A few days before the New York City Marathon, I had the pleasure of seeing a Broadway revival called Pippin. Despite the fact I didn’t know all the lyrics like my friend who graciously got us tickets, I truly loved the show. For those who have not heard of it, Pippin is a prince who longs to find his passion in life. After much soul-searching, he discovers there’s much happiness to be had in the simple pleasures of life, from mundane chores to true love.
Enjoying simple pleasures became the theme of my stay in New York, as well as the marathon itself. It was exciting to watch children trick-or-treating in Manhattan, see the lights of Times Square brighten the dark sky like sunshine, figure out the Subway and eat some delicious scallops and mussels. It was equally as exciting to meet new friends and enjoy great times with old ones. I smiled my way through the cheers in Brooklyn and Central Park as if the Big Apple were opening its arms for no one other than yours truly.
I have shared lots of race drama over the past few years on my blog. I’ve hyperventilated my way through triathlons, survived the heat of Boston and climbed, rolled and carried rocks through the Spartan race. This marathon day held none of the usual chaos; instead, it was simply a perfect day.
Well….the wait at the start of the race was not exactly ideal – it was freezing! I sat on the curb with a garbage bag tucked around me for what seemed like hours, but fortunately met a number of nice ladies to pass the time quite nicely. The chills later subsided atop the Verrazano Bridge while catching a quick glimpse of sun, watching the security helicopters circle around the mass of humanity and listening to Frank Sinatra belt out “New York, New York.” There’s not a better start to a race on earth!
Things didn’t get any less boring as we meandered through the streets of Brooklyn and lay witness to the greatest fans on earth. They truly won the prize this year on crowd support with their relentless screams, high fives and musical entertainment. The mile markers were flying by. That’s right – I wasn’t even counting or calculating my average pace.
I felt so great I had to tell myself to slow down so I’d have something left at the end. But the sea of smiling, cheering faces continued through Queens and as we crossed the Queensboro Bridge onto 1st Avenue in Manhattan. From there, I blasted the music, soaked in the sun that was tried to peak behind the clouds and took in the sights of the one of the greatest cities in the world. Literally.
As we pulled out of Harlem and the street numbers decreased in size, the crowds increased in volume. After turning into Central Park for the last 5K, I couldn’t wipe the grin off my face. This was my third New York Marathon and the first time I was actually coherent at this stage of the race. I looked at all the beautiful New Yorkers lining the streets, lovely leaves turning shades of yellow and red, the famous Plaza Hotel and other beautiful buildings (Too bad I never saw friends who were watching).
I was tired, and my legs were telling me to call it quits, but the adrenalin was flowing from everyone and everything that surrounded me. And this time, it wasn’t so much about my final time or if I would qualify for Boston; instead, it was more about taking the time to soak up the experience and appreciate how great I felt and how lucky I was to “partake” in this thrilling adventure.
So, just as Pippin discovered, small pleasures can mean a lot. And certainly this day they did.
Congratulations to Terri for finishing her first marathon! And for helping make my trip all the more pleasurable.