By now, the New York City Marathon has come and gone, but the experience of it still lingers with me. Of course, this year that experience of it was as a spectator.
Let me begin by stating: I am not a morning person. For the past ten years I have felt best at 2:30 in the morning and for the past three years I have been desperately trying to reconcile myself with the fact that I will have to one day abandon these crazy habits to enter the real world. Nevertheless, the night before, the Mister and I attended a Hootenanny that involved a barn, a roast pig, a bonfire, and near constant campfire song lead by an acoustic guitar. We drove back home around 2:30 (post daylight savings time) and were pulled over twice for, yes, a broken taillight. The second troopers happened to think that was hysterical. And it would have been hysterical if the car hadn’t already caused us enough problems to have earned the name the Ticketmobile .
But at last we made it back and slept, not sure if I would ever wake to watch any portion of the marathon running by our apartment.
But I did wake up. I woke up at 9:00 am and felt like it was Christmas morning. The Mister came with me and together we walked to the course in time to watch the elite runners pass. As incredible as it was to watch some of the best distance runners in the world pass by performing at an incredible standard, it was almost more mind-blowing to realize that we were watching the very brink of the marathon- that these were the first feet of thousands that would run the course that day. It was like putting the first footprints in fresh snow. Too cool.
It was chilly, so we went back to the apartment and watched the first place men and women’s finish on TV. We ventured out again early in the afternoon and came upon mid-pack runners. Whereas in the morning, the streets were eerie quiet and empty save for anxious spectators waiting for the first glimpse of pavement pounding, now the streets were in a total uproar- packed with runners dodging flying paper cups and pushing through the gauntlet of cheering.
The entertainment stations were in full swing, and the Mister and I happened upon one which featured a band called “Squirrels from Hell.” Great name, decent band. The best part was across the street were three NYPD officers stationed near the route, and whenever the band stopped playing, the officers started yelling across the street. Things to the effect of “Don’t stop now, they [the runners] need you!” Apparently they had established quite the dialogue because at one point in between songs the band said, through the mic, “We only take requests from the rank of Captain or above,” which garnered laughs all around.
Also, I love cheering for runners. During my days in cross country, now (only a half sarcastic) many years ago, I can still remember people cheering my number or the phrases of encouragement thrown out at a particularly difficult point in a course. “GOOO DAN!” I yelled. Now the Mister turns to me with the most incredulous look on his face. “That is so creepy,” he says. I try to explain names have been written on thousands of shirts today just for this purpose. I try to explain how awesome it feels. But instead he remains creeped out- or determined to get my goat- I can’t tell.
In the end we strike a deal: He cheers for runners by name and I bust out my most ridiculous dance moves to the music of “Squirrels from Hell.” It was a grand day.