New York Marathon Expo and The Book of Mormon

The NYC skyline from the starting line

5:00AM: After barely any sleep on the redeye from Phoenix, we landed in New York City. As we flew in the darkness, I recognized the New York skyline illuminated by bright lights contrasted by the darkness of Central Park. On Sunday, I will be running through Central Park to finish the New York Marathon.

7:15AM: It took us a couple of hours to receive our luggage and take the shuttle through New York traffic to the Westin at Grand Central. We checked in, relaxed for half-an-hour in our room and took Uber to the Javits Convention Center. This is where we boarded the shuttle bus to see the marathon route.

9:00AM: After about 30 minutes of sitting in the bus, we finally were at the starting line in Staten Island. The course has multiple waves in multiple colors. I am starting in the blue wave 2 corral F. My official start time is 10:15AM on Sunday but my best guess is that I will actually start the race at around 10:30AM. The bus ride through the course was full of traffic but comfortable. The guide gave us constant commentary about various factoids on the history of each neighborhood we passed.

can coffee look or taste any better?

The first mile is straight uphill and the second mile is straight downhill. We can clearly see the New York skyline to our left as we run north on the Verrazano-Narrows bridge. The bridge takes us into Brooklyn. After zigzagging through residential and non-descript neighborhoods on an up-and-down course for the next couple of miles, we enter a long straight stretch on third and fourth avenue for the next 4 miles.

10:00AM: As the bus ride continued on past the 8-mile marker, we could see that the course meanders left and right, up and down through a few more neighborhoods. Interestingly, we pass through the Williamsburg Jewish community which seems stuck in a prehistoric time. Orthodox Jewish men and women were walking haphazardly in their traditional black garb. The men had curly sideburns and a lot of women are pushing prams. It was curious to see a few of the talking on mobile phones. It seems that only some traditions are stuck in the past!

At around the half-way mark, we stopped for coffee for around 30 minutes at a local coffee shop just north of Williamsburg. The picture above is what Binita ordered. It’s some sort of latte with mocha. Yummm!

11:30AM: The shuttle drove the course into Queens for about a mile and then crossed over into Manhattan on the Queensboro bridge right after the 15-mile marker. There’s a tough uphill on the bridge that is sure to take a toll on all runners. The course then takes a couple of sharp left turns to go back north (uptown as the New Yorkers like to call it) on 1st Ave. Almost 4 miles later, it crosses into the Bronx on Willis Ave bridge and then takes a 90-degree left going west. We will run through what looks like the projects for about a few block before crossing over into Harlem at mile 21.

12:00PM: After making another left turn to run south and running for another mile or so in Harlem, we enter Manhattan again. Going south at the 22.5 mile marker, we touch the north end of Central Park. The 23rd mile is killer. It has a steep uphill that will challenge even the strongest runners. This is the dreaded heartbreak hill of the New York Marathon. Runners who will conquer this hill without walking will be energized to finish strong for the final two miles. A right with about a mile to the finish is the final uphill; a gentle one this time. The last right turn will has us running back north into the finishing chute.

Clearly nervous about Sunday’s marathon

1:30PM: The shuttle dropped us off at the convention center where I picked up my bib. As expected, it was super-crowded but fun. My bib number is 24446. It has my wave and corral clearly marked. I have forgotten my nutrition belt in Arizona; hence bought a new one. I know you are not supposed to experiment with new equipment or new nutrition during a race, but I have little choice. The one I bought (Nathan) quite different from the one I am used to. We’ll see how it works out.

I also have half-a-mind of carrying my phone with me this time. I have’t decided yet! I also picked up a few Stinger waffles and a few Nuun electrolytes at the expo!

2:30PM: We got back to the hotel at around 2:30PM and saw Naman and Shruti. After barely sleeping on the redeye and the hectic day (so far) today, I desperately needed sleep. We parted company and I napped for a solid two hours!

Times square information overload!

6:00PM: We had dinner at an fun, hearty Italian place whose name escapes me. I carbo-loaded with pasta and added protein (sausage) to it. I ate entirely too much, but that’s okay.

The Book of Mormon selfie

8:00PM: Another highlight of the day was The Book of Mormon on Broadway. The play is super-funny. It begs the question about how gullible most people are to follow the fairy tales told by all religions (not just mormonism). I don’t want to get on my soapbox about religion right now. The acting in the play is superb, the music is superb, the entertainment is superb. They had the audience in stitches and on our feet all evening.

10:30PM: After the play, we walked back to the hotel in the chilly New York air.

It’s been quite a day. Goodnight!

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