Why are the roads so sticky?

I was out for a run this morning and thought about the  handful of friends that I know who were down at Fort Wadsworth on Staten Island waiting for the New York Marathon to start.  It was a chilly day, the sun was out, pretty good race conditions all in all.

So, as I was running I thought back to my first marathon.  It was back in 2002, and I wasn't really what I would consider a good runner at the time.  I had actually started running to try to get into shape (I wasn't very fit back then).  A friend of mine at work, when I told him of my attempts to run, was quick to add support and motivation.  He helped me get my mileage up to a whopping 4-5 miles.  Then up to 6.  Before I knew it I was running 8 miles on my long runs and wasn't feeling too terrible.

Then, one day my friend is in my office and before I knew it I was signing up for the NYC Marathon lottery.  Mind you, I had never run a race before - ever.  Not a 5K or 5 miler.  Nothing.  And I was a little apprehensive to say the least when I discovered that I had made it in.  So I kept on training, adding miles to my long runs, but looking back I had no idea what I was doing.  I had no idea what speedwork, or tempo runs were.  I ran at the same pace all the time.  All in all it was really a terrible training plan.  But, before I knew it I was on a bus heading to Staten Island for the start - wondering what the hell I had gotten myself into.

This is where everything becomes a blur.  I ran 4 marathons after this first one (New York again 2 years later, then Chicago and Nashville ).  I can recall quite a bit from those races, as I think about it.  But my first marathon - my first race of any kind - I can't recall much at all.

I remember being in Fort Wadsworth trying to stay warm.  And when the announcements were made to start making our way to the start, that's where it all pretty much goes fuzzy.  I don't remember much of the start on the Verazzano Bridge at all.  I remember absolutely nothing of running through Brooklyn, or crossing the Queensborough Bridge.  And while I recall it on my second NYC Marathon, I don't remember the huge crowds on First Avenue as you come off the Bridge into Manhattan.  Even running down 5th Avenue and coming into Central Park is a vague memory.  Hell, the finish is something I can't even remember much of at all.  (Although I do remember being really happy that I could stop running!)

What I do remember, the only thing that I can clearly remember, is wondering why the hell the road was so sticky through the water stations?  Having never run a race of any sort before I had no idea what was causing this.  Every water station, by the time I got there, was a sticky mess.  Every mile or so I was so confused as to why the road was sticky.  I could hear it with everyone running through.  I could feel the soles of my shoes sticking to the road.  It made no sense at all. 

It took me 18 miles or so to realize that it was the Gatorade from the water stations that was spilled all over the road from discarded cups.

That's it - that's the only memory of my first marathon....my first race ever.....that I can recall.  The sticky roads.  

As I thought about this this morning I got a good laugh out of it.  I had absolutely no idea what I was doing as I trained for, and participated in, that race.   Nutrition on long runs? Nope.  Hydration during long runs?  Average at best.  Pre-race nutrition?  Pretty poor.  Nutrition during the race?  I think I carried 1 gel with me for the entire race.  I'm not sure how I got through it to be honest.

Oh how times have changed.

I'll be watching the live coverage of this years marathon this morning and I'll be tracking my friends online.  Good luck to everyone who's racing today.