of my dreams. What an experience the marathon must be! Can't wait for your report!