Tuesday, November 6, 2007

"makes me wanna run a marathon...almost"

this will end up being a mother post.
i've told the weekend stories so many times, though -- that i may mistakenly not do it justice. my fingers are still thawing out from the chilly new york weather, which also makes for less than optimal typing.

but the real reason i hesitate to start this post ..is.. I HAVE NO IDEA WHERE TO BEGIN!!!! in all honesty -- so much happened in so little time that i still feel overwhelmed. there just is NO PLACE like new york. amazing. sensory overload. and so....here we go!!!!

we both have to admit we weren't quite "prepared" for the onslaught of people. the last time i remember feeling THIS claustrophic around 2 million people was when chrissy and i decided it would be fun to go christmas shopping at rockefeller center in late november a few years back. it was freezing and to say it was crowded is AN UNDERSTATEMENT. i remember walking pressed sideways against cole haan just to turn the corner. i can't believe people LIVE LIKE THIS. we had heard marathon weekend was something impossible to explain, you just sorta have to...be there. they were right.

so we take the train up on saturday morning....I LOVE THE TRAIN. but i'll save all the reasons for another day. we arrive at penn station and cab over to our hotel, which, might i add, is located right in the center of the above photograph. we were LITERALLY in times square. AND because chad sweet talked monica, the concierge, we were bumped up to a club level suite. it. was. amazing. :)

we immediately have to head to registration to get his shoe chip (which keeps his time) and a bunch of other....stuff. PANDEMONIUM. 40,000 people in all sorts of lines, corals, groups, etc. but SO FUN! you feel so cool even BEING there, so i can't imagine how cool is feels to be PARTICIPATING in this event. over 110,000 people applied to enter this race. 39,000 were accepted. 100 countries represented. just an overwhelming place to be.

the best part (or the worst, depending if you're running or not) is that they actually put a video camera on a motorcycle last year and videotaped the entire race as the bike drove through it....so you felt like you were watching a simulated marathon on this massive movie screen. honestly....SO cool because you hit all 5 NYC boroughs: manhattan, staten island, bronx, brooklyn, and queens. but you watch and realize....how long....you actually...run. it's hard to comprehend.

so we cab back to the hotel to unpack and figure out our evening plans...and i think puffy was getting a little scared:

at any rate...we were within hours of meeting up with chrissy and jay, so we had little-to-nil time to fret. the dinner distraction was nice. so they met up with us at times square and we did a little happy hour in the club lounge, with this being our view of marathon eve:

you wouldn't think of it, but to get a PASTA DINNER the night before a marathon...you have to BOOK YOUR RESERVATION for an italian restaurant like....over a week in advance!!! you figure, 40,000 runners wanna "carb-up" with their friends and families and poor chrissy had a heck of a time finding us a place to have an "italian" dinner!! but she succeeded after some research and it was WONDERFUL!!!! the entire dinner crowd was talking about the cities they were from...the times they wanted to finish the race by...it was like the ENTIRE CITY was running. you could hear the buzz while eating! chad's got a pop-eye face going on. not sure why. he looks drunk. i can assure you he's not.

sure...i could blame it on nerves and excitement, but the truth of the matter is....TRYING TO SLEEP IN TIMES SQUARE ON A SATURDAY NIGHT IS IMPOSSIBLE!!!! literally, 100 cabs were below us at any given time BLARING THEIR HORNS. drivers are freaking insane...and set on pissing off everybody in the nearby hotels at 4am. FOUR AM! SHUT UP ALREADY! chad and i laid there in total disbelief at 4am.

"....dude. this is maddening."
"....so you're awake, too?"

yeah. great way to start off a day when you have to RUN 26 MILES! haha, but...he was up and bouncing off the walls at 530am per usual, i don't think he could be fazed. he came over to kiss me at around 630am and his BREATH smelled REDICULOUS..


"...my leftover pasta and meatballs."

i always knew you had to be sick to run a race like this...but that just sealed the freaking deal.

he had to leave by 645am and face the 43 degree weather...in THIS:

he looks so focused!
i was still under the covers, in my PJs, shaking my head.

so he leaves for staten island to meet up with kristen and andy. crazy kids. there's no point in me heading over there with them at this point because:
1) i wouldn't be ALLOWED anywhere near the starting line.
2) that's the only stop in staten island, so....once i made the trek across the bridge, i'd be left in the dust....with no clue how to get back.

totally not worth it. but i did feel bad with him walking out the door alone. thems the breaks though, in this race.

and i only felt bad for .... 2 minutes. and then i went to down the club lounge...destroyed the buffet....too espresso back to my room....and mapped out my pit stops on a MASSIVE map, of all the places i'd find chad on the race track. and of course, watched everything on TV while doing it.

i have to tell ya...i got choked up twice this weekend. and at the moment the cannon blew and the race officially started....the speakers down on the starting line bridge blew up with frank sinatra's New York, New York...and it was just SO fun and emotional!!

so chrissy meets me at the hotel again....and we end up on our hands and knees huddled over a 3 foot map of NY...trying to figure out the FREAKING TRAIN SYSTEM. hello. i'm sorry. but i wouldn't send my worst enemy on the NY transit system. i'd still be on the wrong track somewhere had it not been for chrissy..THE NATIVE...who STILL doesn't really get it. we had moments of the blind leading the blind, but...we survived :) until she had to go to a family reunion and i had to go to harlem by my lonesome. but that's getting ahead of myself.

i was
that girl on the train. with my camera strapped around my neck. with my directions...and maps...and armed with snacks and water bottles....and a thoroughly terrified look on my face. chrissy would inch over to the other side of the train car when i'd unscroll my area map of the city as though my life depended on it. it was highlighted, inked up, and fraying at the edges. it was my lifeblood.

so we finally make our first stop in brooklyn at mile 12.
fortunately, the runners have chips on their shoes that send emails to my blackberry when they pass certain markers in the race.
unfortunately, they were in KILOMETERS and incredibly delayed emails with missing information...like...at WHAT TIME they passed 15 kilometers. nothing like the DC marathon where the updates were lightening speed...in MILES...with all the pertinent information to do those ridiculous equations in your head to figure out where the runner was. no, no, no. so we waited at mile 12 for an hour. AN HOUR. i was terrified we had missed him, but JUST as we were about to give up....i see him and andy! nothing like havin' a hubby who's 6'4" to spot a mile away!!!!

i saw him running over to me and WAS THRILLED! "aww, he wants to KISS ME!!"

nope. just kidding. he wants to throw his stuff at me, so i can carry it for him for the rest of the 15 miles.

i chased him down like an 80 year old italian gramma and forced him to kiss me on the race street. so sue me, if i got in your way....
actually, i can't believe i didn't get trampled....
so as you can see, at mile 12....all was still well in the world of runners.
everybody was still smiling!

my plan then proceeded to go to hell.
my plans to see him at mile 17 didn't pan out.
i hadn't calculated the ZOO of a transit system....and the time required to get from A to B.
so i figured, we would see him at mile 20 in the bronx.
chrissy proceeded to beg on her knees to forego the bronx.
chrissy "the city slicker" got scared....of the bronx.
chrissy decided it was actually time to check out....and at that point left me for the day.
on the 6 train.
to face the bronx.
i realized i probably wouldn't have time there either...and thought, "it'd be better to get to the 23 mile marker WAY ahead of schedule and wait there for him."
in harlem.

i waited...

and i waited some more....

and after 30 minutes....realized harlem wasn't all it was cracked up to be. and that if i didn't leave soon, i'd miss him at the finish.
i was PISSED....how did my CALCULATIONS FAIL ME.
so i waddle my rear back to the 6 train at 103rd street. (so tired....lugging WAY too much stuff).
ride the ClownCar train to 59th...on the verge of tears that having been in this race for over 4 hours already....he was probably crossing the finish without me THERE.
get off at 59th....RUN (zero exaggeration) cross-town along the bottom of central park (can we talk about how FREAKING HUGE central park is?) and realize...i'm about to have my #2 choked up moment.

as you round the corner....the sea of people at the finish....the amazing sky line....the MUSIC they have playing....is awesome. you feel SO PROUD to know somebody that is running. the support is astounding. the CITY SHUTS DOWN....here i am at 5th avenue and central park south....and not ONE CAR can be found. just people. millions and millions of people. i find a spot at the 25.5 mile marker....and i feel my blackberry buzzing. an update about chad. OMG. he had just crossed the 35 kilometer mark. thats....21 miles. SO I HADNT MISSED HIM ALL ALONG IN HARLEM. he had simply slowed down his pace and threw me off. i knew i'd be standing at the 25 mile marker for a while....

blackberry buzzed again.
he just cross the 40 kilometer mark (24 miles)....so i KNEW i'd see him soon....and warned the nice lady next to me, with ALOT of plastic surgery and an engagement ring the side of mount rushmore, that i would soon be screaming in her ear. sure enough!!!! THERE'S PUFFY!!!! let's just say - ain't nobody smiling anymore at this point. please note that miss france here in the forefront looks like she'd rather go through natural child birth than take one more step...

chad couldn't really speak. but he smiled. i told him he was almost done.....

and then i proceeded to walk 40 city blocks to find him without any success. and 40 city blocks back to our hotel room...and he hadn't gotten back yet.....
we knew it wouldn't be possible to find each other at the finish...he didn't have a WATCH ON, nor did he have his cell...so we agreed that we'd TRY, but, ultimately meet back in times square. which is what ended up happening. he came bounding in.....SO RELIEVED IT WAS OVER!!!

we screamed and jumped around for a bit, scaring the maintenance dude fixing our internet connection....he was looking really good, compared to last year's finish line. he was actually still walking. big deal. haha...

so we showered, he drank approx. 34352 liters of water. popped some advil. sat in the tub. and we hit the town!!! we met up with some of his friends who work in NYC and we went down to the village, and had a great dinner:

and we literally fell asleep during a conversation we were having back in the hotel room. i remember talking...and then i remember him turning off the TV. we slept in...and decided to walk around and have lunch around the area, rather than attempting wall street. that was a little ambitious of us....considering chad was now moving VERY slow....and we were exhausted....

note to self: this is why i don't attempt self-portraits

it was priceless. the weekend. the experience. the excitement. and how proud i am to be married to chad!!! he never fails to finish what he starts -- no matter how long it takes -- no matter how challenging....(he finished in 4hrs and 40-something minutes...can't recall exactly...)

now, i will say -- whatever smidge of an internal inkling of a desire to live in NYC that existed in the caves of my heart -- was exterminated by this weekend. there is absolutely NOTHING reasonable about NYC. :) you can't eat for a reasonable price. you can't sleep for a reasonable price. you can't get anywhere in a reasonable amt of time. you can't do ANYTHING with the ease and simplicity of doing it here in DC. it completely DWARFS the magnitude of my current city. it's over the top. it's incredibly inconvenient. but it sure as heck is a FABULOUS fabulous place to taste from time to time....drinking it all in.....

yet we returned last night....got off the train....caught a cab to take home....and marveled that we could see the full sky....that we could hear ourselves think....that we could swing by the grocery store with ease if need be....that we had grass to walk our dog on....all these things that i wonder if new yorkers miss ever.

home never felt so sweet. :)


in other news.
** reality check about to come crashing in **

i had my unexpected yet necessary visit to the fertility clinic this morning.
nothing like THE FORCE welcoming you home.
it looks like you won't be hearing any fertility updates for 2 months.
november's cycle has been cancelled.
december's cycle has been potentially cancelled.
DIAGNOSIS: massive and painful cysts cover both ovaries and i've been placed on THE BIRTH CONTROL PILL until they dissolve.
i stared through the nurse as her mouth moved.
i have arrived at the place where...i don't even feel pain anymore.
only vicious anger. a rage that is so deeply rooted you don't recognize it at first....

"see you next month, allison."

my personal nurse rounded the corner with the BCP prescription and told me to stay hopeful.
i could feel the hot tears welling up....but couldn't speak. there were people around.
she hugged me...."i know. hope is hard....but i'll stay hopeful enough for us both...."

no more charting.
no more shots for another month or two.
no more Oracle appointments.

they say the entire infertility descent happens in increments. by degrees.
the fear that a newly diagnosed girl has of IVF is monumental. the concept is terrifying.
but by the time you do it...you've reached a point that most others would not understand. you find your mind capable of welcoming the notion of torture, if it meant you could end this horrible nightmare.

....i stared at chad's number for a few seconds on my cell and hit "call."

"...i'm there. i think i'm there. it's time for IVF....."


heather said...

allison - i am taking a moment to appreciate the weight of that last sentence and acknowledging you for where you are at. i have no other words except to tell you that you're beautiful, and you are handling all of this with such grace.

chrissy said...

for the record: i wanna clear my name. i was NOT afraid of going to the boogie down bronx. i just laughed at the thought of allison going alone. and i didn't wanna go due to time factor. it was a hike which i did NOT have time for.

now you may commence laughing and know that i am not afraid....just smart. :)

ps: i agree, wholeheartedly, with your assessment of nyc as incredible and incredibly not afforadable. hence when i live in jersey.....a mere 14 miles away.

i have grass. and a car. i can eat for less than $100 a pop. sigh.

come back soon.

Monica said...

Oh my gosh. Congratulations to your hubby for finishing an amazing run! That's so so so so cool! :) I bet it was awesome. Thanks for sharing all the cool pictures. :)

RYC: Our trigger shot is tonight, and there is only one IUI--tomorrow at 11:30. No second one. I don't even know what comes next. More shots, I know--progesterone and Estradiol. Did you do those? She didn't tell me exactly how many follicles I had, but the day before yesterday, I was at 29 (varying measurements). I've decided I'm taking tomorrow and the next day off from work. I'm putting myself on bedrest, though it's probably unnecesary. My estradiol level was at 1232 today, and she said they like to do IUIs when it's between 1300 and 1500, which they fully expect it to be by tomorrow.

I can't believe this is here. It might be our only chance at this pregnancy thing, as we've decided not to pursue IVF--more because of money and emotional stresss than anything else. You know, if I won a free round of it, I'd probably take it. But right now, if this fails, I'll probably have to say goodbye to ttc. And that thought sort of makes me want to vomit.

Anyway, now that I've written a book on your comment section, I'd better go. I appreciate your prayers. Know that I'm praying for you guys, too. I'm so glad I can still keep up with what's going on. :)