The Race (The real one): I have run in four marathons, three of them major, but I have never been a spectator. Working out the logistics of cheering on the runners of the New York Marathon is no easy task. My goal was to kill two birds with one stone. I wanted to get in a long run and see the leaders, then make it back to the grandstand in Central Park for the finish. I measured distances, calculated paces and plotted a route. At 7:45 Sunday morning, I met Meagan and Jordan (in town for official running-related business) and Heidi and we headed toward Brooklyn. We got in a solid 15 miles, running over the Manhattan Bridge to Prospect park and back to mile eight of the course in downtown Brooklyn. There, we saw the lead men and women go by, some of our friends from Charlotte and some of my Urban Athletics teammates. Then, we all hopped the train for Manhattan where we would go our separate ways. I met Lauren outside the park and we made our way to the grandstand where I had managed to land media passes. From there, we watched the top woman, Firehiwat Dado motor across the line in 2:23:15. We saw Geoffrey Mutai smash the course record. We watched wheelchair athletes give it their all as they crested the final hill before the finish line. We saw runners set new PRs, conquer life-long goals, and pour their hearts and souls into those last two-tenths of a mile. It was beautiful and inspiring and after a year away from the event, I couldn’t be more excited to tackle it again.