I've always wanted to run in the NYC Marathon, but the thought of getting in and out of one of the busiest cities in the world had me questioning whether I would do it. The few times I've visited NYC weren't very pleasant and as I recall, there was bumper to bumper traffic, angry locals, busy airports, confusing trains and garbage everywhere. When I arrive Thursday to get my race packet, all of the unpleasant memories I had came rushing back as soon as I stepped into a cab headed from JFK to Midtown.
My driver used his horn as much as he used the breaks, cursed out at least two dozen other drivers and passed numerous vehicles in a manner that seemed like road rage. After dropping my bags off at my hotel, I headed toward the convention center to get my race packet and was overwhelmed by the sights and sounds of the city. Every five seconds someone was honking their horn, foul language spewed from the lips of the locals, a homeless person had his pants around his ankles peeing on what looked like an apartment building and the wonderful smell of trash filled the air. At this point, I wanted to go home to my quiet town of Asheville, North Carolina.
Race day is here! I wake up at 4 am with a positive attitude and head out to the buses at the NYC Library, which will transport us to Staten Island. Surprisingly, the streets are cleaned up, everyone on the bus is in high spirits, and the weather is supposed to be in the 50s and 60s with clear to partly cloudy skies. From the time I got off the bus to the time I finished the race, I saw a whole different side to New York City. For 26.2 miles, New Yorkers cheered us on with signs and high fives, the streets were filled with happy runners instead of angry commuters, and I felt like I could appreciate the scenery in all five boroughs. Contrary to my reservations about this race, I wholeheartedly believe it is a must on any marathoner's bucket list.
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