Warning: You will notice that the number of pictures decreases rapidly as my cell phone battery declined…

When we last left our hero, she was approaching the Pulaski Bridge which goes from Brooklyn into Queens.  A potty break had cost about 4 minutes and brought the pace from on-target for a 5:15 finish to behind.  Furthermore, it was at this point in the race when the stomach of steel began to show signs of failing.  The severe nausea that would plague much of the race was starting now.

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The Pulaski Bridge was the 2nd bridge of the race.  Although definitely a hill (up and down), it was certainly not the worst of the bridges.

This part of Queens was fairly industrial although there were decent crowds out cheering.  The highlight of Queens was probably running by the Citicorp Building which is the tallest building in NY outside of Manhattan.   It didn’t feel like we were in Queens very long before we encountered the 59th Street Bridge.

Simon and Garfunkel sang a very upbeat and catchy song about this bridge and “Feelin’ Groovy.”  Trust me, at this point in the race I was feeling anything but groovy…  There were several issues with this bridge.  First, we ran on the lower level of the bridge on the left hand side (against traffic).  The upper level was clearly open and we could hear traffic over our heads.  It was a little scary and loud! Second, it was at this point that I really thought I might vomit.  I actually started to think about where I could vomit without reeking havoc on other runners (remember, it was very windy so vomiting over the side of the bridge might have back-fired!).  I was feeling particularly bad on this stretch and even though I was due for a gel, I decided to suck on a jolly rancher that someone had shared before the start. Third problem was that the bridge was nearly 1 mile of uphill.  Most of the people around me were straight walking.  I was still doing my 30/30 intervals which meant I was passing a lot of people but I felt too crappy to care.  The final problem was that – apparently – I wasn’t getting a good GPS signal for my Garmin watch.  I was running for a time goal so I was paying attention to my watch (more than I should have been, no doubt).  It was telling me that I was running 17 min/mile on the bridge.  This was SO discouraging.  I was already at an emotional low because I wasn’t feeling well and I knew I wasn’t going to reach  my time goal.  To be passing people and giving it my all with my watch telling me I was running 17 min/mile was just….depressing.  I sort of guessed that the lower level of the bridge was getting a poor satellite signal but I couldn’t confirm that for the almost 2 miles it took to cross the bridge.

This is really the point in the race where I had to dig deep and remind myself that I had successfully run 27.3 miles just 3 weeks earlier without any injuries or significant residual soreness. I had to remember that I had previously finished 2 full marathons under adverse conditions (one with severe hyponatremia and one the day after doing a half marathon).  There was a lot of inner dialogue during my journey across the bridge and I can honestly say I was stronger at the end of that bridge than at the beginning.

And, by the way, my Garmin read 15.85 miles when I reached the 16 mile marker in Manhattan.  Before the bridge my Garmin thought I had run almost 0.25 miles beyond the official course distance.  So my pace per mile was perfectly fine on the bridge and it was just a satellite issue.  Stupid technology.

Just on the other side of the 59th Street Bridge was Manhattan with the huge crowds on 1st Avenue.  Borough #4!

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