I took it very hard. There’d be no finish line delirium of pain and happiness. Instead, there was just the awful feeling that New Yorkers hated runners—we were self-indulgent and selfish, and how dare we want to run when people needed help.From Sandied by Noirin Lucas
When my running buddy Terry and I decided to do the Bucks County Marathon in Pennsylvania two weeks later, it didn’t really stand a chance as a substitute. We didn’t know quite what to do with our extended taper, being complete novices. And we just assumed that one marathon could be substituted for another. We’d been told that the crowds of spectators in New York City could somehow transfer their energy to the runners to help them along. But since we’d never actually experienced this, we found it easy to discount the effect. Surely just one spouse or relative would be just as energizing. Plus, our training had gone well. We had two comfortable 20-mile runs under our belts and felt marathon-ready, even if we’d been hitting the bottle while our apartments were dark and cold post-Sandy.
Bucks County had different plans. A dirt course that included several miles covered with newly laid gravel and lacked masses of cheering spectators put paid to my hopes of a 4:20 finish. I spent the last six miles doing a whimpering run/walk, my pace bands long since ripped off in frustration as I fell further and further behind my goal. I crossed the finish line in tears. I was crying for my own shattered expectations and for the pain I was feeling. These were not the delirious tears of happiness I had imagined. I know not everyone had such a negative experience at this race—I just couldn’t get over the fact that it was so different from what I had trained for.