Trinks First Marathon
Yevette Hendler interviewed me for one of the Sole Sisters columns and got me reminiscing about my 5 marathons. A funny thing about my races. They seem to be nothing like anyone elses Ive ever read. Those articles are full of split times and racing strategy and, sure, a little suffering, but overall, you get the picture of a dedicated athlete successfully meeting a challenge.
I decided to do my first marathon in 1978 upon graduating from college. While a senior, I noticed many visiting alumni looked like puffy marshmallows and I refused to let myself go like that. So running the New York Marathon became my goal. After all, my younger sister had run it the year before and finished 10th woman. If she could do it, then I could too.
I was an assistant cook that summer at Camp Brett-Endeavor on Stanton Mountain Road. Trust me, they were absolutely desperate for kitchen help. My training consisted of running up and down the mountain about three times a day which totaled approximately 8 miles. Sometimes I would add a loop past the Stanton Mountain Store. End of training log.
On race day, October 22nd, I carpooled in to New York City with my friend, Jeff Martin and his children, Andy and Cindy. It was early morning and a frosty chill was in the air.Ill never forget my first impression of the start of the race. As far as you could see in front and behind, thousands of runners lined up. Overhead five or six helicopters swarmed like hornets. Nearby a car with speakers on its roof loudly broadcasted the "I love New York" advertising theme song. All the while, I kept seeing tubs of vaseline being passed around. "Whats that about?" I joked. "Some kind of orgy thing?"
The start cannon boomed and everyone gave an excited yell. No one moved. Finally the runners ebbed forward, picking their way over discarded clothing, only to stop again. I edged over to the side of the road to get more room to move forward. Free now to run, I splish-splashed along.
It hadnt rained lately. As I ran alongside a long row of men with dropped drawers facing the outside bridge railing, I suddenly realized what I was splashing through.
Tucking myself back into the pack I honestly didnt register running a step until the 5th mile. At that point, the "veteran" male runners joined us from their separate start and I thought it would blow my mind. Never in my life had I seen so many runners! It was absolutely incredible. I was high.
By chance I happened to wear a Minnie Mouse tee shirt that day. I learned people really want to cheer for you, but dont call out race numbers. So that day I became Minnie. Through the streets with boom boxes blaring, horns honking, stereos cranked up and crowds cheering, I ran. Around mile 15, I caught my second wind and many runners encouraged me as I passed them.
I hadnt heard about "hitting the wall" at mile 20. If I had it might have happened sooner. At about mile 22 I suddenly felt beyond weary. My arms were hollow. There was nothing left. As I rounded a corner, two guys with a heavy Brooklyn accent made fun of me. "ey, look at her. She aint nevva gonna make it."
That got me through the next two miles.
That was it. I walked. Runners who had cheered me earlier now moaned, "Oh Minnie!" as they jogged by and I groaned back, "Oh shut up!" I accepted oranges from strangers. A sympathetic runner slowed down to talk me in. Recovering, I at last crossed the finish.
There I found myself on the Channel 2 news. Turns out I had finished right behind their news anchor who was in the same festive mood as I. He pushed the cameras aside. As I staggered along the finish chute a medal was looped over my neck and someone wrapped a space blanket, which looks like a giant sheet of aluminum foil, around me. There wasnt a cloud in the sky and the bright sun bounced off all the shiny crinkled blankets swirling around me. I started getting dizzy, so I curled up under a table. A sound overhead caused me to open my eyes and I saw two kids peering at me upside down from the tabletop. "Do you need help?" they asked.
I found myself being carried by volunteers into an area roped off by the Red Cross and placed on one of many green canvas cots lined up in rows. There I laid, crumpled and cramped, every muscle aching and dizzy until a volunteer asked me if I still needed the cot. "I guess not," I mumbled, and rolled off onto the ground and crawled away on hands and knees.
I had to cross a large grassy field to get my gym bag. Still crawling, I started to make my way across, but laid down halfway to rest. By the way, the area looked like a giant Civil War battlefield. There were bodies on the ground everywhere you looked. I guess very few people knew how to train for a marathon back then. A huge dog came over and started nosing me. Batting it off, I continued my trek shakily on foot. Recovering the bag, I now had to meet up with Jeff. His mother had an apartment in New York, and I had the directions written on the underside of my shirt.
Suddenly I was doubled over with cramps and I just had to get to a restroom. Hugging trees along the way, I somehow made my way near the Tavern on the Green restaurant and spied a parked trailer on the lot. I climbed inside and asked to use the restroom. Of course there was none. I furiously cursed out each and everyone there for not having a bathroom on board. The trailer was occupied by the New York City Police.
I was really losing it. A woman came up to me in the parking lot and asked me if I needed help. "If I dont get to a bathroom soon, therell be no point in trying," I replied. A feeble attempt at humor. She grabbed my arm and propelled me by my elbow right into the posh Tavern on the Green.
Down a hallway we went, passing a long line of ladies with silver blue hair, pearls and furs waiting to use the restroom. "Weve got a runner here," my savior kept saying. Im not going to get too graphic here, but to quote Jim Carrie in the movie Pet Detective: "Do not go in there." Those poor, rich ladies.
Later, I finally found the Martins apartment. They were about to send a search party out for me. Coincidentally, Andy was on the Channel 5 news, having been interviewed earlier as one of the youngest runners that day. I got into the shower and found what all that Vaseline was for. Back then, most running shirts and shorts were 100% cotton which chaffed runners raw. Ye-OW!
Needless to say, I swore I would never do another marathon. For those of you interested in racing statistics: my time was 3:51:00 and I placed 213th out of 4309 runners.
NYC Marathon Starting Area
Another Mile in the President's Shoes || Trink's First Marathon || May Newsletter Deadline || Happy Birthday/Welcome To the Club || Sole Sisters || Volunteers Needed for Midland! || Midland Run || Dead Running Shoes || Snow! || Pre Rescheduled || Race Results
RVRR Web Site Navigation:
Starting Line | Vital Stats | Club Runs | Races | Teams | Membership Info | Sponsors | Newsletters | Links