It was two days ago, but I think the endorphins are still pumping from running the 26.2 miles of the NY Marathon. I had so much fun and the energy I felt all day was incredible. My fellow runners were great, the weather was perfect, the crowd was AMAZING… I’m getting chills again now just thinking about it.

From the moment I woke up, I was just excited to enjoy the day, but when our bus crossed the bridge to Staten Island, and I realized how cool it was that the city streets were literally cleared for us, how much time and energy goes into organizing a race like this, how many people trained so hard and raised money and supported friends… I just got this intense feeling of tremendous gratitude. 

How lucky am I to be able to run around the streets of NYC with 46,999 friends? How lucky am I to be healthy enough to do so? How lucky am I just to be able to pursue this crazy opportunity?

While I knew plenty of people running, it was so crazy at the start and I was happy to make new friends of smiling faces everywhere I looked… from Wales, Holland, Italy… I was struck by just how international the runners were and it made for a lot of fun. One new friend was Janet - who was running her 13th(!) marathon with Fred’s Team (the same charity I raised money for). Such a sweetheart and she gave me all sorts of tips before the start (thanks Janet!). [btw… if you ever run the NYC Marathon, do it with Fred’s Team. 1. everyone involved is super-nice 2. you totally get pampered over the other organizations].

[Thanks to my buddy Zach who spotted me 800m from the finish and snapped off this pic of me doing my best “deer in headlights” impression. I swear I was actually moving in this pic…]

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m usually a competitive freak when I run races and my whole goal is to beat everyone, but this time, I just wanted to hug everyone. As the race started, and I saw jersey after jersey with “For Dad” or “remembering my mom” or “cancer free for 10 months,” I just welled up with emotion and made a point to cheer for them. Same went for the blind runners. Incredible.

Running through the 5 boroughs was super cool. Brooklyn was epic! 1st Ave is nuts. And Central Park… so many fans, the streets were overflowing and I loved the music throughout - be it punk rockers in Williamsburg, steel drums in Queens or hip hop in the Bronx - it was dope and it kept me going.

The fans are really what made the experience though. You were everywhere. You screamed. You cheered. You offered beer. Loved seeing familiar faces in the crowd, as well as all the strangers who just said “go Reece!” because my name was on my shirt.

The one bummer for the day was my friend Joe. He trained really hard and was running really well, but his calf locked up on him at mile 20 and he walked the rest of the way in. Amazing that he walked through that pain though. It’s a testament to his insane willpower and I know  this just means he’ll dominate next year. 

I also got a huge boost from Henry and Dan. Henry popped into the race out of nowhere to join for about a mile or so right when I needed it ~mile 21. He took my mind off of my legs which were finally starting to cramp up. And right after he jumped out, Dan jumped in and though he accidentally made me pick up the pace(!), on a hill(!!) which taxed my lungs a bit(!!!)… I was pumped to see him. 

After that, it was just plugging away at the last few miles and finishing healthy. I’m psyched with my time for a first marathon - 3:39:25 - and very proud to announce that I finished first for all Reeces!

Immediately after I was pretty cold and dehydration took its toll. I was hungry, but didn’t feel like eating. I knew I needed to stretch, but couldn’t bring myself to do it… cramps were imminent and a HUGE thanks to the people in the med tent who tackled the cramps in my calf and hamstring.

But really, that was it. I walked out of the Park - and all the way down to Shake Shack in Madison Square Park actually - with some hardware around my neck and dug into some much needed calories with friends. Then I was good to go. No shower - straight to the bar. I swear… the marathon supercharged me. I may have to do this again. ;)