Tuesday, November 8, 2011

2011 NYC Marathon Weekend

This past weekend I made it a point to get as involved as possible in the NYC Marathon weekend.  What better way to try and get a glimpse into what I can expect next year, when it is MY turn to run in the greatest race in the world, the ING NYC Marathon!

Friday, November 4 - NYC Marathon Expo - Jacob Javits Convention Center

On Friday I had signed up to be a volunteer at the expo.  I worked in the registration area from 2:00 PM-7:15 PM handing out bibs to runners from all over the world.  I arrived at the Javits center around noon so I could get a chance to browse the expo and the different booths.  I also knew Dean Karnazes was going to be there, so I made it a point to try and get to stop by and say hi to one of my biggest inspirations.

Entrance to the Expo

Inside the Expo

Me and Dean Karnazes

At the Registration Booth

Working at the registration booth handing out bibs was such a great experience.  I had the chance to meet runners from all across the globe.  Some didnt speak English very well, but somehow found a way to communicate with me, and each one in their own way showed their sense of appreciation and gratitude.  

Later that evening after my shift, I had dinner with my friend Dahlia (who was awesome enough to let me stay at her apt in the city for the weekend so I wouldnt have to commute back and forth, thank you Dahlia!).  We met up with a fellow friend from the Runner's World forums, Damaris, who ran in the Marathon and did an awesome job, as well as her friend Ilana, who will be running with me in the near future :)  We ate at a mexican place called Dos Caminos, and the food was great, and the company was even better!

Left to Right clockwise (Damaris, Ilana, Dahlia, Me)

Saturday, November 5th - Dash to the Finish 5K - United Nations to Central Park, NYC

Part two of my marathon weekend was to run in the NYRR Dash to the Finish 5K.  The course was from the United Nations on 1st Ave, down 42nd Street to 6th Ave, up 6th to Columbus Circle, into Central Park, and running the last mile of the marathon to the actual finish line.

I got to the corrals around 7:45 AM and the race was to start at 8:30 AM.  It was a cool sunny morning, ideal running temps!

Arriving at the Corrals

Waiting for the race to start

My prior 5K PR was 41:30 on July 30th.  Being that 2 weeks before this run I had run in the RnR 10K and had a 5K split of 37:xx, my goal for this run would be 35 minutes or better.  

It took about 5 minutes to get across the starting mat as there were about 5000 runners ahead of me, and lucky me, my GPS decided to reset just as i get to the start, so I had to restart it, oh well!

Running up 6th Ave to Columbus Circle

The run felt good, the course was pretty flat for the most part and I felt confident that I could hit my goal.  Only problem was that during the run, there was the occasional person who thought it would be a good idea to stop running to take pictures, UGH!....  Also there were people who felt it necessary to walk hand in hand 4-5 people across.. So basically I had time knocked running around people..  I didnt let it bother me much, I was enjoying the run and the whole experience.

Coming into the park and seeing the marathon signage was awesome!  Mile 25, woohoo!!  400 Meters, 200 meters, OMG, there is the FINISH LINE!!!!  My first glimpse of that finish line, I started to feel a little choked up, and felt a tear forming in the corner of my eye.  I took those emotions, bottled em up and booked it into the finish....  I heard the announcer call out "Gary Aneis from Staten Island coming across the finish line!"  

Official Results - 35:50, 11:43 Pace, New PR by almost 6 Minutes!!!!!!!

The above picture was taken after the run, to celebrate a special moment...  The completion of this 5K run was the final part of my 9+1 Auto Entry into the 2012 NYC Marathon.. Thats right, its official, I'M IN FOR 2012!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Then after the run, what better place to celebrate then at......

The Hershey Store in Times Square!

Sunday, November 6th - 2011 ING NYC Marathon - Mile 24 Aid Station

The big day has arrived!  It was Marathon Sunday!  Dahlia and I arrived at the Mile 24 aid station, which was located just inside Central Park, around 8:00 AM.  When we arrived we were treated to Starbucks Coffee and a nice hot Bagel., which wound up being all I would have eaten for the next 8 hours!

We started by stacking and filling cups with Poland Spring water, 3 tiers high!

Before any runners came past, it was the amazing men and women who did the marathon on hand powered cycles...  I was totally inspired by the will and dedication of these disabled people...  Just goes to show that even if you have a disability, you can still accomplish great things!

I was able to snap a few more photos before I had to focus on the job at hand...  The elites came zooming by, first the women then the men....

After the elites had their turn, the 3 Waves of runners came thru

One thing I didn't see, was a single ounce of hate or malice.   People would bump into each other at times, and apologize, or say excuse me.  Runners would come by and thank us volunteers for our efforts.

I was urged on a couple occasions by the station captain to take a break and have something to eat, to which I refused each time.   No way was I coming off the line and missing any of this!!!

At around 4:45 PM, it was time to call it a wrap to our shift and head home, which I did reluctantly...

Through the whole weekend and especially during the marathon, I got a special glimpse into how good humanity can truly be.  Not only did I feel proud to be a New Yorker, but I was proud to be a HUMAN BEING!

Now begins the countdown until the 2012 NYC Marathon... 

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