November 2, 2014 9:40 AM
New York City, New York
New York City, New York
Written by Owen:
Leading up to our trip:
I've been wanting to run in the NYC Marathon for a very long time. Because NYC is such a popular marathon, there are FAR more people that want to run it than there is room on the streets. So, they hold a lottery to determine who gets in the race. I entered the lottery in 2012, 2013, and 2014, failing to get selected every time. So I decided to join a charity team. I selected Ryan Hall's Steps Foundation. For a fundraising commitment of $3,000, plus the $255 entry fee into the race, you get a bib.
So I decided that all 2014 profits from Taz Running would go towards this goal. Between Taz Running and the support of my friends and family, I met my $3,000 goal. Thanks to all of my friends/family/customers that helped me! My sweet 10 year old daughter, Alicia, even contributed some of her own money.
Wednesday, October 29, 2014:
We piled in the car and drove from Charlotte, NC to Stafford, VA, where my mom and step-dad live. We spent the night at their house and had a good, very short, visit.
Thursday, October 30, 2014:
We got up and drove from Stafford, VA to NYC.
|Our first sighting of the NYC skyline.|
|Our first sighting of the statue of liberty.|
We all got on the subway and made our way to the Ed Sullivan theater to pick up the tickets. We got there a little early (we had to pick them up at a specific time), so we ate about a block away at a great pizza place.
|NYC has some great pizza places, we ate pizza for three separate meals while we were there.|
|Picking up our Letterman tickets, the boys model their new hats.|
Seeing the David Letterman Show in person was such a fun experience. It was great. The musical guest was a bunch of rappers that we did not like at all, so we were a little disappointed about that, but overall it was great. They are very strict about phones/cameras, so no pictures.
We made it back to the hotel and picked up the kids. To our relief their evening was uneventful. Their second movie had just ended when we arrived. We got back on the subway and made our way to Rockefeller Center for some late night ice skating.
|On the subway|
|Near Radio City Music Hall|
|The Zamboni gets the ice ready|
|Alicia and Michael ice skating at Rockefeller Center|
|While Michael and Alicia skated, I walked around with Kyle. The Lego store was closed, which would have probably been his favorite part of our trip.|
Friday, October 31st, 2014:
We had the free breakfast at our hotel. Then, the first thing on the agenda for Friday was the 9/11 Memorial. Just typing those words bring tears to my eyes at this very moment. It is such a powerful place, so many emotions poured through me as we toured it.
On September 11, 2000, Michael wasn't even three months old. He spent that entire day in his swing in our living room in Utah while Malissa and I were glued to the TV watching the news. So to see all the amazing exhibits with Malissa and all three of my kids, now 10, 11, and 13, was amazing. Cameras are allowed, but I'm not going to post most of the pictures we took. You simply MUST go see it for yourselves.
|I loved this view, looking straight up at the Freedom Tower, which opened very recently.|
|Outside the Freedom Tower|
|One of the two reflection pools.|
|Pictures don't do this justice, such an amazing sight.|
|Inside the museum, a picture of the old skyline.|
|Alicia models her hat she bought in the memorial's museum.|
|Empire State Building|
|Site of the NYC Marathon Expo|
|Meb/Kara on a billboard outside the expo.|
When we got to the expo, we saw the line to get inside, it was double wrapped around the building. It was moving fast, but it was crazy how long it was.
|The line to pickup my bib, notice how the people on the right are coming toward me, they have to go that way before turning around to go back around the other way.|
|Alicia, Michael, and Kyle|
|Our trick-or-treating neighborhood (before it got busy)|
|NYC Marathon finish line at the opening ceremony|
|NYC Marathon opening ceremony|
After the trick-or-treating, we caught a glimpse of the opening ceremony fireworks above central park, that really got me excited for the marathon.
On our walk back to the subway, we found another local pizza place. This place was CRAZY busy, so it wasn't the best experience, but the pizza was good.
|Kyle couldn't figure out how to eat his pizza "in character"|
|Another late night, Kyle was so tired he slept in his costume.|
Saturday, November 1st, 2014:
Early Saturday morning I got up and did my 2-mile shakeout run. Michael went with me. We ran a mile up the Hudson River, then back. It was raining, but not too bad. We had breakfast again at our hotel.
At lunch time, Michael and I had a lunch appointment with Ryan and Sara Hall. Their favorite pizza place is right next door to the Ed Sullivan Theater. So he and I headed out for that.
Meanwhile, Malissa and the kids walked around our hotel, bought some souvenirs, had lunch at Chipotle, and saw some cool landmarks. One of which was "The Sphere" it was artwork displayed at the World Trade Center. It was damaged in the attacks, then later moved to a nearby park. Learn more about it here.
|Alicia and Kyle stand next to "The Sphere".|
|The Statue of Liberty (from afar)|
|The Wall Street Bull|
Because we took a cab, we actually got to the pizza place early. So Michael and I were there before anyone else. Ryan and Sara showed up next. Ryan sat right next to me, and Sara sat across from me. They are such great people. Sara Hall is a professional runner, with expertise in middle distances. Ryan Hall is the American record holder in the marathon running a sub 2:05 in Boston! To put that in perspective, run 1/4 mile (once around a standard track) in 1 minute and 11 seconds (I can barely do that, if I go all out). Now repeat that, without resting, 104 more times and don't ever slow down.
Other members of the fundraising team showed up and we ordered pizza. In all, there were about 10 of us. Ryan and Sara talked to Michael and I for an hour and a half, I was in heaven. A couple of times people came over and interrupted our conversation asking for an autograph or a picture. I kept pinching myself asking if this was real. Ryan asked about my training, he gave advice, it was great. They were both really impressed with Michael's running achievements.
|Michael, me, Ryan, Sara. Later they autographed this picture and it hangs on my wall.|
|The entire Steps Foundation team.|
|Alicia and Kyle at the Stock Exchange.|
That night we headed back to Times Square for some more sightseeing.
|The NYPD Times Square station|
|We had a delicious meal at Bubba Gump's|
As a promotion, Asics, months earlier had advertised that you could submit your photos and they would make a mini-marathoner statue that is you. It was kind of like a bobble-head, but a figurine. I did that, then had picked it up at the expo. They also said that if you go to Times Square, to text this certain number and your bobble head would display on the big screen in the middle of Times Square. We did that, never saw the figurine (it's OK, it looked nothing like me anyway), but Malissa and the kids were on the screen, we had a blast waiting for my stupid figurine to show up.
We visited M&M World, a three-story store devoted to nothing but M&M's and related collectibles. We bought some unique M&M's in bulk, and called it a night.
Marathon day had finally arrived! I got up while everyone was still sleeping. I had to walk a couple of blocks to the Staten Island Ferry, which would take me to a bus, which took me to the start. When I was getting dressed, I realized the "throw-away" warm pants I had bought were WAY too small, I couldn't even get them past my hips. The weather forecast was for very cold with lots of wind, and I had to wait at the start for almost 2 hours. I had to wear my nice jeans to the start, and throw them away just before the start. In fact, we got an email that said the wind was so bad they were moving the wheelchair start to the other side of the bridge and shortening the race for them. It was just too windy on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, it would have been too dangerous for the wheelchair athletes.
|Waiting for the ferry|
|Waiting for the ferry|
|On the ferry, as we passed the Statue of Liberty.|
|On the bus|
|After the bus, we had to walk a half-mile to the start village.|
|My seat at the start village|
|My throw-away sweater and free Dunkin' Donuts hoodie helped shield the wind/cold|
The video above shows my brief appearance on ESPN at the start. The race started, and I had never experienced wind that strong, ever. I picked a white line to run on and watched as the wind pushed me off of it. I would take a stride, and while I was in the air the wind would push me to the right a foot. I was still wearing the Dunkin' Donuts hoodie they handed out at the start, but I had my hat strapped to my belt for later. The wind ripped it off and it flew 20 feet up and landed 100 yards away in the Hudson River. It's hard to say exactly how strong the gusts were, but I've heard reports that they reached 50 mph. After researching here, I believe it.
|On the bridge just after the start|
|The bridge at the start|
|We started at the far end of this shot and ran toward the camera.|
|The start corrals before the bridge|
|Kids playing in Central Park|
|Alicia at Central Park|
|Just before mile 26.|
|The leaders of the men's division|
|Meb is too fast for our camera|
|The leaders of the women's division|
|Kara Goucher struggled near the end but finished her race.|
Back to me running the race... The wind wasn't quite as bad once I got off the bridge, but it would still gust from time to time. I made my way through the five boroughs of NY, just soaking up how much I loved this opportunity. I took my gloves/beanie off/on all throughout the race as the sun would come out/go away. I knew it wouldn't be my best time, since it was only 14 days since Atlantic City, and since I had been on my feet for days touring the city. I crashed pretty hard once I entered Central Park, but still managed a 3:47 finish.
|Alicia's shot of me near the finish.|
|On the subway after the race.|
We arrived in Virginia in time for a wonderful dinner my mom prepared.
Monday, November 3rd, 2014:
We drove home, and picked up Graycie from the kennel. She was so excited to see us, but was VERY TIRED. Apparently she had been playing hard with all the other dogs for five days and was ready for some rest.