I have been really trying to think a lot about the NYC Marathon and the entire awesome experience that it was. I tend to be SO crazy busy right up until I leave for a race, and then the minute I get home I am back to mom, housekeeper, adoption coordinator (and usually a bit overwhelmed playing catch up on all fronts). This was a special trip and wonderful experience and I don't want to lose any of the memories.
As I was thinking about race day again this morning, I was remembering the walk from the corrals and then standing on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge right before the race started. I was chatting with some of the people around me, two in particular. One guy was a young college kid from the Bronx who seemed to be in super shape. He said he had run the NYC Marathon as a bandit twice, and this was his first year running it "legal". He worried about going out too fast but was quite cocky and funny. Another guy was an older gentleman (I am guessing late 50's) from the midwest who had a shaved head and was covered in tattoo's. This was his first NYC marathon (but he had run lots of others) and he was getting a tattoo for it as soon as he was done. He was a really cool guy and very fun to talk to. And then there was me... a 34 year old mom of 12 from Wyoming, running my sixth marathon and my first NYC Marathon.
A few other people around us popped in and out of the conversation, but the three of us hung together and talked for a good half hour or so. They made me laugh a lot and really helped me from getting too anxious as we got ready to go.
Then after I finished I was leaving Central Park and walking towards where I was supposed to meet Josh, and I heard someone yell, "Hey Wyoming! Great job!" and it was the college kid from the Bronx. He was wearing his race blanket like a super hero cape and was all smiles. It was fun to see him for that passing moment and I smiled that he recognized me in the crazy herd of runners.
Remembering these things got me to thinking that there aren't too many situations in life in which a college kid from the Bronx, a 50-something guy from the midwest covered in tattoo's, and a mom of 12 from Wyoming would end up hanging out together. But lined up there on that bridge at the start of the NYC Marathon we had an instant kinship as runners, and conversation, laughs, support, and encouragement flowed freely.
Along with my two buddies from the bridge, I made a friend from Wales on the bus to the start, an Italian runner with very little English offered me a Power Bar in the runner's village and butchered trying to say "Erin", a German coach talked to me about my race, and I gave and received lots of encouragement and congratulations to and from countless other runners. I got to hang out with a friend I met through my blog for the second time in person. I met several other bloggers. I got to meet Meb Keflezighi (and hold his Olympic medal!), Ryan Hall, and Bart Yasso. And then of course there are all of the amazing friends and all of the support and friendship I get from the online running community. All of the "good luck's" and "congrats" had me smiling all weekend. Awesome.
Yup, the running community rocks. Runners are cool.