Sunday, November 10, 2013

ING NYC Marathon (part 1)

What a whirlwind 5 days. It's hard to find a good place to begin.

Erik and I decided to take a red eye to NY to make up for the 3 hour time difference. 

We arrived in NYC early on Thursday morning at JFK airport. We hopped on our first of many subways we would ride throughout this trip. Our hotel was located just a half a block form Times Square. Although it's a great location for tourism, it's not a great location for subway accessibility. We still had to walk a few blocks to our hotel while pulling suitcases in a big city. It was daunting but we finally found our hotel. We checked our bags in and decided to explore the city.

Our first stop: Starbucks in Times Square! We needed caffeine for the long day ahead of us. We also went over to the discount Broadway tickets counter and scored some tickets to Wicked later that night!

Next stop: Jarvits Convention Center for the marathon packet pickup and expo. The one problem with New York is that the subways run North to South and not East to West. So that meant lots of walking or taxis whenever we headed that way. Once arriving at the convention center we were ushered through a long winding line to do security checks before even being allowed to enter. We were appreciative of the extra security so we didn't mind. It was a large expo where we scored some fun new gear, clothes, and back massager.

After walking around the expo for a couple hours the traveling had caught up to us and we needed to nap. Back to the hotel. That's the problem with red eye flights. Even if you sleep on them it's not quality sleep. After a 2 hour nap we were refreshed and ready to go out on the town for the evening. We had dinner at Guy American Kitchen and Bar. We ate some delicious mac and cheese then it was off to the Gershwin Theatre for Wicked! This was my first Broadway play and it was AMAZING! Alli Mauzey as Glinda was the highlight of the show. She was hysterical! Carla Stickler was Elphaba for the night and she was incredible! I am so happy that this was my first experience with broadway. Here is a clip (not taken by me) of one of my favorite scenes:

Day 2:

Erik and I began our day with a easy run through Central Park. It is beautiful there! Check that off the bucket list. We began our run at the finish line of the marathon. As we ran through Central Park we saw many runners out and about. There was a pair of elite men doing an "easy" run and making me look like a snail. They stopped and took pictures with people. I couldn't think of the name of the one runner but I knew he was a frontrunner for the race. Later we found out it was Mutai (who ended up winning for the men)! About a quarter mile behind them was unmistakably Jeptoo (the women's winner)! She has such a distinctive run that there was no mistaking her.  It was such a memorable experience to be able to say that I run with elite runners ;) As we ventured through the park we would periodically stop and take photos. Around mile 4 of our run the skies opened up into a torrential downpour. Erik and I took shelter in a subway entrance along with many others. We ended up running 6.5 miles that morning.

After the run we went back to the hotel to clean up and then head out for the day's adventure.  First stop the Staten Island Ferry.  We wanted to do a test run to see how long it would take to get there so we knew before race day.  Once we got there we found out that it was free to take the ferry and that you get incredible views of the Statue of Liberty.  We hopped on board and enjoyed the ride.  There were several other runners on the ferry doing the same thing we were.  We chatted with a couple from Minnesota there and back and did get some great photos.

After our adventure to Staten Island, Erik and I wanted to pay our respects to those lost in 9/11.  The Ground Zero memorial fountains are a beautiful tribute to those who lost their lives that day.  Every angel has their name engraved on the fountains where the towers stood. It was humbling and made me want to go home and squeeze my kids tight.  The tree we are standing by is the Survivor Tree.  The new Liberty Tower is also coming along and is a beautiful building.


Our next stop of the day was the Empire State Building.  More lines, more security checks, more amazing views.  Our legs were already sore from the 2 days of nonstop sightseeing.  We didn't stay as long as most people do but we got to see the amazing skyline of NYC including the Verrazano Narrows Bridge where the marathon would start.  It looked SO far away from where we were.
I found myself with almost no appetite the entire trip which was disappointing because of all the restaurants at our disposal.  Dinner was at Hard Rock that night because I needed to make myself eat something.  I did have a sweet tooth later that night where we found a yummy creperie. 
Day 3:
Erik and I wanted to take it easy since it was the day before the marathon.  We had bought a NYC City Pass so we did a little sightseeing again.  We tried to keep it to places that were easily accessible to the subway so we could save our legs from walking so much.  We underestimated how much walking we would really do that day.
Our first stop was the Museum of Natural History.  Let me start by saying it really is nothing like the museum on Night at the Museum.  Most of their exhibits were like walking through a still zoo.  Lots of taxidermy (not really my cup of tea).  However, their collection of dinosaur fossils was quite impressive.

Next up, a trek through Central Park to what we thought was Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).  I should have looked closer at the map because we actually went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art...oops.  Neither one of us had the energy to walk this huge museum so we hopped a cab to MoMA to go see some Van Gogh's, Monet's, Picasso's, Pollack's and Worhol's.  We didn't go through the whole museum (we were trying to save our legs) but saw the exhibits we were wanting to see.
A brief stop at Rockefeller Center and then it was time to go meet up with fellow Marathon Maniacs for a group picture in Times Square.  Marilyn happened to be in town at the same time as the marathon.  How great is that!  It's always fun to see a familiar face when on vacation.

Did I mention that we were trying to save our legs today?!?  No such luck.  Go, go, go...that's how we do vacation.  Afterwards, we went to Little Italy for pizza and beer.  We both loved it there!  Delicious food with lots of personality in that neighborhood.  On our way home from Little Italy you could see the Empire State Building all lit up in honor of the marathon the next day.  It was beautiful!
We had a little energy left to spare so we decided to view the city at night.  We went to Rockefeller Center and got some spectacular views.


It was almost 11pm and we had an early day ahead of us.  Time to force ourselves to get some sleep... stay tuned....