New York Marathon

In reflecting back to ‘80s when I lived in Aspen where everyone I knew ran and the norm was “How far did you go today”

This is dedicated to Jay, Scott, Linda, Catfish and Andre 9my roommates and friends). They were great inspiration and we formed  brotherhood.

In 1981 we I drove over Independence Pass for our first Bolder Boulder race. Soon after that first race I was bitten by the running bug and completed several 10 Ks.

The following March I committed to train for the 1982 NYC marathon and one early morning as I ran along Highway 82,  everything was covered in a pristine blanket of cristiline white powder. The air was crisp and bit my face and the fresh air cleansed my spirit and the only sound was the softness of my feet on the snow. Despite the happy scene I was crying as I tried to deal with my grief of the recent death of my father John B.

A few weeks later in early summer I remember the day I ran 10 miles for the first time with Gordon a physicist from CA who was in town for The Aspen Institute. He had run many marathons and shared his stories – when we stopped I could not believe how fast the time went by and how fantastic I felt. So I really got into running!!

I followed Runner’s World Six month marathon training guide which back then suggested 6 days a week training building up to 50-60 miles a week!

Earl, Joe, Catfish and I applied to the NYC race by sending our hand written hard copy applications to my friend Penny Scott who lived in the city. She stood in line for hours to drop the apps in the US Post Office so they were postmarked at 12:01 AM on the first day registrations were accepted. We thought that would get us in but we all received a rejection letter that we did not make the cutoff of 15,000 limit. There was an option to enter the lottery for spaces that opened up which we did. But not to reley on that race, we set our sights on the Tucson Fiesta Bowl marathon in Arizona and adjusted our training to peak in December.

Another memorable training run was in September in Anderson SC visiting my mother Mimi in  South Carolina with my boy frined Fred Bennett.  We started out as dusk was approaching and the oppressive summer heat was lessoning. Without a set plan we did an out and back on the rural roads near the lake house. After 1 hour run along the beautiful lake shore drive with sunsets that painted the sky in shades of arange, we returned covered in sweat, black flies and moskitoes but couldn’t have been happier in our times and the exhileration of the run.

The main event of my working day was the walk down the hill to the Aspen post office for the daily checks for Ute City Mortgage. As I was shifting thru my mail on that September day there was a letter from NYC Marathon Inc. — my lottery app had been accepted and I was in the race! Elation turned to fear when I learned I was the only one in our group that got in. How could I possibly be ready in three weeks when my training was geared for a later date? Jay encouraged me and said that the excitement on race day carries you further than your longest training day.  We set out on a gorgeous afternoon with all the Aspen trees dressed in yellow following the Crystal River. Climbing up 800 feet in elevation to Ashcroft and back down for a total of 18 miles! Running and talking was great therapy and we tried to figure out how I could afford the trip to the east coast. When I told my boss Mike Logsden he said that he needed to have a letter personally delivered to our most important client Prince Bandar’s attorney who was in NYC…. he paid for my flight and I had a pink t-shirt made with Ute City Mortgage imprinted on the front.

Another amazing coincidence was that Fred had just moved to the city so I had a free place to stay. It was only the second time for this small town girl in the Big Apple. With my perfect tour guide we went to the race Expo filled with loads of skinny white people with a lithe runner’s body. In those days no Kenyans or Ethiopian stars. All runners were given instructions on where to meet buses at 4:30 AM for transport to Staten Island and the race didn’t start until 9:30 AM. Fred convinced me to take an alternate route – sleep in and leave his apartment at 8:00 take the red line to the #4 to Staten Island ferry- Nervously I wrote the steps on my hand along with my desired split times (math skills diminish as the miles progress) I found quite a few others with this idea- one guy from Germany tried to say you changed at a different subway stop but I stuck with the instructions I had. Inside the ferry house there were loads of other nervous runners pacing back and forth. How could the 9:00 ferry not arrive? – We were going to miss the start we had trained for months and many miles!! Nothing to do but wait- everyone pushed on the next boat and the connecting bus. The staging area looked like a war zone strewn with empty coffee cups, water bottles, clothing and trash. No one was there and the load speaker was calling out, “If you are not in line you will miss the gun” I jumped in and saw I was next to the banner for the 4:45 hour group. Way slower than I hoped to finish.

A loud cannon booms and the announcer blurts “They’re off” but I am NOT moving- then a few baby steps then stop, off and on for 5 minutes- we are tripping over mounds of clothing that runners in front stripped off- a lady beside me went down. Next the Verrazano bridge- all the males were hanging over christening the Hudson River. First borough was Queens with the men in top hats and curls??? When I asked another runner he said “Haven’t you ever seen a Hassidic Jew before?” There were kids with orange slices, which were tempting, but I could only think were laced with drugs—then followed others to enjoy the refreshing juice. Just on the Brooklyn Bridge we heard that Alberto Salazar had won the race in 2:06!! – I was a little over half way thru my 26.

Harlem was very scary- all I could think is “you ARE NOT STOPPING here no mater what happens” I had no idea what I would do if I couldn’t go on.

There were thousands of people of all races, ages, sizes ethnic cheering us on for the entire route.

Suddenly in Manhattan’s Central Park I heard “Hey Boo-cat” Fred came out into field with his cameras flying and gave me a kiss of encouragement. At that point there was no problem- I ran faster and faster and passed so many unfortunate runners that were “hitting the wall” at 18 and 20 miles. The crowd would call out your name if on your shirt or your race number- my Ute City Mortgage should have been on my back and not the front.

As I saw the finish line I couldn’t believe it read 3:43- I had started my watch as I actually crossed the start line and it read 3:39. Eight-minute miles x 26.2 – not too far off my desired 3:30 but the real goal was met – I was a Marathoner and had the world famous NYC race under my belt.

As I crossed the finish line I heard “Go RD” it was Penny, her sister and her mom. The only other people I knew in the city.

As I reached the end the volunteers wrapped me in a silver space blanket and put the coveted finishers medal around my neck. I was delirious and tried to find Fred. There were Alphabet signs to help but I couldn’t remember if we said A or L so I wandered around and saw many that were in bad shape- I felt amazing pumped up with endorphins.

After a hot shower and some food we walked around and it was easy to spot other racers limping and groaning as they walked. It is a wonderful club to belong to.

On my flight back to Colorado I couldn’t wait to tell Jay and Earl about this incredible experience and to contemplate the next race.

Today – thirty years later – I pull out my old Runner’s World Training Logs and read about the daily runs with many aches and pains along the way. Weekly totals building up to 50 miles (which is no longer recommended as most will suffer injuries.) I spoke of my sore ankles and shin splits, blisters, orthodics and new shoes.

Three years running off and on until I agreed to meet my former roommate Linda “Cuppie” Little who then lived in San Francisco for the St. George, Utah Marathon in 1985. I found a piece that she wrote recapping our experience:

 

…. After searching for our baked potatoe for the infamous and all important pre-marathon meal we finally located a Wendy’s. I wish I had a picture of our faces when they told us they were out of potatoes. …rise at 4:30 AM quick shower, no coffee and rush to catch the 5:30 bus to the starting line out of town. It was a beautiful scene still dark with 3-4 large bonfires to warm 1,600 runners. … a mass of golden hues against the blue sky.. at an aid station were two wonderful surprises the first was only 4” by 3” in sidth and 1” thick—a simple sponge saturated in icy cold water and water sprays compliments of St. George Fire Department. …. A small blond boy offers me an orange slice which was the most exquisitely tasty orange slice I had ever eaten or could ever hope to eat again. … I felt myself faltering feeling exhausted so close to the end – a cheerful man of about 55 lopes beside me and shots words of encouragement- ‘come on we are almost there you’re an do it- get beside me and Iss pull you thru”  … rounding a corner I see a white banner with crowd of people—is it the finish line? Probably the most beautiful white banner I’ve ever seen!”

 

 

 

1982 NYC

1985 St. George

1991 Baltimore NCRR

1994 San Francisco w TNT

 

1999 and 2002 surgeries

 

2006 Nike Women’s marathon in San Fran run walk w TNT

2008? Delaware Relay team Marathon TNT

 

2009 Hike for Discovery TNT

2011 Hike 40 miles Maryland TNT