Come hell or high water, literally in this case thanks to Superstorm Sandy, you are running in the New York City Marathon this year. Good for you. Despite the devastating effects of Sandy, Mayor Bloomberg has stated his determination to see the race continue as planned, citing, among other things, an estimated $340 million in much-needed business it will bring to the city. The marathon organizers, responding to concerns that the race will divert resources from neighborhoods still struggling to get back on their feet, have pledged to hire private contractors to help out. This much is for sure: much like the 2001 marathon, which ran less than two months after 9/11, the city will be out in full force this Sunday looking for a reason to cheer.
By now you've spent months training, completed all your long runs, figured out whether you are a gel-pack or energy-bar person, discovered the magical properties of chocolate milk, lost at least a few toenails, and hopefully are sufficiently prepared to ward off nipple burn. Sometime this week you'll make it over to Javits and pick up your race packet, figure out what Staten Island Ferry you need to be on to make your start time, and before you know it Sunday will arrive and you will be running through the streets of New York with nearly 50,000 other inspired—and often weirdly dressed—people, with the entire city cheering you on.
However, there's some stuff you should probably know before you take your first stride. Even though there are countless sites—and over the past few months you've, no doubt, perused your fair share—devoted to providing advice on how to pace yourself, what to expect at each mile, and what to watch out for, there's also the stuff no one tells you. All of the stuff I wish I’d known when I ran the marathon for the first time last year, I’m passing it on to you.