New York. 42 km against Wind and Lactate

Why did 50000 marathones come to love Dunken Donat? What did the first pizza in the USA look like? Which is the trajectory of saliva’s fly? Where do blue zombies go and is it possible to overtake the world champion?

Half a year ago I received a congratulations letter from the New York Marathon organizers. I won the lottery and will go to America!

Note: The New York marathon is considered to be the biggest marathon in the world, it has a virtually perfect organization, and its atmosphere is always referred to as unique and special. New Yorkers love this marathon. For them, it is a holiday that equals the Independence Day. Advertising everywhere, on busses, billboards, TV channels. This is very energizing.

Registration was at the EXPO. What struck me, was the lack of queues. Considering the number of runners – this is an impressive achievement. We were given the Bib numbers with the number of the wave and the color of the yard. Your starting time depends on these details. There were three waves, and I was in the first one. There was also a mark indicating the type of transportation that would take you to the starting line. On my Bib number was printed a black square, which means that I had to get there by myself. I registered online and somehow missed this point.

There are 50 000 people running tomorrow, so I need to head to the starting line at 5 o’clock in the morning.

We also met there a compatriot – Julia – who lives in Moscow, but runs for Moldova, and it was cool!

We organized a pizza party in the evening in the biggest pizzeria of America – I highly recommend it to everyone, they offer marvelous tortillas with cheese!

It was raining the entire day today, but the forecast for tomorrow promises dry, but cold weather, and a headwind of 40 km/h. Well, this definitely isn’t cool. Alright, I’m off to sleep!

I came to the start at 6 o’clock. It was still dark, and the wind was gustily blowing from the North. I found my yard, pulled on my Dunkin’ Donuts cap and started searching for my place under the moon.

Some marathoners were walking around wrapped in plastic bags, others were sitting on the pavement, clutching a disposable cup of coffee, and staring at some point, shaking from cold. Someone climbed into a garbage bin, and some were hiding from the wind behind boxes intended for clothes.

The sun had not risen yet, the wind was blowing through the people’s clothes and chasing bags on the ground. In short, a typical poor New York neighborhood, filled with homeless people in fashionable sneakers. A burning garbage bin was only lacking to complete the picture. Surreal. Powerful. Very American.

I decided to join the community and sat down next to like-minded people. Praised be the God of Marathon and my friends – Nika and Igor, who gave me an inflatable pillow and a scarf. I felt one head higher than the rest – almost like the king of the homeless!

The thing is that people bring clothes they will throw away on the sidewalk after the start. Organizers then give these clothes to people in need. That’s why marathoners look like homeless people at the start.

Up to the sunrise, I sat in a self-made tent made of a polyethylene poncho that didn’t warm me up even a little, but did indeed protect me from the wind. The sun started rising, and we were summoned to the starting line. It’s 8ᴼC with wind outside and I don’t want to undress, therefore I wander in the yard, still wearing my sweater and jeans.

I’m not the only one dressed like a beggar – thousands of people in rags and bags were going towards the yard. We spent 20 minutes waiting for the start, slowly taking off the scraps and jumping on the spot.

And when everyone got undressed, and you find yourself in the heart of an infinite crowd of individuals obsessed with running like you are, when you see the helicopters of the news agencies flying above, and right in front of you – the majestic Verrazano Bridge, you cease to feel the cold, the worries and the fear. And you understand that today you’re in the right place. We are on the starting line of the biggest sport event in the world – the New York Marathon.

And here it goes… Shot! Start!

I was in the first wave, that’s why I crossed the start 30 seconds after the shot. The most difficult thing was to leave the cap, however it also fell on the ground. We run at 4:40, the heart is barely beating – I’m saving energy. And we arrive under the bridge where an uphill begins.

And here one of the unforeseen circumstances happened – my GPS watches had failed. We were running under an iron bridge and my watches thought I was running at a pace of 9-10 km. I understand this is bullshit and start running by feeling. But you know what does it mean to run by your feelings on the first marathon kilometers. I didn’t realize then that I was running at a pace of 3:30 – 3:40, and what toll that would take on me at km 30.

But why am I bugging you with numbers and paces. New York, New York… We started under this song, and it kept circling in my head the entire marathon, because this city looks like the capital of the world – strong, wealthy, friendly, cozy and majestic at the same time. Millions of supporters along the road were singing songs, treating us with fruits, water and pancakes.

A huge number of posters, noise makers, voice enhancers and whistle blowing devices. And these people have been staying there in the wind for nearly 7 hours. This was incredible.

Marathoners also burned through –

But I was running for a precise result (3:20), and didn’t have time to look around the city and enjoy the orchestras. I was concentrated on the pace.

Yes, this marathon is nothing like the six-hour Munich marathon in a death suit…

An interesting feature, sort of a sign of the 2014 New York marathon – you spit the saliva – and it doesn’t fall, it flies parallel to the ground for like ten meters. I tried, following the bike principle, to hide behind a runner’s back and spit – nothing changed – it just flied through people.

A hard disappointment of this marathon was the half. You fight, and fight against the wind, try no matter what to keep the planned pace, run up to the 22 km mark considerably tired and…bump into a wall of a protracted rise on the bridge.

My troubles usually start at km 28. I start feeling the lactate in the muscles and, respectively, the pain. And, clenching my teeth, I remember my first 3 km when I ran with a smile at a pace of 3:40. The speed starts to slowly decrease, and the 3:15 pacemaker – disappears ahead…

I understand, I will hardly qualify for Boston (for my age, qualifying means running the marathon faster than 3:15). But I think I can still make it within 20 minutes. At km 37 I have lost this hope too, when I started to go uphill at a pace of 5:30.

I could not feel my legs. There, where my legs previously were, I could feel only pain at each step, reminding me of their existence. The wind was continuing its dirty work, wearing runners off. A lot of them were already walking, others – sitting on the side; I saw one of them being attended by doctors.

We crossed the finish line in the Central Park, there were a lot of people and a real flurry of applause. All stands were packed with supporters, they were standing and cheering us up!

I decided to accelerate, otherwise I won’t manage to improve my time. And I accelerate. There is no point in telling you what I felt – just watch the pictures – not a single normal photo, all twisted. I mean I know they are taking photos of me and I should be smiling, but the smiling muscles refused, this is why my “face” expressing a feeling of deep emotional discomfort and inner psychological tension, coupled with an understanding of the meaninglessness of life.

With this exact face and without legs I crossed the finish line. 3:23. Bad, Dima, very bad – I thought then: was it worth training for 6 months to improve your result by 7 minutes only? Eh…

Out of habit, I wanted to fall somewhere, but harsh volunteers threw a foil over me and chased me away from the finish. This is how the serious logistic of a big marathon works. 50 meters away, I was given my medal and a pack with food, of which I could only eat the apple and drink water. My legs don’t obey, I’m wandering like a zombie among equally shocked marathoners, nibble my apple and think – how on earth did I manage to waste myself in such a way? I can’t remember a race where my legs hurt SO much.

We walked for a long time – around 20 minutes before meeting our friends and relatives. This must have been a test from the organizers – “Run 42 km, exhaust yourself, expend your last forces on finishing… and try walking for another 2 km. If you can”. Truth be told, I have forgiven everything to the organizers when a kind Hungarian  volunteer threw on my shoulders a warm poncho with the marathon symbols. This was the most pleasant moment of the last 7 hours. Thank you, my unknown friend.

Another cool moment – thousands of limp zombies in blue ponchos…

Then followed the beer, steaks, bath, beer, pasta, pretzels, beer, beer, hookah, cabbage rolls, dancing, tequila, someone’s birthday, chicken wings, dancing, tequila, taxi, marathon girls, steak, wine, taxi, bed.

Another memorable moment of the marathon was the residents’ attitude towards marathoners. For them – we were heroes, they were applauding us, shaking our hands, inviting us to drink. Nobody was interested in your time and ranking – everyone was happy just for the simple fact that you ran the marathon in their favorite city! I’ve never seen anything like this before. It is clear that the New York Marathon is a national holiday expected by all citizens. The following couple of days I continued to meet people with medals. This was really cool!

The next day, while surfing the internet I accidentally came across an interesting link:

New York Marathon Broadcast –

Dmitrii Voloshin reached the finish – 3.23.46!!!! CONGRATULATIONS!!!!
Chris McCormac simply could not stand up. I just couldn’t imagine the world winner of the Ironman, at age 41 (only 41) would run the marathon in 3 hours and 56 minutes. But this is still so. At mile 24 he recorded 3 hours 20 minutes. DMITRII VOLOSHIN, you beat the champion of the Ironman today!

Later I found out that I overran the famous ultra-marathoner Dean Karnazes, who finished at 3:27:22. The only thing unclear – how???

And when I saw the world champion Wilson Kipsang come to finish 7 minutes later than his record result in Berlin, I understood my plan for the marathon was accomplished for 100%.

Other 50 564 people finished together with me. The marathon beat its last year record and became the most numerous sporting event in the history of sport! Excellent! This was very hard, but damn it, my motto was reconfirmed – “The worse, the better!” Next marathon I plan to run faster than 3:15. Boston, wait for me!

This is how my running adventure in New York ended and my linguistic adventure started – I’m staying here 3 more weeks to learn the language. I’ll have the chance to know this metropolis closer.

And, as usual, a few numbers for a snack:

P.S.: On Monday, the New York Times published the list of all the people who completed the marathon. “We congratulate the 50 564 winners of the marathon”. This phrase represents the entire New York marathon – there are no losers. Only winners!

Can you run away from Death?

Can you run away from Death?

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I want to become a millionaire. MBC. Tatyana Bahova

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