Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Run if you can...otherwise just roll with it

For the second year in a row, I have woken up in the early morning hours to witness the New York City marathon. I headed up to Spanish Harlem 100th st along 5th Ave (yes there are ghetto areas of 5th Ave) at 9am. I was surprised to see the route vacant because my vantage point last year (70th St. and 1st Ave.) was packed five deep. Then again, not many people purposely hang around the hood unless they are selling crack or ass or something. I asked a traffic officer if he knew where the leaders were at the time. He then shocked me by saying, “leaders….honey the race doesn’t start until 10:30…and it will take them at least two hours to get this far in the race”. Ohhh shit, I should have checked the start time before A) waking myself up earlier than necessary and B) subjecting myself to 40 degree weather.

At least I planned ahead and layered up my clothing. In short I was wearing thick running tights, jeans, a sweatshirt, my ski jacket, ski knee high socks, and gloves so thick they would put out Saudi oil fires. I was one layer away from waddling. Of course, I was so concerned about standing out in the cold that I skipped all other useful things like doing my hair, putting on makeup, or checking the race starting time.

Luckily I was able to kill time with a handsome public school teacher. He went out to get a Sunday paper and enjoy reading it in the park when he stumbled upon the race route. From our conversation I learned he went to the University of Chicago (plus) and teaches AP Chemistry to a public school in Harlem (science…double plus). Friends know that I have a soft spot for bad boys and math/science nerds….yeah, I’m strange.

After what seemed to be hours…wait, it was, the leaders started to go by. First were the wheelchair racers since they can typically finish the race in half the time as a runner…because they have wheels…duh. Anyway, I got a word or two with the wheelchair leader when he asked me where number 2 was. I answered him “nowhere in sight but don’t slow down”. About ten minutes later, I told number 2 to hurry up and catch 1 (even though it was downright impossible unless he had some nitro for breakfast).

Yeah, I was stationed at mile 23, which is basically the death march of a marathon. At that point in the race, you are in the most pain imaginable. When I ran it, I literally started crying because I thought I was going to die. Seriously, one person dies each year in the marathon. While I was running, I had the realization, that person was going to be me…whaaaa! Since everyone looked pretty downtrodden, I decided to yell humorous words of encouragement. When the exhausted wheelchairs rolled by I yelled “don’t just sit there, go go go”! Yeah I got a few ‘oh my God, did she just say that to those poor people’ looks, but come on, it was a joke! Some of the other jems were “hey your fly is open”, “hurrah for half naked men”, “way to go nameless man”, “don’t worry, it cannot get much worse…unless you legs fall off”, and “looking good (insert name), no seriously looking real good, you single”.

I feel the amount of cheering a runner got was directly related to how large their name was written on their shirt and how short/easy it is. If you are a Roberto…just put Rob. Alexandria…yeah Allie works much better. There is no way spectators can read, comprehend, and then shout out a name of more than three syllables in all of three seconds. Plus if you have a weird name and look foreign, you are going to get the “go China man, go” or “be swift Swede” chant….enjoy it.

I was having a blast berating people with the occasional, “if you are smiling, then you are not running fast enough” and “don’t worry, only 10 miles left (lie since we were 3 miles from the finish line….yeah, I got a few death stares from that one)”. Well I was cracking up the Chemistry teacher. Six hours and one hoarse voice later, he asked for my number. Yeah, I guess a good sense of humor makes up for messy bed hair, no makeup, and marshmallow man stuffed pants. That or the fact I rule!


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