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A New York Marathon State of Mind

nycmarathonIt’s a well-known fact around this site that I am not a runner. I’ve tried. I go through spells where I get inspired and run for cardio. But I much prefer the elliptical, group exercise class or walking to slogging it out at a “high speed.” But my younger brother? He’s a bona fide marathoner. It’s hard to believe we came from the same parents. Except for the fact that we both have dimples and blue eyes.

Some people try for years to get into the NYC Marathon. My brother? He took up running a couple of years back and got in by running an insanely fast marathon to qualify. Kyle’s logged four marathons in under three hours in the past couple of years. His fastest time was a crazy 2:53:22 in Phoenix in January. He came in third in his division in the San Diego marathon. To him, a 10-mile (or more) workout is just an average, easy-running day.

He came to stay with us a couple of nights before the race over the weekend. I always think of runners as high-maintenance, with crazy rituals leading up to the big race. Not him. He had no special food requests besides asking if we had PB&J on hand. He was super low-key about the whole thing. I only started thinking he was truly crazy when I had to get up at 4:15 a.m. to drop him off to catch his bus to the start of the race.

NYC marathon runner

Cool as a cucumber at 4:30 a.m. and dressed for the hours of serious cool at the race start.

Watching the marathon was hands-down my favorite NYC experience to date. We headed to mile 16 to try to see him run by. The spectators were fantastic. It’s a mix of people looking for loved ones running and people there simply to see the spectacle. And it is a spectacle. We caught the elite runners when they ran by an hour and 18 minutes or so into the race. They were so fast that I wasn’t even able to snap a picture. Then we waited, looking anxiously for my brother.

NYC streets marathon

The enthusiasm of the spectators is contagious.

The number of runners in the race is mind-boggling. With more than 45,000 participants, you soon start to get dizzy looking for your ONE runner. The people start to look like ants. Everyone starts to look like your brother. You can get distracted or look away for one moment and miss 50 runners as they go by. Because my brother knew he would have a “leisurely” pace during the race, he predicted a short window of time in which he’d be near us. Sure enough, thanks to his prediction and blue shirt, we were able to scream at him as he ran by. And amazingly, he was able to see us in the throngs of people. Seriously, the coolest moment ever.

NYC marathon

He’s in the blue!

We weren’t able to catch him again at the final stretch of the race, but seeing him race by was a thrill. My hubby, mom and I were like giddy kids afterwards. We caught back up to him after he finished, and you seriously never would have guessed he’d just run 26.2 miles. He looked no different than when he’d started. Not a drop of sweat on him, not a limp. Just a grin!

NYC marathon medal

Unfazed by 26.2 miles.

His “leisurely” pace ended up getting a finishing time of 3:27:04. No wonder the slow poke didn’t break a sweat… —Erin

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  1. Brenda says:

    Your uncle Brad was a real runner. He would fly up and down the alleys in Seoul Korea, barely breaking a sweat. He called me thermometer head because I have never been a runner, and would turn bright red after 500 metres. I floated like a cork, so swimming has always been my thing.

  2. Debbie says:

    I watched the marathon on TV. It was over too quickly! Your brother looks so calm and I love that color on him. I looked closer and see it has ASICS on it (most of my running gear and shoes by ASICS). I needed some motivation to get out in the (chillier LA) mornings, so got some new ASICS running clothes and now can’t wait to get outside and run! Whatever it takes I guess. My half-marathon is around Easter, so need to get going. I’m not a natural like your brother! Congrats to him. Think I’ll try to copy his “Don’t stress it” attitude.

  3. Farrah says:

    What an incredible experience! I feel inspired just reading about it.

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