Hi there! Today we have a post from a very special guest blogger. Enjoy!
Oh, hello. Before I begin, there’s something you should know. This is NOT Cuckoolemon (don’t worry she is safe). This is ILoveNoodles (the handle I use in the comments and wherever else I possibly can), but Cuckoolemon readers know me as Matt, Nicole’s boyfriend.
Today I come to you as guest blogger extraordinaire and chicken parm connoisseur. Am I luckiest guy around? Sure. Do I know all of Cuckoolemon’s secrets, even the ones she hasn’t shared with her readers yet? Definitely. But that’s for another time. [Editor’s Note: I have no secrets.]
After months of begging for the chance to guest blog, I’m finally here and I’m not going to blow it. And why am I guest blogging? Because I ran the NYC Marathon, and I want to tell you about it (and because Nicole made me promise to give her final editing privileges).
I’ll start by answering the obvious questions. Was it awesome? Hell yeah. Would I do it again? Absolutely. Did I pee my pants? Only a little. Was it hard? The hardest thing I’ve ever done.
But the thing I found most amazing about the NYC Marathon was that at the end of the day, it was about the people, not the run. 50,000 people (and their friends and families) from different places with different stories to tell can bond over a single event. Everybody has a story to tell, and this is mine.
Like most, I began training about four months ago. But I guess it all really started 10 years ago. I’m not sure if Cuckoolemon ever told you, but in 2005 I had an entry-level job with Nickelodeon. The year I started working there, Nickelodeon and the New York Road Runners (NYRR) formed a partnership so that Nickelodeon would have visibility at NYRR races in an effort to get younger runners into running. I vividly remember the first meeting I went to with the NYRR folks. Everybody in the room was a runner. Everybody except for me. So later that day, my boss (a VP at Nickelodeon who had run more than 20 marathons) and I made a bet.
The terms of the bet: We would race each other in the Race to Deliver, a four miler in the park. If I won, we would switch jobs for a day (i.e. he would answer my phones, bring me lunch, etc.). But if he won, I would have to go to a full staff meeting dressed as the Nickelodeon character of his choice.
The next day, my boss offered to accompany me on my first training run. We ran 5 miles, and I could barely keep up a 10 minute per mile pace. Over the course of the next month, I ran. I trained. I sweat. And when the race came, I only lost by 45 seconds (but averaged 7:40s for 4 miles). I forget which character I dressed up as, but after that race, I was hooked, and I have been a runner ever since.
The day before the marathon, I emailed my old boss and another old colleague involved in the Nickelodeon running program thanking them. Because I truly believe that if it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have run the marathon 10 years later.
Is this sappy and emotional? You bet. But that’s what this thing does to you.
But don’t worry folks. I’m still going to tell you about the race. Here are some thoughts (some more poignant than others) in no particular order:
1. It was very surreal standing in line for the bathroom in Staten Island knowing that everybody was waiting to poop. People also bonded over the success/failure of the aforementioned poop attempt.
2. Brooklyn was awesome and my favorite part of the race (especially miles 8-9): crowds line the streets, and most runners are still feeling good enough to enjoy it.
3. Make a list of where people will be watching and bring it with you (I missed a bunch of people).
4. I saw at least three signs that said, “I farted, run faster.” So I did.
5. I also saw at least 5 signs that said, “If Trump can run for president, you can run 26.2 miles.” That makes absolutely no sense.
6. Men – tape your nipples. Just do it. Even if you don’t think you have to.
7. It’s okay to walk through the water/Gatorade stations. Everybody does it.
8. Plan what you’re going to eat during the race. By the end it’s too hard to think about anything.
9. I had no problem taking an orange slice from a stranger in the Bronx, but I still won’t touch the pole on the subway.
10. My hip started hurting around mile 7. This was the most painful run I’ve ever done.
11. At the top of the Queensboro Bridge, I yelled, “We’re at the top of the bridge!” Nobody responded.
12. Making the turn from 5th Avenue into Central Park was just as iconic and poignant as I thought it would be. Hell yeah!!!
13. I’m upset that my binge eating days are (probably) over. [Editor’s Note: The self-titled “I Love Noodles” is a practiced carbo-loader.]
14. The crowds were amazing, but it was tough to get into a rhythm with so much going on.
15. I took a pedi-cab 7 blocks to get home.
16. Not going to work the next day was the best decision I’ve ever made.
17. There is NOTHING like seeing people you know cheering for you. Thanks to all who did.
So that’s my running story. And in true Cuckoolemon fashion, I’ll end with a question: WHAT’S YOURS??
Thanks for having me, and I hope to be back soon.