Wait For It… a blog by Andy Ross


Posted on November 5, 2010


The New York City Marathon is coming up this weekend. Every year, I go through a very specific ritual to prepare for it.

Friday and Saturday nights, I carbo load. That means huge plates of pasta. Tonight, for instance, I had penne with peas and prosciutto in a creamy tomato sauce. Tomorrow, it’ll be fusilli with homemade pesto. Carbo loading is probably my favorite part of the marathon.

I can get pretty nervous leading up to the big day, so I’ll allow myself a drink or two. Usually something high in carbs, like a Guiness. It’s important to double up those carbos.

The morning of race day, I wake up before dawn. I’ll eat a modest breakfast—two bowls of farfalle in a lemon butter sauce. After that, I’ll stretch for an hour or so to loosen up my hamstrings. I apply BodyGlide anti-chafing gel to my nipples and inner thighs to keep friction from rubbing them raw. Then, I head down and watch the marathon.

It’s nice. I’ve staked out a good spot next to a fire hydrant, in case I need to lean against something. I have a hard time standing after eating so much pasta all week. Stretching out my hamstrings helps but not enough.

I’ll usually get real sleepy from waking up so early. Eating orange slice helps, because of the sugar rush. But, the volunteers tend to want to save those for the runners. They get real mad if you steal orange slices out of the runners’ hands.

I love watching the runners drink from the little paper cups and then toss them on the ground. Littering like nobody’s business. Because, you know what? They’re too busy to stop and find a trash can. Just like me.

My favorite part is the people who run wearing full costumes. Like some people dress as Batman. Sometimes people dress up as nuns. I once saw a guy wearing a huge hot dog outfit. It says, “Hey, marathons are so easy, even jerks can run them.” It really gives me confidence that maybe one day I might run a marathon.

Marathons are so inspiring. It’s all about watching people push their bodies to the very limit. Their weird, ropy bodies. Bodies that look wrong somehow, like marionettes made out of turkey jerky. It is truly inspiring how years of training can make your body so sexy and then eventually unsexy.

About fifteen minutes into watching the race, it’s time to apply more BodyGlide anti-chafing gel to my nipples and inner thighs. So, I’ll grab a cab home. Most of the rest of my day is spent watching the marathon on TV and eating bowls of pasta. Usually wrapped up in a Mylar blanket.

Like I said, it’s my yearly ritual.