I have waited two weeks to write this for many reasons. Some say I am eternally pessimistic. They are probably right, but I do have a point from time to time. This was a nightmare race in so many ways. Yet, I find myself having many fond memories of it as well. How on earth do begin?
Weather: way too hot! I think it was cooler back home in Texas. High humidity and temperatures reaching the mid-80’s had us all suffering.
Course: supposed to be flat and fast, but for those of us mid-packers the number of runners simply does not allow for maintaining a smooth pace. You constantly have to dodge people taking walk breaks and there is just no rhythm.
Crowds: simply amazing! Did say amazing yet? I've run New York twice and Chicago wins. My only complaint is they need more barriers to hold them back. Part of the pacing problem resulted in the crowds pinching in as far as possible squeezing the runners together. Still an outstanding experience for sure.
Volunteers: plenty of fully stocked aide stations with more than enough motivated volunteers. As you might expect, it became a real mess in the late miles with all the cups and trash. The banana peels were slippery and dangerous in these late miles. I don't want to focus on that though since the people were great and well prepared.
Body: my left IT band hated me for the last 5 miles. That hasn’t been a problem for me in 10 years. It was the first time I thought I had to drop because walking hurt worse than running and both were unbearable. I have been in pain at other marathons, but this so so much worse. Somehow I hobbled through. I prayed for the strength to finish and I believe God just answered. That didn't stop me from swearing after the finish that I had just run my last marathon.
My Race: with the heat I immediately lowered my expectations on time and simply drank as much as I could stomach. I ran at the back end of my expected time range and finished in 4:46. Not terrible after what was frankly a terrible summer of Texas training.
Expo: huge and had anything you could want. They clearly did not have enough shuttles from the host hotel, but that gave my wife and me a chance to snap this pick of the floorboard of our cab. I'm hoping it was from a previous passenger rather than our driver.
Long Overdue Race Summary: it has grown on me since the extremely painful last miles and finish. It always amazes me how pain fades and fond memories remain. No other way to explain childbirth. Maybe seeing all the other runners that night and next day in their shirts and/or medals allowed me to be proud of myself (which I had not prior to seeing how proud others were of this accomplishment). My knee feels almost normal. I still generally dislike huge races, but they have their place and everyone needs to experience at least one.