So I don’t need to beat a dead horse regarding the NYC Marathon. It didn’t happen. You know this. Just in case I wasn’t sure, even though I found out at the Expo, where I had spent the greater part of the day volunteering, the New York Road Runners sent me an email to let me know. On Saturday. Even though I wasn’t running it. Enough said.
My plans of running 8 miles with Kristine last Saturday, her last long run before the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon, were thwarted by MANY glasses of wine and a shot of tequila Friday night in support of my friends who found out the NYC Marathon would not happen. I’m nothing if not a supportive friend. Obviously, we traded our 8 mile run for bagels and a plan B of running those 8 miles Sunday morning instead.
My mom always taught me that Everything Happens for a Reason!
I saw Ali tweet on Saturday wondering if anyone would be running in Central Park on Sunday morning. I immediately responded that she should meet up with Kristine and me.
Saturday night I spent
out having fun and being social reading Ali’s race recap from her first marathon. I knew she was too speedy for us, but figured we could all meet up to start and then part ways when we couldn’t keep up with her. If you’ve never read her blog, you should. She is FAST!
Sunday turned into a fun run with Kristine, her friend Stephan, Ali and her boyfriend Ramsey. It was a run I could never have imagined, and the most fun I’ve had on a run in a long time. If we are being honest, it was an easy run for Ali and closer to a TEMPO run for me.
Ali is just as sweet, in person, as she seems through her blog and social media, and her boyfriend was just as great. I don’t know why I was so surprised when she spoke with an accent; she IS from the Midwest after all. We felt nothing like “strangers” and so much more like a group of people who had been friends for years.
We made our way to Central Park where the enthusiasm and spirit was overwhelming. Never underestimate the resilience and spirit of runners. There were groups of runners everywhere. Some just out running because it was a beautiful morning. Some out running because they were now training for another marathon. There were even groups of runners out to run the original NYC Marathon, 26.2 miles ALL IN CENTRAL PARK! There were people handing out water, Gatorade and snacks. It was truly an amazing sight to see.
We started at the 72nd street transverse on the East Side and our plan (me and Kristine) was to run a full loop and then out to the East River. I never anticipated running all together the WHOLE time. I mean I NEVER thought I could keep up or that Ali could possibly run that “slowly.” As Ali said, so perfectly, it was an experience I would never forget.
We ran up Cat Hill and as we began to approach Engineers’ Gate it occurred to me we should take Ali and let her run the last few miles of the NYC Marathon course. We briefly excited the park onto 5th Avenue and re-entered the Park, just as she would have during the marathon. Then we ran back down the East Side of the park and out onto Central Park South. We ran back into the park where she would have, no doubt, been crushing the end of the marathon had that bit*h Sandy not pummeled our beloved NYC. We re-entered the park, from Columbus Circle, and got as close to the 2012 NYC Marathon Finish Line as the barricades would allow.
We decided to finish the outer loop and introduce Ali and Ramsey to Harlem Hill. I’ll admit, trying to keep up with them was TOUGH. I was grateful for every little thing that allowed us to stop for a brief moment. As we came back down Harlem Hill, heading back down the East Side of the park, to finish up our run, we ran into the talented Erica Sara. It is still bizarre to me when I introduce people via Twitter handles. She joined us for the last part of our run and Ali finally got to run a little faster.
At the end of the run we covered about 10 miles and they just FLEW BY! I only wish that Kansas City was closer and we could spend more time with Ali and Ramsey. I wonder if they would mind a visitor. I’ve never been to Missouri.