My walk around NYC

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ceileigh
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My walk around NYC

Postby ceileigh » Tue Nov 08, 2016 12:14 pm

Sorry it's long ... read if you want :D

Where do I start. NYC was supposed to be my first marathon four years ago but Hurricane Sandy had other ideas. Then last year I was set to go and my Aunt was hospitalized. She was 90. I am her only family in town. Long story short I deferred. This year I have had chronic peroneal tendon issues. I am set for an MRI on the 15th to finally hopefully get a better idea of what's up with that. But that is another story. That tendon though set me to walking last April. So I walked NYC marathon because I was not going to miss it for a third time!

I went as an Achilles Athlete which turned out to be a huge help for me, more so than I ever imagined. It was my second race with Achilles but my first 'official' one. And typical NYC for me things were a mess!!! We booked airbnb way back last January, 4 blocks from the finish line. Well NYC banned airbnb on Oct 21. So a week before heading to NY we got an email cancelling our reservation! Since I was with Achilles I contacted them and was able to get a room from someone who was not able to go. The hotel though had really bad recommendations. In fact I have never read such horrid online reviews ever. I have a severe mould allergy and called. The hotel said the room I had had been totally renovated, it was fine. And from online reviews the renovated rooms were good. So we went as other options were 2- 3 X the cost.

How NOT to prepare for a marathon:
Arrived on time. Went to hotel. Asked Bell Captain for the room key (as I was told). He looked at me like I had 3 heads. Looked at some envelopes he had. Wrote down my name. Left. 10 minutes later someone else came out. By now other people were also waiting for room keys. This man took their names and left. This went on for about an hour. Yet another person came out with a stack of envelopes in his hand. No no these are all not yours, no none of your names here, he says. The lady grabs them all and starts going through them. Look there's mine ... (and apparently everyone else too).

We go to our fully renovated room. OMG. The tub was black with filth. Bathroom ceiling covered in black mould spots. Radiator cover hanging off. Black mould growing up the corners of the walls about 10 - 15 cm deep. Within minutes I was reacting to the high mould in the room. We went back down. 20 minutes later we were given another room to look at. We go up. No visible mould but I was still reacting to something. The bathroom floor was cracked. Toilet seat cracked in 2. Bathtub had been painted and was peeling. Paint hanging off the bathroom ceiling in gobs. Blood smear on the curtain. And that was just the few minutes we stood in the room BEFORE THE PEOPLE WHO HAD BOOKED THE ROOM showed up and asked why we were in their room! We left again. 30 minutes later (so after standing around for over 2 hours) room 3. The hall of that room was so filled with mould my eyes were swelling before we got to the room. The carpet was rolling from moisture in the hallway and room. Totally no go. They told us the hotel was full. I asked to use their business centre and wifi to find someplace else. Said I had booked through a tour company, had called to confirm my room was ok (I had the number) and it had been confirmed. They told me I way lying, had not called. Then they said the first room was fine, must have just got mouldy in the last day. Got to business centre and it is pay for use of computers. Are you kidding me? No way. I said I had no money to pay for their room and another I would just stay in the lobby. After 4 hours of standing around we were in a 'parlour' room - a model room set up for demo for consideration of upcoming renovations. It had one bed instead of two but it was clean and clear of dirt, mould, etc. So we had a room.

Got to the expo 20 minutes before bib pick up closed. The delay at the hotel meant all ladies race jackets in my size were sold out :evil: I picked up a mans instead. Also meant we missed the Achilles opening dinner. Were in / out of the expo and got the shuttle back. Sat beside a native NY who volunteers at the dinner. She said "OMG you are at the Hotel Pennsylvania? Be careful. Don't get on the elevator alone with a stranger. Don't open your door if someone knocks after bedtime. Double lock your door. People have been killed in there" and told us many horror stories :shock: She also suggested Macy's for meals which was a great tip. They have several amazing restaurants. We finally had supper at 9 then ...

Back to Hotel Hell. Look no TV remote. Called the desk. They hung up on me. I go down. "Oh yeah I got that. I told someone to go." so why did you hang up and not tell me that. "why? that's not important?" really? It's not important that I got dressed and came down here for nothing? At this point I am walking through the lobby complaining to everyone at the top of my lungs (along with a lot of other people). We went to sleep without that remote.

Saturday we went for breakfast, met my Achilles guides at Central Park, did a short walk, took photos at the finish line, started to get exited, went back to Hotel Hell to speak to them about changing our room to the double bed one. Stood for another hour because they had no idea what we were talking about. Got the room key for the new room. OMG the people did NOT check out. AGAIN I am in someone's room! So freakin' embarrassing! Now Hotel Hell is supposed to call me when the room is free. Went to Tiffany's, went to supper at a great Italian place in Macy's, and back to hotel Hell. No message. Called the desk. Again no idea what we were talking about. Finally at 8:30 at night they gave us the keys to the proper room, 29 hours after we had arrived. We moved. Put stuff in the mini fridge and noticed it did not work. At this point, having asked for a TV remote 5 times there was zero point in asking for the fridge to be replaced. So we went back to the old room and took the fridge from there to the new room and swapped them out. Moving furniture the night before a marathon is a great way to warm up :lol: The look on the face of the man in the hall who saw us :shock:

An hour later I get a phone message there is a package at the desk for me. I go down for it. Desk says no there isn't. I say I just got the message. They argue. they go to manager. Come back with box. Say my name is not on it what is the other name. I know that and give it to them (it was X attn to me). They want to know who he is and what is his relation to me. Seriously? They keep saying my name is not on it, do I have ID, can I prove who I am. I have my room key but that's not good enough. then they want me to pay them for holding the packing ... for 3 minutes ... I think I said "are you f'in kidding me?" So she says "I will do you a favour and give you the package" I take it and look there is my name on it the entire time. Freaking Hotel Hell

And that was my relaxing night before the marathon and how not to prepare for a marathon!

Marathon day I walked to where we caught the bus (from 7th and 34th to 6th and 38th). I loaded on the last bus with Achilles and the other Achilles athletes and Guides. They were very well organized. With Achilles you do the security check at the buses. Weather was great. Cool but not too cold. I met up with my 2 guides. We loaded together. The Achilles bus convoy had a police escort onto Statten Island right to where they are set up for the pre race. So we cut through lines of other buses and traffic. We had a special section with a tented area to wait in. We also load into the corral for the start 30 minutes after the corrals close. So they close the corrals and open a separate shorter route for Achilles to enter through. So the start was logistically a lot easier. The wind on the island was quite strong so the tent was a huge bonus for me. Sitting in the wind is one of my worst triggers for TN so that tent was huge for me! Achilles athletes start at the end of the first flight so we had a 10:50 start. Also important for me as my trigeminal neuralgia triggers as the day goes on. The earlier I start the better! Waiting in the corral to start we managed to snag the dunkin donut marathon hats. They were all gone by the time we got to the Island but people pitched them at the start so we grabbed some. Another NYC marathon souvenir!

The race itself was amazing. That first bridge was so windy! I almost lost my hat twice and thought my race bib would blow off too! Since we start at the back, and since I am walking the race, we start and almost immediately everyone runs away and it was just me and my 2 guides. Ric kept saying "I am in the biggest race in the world and we are all alone!" and we were ... for the bridge! It was freezing cold and super windy. I could hardly look over the water for the wind and this was my least favourite part of the race. I just wanted off the bridge and out of the cold wind. As soon as we cleared it I tossed my sleeves and things got going. Once we hit crowds though it was a different race! That bridge was the only part I did not enjoy and even then I would not say I hated it, it was just too windy for me with my TN.

The winds were high all day and a head wind for much of the race. Cold too. Once the second wave caught us we were never alone again. We had trouble staying together and people just shoved us aside (despite being clearly marked Achilles Guide - Athlete - Guide and staying to the side). But that was just part of the fun and experience of the marathon and in no way took away from anything. This race was FUN! The miles flew by. Ric and Karen, my two Achilles Guides, rocked it. They went by my pace, zero pressure to speed up or slow down. We celebrated every mile and KM marker. I did not push my pace but just enjoyed the marathon. We slowed at every water station, you pretty much have to with the crowds and the goo and crap on the ground! We did one bathroom break (zero line ups) where once again I walked in on someone (seriously people LOCK the doors)! I paced by feel for most of the race. My garmin had a lot of trouble and often told me paces that were way off what I was (which I saw when I downloaded after). Ric, one of my Guides, gave me mile breakdowns and that helped but for the most part I went by feel.

I loved the crowds and they totally amazed me. Loved going from cheering crowds to the silence of the Jewish quarter then back to crowds again. Even enjoyed the long (and challenging ) bridge before First Avenue (because I knew what was coming). Loved seeing the differences in the 5 boroughs. The crowds totally blew me away. and the support from other racers who cheered on Achilles was amazing too! As we headed towards 'the wall' we started to ramp up and pick up. From miles 20 - 26 I just kept pushing. In the back of my mind my goal was to pace well and have a strong finish and somehow I did. NYC was only my second marathon. In my first I ran headfirst into that wall and almost crawled it in. This one I started to get stronger with every mile that we got closer to the end. By the last 5K I was on "kill' mode and started picking people off pushing my tempo. By holding back and enjoying the front half and experience of the race I had power to push the back half and come through central park powering up the hills, high fiving people, and enjoying the experience! So many people were on the side of Central Park with muscle cramps and I was powering up and down those hills like a crazy walking lady !

Loved going through the sea of flags at the finish area. Loved the finish line announcements. Loved the pics and videos my guide did on route. Loved having the whole thing! Ric did a video of us crossing the finish which is so great to have!

I don't think of myself as a 'disabled' person or runner. I have trigeminal neuralgia. I don't think of it as a disability. It is a part of my life and who I am but I do not let it run my life. Most people are not aware of the challenges I live with and that is ok. Achilles accepts people with any disability / challenge to be a part of their team. I was hesitant to join them. Hesitant to accept the support. Hesitant to acknowledge that I do have some real challenges to deal with especially in a race like NYC> But in hindsight the logistical adds of Achillies and the support of Ric and Karen made NYC so much more of a great experience than it would have been. Every water station Ric went and got water (if I wanted it). They carried extra lemon water for me (i use that to counter the burning/ dryness in my mouth). If I took my jacket off - they had it. We celebrated every mile and KM marker. I have pictures and videos. when I started to hurt I kept going because they had my back - not because I 'had' to because of them but because I knew I had someone who had my back and was with me. I had support at the start line. I had a quick exit at the end (Achilles exits at 72nd to a special area so we do not have to walk that full way around like the others). And at the end there was the lady from the bus in the morning high fiving us across the finish!

NY was my dream marathon. I could not tell you why I wanted to do it. and having done it I still can't. It was the worst vacation ever in Hotel Hell :roll: but the best marathon ever and I don't regret going even with hotel hell. Oh yeah about that ... Achilles ran out of race ponchos so I was freezing post race - as in shaking. I had to go to the med tent and get a blanket to get home (I do not regulate body temp well due to TN so this was actually a big deal - I was at risk of going into a form of hypothermia and it took me over 12 hours to get warm - we found out that family / guests in the Achilles area had helped themselves to the ponchos so they ran out early - thank heavens for the med tent and that blanket!). Got to hotel hell which was out of hot water. Sigh. Got supper. Got to bed with my heating pad - yeah! Finally getting warm Got a message that the Japan people would come get the money for the room in the morning. Ok. Fell asleep.

Knock on the door. Remember the lady on the bus. If there is knock on the door??? Now there is someone at my door who wants my money. I get dressed. I look. It is someone in a wheelchair. Must be Achilles right? So I open the door. He wants to take my money to the Japan people. Or I can go with him. I go with him. We go to another floor. The room door is open. the room is dark. No one is in it. The phone rings. No one answers. Yeah this is how people die in hotels bwahahaha. Back to room with ARKADIUSZ SKRZYPINSKI a hand cycle athlete who can complete a marathon in 1 hour 15 minutes and is not a murderer LOL. Thing is I had no idea who he was (until I later googled him and found out) He says he can take the money but is leaving in the morning or I can try to connect with the Japanese people. So I say ok I"ll try. Nice person. I now realize it is midnight. Achilles sent Arkadiusz to my room at midnight the day of the marathon to get the money without telling me! Who does that? Then I get an email that the Japan people are going out early could I try to find them between 7 and 7:30AM. Yes it is now after midnight. So after a long day I got a short night sleep and got up, showered, dressed and went hunting for a Japanese man who I have never seen at 7AM. Apparently Achilles Athletes are super athletes :) I found a Japanese woman who knew him but spoke no English. She introduced me to his room mate who also spoke no English. He introduced me to another woman who spoke about 25 words of English. And then the man I needed showed up. I think maybe he knew what I was giving him. I am glad my friend is Japanese and I can pronounce Japanese names fairly well!

We took amtrak back to Albany and GPS home. GPS decided to detour us through the Keene Valley and White Face Mountain to get home. we almost hit a deer but missed it...and after all that customs didn't even ask where we were or what we were doing so I did not get to tell them I ran the NYC marathon and that was the end of my marathon experience.

but I still loved the race!!! Really loved the race! And Hotel Hell with all the other craziness made for a lot of memories!
Last edited by ceileigh on Tue Nov 08, 2016 7:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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eme
Lynn Williams
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Re: My walk around NYC

Postby eme » Tue Nov 08, 2016 12:42 pm

Great race, scary hotel :shock:

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Spirit Unleashed
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Re: My walk around NYC

Postby Spirit Unleashed » Tue Nov 08, 2016 4:57 pm

Great report, thanks
Athlete....Maniac 973....Marathon Maniac 6645
Live the most amazing life you can live - La
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Avis
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Re: My walk around NYC

Postby Avis » Tue Nov 08, 2016 9:07 pm

My goodness, what an experience. I shall remember the name of the Hotel Pennsylvania forever! In spite of that, it sounds like the race itself was a awesome event, and that you enjoyed every minute of it. Congratulations!
"We are made of dreams and bones."
--The Garden Song

"By perseverance, the snail reached the ark."
--Charles H. Spurgeon

"I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it."
--Pablo Picasso

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La
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Re: My walk around NYC

Postby La » Thu Nov 10, 2016 9:40 am

Wow, quite the (mis)adventure! I also love the NY marathon (and NYC).
"Maybe I will be my own inspiration." - UltraMonk (Laura)
"Everywhere is walking distance if you have enough time." - Steven Wright

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turd ferguson
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Re: My walk around NYC

Postby turd ferguson » Thu Nov 10, 2016 11:52 am

Nice race. Nice recovery after two misses.

If you need to call the Hotel Pennsylvania, their phone number is 212-736-5000. If you're old like me, you'll now be humming a particular song all day.

Mike
"Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so." - Douglas Adams

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La
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Re: My walk around NYC

Postby La » Thu Nov 10, 2016 12:31 pm

turd ferguson wrote:If you need to call the Hotel Pennsylvania, their phone number is 212-736-5000. If you're old like me, you'll now be humming a particular song all day.

:lol:
"Maybe I will be my own inspiration." - UltraMonk (Laura)
"Everywhere is walking distance if you have enough time." - Steven Wright


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