As some of you may or may not know, I lived in New York City for 20+ years and thought I would die there. Then I got married and yadda, yadda, yadda, I am in Utah.
The last NYC Marathon I ran was in 2009. It was my 4th marathon. Toeing the line for my 65th marathon 4 years later, the NYC Marathon continues to be my favorite Marathon. I have never run the Boston marathon, but I can tell you that there is no way in hell it's better than New York (OK, so maybe the Boston/New York rivalry goes beyond baseball with me). That is just how much I love this city.
The first thing I did when I got off the bus from Washington D.C. (after running the Marine Corps Marathon), was hop a cab to the East Village. I have my apartment there, but chose to stay with my friends Sandra and Larry, the owners of the dance studio I used to work at. They have a beautiful and huge loft right next to the train which was really convenient.
When I got to their loft, I settled in and then headed out to walk around my neighborhood. Gosh I have missed it! I walked over to the Strand book store and picked up a few of my favorite tote bags (which are perfect for knitting projects)!
I LOVE the Strand!
I already have put a couple of totes to good use!
Then I hopped the L train to Brooklyn to visit my old dance partner and dear friend, Roddy and his lovely wife Gretchen. Roddy was teaching a Lindy Hop class and though it would be a hoot if I sat in on it. Being that I haven't danced for five years, it was like riding a bike. I remembered the steps, but my brain was not used to thinking so quickly when it came to leading! Sorry ladies, I just could not remember the choreography fast enough to lead the steps perfectly without Roddy calling out the steps, but I still had a blast!
Roddy and Gretchen leaving the Albee Dance Studio in Brooklyn.
After class, I caught the train back to the East Village then I walked over to one of my favorite Ukrainian diners, Veselka and stuffed my gob with sweet farmer's cheese and potato pirogi and vegetarian stuffed cabbage. For dessert? A black & white cookie of course!
Oh pirogi, how I've missed you!! When people in Utah want pirogi they go to the freezer, these babies are hand made!!
Ebony and Ivory live together in perfect harmony.
With a full belly, I headed back to the loft and hit the hay as I was meeting my good friend Annie to go to the expo early.
One thing I LOVE about this race is that the entire city comes out for it! The energy in the city race weekend is palpable!
The subway loves the marathon!
The stores love the marathon!
The buses love the marathon!
I got to Annie's house at 10:00am and since Galen's bus was coming in at the same time, we waited for him and all hit the expo together.
Wow! The lines at the expo were long for a Thursday morning!
Look how big this place is!
I am going in!
New York welcomes everyone!!
Got my bib! Wave 4 Blue 59-574!
So excited to see my friend Anders from Sweden! The Biking Viking would later be carrying the Swedish flag in the Parade of Nations!
After we left the expo, I said goodbye to my sweet friend Annie. She is not a runner, but she is always my standing date to the expo! I love you Annie!
After I left the expo, I went to have lunch with my dear friend and insanely talented actor/singer/vegan runner Chris Orbach who only this past February ran his first marathon and is now getting ready to run his sixth in Philly this weekend! Way to go buddy!!
When I got back to the loft, Larry asked me if I wanted to walk across the street and take a Tango class with Jeni Breen (an amazing teacher I used to work with). I said "heck yeah!" and we walked over and had a really fun class with a little practice and dinner after.
I was sooo happy to be dancing again!
Friday morning started with a trip to the 9/11 Memorial. This is the first time I have been to ground zero since the memorial was built. It was emotional to see and a fitting tribute to those lost on that tragic day.
White roses are placed on names on their Birthday.
Jimmy Amato was the best friend of my fiance at the time. He was a fire fighter that went into the towers to rescue others. I remember getting the call that he was missing and only days later hearing that his body was found. When so many people had nothing of their loved ones, this came as a blessing.
After leaving the 9/11 Memorial, I hooked up with my dearest NYC friends, The Caccioppolis! They are like family and I was so afraid our schedules were not going to sync up. I am good friends with John and Teresa and used to watch over their children, Sidney and Frankie since they were two and three years old.
I met them and we went to the Natural History Museum while we waited for Sidney to get out of her photography class. It was a great reunion!!
Frankie and I outside the Natural History Museum across the street from Central Park. The fireworks from the Marathon opening ceremonies were filling the air!
My sweet Sidney! I can't believe how fast they have grown up! They are AMAZING children!
There was a truck with a treadmill on it making its way around the city seeing if people could run as fast as Ryan Hall (American record holder in the half marathon). Most people didn't last more than 30 seconds!
Saturday morning I really got race weekend kicked off the the "Dash to the Finish" 5K. I had asked my Facebook friends if they planned to run and was surprised when two of my former dance students Steve Kastenbaum (CNN and 1010 Wins reporter) and Neal Blangiardo (all around snappy dresser) said they were in!
The 5k started at the United Nations and ended at the finish line of the NYC Marathon in Central Park. I took the 6 train to Grand Central Station and walked the few blocks to the United Nations.
Me at the start of the 5K.
Mary Wittenberg getting things kicked off!
Shalane Flanagan giving some encouraging word before running the 5K herself!
Heading to the corrals.
How I was able to see Steve and Neal in this crowd was insane! I was finally able to get their attention and Neal took this shot!
There were lots of fun costumes and other stuff at the 5k!
A running juggler!
Lady Liberty X 3!
Lots of countries were represented. This was Mexico!
Making our way to the starting line!
Running up E. 42nd Street
Running past Radio City Music Hall!
Tried to take it nice and easy and just enjoy all the people! I had made friends on the course with a bunch of Italian guys who kept taking my photo and draping their flag over me when they ran. Fun group!
30 minutes later I was finished and I saw Steve and Neal!
Neal got a post race selfie of the three of us!
Shortly after we finished Steve wanted to dance! The first rule of social dance is you never say no!! In fact, I said "heck yeah"!!
Steve and I swinging out at the finish! Music? We don't need no stinkin' music!
I had organized 2 Maniac photos for NYC. It was great so see that a few showed up at 9:30am to be in it!
Maniacs with the statue of Fred Lebow, founder of the NYC Marathon.
I have always wanted my photo with Fred! Fred is brought to the finish line every year.
After the 5K I went back to the loft and relaxed until meeting more Maniacs for the group photo in Times Square! I was happy with the turnout at this photo too!
Maniacs in Times Square!!
After the photo a bunch of us headed to Angelo's for some carbo loading.
Pasta with some of my favorite people!
We had a nice dinner then everyone went home to get ready for the morning, except me. I was in NYC!! I hopped a cab up to 11th Avenue and went to see one of my favorite live Brooklyn bands, They Might Be Giants!
Heck yeah!! Got me a seat up top!! AWESOME show!!
After the show, I got a cab back to the loft, laid out my stuff and got some rest. Tomorrow was going to be the best day ever!!!
Flat Angie ready to go!!
At 6:30am my alarm went off, but I was already awake. I got dressed and headed to the subway that would take me to the Staten Island Ferry terminal. I was meeting my Sarasota friend Greg Goebal and Galen at the ferry at 8:00am. Galen had decided to slum it with us because as I write this he is doing a 100 mile race. I am so glad he did! My goal was to take a million photos of this race, but since my phone is password protected (for work) it was a pain. So Galen said "you tell me what you want photos of and I will take them with my camera". This worked out great! Thanks Galen!
I found a place to sit and enjoy my hot chocolate while I waited.
Getting ready to board the Ferry!
Fellow Maniacs Doug and Galen at the Ferry.
I can believe in 50,000+ runner I saw some friends from Utah!! Yay Ann, Sue and Katie!
Runners inside the terminal getting ready to board!
My shoes are ready!
Runners on the ferry!
Sean (our new friend from Australia), Greg and I on the ferry.
Another Staten Island Ferry Boat
I brought an extra pair of sweat pants in case anyone needed them. They were just the right size for our new friend Cris, from London!
Greg was already to do some filming with his video glasses when he realized the battery in them was dead! :-(
Our new friends Cris and Sean
Waiting for the bus to the start!
Greg and I in the rock star seats on the bus....
...right next to the bathroom!!
When we got off the bus. Security was very tight.
Every runner was searched and wanded, but the officers were very good and we didn't have to wait very long at all.
New York's finest keeping us safe!
Heading to the Blue Start Village!
Fellow Maniac Sheila wearing the hat I made her!
Proud to be in the Alberto Salazar Village! He was my hero in high school and he is a great coach today!
Awww! Sean's niece gave him some special crystals for good luck!
Love the hat!!
The piles of discarded clothing was like sitting on a couch, so we made ourselves comfortable.
Once we came out of the corral, we were lined up outside the toll booths. It is at this time we hear the singing of "God Bless America", the cannon fires and Frank Sinatra's New York, New York is BLASTED!! It is one of my favorite parts of this race. Everyone sings along and I could feel my eyes well up!
It took a while to get to the timing mats , but before we knew it we were off!
Attacking the biggest hill in the marathon right from the start! It is a thrill to RUN over the Verrizano Bridge!
Greg and I already having fun in the first mile!
NYPD Fire Boat!
I told Cris he should have worn this outfit!
We love you too Brooklyn!!
OMH!!! I about died when one of my former dance students saw me! So great to see you Sam!
CPR with CPR!
Again, I saw another one of my dance students and he wanted to dance, of course I said YES!!
As we hit Williamsburg, the course got pretty quiet.
There were very little high fives, but there were a lot of people watching though.
Heading into Queens!
The folks in this band were a hoot!
Heading up the Queensboro Bridge!
It was cold and windy on that bridge!
The tram from Roosevelt Island
Heading down the bridge into Manhattan.
I love 1st Avenue!
My friend Alice from Best Buddies!!
We found Cris again!
Then we found Sean!
Heading into the Bronx!
His hat says "YANKEES"! Of course! That how they roll in the Bronx!
The famous blue line marks the course!
Good thing we didn't really need these guys right Greg?
Coming back into Manhattan!
Mile 22 in Harlem!
The Achilles Athletes were so inspiring!
Coming into Central Park!!
The Guggenheim Museum
A blind runner from Japan. AMAZING!!
We are getting close!!
We gave a lot of high fives!!
We are almost there!!
There is the finish!!
WE DID IT!! Right after this photo was taken I broke into tears. I just had this overwhelming love for New York!
The 4G's and I at the finish!
Greg getting his medal!
Me getting my medal!
Galen getting his medal!
I took this same photo in 2009. I made sure Galen got this shot!
We look like a cult!
Like I said at the beginning of the post, words cannot explain how much I LOVE this race!
After I got back to the loft, I took a shower, filled Sandra and Larry in on the events of the day and headed out to meet Greg and Galen for a celebratory dinner. THANKS GREG! Then it was back to the loft for a great sleep!
I slept in until about 10:30am then packed up my stuff to head back to the airport and the thought of leaving made my heart sink.
The New York Times on Monday!
People ask me why I love New York so much. Easy. I love walking out my door and seeing art of all kinds.
Went to get Thai food before heading to the airport and found a Banksy!
I want to say a few THANK YOUS! THANK YOU Sandra Cameron and Larry Schulz for opening your home to me.
THANK YOU Greg Goebal and Galen Garrison for the most fun I have ever had at a race and THANK YOU Galen for offering to be on photo duty. We sacrifice good (clock) times for great times with friends. These photos will make it all worth it!!
I may live in Utah, but my heart will always be in New York City. As I packed my bags and said my goodbyes, I wept as I left the city I love so much. I LOVE NY!