"Que Viva Mexico, Bianca!" someone shouted as they proudly waved the Mexican flag. I excitedly waved at them and snapped a shot. Mile 2. Man, I wish that Don could be here with me. I know he'd love to see all of this.
I was happy to get into the neighborhoods. I wasn't sure if I was thirsty yet, but I remember Chris, my yoga instructor, telling me that I needed to hydrate every 15 minutes. I'd made a mental note to drink at every mile stop and to try to eat along the way. There were so many happy faces, rooting you on.
Miles 3 - 5 went off like a blur. I just couldn't get over how beautiful Brooklyn was. I loved all of the houses and trees and oh, especially the people. I kept staring at the landscape, thinking about A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. I'd never visited this area before and I must say that my imagination was accurate based on Betty Smiths' description. I stared through the crowds faces doing my very best to pick out my co-worker Gen's face out of the thousands upon thousands smiling back at me. By mile 6, I'd pretty much quit looking and started staring around at the masses.
At the 5K marker, there were more series of BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEPs, signaling our chips sending the notices out to the masses. I thought of my family that was tracking me and wondered what they were doing at that moment. I happily took my water and Gatorade Endurance. I toasted to Chae, since this is her mile.
At mile 4, I snapped a photo of White Castle. I chuckled thinking about the movie Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle. LOL. Silly, I know. I also snapped a photo of a family cheering us on. I immediately thought of my family and my aunts and uncles and cousins. I could see their faces standing there and cheering me on. I got a little choked up thinking about them and remembering their struggles. I pressed on.
At mile 5, I saw a more eclectic group of people. I took an orange from a man who held out a plate of the juicy fruit. I happily took it and had sticky fingers later. I didn't care. I'm RUNNING THE NYC MARATHON!! Woot! Michael and Marco would be cheering me on!
Mile 6 and I'm passed by a man who shouts out, WOOHOO!! Only 20 more to go! His buddy nailed him on the arm and scolded him for saying such things. "Why say that?? You should say something like, 4 more miles until we get to 10 or something else. Not that!" He was so upset at him and I leaned over and gave the guy a high five. You have to keep it light hearted and fun. No sense in rushing through it. This mile is for Will, and so it was fitting that not only did I share a high five, but this was to another Asian man. I was really high fiving Will!
Mile 7, once again, I leapfrogged this lady and her friend. They seemed to sneak past me when I slowed at the water stops. I tried to make small talk with them, but they seemed more interested in keeping to themselves and so I didn't press any conversation. Brother was all around me. This was the first mile where I saw people lingering on porches, drinking the time away. I loved seeing them hanging out and I knew that if there was a marathon off of Brother's steps, he'd be up by that point (close to noonish), toasting the runners. I caught the eye of a particular group and they hollered, "You can do it, Bianca!!!" I yelled back, "Cheers to you!" and with that, they lifted their glass and took a chug.
Mile 8, I saw a sea of people and perched behind them were happy and cheerful firemen. They kept shouting things like, "Lookin' good, Bianca!" I couldn't help but blush a little bit and think, wow, Danika would enjoy their remarks too. I mean, after all, who doesn't love a fireman? It was at this mile that all 3 course colors joined together. It wasn't nearly as congested as I anticipated it would be. Can you imagine 3 major veins joining a main artery? But the transition was smooth. After the rest stops, however, my sneakers would go click, click, click on the pavement as a result of all of the sticky electrolytes in the Gatorade they handed out.
Miles 9 - 12 faded together quickly. There were more bands along the way, the people seemed more alert as I passed by. And I kept thinking about those that supported me. I even paused to take in a banana. I was careful to toss the peel to the side near some other trash, ensuring that no one would accidentally slip on it. I was grateful for all of the spectators and their many gifts they offered to us runners. I don't know if they knew how helpful they were to us. Oranges, bananas, leftover Halloween candy, and an infinite amount of high fives and well wishes.
I turned a corner and there it was: MILE 13. Not only the halfway point, but my favorite mile. What do you know, another bridge. I made it this far, so now it was time to enjoy the bridge and read some more inspirational notes.