Thursday, November 06, 2008
Mike the Liar
In the days leading up to the race last weekend I told Kiera that I was planning on really enjoying the New York trip, as this would be the last time I would be doing something like this. What I meant was the whole dedicated build-up; Four to six months of focused training geared towards a single goal to the exclusion of other pursuits and races. I talked about how it's just too time consuming and expensive to travel to a big race, and how the satisfaction I get from a marathon isn't really any different than how I feel after any 5 or 10K race. I meant all of it too...and then I ran the NYC marathon.
New York is an incredibly exciting place. Even before we got into a cab at the JFK airport we were making plans to join Abdi Abdirahman for dinner in Manhattan. Abdi is a fellow Tucsonan who finished 6th at NYC, and he's a three time Olympian to boot. While we live in the same town, I'd never met him before so it was a kick to dine with him.
Walking back from Abdi's hotel took us past Radio City Music Hall, NBC Studios and Rockefeller Center before we found Grand Central Station for the subway ride home. Just stumbling upon all these landmarks was mindblowing, and worth the blister I ended up getting (the only one for the whole weekend though, so no complaints).
Saturday started with a run along the Hudson River with Lucas and Jason. While the wind and the warm temperatures concerned me, the legs just felt electric and ready to go. The trip afterwards to the expo was a bit scattered as we ended up missing a bus after getting stuck in our own elevator and then missed the next one when we figured out we needed quarters to ride instead of dollar bills. The free shuttle to the expo found us after much more walking, and thankfully lunch and the the trip back home were uneventful. Want to find a good restaurant in Manhattan? Walk one block.
Saturday night found the rest of the gang going out to eat while I stayed home and ate pasta with Catlow, our friend who missed running the marathon due to some leg issues but who served as our official map-reader, navigator, and photographer (and in my case chef as well).
Sunday morning's ferry ride to Staten Island was beautiful and calm. We took Ian's advice and switched from a 5am bus ride from Manhattan to the ferry, and it was a great decision. As the Statue of Liberty passed by I listened to Wilco's "Either Way" with my feet up on a bench, pondering the morning ahead. Again, I felt like I had electricity moving through me, and even with the wind I was very excited about the day ahead.
I already wrote about the race, but the rest of the trip was just as fun. The officials shuttle you out of the park fairly quickly after the marathon, so our group met up on 82nd Street west of the park. At the suggestion of our New York friend Peter we hit a diner called E.J.'s, where I was able to put a check-mark next to my usual post-marathon wish list: Cheeseburger, fries, at least 40 ounces Dr. Pepper and a cup of coffee (had to settle for Pepsi but oh well). From there it was off to the Parlour, a bar-restaurant nearby which was hosting a post-race party for the Central Park track club that Peter belongs to. I drank my two beers and watched the one-hour recap on the big screen TV, talking all the time with both old and new friends. Pure happiness.
After a bus-ride back to the apartment we headed out to Greenwich Village for the best pizza I've ever had. Joe's Pizza on Bleeker Street is the place folks. Here we met back up with Jason, so all four of our runners were back together for a celebratory meal with friends and family. We drank our pitchers of beer and relived the good and bad moments of the race, and all of us seemed to want to give it another try someday. Toss in some gelato from Grom down the street afterwards and you have a perfect post-race evening.
Yes, I still need to tell Kiera I was lying. This trip and the company I enjoyed will be something I will always remember. It's not just another 5K or 10K- it's the New York City Marathon!
Toby, Me and Jason at the finish