It's Sunday, May 5th and it is expected to pour rain all day. No quitting, just gritting!
Up before dawn, bags packed with breakfast, snacks, a change of clothes, rain gear, and of course the bib number. Sitting in the dark eating breakfast, drinking water, AND my "power" fruit juice. Next sausage links and oatmeal with a sprinkling of blueberries, cranberries, and walnuts. My fuel meal. At least to start.
Picture this, over 5,000 runners standing in mud and puddles waiting for the gun. The 10 k, 1/2 marathon, and full race, all start at the same time. Some participants wearing rain ponchos, shorts, leggings, hats, gloves...
Anticipation, calculation, and music all find their place among the crowd.
It's the DAY! All training is complete. It's game on!
Laden with gels, bananas, gummies and gatorade.
Volunteers cheer and clap, and hand out water. Police, EMS, and the Fire Department, patrol and direct. Cars honk, cyclists peddle, and bystanders sound the bell.
The split comes for the 10 K runners to loop back to the park, and the 1/2 marathoners branch off.
The 26-er's (Marathon runners), in for the long haul, head south on the tree-lined streets of Merrick and Bellmore Avenue.
My favorite part of the run.
Down around Cedar Creek Park, until there is no choice but to turn north. A long stretch on Wantagh Parkway with a slow incline, and the open road.
The crowd thins. Running alone, and my mind plays games. I keep pushing, but it's still pouring. I finish my homemade juice potion of beets, celery, kale, carrots, and fruit.
I am getting a little antsy. I finished my banana, and am burning calories faster than anticipated. Did I mention it has been pretty much raining the whole time?
Mile 19 and it's getting tough. Time to regroup and push, at the same time. Volunteers to the rescue. Water stops, and my second banana to keep going the last 6 miles.
Leg's no longer have feelings. Shoes waterlogged, and feet cramping.
I am counting in my head as the miles go by. Will I make it?
Somehow I dig deep. That reserve I didn't know about. The crowd grows again. People praising, some dancing. Thanks, guys!
Turning the corner, and I end up going south again. Only 5 k left to go. Leg's like rubber.
Keep going. "Dear God" help!
My eyes find my LIRRC (Long Island Road Runners Club) team members. They have finished their 5 and 10 k, and 1/2 marathon races. They wave and yell out my name, frantically cheering and lavishing me with enough strength to get the job done!
Four hours, 3 minutes, and 7 seconds.......Next one in 5 months!