This weekend might go down in the books as one of my favorites ever. I don’t know what “the books” are or where they’re located, but in them, someday, it will say, “New York City Marathon Weekend 2011: One of Ali’s Favorites.” It’s good to document history.
I currently have a severe case of New York City Marathon Fever. It’s a good thing I’m running the race next year.
This morning I went for a five mile run through Central Park to glance at the finish line — again — and got excited when I realized that the next time they set up the finish, it will be so that I can run through it.
But let’s go back to Friday, because that’s when the excitement really started kicking in. I got an email a few weeks ago from a nice lady named Christine, who let me know that she was arranging a lunch at Subway with Apolo Anton Ohno, and “Do I want to attend?” Oh Christine. What a silly question. YES.
Apolo, who is a badass Olympian and a handsome devil, chatted with a handful of us at lunch about his training for the New York City Marathon. He was running it to raise money for the Special Olympics, and if you followed along yesterday, you know that he finished in a very respectable 3:25. It was weird, too, because he professed his love for me at lunch, and I was like, “Apolo, I can’t, I have a boyfriend,” and Apolo was like, “OK, Ali, but I’m going to run this marathon for you anyway, and every time I win a gold medal at the Olympics it will be for you.”
That was the end of our love story. Jess was there, too. She witnessed this, so I’m obviously not making it all up.
After breaking Apolo’s heart, it was time for the next part of marathon weekend: visitors! Who better to spend marathon weekend with than two fellow marathoners? I may have badgered Emily and Lauren into coming to NYC this weekend to scream on the streets with me. I can be very persuasive. I promised them Puffins and mimosas. It didn’t take much convincing beyond that.
They arrived Friday night and we raged. Raged = ordered pizza delivery and ate it in the comfort of my apartment. Also cupcakes. The weekend included several rounds of cupcakes.
We stayed in for a good reason, which is that I had to be up at the butt crack of dawn Saturday morning to volunteer at the New York City Marathon Expo.
I manned a spot at the sub-elite and local competitive registration table, which was surprisingly fun. I handed out bibs to all the runners coming in, and got to chat with lots of impressive international athletes.
Everyone seemed super nervous, anxious and excited, and now I have earned my volunteer credit, which brings me one step closer to guaranteed entry to next year’s New York City Marathon. The expo itself was very overwhelming. It was crowded and crazy and Lauren and Emily handled it much better than I did. We also met Mario Lopez.
I let A.C. know that I invited the cast of “Saved by the Bell” to my birthday party in fifth grade, and that I was still waiting on his RSVP, and he laughed and assured me he’d “be at the next one.” May 6, Slater. Write that down. After the expo, we spent the rest of the day eating.
Look who we found! Becky! The best day, of course, was Sunday: marathon day. I couldn’t let 47,000 people run a marathon through my city without first getting in a few miles of my own, so while Emily got her Pilates on…
…Lauren and I headed to Central Park.
Lauren, as you may know, is fresh off her blazing 3:18 Marine Corps Marathon finish. She did that last week. And this week she agreed to run with me. What a nice girl. I wanted to get 11 miles in, and I wanted to show Lauren the marathon finish line. I accomplished only one of those things. Security was tight. They did not let us anywhere near that elusive finish line.
Lauren, if you could move to NYC and do all my long runs with me, that would be great. I’m pretty content with my splits.
My stomach felt pretty good during the run. I made one necessary rest stop around mile 6.5, but overall the marathon excitement kept me going. By “marathon excitement kept me going” I really mean, “I knew there were mimosas waiting at home, so I wanted to run fast and get back.”
Fun fact: I am apparently strong enough to run a marathon, but not strong nor smart enough to be able to open a bottle of champagne.
Good thing I had help.
I live right off the marathon course, so we were able to hang out in my toasty apartment, doing some drinking and watching the coverage on TV, until it was time to head outside to catch the runners.
We made our way to 1st Avenue just before the elite women came through, which was incredible. Honestly, the entire day was incredible. The elites were so fast, and if you watched the women’s finish you know just how exciting it got. They were racing their hearts out. It was a gutsy, thrilling finish.
I’m thrilled to report that on the spectating end, we PR’d.
We spotted each of the runners we were hoping to see from the 9:40 start wave, and successfully made eye contact and screamed loudly. We did not make any friends in the crowd. We were loud, obnoxious and overly enthusiastic.
To all the runners who tore up the course yesterday: Congratulations! It was an honor to cheer for you.
I’m officially inspired and ready to run my next 26.2. Good thing I have runner friends peer pressuring me into a spring marathon…
Oh and NYCM 2012? I’m coming for you. And I won’t be on the sidelines. I’ll be kicking your ass.