So back during my recent staycation, I found my race report from the 1997 New York City Marathon (the first one ever to hit the Internets back then? Maybe I should've trademarked it...). I emailed it to about 15 pals, including Sarah, and thought I'd share the gem with you on Marathon Morning in NYC; this very special race was where I found my running legs—and identity.
Since I know you all were waiting for this: My official 1997 Marathon report.
Two words: wet and AWESOME!
What a rush coming over the Verranzano Bridge. Wind in my face, water below my feet, 29,000 of my closest friends running along side me. Amazing feeling.
Brooklyn was pretty cool too. Tons of people on the streets (the flood hadn't begun yet) cheering at the top of their lungs; bands, including a cool steel drum band at the Brooklyn Academy of Music; people handing out candy like it was Halloween. (Wish I would've had a trick or treat bag.) Slapped about 10 million little kids' hands, except in Williamsburg, where a lot of Hasidic Jewish people live. They stood there, watching but no cheering. Very quiet.
Queens basically sucks; the rain started coming. Coming across the 59th Street Bridge into Manhattan was another Kodak moment though. It's a long bridge (1+ mile), and with about a third of it left ot cover, I could start to hear the crowd roar in Manhattan. As I was running up First Avenue, it was thundering and lightning and down-pouring. I was going to change my socks, because my feet added another ten pounds, but it was pointless: they would've been sopped again in a few steps.
The Bronx sucked too, except that there was a gospel choir out, and the rain had subsided for a second. As soon as the choir sang the lyrics, "A storm will come down," the heavens literally opened and it POURED. Ironic. We, the drowned rats, just cheered and kept cruising.
Miles 19+ were mind games. "15 more minutes." "One more water stop." "Two more blocks." Whatever I could do to get through it.
Coming into Central Park, there was about a six-inch deep puddle we had to run through--the gutters weren't draining fast enough. As I reached Central Park South, I yelled, "God Bless Central Park South!" really loud. Nobody--the crowd or fellow runners--reacted, which was weird. I think they thought I was a freak show. I definitely looked like one. Regardless, I did get through it: 4:23 or 4:32 on the official watch, but I prefer my own timing. (Editor's note: Chip timing didn't exist then.) About 10-minute miles, which is ok. I wish I could've gone faster, but considering the weather and my pit stop, I can't complain.
Today I feel ok. I kept waking up last night with achy legs, so this morning, I took a bath, four Advil, and a shot of brandy, and feel significantly better, thanks.
And, no, I'm not doing it again next year. I Know Nike, my shoe sponsor, will be disappointed, considering my sonic speed, but they'll just have to understand.
Glad to know the Central Park South story didn't just grow with time like a big fish story...and glad to know I still had the same perspective with regard to running—have fun and set big goals, but don't take yourself too seriously—then as I do now.
Even though 26.2 isn't my best distance, I'm truly envious of the runners who will cross all the boroughs and bridges of NYC today. Enjoy every step--and God Bless Central Park South!
Do you save race relics like this? Anybody else have old school proofs?