Monday, August 17, 2009

My Half-Marathoning Husband

Yesterday was the New York City Half Marathon, and Eric DID IT! He ran that bad boy on probably one of, if not THE, hottest days we have had all year. He rocked it. I'm so proud!

I agreed to go along to watch what I could before I realized that the thing started at the crack of dawn, but by that point I was committed and there was no backing out. (I'm kidding - of course I wanted to see Eric run!) We got up at 4:45 a.m. after only about three hours of sleep, and left the house by 5:15 a.m. We headed up to Central Park at about 97th Street on the East Side, where they had all the corrals set up for the runners to line up in. I guess when you signed up they assigned you a number based on how fast you said you run, then they corral you in that order so all the fastest runners are in the front. We got to the park around 6:00, hung out for a bit then found Eric's corral.

Getting ready!

Before the race

I left him in his corral around 6:15 and headed to the start line to wait for this thing to get underway. I got a great spot just past the start line and was entertained by the fastest runners warming up in front of me while I waited for the race to start. I even was able to get pictures of both the man and the woman who ended up winning the race: Tadese Tola (with a time of 1:01:06) and Paula Radcliffe (with a time of 1:09:45 - yes, these times mean they ran 13.1 miles in just over an hour. Wow).

Tola, the male winner, on the left

Paula Radcliffe, the female winner

Before I knew it, it was time to get things started! They introduced all the super-fast people, then sang the National Anthem. Then they fired the starting gun and off everyone went! Eric ran right by me as he crossed the starting line and he spotted me, so he gave a nice smile. Yay!

You can see the runners all lined up in the distance, waiting for the signal to GO!

There he goes! He's on his way!

So, as I mentioned, the Half Marathon stretches for 13.1 miles. The course of this one was really pretty cool. The runners did a full loop around Central Park, then continued out of the Park down Seventh Avenue to Times Square. At 42nd Street they turned west to West Side Highway, along the Hudson River. They then ran south down the West Side Highway to Battery Park (which is where you pick up the ferry to the Statue of Liberty). What a great overview of the city!

That path also allowed me to walk or hop on the subway to catch up with Eric along the way, so I was able to see him several more times after the race got started. After seeing him cross the starting line, I hurried west across the Park (on foot) to see him again as he looped around the Park, at about the 3-mile mark. Once again he spotted me and gave me a great smile. He made it look so easy!

Doesn't he look great?

Line of runners in Central Park

After Eric passed me there, I exited the Park and hopped on the subway down to Times Square. There was a lot going on down there - for example, they had stages set up with singers leading a great big sing-a-long! There were lots of people lining the streets to watch and the runners really seemed to be even getting into it. I even saw some runners motioning along to the "YMCA" as they ran! Once again, Eric spotted me in the crowd and even ran over to give me a kiss! Then he was off once again. Go, Eric!

There he is, amongst all the Times Square fun!

He's coming right for me! Now he's just showing off.

There he goes!

The sing-a-long stage, leading the music as the runners go by

After seeing Eric in Times Square, I hopped back on the subway and headed downtown to Rector Street, where the finish line actually was. This was where it got REALLY crowded. It took me a while to get over to where I could see the runners well, but I was eventually able to muscle myself a good spot near the front so I had a good view. Just a few minutes later, I saw him coming! He was almost done! This time he didn't see me, but I cheered for him just the same. GOOD JOB, ERIC!

This is the last leg of the race! Look at that stride. He's got this.

Eric (on the left) about the cross the finish line

Eric finished the race in 2:14:50, which I think is excellent. That means he averaged 10:17 per mile. He was actually under 10 minutes/mile through the 15k mark, but then it started to get really hot, so he (wisely) slowed it down a bit. I'm so proud of him! After he crossed the finish line, I made my way back through the crowds to try to find him. He was walking along a long path with the other runners, where they had set up sprinklers for them to walk through and were handing out cold towels, bottles of water, and snacks like pretzels and apples. And of course, most importantly, they were handing out the MEDALS!

Eric in the crowd of runners, taking his medal

The medal!

After getting all his goodies, we were finally reunited. We walked a little further down to Battery Park, where we stopped so Eric could stretch and I could take a few pictures. They also had a nice little festival set up down there, but it was so hot and we were tired so we didn't stick around.

The Half-Marathoner himself (with the Statue of Liberty behind him to the left)

The runner with his proud wife

Congratulations on this accomplishment, Eric! You did a great job, and it was wonderful for me to see you reach your goal. You're the best!


Anonymous said...

Way to go Eric! And, what great support and encouragement you are Meghan!
Love, Aunt Rachel

Anonymous said...

Well done Eric!


Dad said...

Great Job!!!

mzpinay said...

Big congrats to your hubby! I hope to run my 1st 1/2 in Nov. Yikes!

Becky said...

I am proud of you, Eric! Way to go!
Mom Becky