Monday, November 10, 2008

The New York Marathon

"What doesn't kill you, makes you a runner." -Nike

After experiencing the W-A-I-T for New York City's 26.2, I will absolutely agree with Nike's statement. To illustrate, please indulge me by watching this video: **Also, please disregard my rad 80s hair. It served its warming purpose.**

Waiting for 26.2 from Julia Wade on Vimeo.

I don't think words alone could have described what it felt like to wait 4 hours in 35 degree weather to run 26.2 miles. Hell. Maybe that describes it. We were so unprepared with only light running jackets and sweats. We honestly needed parkas, sweatshirts, long johns, and ski masks, plus pillows and a mummy sleeping bag. Maren, on a slightly more positive note, is a great snuggler. She also had an amazing friend who offered her puffy blanket for us to shiver under for a few hours. If it hadn't been for that little puffy blanket, I am almost certain I would have marched my little self across that Verrazano Bridge and hailed a cabbie to take me home. Maren, thanks for putting up with my grumpy, non-morning self ... more than once. In fact, thank you, everyone, for putting up with my grumpy, non-morning self for the past 10 marathons. You are all gems, to say the least.

Amazingly enough, 10:20am came. And it came gloriously. I have never been more ready to get on a course than I was at that moment.

And we ran. And ran and ran - in our sweats. People, at least on my end, this is NOT a good idea. My poor little Santa Clara University sweatpants were SO heavy. But there was NO WAY on God's green earth you could have paid me one million dollars to take those suckers off after the freezing hell we endured for four hours (Do I exaggerate? Yes, I do). But note to self, never run in the sweats.

So my whole goal in my 10th 26.2 was to stay mentally tough. Well, I'm really sad to say that the mental toughness I hoped for was not there the first 11 miles ... at all. I couldn't shake the single thought: "Why the hell am I doing this?" It is the most daunting feeling in the world to think about the 25, 23, 18 more miles you have to put behind you.

My expression at mile 8 says it all ...

I am grateful for Maren who stayed tough for me. She saw the "crashing" signs and kept me from completely throwing in the towel by staying positive for me. Thank you, Maren.

I had a little pow-wow with myself around mile 11. I decided that 15 more miles was much better than 20 and that I needed to be a big girl. No tears were shed, but a burden in my chest was lifted and I was ready to finish.

Mile 13 ... getting ready to cross the Queensboro Bridge ... aka the bridge that never ends and goes up forever. Both feeling pretty good.

The miles felt pretty good after that. I'm fairly certain this was around mile 20. Why I'm holding up 10 fingers, I still can't quite figure out. Probably a 10K left? Number 10? I'm pretty sure I thought we had 10 miles left. Once you've put 20 miles under your belt, you're not quite thinking straight.

We pushed through the Bronx and finally arrived in Central Park. I felt like I had wings and that I could fly. I would trade a thousand bad miles to feel like I did from mile 20 on. I was filled with an intense amount of gratitude, energy, and joy. It was all I could do to hold back the tears and take in the moments I was experiencing.

And I finished.
Things I will always remember about the New York Marathon:

  • 2 million spectators cheering us on
  • Experiencing New York City like no one else can
  • Running the same course as Paula Radcliffe (amazing picture, Jona)
  • Running with Maren
  • Experiencing four of NY's amazing(ly long) bridges
  • Loving miles 20-26.2
  • Seeing Jonathan at the finish line

Words cannot express how grateful I am for my husband. Jonathan is my champion and the one who believed in me throughout my running journey. From the first $100 check I cut to run the Anchorage Marathon to the last stride across the New York City Marathon finish line, he has only cheered me on and offered the support only a husband can give.

None of this was possible, or meaningful without you, Jona. I love you.


  1. Wait--Why the heck would you have to wait that long before the race? Weird! I'm so glad it went well! (Minus the first 11 miles...) Go Julia and Maren!!

  2. YAY!!
    You are so awesome Julia! and Maren!

  3. aww I am so thrilled it went well for you! Yay Julia, superwoman!

  4. I have been waiting for this post. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us. You are wonderful and amazing and you and Maren make a great team!!!

  5. Congrats Julia! What an AMAZING experience. Just another of your many! Once again i envy this kind of thrill and accomplishment. It reminds me of another place i love that i need to be again. . and that is the vball court. (sigh) someday.
    Love the picture of you and Jona at the end. You two are great together. Is it possible we could see you in Utah during thanksgiving week?

  6. hey luisa! we will be in nc for thanksgiving. what about christmas?

  7. Awesome race report! Ive got a 26-miler coming up in Dallas soon and hope I feel as good as you did after mile 20.

  8. Congrats on your run. Great pictures. I wrote a narrative on my experiences at NYCM too, but lacked the cool pics that you have.

    Can't believe you had to wait in the cold for so long at the start. They really should just inform everyone to take the ferry instead.

  9. Great Job Julia! You are a superstar!

  10. What a great post! I loved it all. Congratulations Jula! Did you get my message?

  11. you guys are nuts that's all i have to say.. but what a fun experience.. love all the pictures! maybe one day i will run one.. i doubt 10.. maybe one...

  12. Great report Julia! I am so glad you ended the marathon on a positive note. What an experience. I hate the waiting before the races, especially in the cold! Well done. We will have to meet up and run again soon.

  13. what a memorable experience. congrats! yeah, my roommate and i ran logan in a snow storm--NOT fun. glad you pushed through.

  14. Way to go...congrats on the great finish!!

  15. Great race report--congratulations! Just finished the book about the 2007 NYC Marathon, and thought of you. What an incredible experience it must have been!