Been There Run That
By the time I reached Central Park while running the New York Marathon, I had hit “the wall” at mile 18 instead of my usual mile 23. As I approached the finish line, I looked for the camera and raised my arms in the air. I had no energy left to pump my fists, but I did manage to make them. They were swaddled in petite white marathon gloves I had purchased from a vendor at the coliseum when I picked up my race packet two days before. In the photo, I look like Minnie Mouse.
It was my slowest time of the three marathons I’ve run. But nothing beat running 26.2 miles through the five boroughs of my hometown.
We started across the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan on a beautiful fall day as a spectator boom box blared the Village People song, YMCA. Thousands of runners mimed the song letters, our hands above our heads as we crammed our way across the bridge. Crowds cheered, held up signs or yelled our names if we had written them on our shirts, arms or backs.
As a young girl and teen, I wanted to run track. I was fast and held aspirations of competing in the Olympic Games. For many reasons, that dream died before it had a chance to take hold. So, in my middle 30s, I breathed new life into my girlhood dream: I trained to run as long and as far as my mind, body and spirit would carry me.
Marathon day had been overcast. Great conditions for a long run. Once I crossed the finish line, however, I felt immediately chilled. I wrapped myself in a Mylar blanket, my finishing medal swinging from my neck. I was glad I did it. Also, I was glad it was over.
I considered catching a cab back to the hotel, loving the idea of flopping onto a cushiony seat, leaning my head back and shutting my eyes. But thousands of people swarmed Central Park and the surrounding neighborhood, some of them spectators who had more energy than I to battle for a cab. So, I got on the subway – standing room only – with the rest of the City, and headed back to my hotel.