|View from the bar at the top of our Times Square Hotel.
|The night before -- our throwaway over-clothes from H&M clearance and Walgreens
Also, we were at an iconic course, and just there to finish. Sure, we wanted to get off our feet as soon as was reasonable given our other goals of not injuring ourselves, enjoying the day, taking photos, etc., but there was absolutely no pressure.
|It was *cold* at the start. Thank goodness Dunkin Donuts was giving away hats.
This translated to compete and utter fun. For a while now, I've been going back and forth on whether I actually enjoy training for and completing marathons. I think the take-home after NYC is that I may never *race* a marathon again. The enjoyment I got out of completing this monumental task with a friend, comfortably, and enjoying the beauty and diversity of the sites was *much* more than what I typically get out of going it alone. (But of course, never say never.)
|It took about 5 minutes to walk to the actual start-line after our wave began.
For Chicago, before I pulled out, I was on pace for around a 4:40 marathon. That was about what I thought my fitness could handle. And it was fun. BUT NO WHERE NEAR AS FUN AS NEW YORK. I didn't stop to appreciate the different neighborhoods. I didn't spend too much time looking around. And I definitely didn't have anyone to share the experience with.
|The Verrazano Narrows Bridge. SO WINDY.
|Finally touching down in Brooklyn.
Ummmmm… N was having none of the “you might hit the wall” business. She just kept on keeping on, and never needed to start shorter intervals. We ran in the high tens to high 11s when we were running, and walked approximately every mile or so for the aid stations, where necessary to take pictures, or for other reasons (a 6m30s porta-loo break, fueling walk breaks, vaseline).
|On our way to Queens with a view of Manhattan in the background.
|Running under the 59th St./Queensborough Bridge.
What I realized is that if I can trade some extra time for shared memories, photos, and just a general great time, I'll take it.
|The view from the side of the 59th St. Bridge.
Interestingly, the walk/stop breaks slowed us down less than I expected. If we hadn't needed to the porta-potty stop (this was my only big complaint about NYC -- their were *not* enough bathrooms on the course, and the lines were very long), the difference would have been only 38 minutes. This includes actual *stops* of minutes at a time to take pictures.
|Touched down in Manhattan (E surprised me by yelling for us at this corner!)
|Headed up to the Bronx.
|From the Bronx and through the park, we picked it up -- we were ready to be done, and then we were.
|If you opted for "no baggage" you received a nice warm parka to walk back to your hotel.
From there, it was a quick shower, a quick meal with N and family, and then chaos because no cabs could get across town due to the marathon shutdowns that were slowly opening up. Finally, we made it to our flight, boarded, and then after more than an hour delay, we were unboarded into a roped off area and were met with this sight:
Needless to say, our travel plans that night did not go according to plan...