To read the recap from the beginning click here.
As I lumbered down the Queensboro Bridge I dialed up Mrs. T to find out where she was located on First Avenue. I knew it would be a madhouse and there was no random chance of seeing her and my friends and family without a heads-up.
No answer. I left a message and dropped down into the cacophony of the Manhattan crowds. We were starting our 17th mile. Our pace had suffered going through Queens with 11:27 and 11:52 miles. We were 2:53.12 in. That was still 40 seconds ahead of our 4:45 pace schedule. We gave it up in the next three miles.
Once on First I made another call and connected with Mrs. T. She and my brother, his wife and son; and Mrs. T's brother (Rich) and his wife and two kids were on the southwest corner of 75th Street. It was a blessing that there was a slight downhill leading to them. That made for less excruciating photos. I spotted them. We veered to the left side of the street. I waved, posed for a picture and gave Mrs. T a smooch, all captured on video by my brother.
Runner Susan commented that she could not stop. She needed to keep moving or she would be in trouble. As you know, after any downhill there is likely an uphill to follow. We were on it. The blocks clicked by. I felt a need to offer encouragement.
I suggested we have our next gel and bloks at mile 19 instead of 20; and move up the meal at mile 25 to mile 23 to give us enough to get us through. It was way past lunch time by now. Normal folks had had their turkey cucumber spinach wraps at least 90 minutes before. Somewhere along the way, a woman was offering small cups with cold pineapple cubes. I had one for lunch. It was delicious.
At mile 18 the water station was offering Power Bar gels. I had a caramel which tasted quite good. I took it as an appetizer before the main course. We slowed and walked through the stop at Mile 19 to take fuel and Gatorade Endurance drink. We crossed another damn bridge into the Bronx.
The Bronx. The crowds had thinned as we hit the northern most portion of the course. The Bronx had small crowds of spectators but they were very enthusiastic. A band played. Reports I read said this was the best year in years for support from Bronx fans. I could feel it. Those I engaged by eye contact were very pleasant and encouraging.
I spotted a runner wearing a shirt with Red Sox markings on it. I kept my distance in case any Yankee snipers were on the rooftops. I was inclined to yell out how much the Yankees suck but felt that would be in poor taste today.
Unfortunately, this was a bad mile for time. Susan was starting to fade. I kept looking back for her behind me. She nobly kept pace. I slowed slightly to keep her on my tail. We reached the Madison Avenue bridge (21st mile) at 3:38:50. We were 90 seconds off our 4:45 pace. When I looked back, she told me to run on. I stopped and waited for her shaking my head.
Harlem and the Split. We ran into Harlem. The neighbors were loud and the band had a strong bass line playing. It was energizing. I was feeling good. Way back in Brooklyn Susan had suggested that at Mile 20, if we felt strong, we could kick it in and push for 4:40 or better. I told her we only had five miles to go. It was a short training run.
I was at a crossroads. I felt good enough to push but concerned that if I left Susan she would not get the time she wanted. I was ever mindful that I was in range of a PR.
I looked back again and Susan was 10 yards behind me. She said, "David, you go. You can make it."
I turned back forward and imagined her chasing me all the way to Central Park. I held a belief that if she could do it too, she'd be right behind. I didn't look back again.
To read the conclusion, click here.