November 4, 2014
What an incredible race experience – from beginning to end. I cannot believe this time yesterday I finished my second marathon!
Image: TSC NYC Marathon
My journey to the NYC Marathon actually took quite a few years. I entered the NYC marathon lottery in 2008 knowing that my chances of acceptance were slim. At that time entrants who were declined via lottery 3 years in a row were given automatic entry in the 4th year (this policy no longer exists). Well one year went by and I forgot to sign up for the lottery in 2009 (I was in the middle of b-school applications).
I tried again in 2010 (rejected), 2011 (rejected) and 2012 (rejected) – guaranteed entry for 2013! I deferred my 2013 entry to 2014 because of a travel heavy work schedule. When it was time to register again – I was quite excited! Six years later and many many miles later… I was finally headed to New York!
The New York City Marathon is held on a Sunday and I knew I wanted to arrive on Friday for packet pickup because the day before any race is always crowded. I took off Friday and finally enabled my out of office message that I prepared earlier this month – does anyone else do this? Or just me? 🙂
Although I had a packing list and piles of all things running sitting in my room, I did not finish packing until early early Friday morning (I brought a small rolling carry on and my swim/triathlon bag).
I did not get much sleep because I had a 4AM bus to New York – but luckily I fell asleep for the entire bus ride. I arrived at my hotel at 8AM to drop off my bags and grab some breakfast. To my surprise, I was able to check in!! What an amazing start! After getting some provisions I walked along the High Line towards the expo.
The expo was held at the Javits Convention Center – which is about a mile northwest of where I was staying. Pretty grand right?
The expo opened at 10:00AM and I got in line around 9:40AM.
At that point I was feeling excited – it was getting REAL! The line was a melting pot of countries – I heard runners speaking in French, runners wore Team Germany jackets, and my line-mates traveled all the way from Italy!
At 9:55AM (according to my phone) they started to let us in. It was pretty organized and they had TONS of volunteers directing people to packet pickup. We had to show them our registration form and ID. That took no more than a minute for me.
Next we were directed to the shirt pickup area, which was conveniently located in the green section behind bib pickup. Lost? Ask a person in the green shirt. Volunteers also wore flag stickers if they spoke another language – I was really impressed.
Runners did not choose their shirt size ahead of time. The volunteer in the above picture had shirt samples that we could try on or look at. He also explained that Asics may run small. I loved the long sleeved tech shirt color and design. I also appreciated that the bibs were placed in plastic sheets – all about the details!
After my bib was scanned, we were ushered into the Official Asics New York City Marathon merchandise shop. The location was spacious and at the time I went it was not too crowded (a few hours later….. not so much).
Loads of merchandise! Because I run quite a few races/year, I usually opt out of buying official race merchandise; plus I am typically happy with the race shirt that comes along with the bib. For this race I made an exception. I did have moments of, “what if I get hurt and have all this stuff?” running through my head.
After purchasing a tech tee, visor, and hoodie I made my way to the Asics pace band station. They printed my pace pand with information I entered online a couple weeks ago. Cool right?
I explored the rest of the marathon vendors. To my surprise, the expo was not as large as I expected it to be. I thought it would be the same size as Boston (in terms of vendors). I made my way over to Brooks to check out the New York inspired GTS. Yes, that is the Statue of Liberty on the shoe; and no I did not purchase them.
They were several vendors set up with photo booths. The team at Poland Spring pulled me in and I got a few pictures taken. You can check out the mini GIF here.
I stopped by the Nuun table to pick up some tablets for the weekend. I received a free commemorative waterbottle because I purchased two rolls. I also received a free Nuun hat (you also had an option of a t shirt) because I retweeted one of their messages on Twitter.
Of course I had to take the obligatory bib and race map photo!
After checking out the expo I headed to the second floor to take a “tour” of the New York Burroughs, listen to a race course overview, enter data to predict my finish time, and talk to the pace group table.
You know your good friend is also a runner…when they make sure you get a running pose in front of this sign.
The “tour” gave NYRR an opportunity to showcase their other races throughout the year, the NYC Half Marathon, the Bronx Ten Miler, the Staten Island Half Marathon, the Queens 10K, and the Brooklyn Half Marathon (which I ran this past Spring).
My post expo loot (a combination of my freebies and purchases). It will be interesting to read other accounts of the expo as I am sure it was a different experience for those attending later in the day or on Saturday.
How did I spend Halloween night?
I had soup dumplings at Joe’s Shanghai Restaurant with my friend Laurel (you may remember her from my Brooklyn and SeaWheeze recaps).
And took a short walk over to Rockefeller Center (I’ve never been).
Next up: Marathon Morning!
Official race merchandise – yay or nay?
Any favorite race expos or merchandise?