I woke up this morning when it was still dark. The first of the four alarms went off at 2:30am, blaming the switching back from DST I shut it off, turned around and slept one more hour.
Waking up much before dawn can be a really weird experience, especially when the night before — or, well, the night one’s still in — was Halloween. I took the uptown train all dressed up for the race and few kids were coming back all dressed up for parties. I almost wanted them to ask me what my disguise was. They didn’t, just glared at me.
I was on the midtown bus, which leaves from the Public Library; there I was welcomed with fences and people holding flashlights saying to show one’s own identification and to keep going. It felt either like cattle in a ranch walked to the slaughterhouse or prisoners in Guantanamo Bay: I guess there wasn’t much difference between the two.
We got to Staten Island well ahead of time: the Verrazano Bridge was to be closed at 7am sharp to allow the preparation of the race and we kinda had to be there before that. It was cold and drizzling. People were hanging around in their villages not knowing exactly what to do, the savvies or the veterans brought along newspaper or sleeping bags. I wouldn’t be surprised, had I been seeing people typing on their laptops.
Hours lingered one after another. Fortunately, shortly after arriving at the village I met up with Will, also known as the one responsible for me getting into this crazy sport. We chatted along; Will completed two NYC marathons and this would have been his third, so he gave me plenty of suggestions and warning like to not underestimate Central Park South, which doesn’t look but is all uphill.
The rain stopped to then start again. We knew the sun was up but not because of a nice blue sky; it was overcast and so it remained for the entire race aside from few shy attempts.
This was the most boring part: having to wait for four hours before running. The nerves were all up and I did several trips to the port-a-potties.
The presence of loud speakers repeating the same message in six languages (English, Spanish, French, German, Italian and Japanese) added to the feel of being in a camp, but thanks to those (annoying) messages we knew the race was finally going to start.