Oh, where to begin. There will definitely be more than one post on this race and the events around it. The “stuff” around the trip will be in my weekly recap coming soon and lessons learned deserve a post of their own. I was one of the last grandfathered in groups to get into the marathon, so this race was a long time coming. Add a hip surgery, half a year of dedicated training, and you can bet right…this was HUGE for me.
I’m stealing Corey’s breakdown idea, because I think it tells the story a bit easier. So, my race recap in a pre-race and the 5 boroughs.
I woke up around 5:30 Sunday morning to an email about a wind warning/advisory and that signage, tents, etc. would be at a minimal. Hmm. So, that wind symbol on the weather channel was no joke, predicting 20-30+ mph winds. I stuck with my race day outfit but added extra layers for pre-race (a bathrobe, thanks to Rich) and a NYC last minute purchase for ear warmers/head band to keep my ears warm.I got dressed, packed my bag of nutrition and extra layers and headed out to take the subway down to The Staten Island Ferry. Rich was kind enough to go with me to calm my nerves and hang out until Alma and Sally arrived for our 7:30 departure. First security check with dogs sniffing our bags, and then a line to wait for the ferry. The 7:30 ferry was a few minutes late and I took that opportunity to eat. My pre-race breakfast was set for 7:30 by my nutritionist and included 2 rice cakes, peanut butter, a banana and granola. We finally got on the ferry, enjoyed the ride over, stopped at the port-o-potties, and then got on the bus to be taken to the start area. It was WINDY. FREEZING. I could feel the port-o-potty blowing in the wind while I was in it and feared it would tip over. Thank GOODNESS we were on a heated bus.I was still on the bus at 9:20 when I realized my corral closed at 9:35. RUSH. I hopped off the bus, was quickly scanned and check by the police, said my goodbyes to Sally and Alma (different colored starts) and speed walked to the Blue Corral, Wave 2.I literally got there just in time, was security checked again let in, used the bathroom one more time and stripped to the basics I could survive in, my marathon outfit and my fleece zip up. I decided I would run in it until we were off the bridge. Our corral started moving, and within a minute or two, New York, New York was playing and we were off.
I held back the tears as I started to run and couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. IT WAS HAPPENING!! It didn’t take long to realize how strong the wind really was and it didn’t really feel like I was running. Strong gusts, light gusts, just lots of gusts of wind. I could hear my bib and see clothes literally flying (why in the world would you strip on top of the bridge!?!). I also saw a girl get literally knocked down by the wind. It was NO JOKE. I lost my hat (went back for it) and decided to hold it until we were off the bridge.
The climb itself wasn’t bad, and I kept trying to pull back on the downhill of the bridge but I couldn’t really feel my pace because of the wind.
I decided to lose the half zip so I could start to focus and get in a groove.
Miles 1-2: 8:29, 7:41
WOW. The energy in Brooklyn was amazing! There were people everywhere, it was hard to take it all in! I started my nutrition plan- 1 sip of Osmo every time my watch beeped (every mile) and a sip of Hammergel every 15-20 minutes (every other watch beep) and did my best to focus on my race.
The miles really went by- I knew I was a bit faster than I had intended, but more than one person had said to run by feel…and I did. I felt great. I was taking it all in and enjoying it. I was supposed to see Rich, Ann Marie and John at Mile 8 and I somehow missed them. I told myself to shake it off, I would see them at 17 and it would be okay. I felt a little deflated, but the rest of the crowds were so amazing that it seemed okay.There were more gusts of winds along the way and they pushed and pulled in every direction. I lost my hat again and tightened even more so that it wouldn’t fly off. I had read a tip to treat the wind like you would a hill- so I tried to do that. Head down, lean in, focus. This type of running made it hard to really look around and take in the crowds and the scene but I tried to really enjoy the sounds of the crowd. Having my name on my shirt really helped with that!
The Pulaski Bridge didn’t really bother me, and I was still feeling good at the half way point.
Miles 3-13: 8:05, 8:03, 8:05, 8:09, 8:08, 8:11, 8:09, 8:01, 8:02, 8:12
A blur. I can remember hearing cheers, bands, etc. but I don’t remember much, other than noticing my hydration seemed right on point with my gels and how much fluid I had left in my belt.The Queensboro bridge sucked as much as everyone said it would. It was quiet, LOTS of wind, and I just wanted to stay focused on getting through it because I knew the crowds would be on the other side. I passed a lot of people on the bridge. Hills usually don’t bother me, considering all of ATL is a hill. Again, it was just the wind. I felt bad for the people that were walking and cramping already- we still had quite a ways to go.
Miles 14-17: 8:08, 8:37, 8:20
The crowds were still big and loud and I needed a boost. I just felt like time was flying by and I wasn’t enjoying the race like I wanted too. I felt so focused on moving forward and passing people, but I made myself stay to the left to try and soak in the energy.
I knew Stephanie would be around mile 17, and I was SO, SO happy she saw me. I needed it, badly. It’s very different to have random strangers cheer for you and then to see your friends cheer for you. It gave me the boost I needed. A mile or so later I ended up seeing Amy, a family friend (thank goodness for their balloons) and I knew Rich, Ann Marie and John would be next. Or, so I thought. Somehow, I missed them again. I felt a bit deflated. (Seen below: they still had fun even though they missed me). It was definitely warming up and I decided to lose my gloves. As I wiped my face I realized just how salty I was. SHIT. I couldn’t feel the sweat because of the wind and cold and I had definitely lost more than I had wanted to, especially with so much left in the race. I was starting to feel tired and knew I had one more bridge.
Willis Ave bridge seemed to do me in. It wasn’t even that much, but I just felt like I was dragging. I apparently faked it like I was making it though…Miles 16-19: 8:20, 8:08, 8:06, 8:22
One. Foot. In. Front. Of. The. Other. I hit the wall. I ate my extra Hammergel and decided to drink Gatorade, too. Osmo wasn’t enough at this point. Talk about a sticky mess- my hands were disgusting after that, along with my shoes. After each aid station, I felt like I was sticking to the ground because of all of the gatorade.
I tried to embrace Harlem, but I wanted to cry. I knew my pace was slowing and it all just seemed HARD. I couldn’t really feel anything. My body was cold and achy. I tried to focus on how far I’d come, where I was last year and just getting through each mile. At this point I was cursing myself and the marathon and the wind and swearing I would NEVER do this again. I didn’t care who was cheering, what they were saying or what kind of amazing music was to be heard- I WANTED to be done.
Miles 20-22: 8:34, 8:32, 8:42
Carnegie Hill/Central Park
This was my hill hell. Again, none of the hills were that bad- it’s where they were placed and how I felt after hitting the wall. I was mad at myself for not having fun. Every person that gave me advice said to smile and have fun. I really was trying to smile to get through it and really enjoy it but I just couldn’t. It was around this point I finally decided to switch to a different setting on my watch to see where I really was (I had it on overall pace, not time passed).Once I saw my time and did the math (my garmin was off the course for quite some time due to my weaving around people, so I knew I my race would be long) I had a decision to make. Either suck it up and push as much as you can or watch your race slip away even more than it already had.
I chose the first. I worked too damn hard for too many months to pansy out. I pushed as much as I could and that first turn in Central Park was what I needed. I knew where we would go from here and it was a more intimate race. The crowds were close, the park was stunning, and it was go time. I prayed that I would finally see Rich and my friends and I did just before mile 25.
Hearing their cheers was exactly what I needed. I checked my watch again and knew it would be close. Time to put it all out there.
I felt like I was passing people left and right and flying. That final turn back into the park was pretty jammed and I was just so focused on being done (I look miz). I couldn’t really pay attention to the crowds or the finish line I’ve admired from TV for so long, it was just getting to that final timing mat.
Miles 23-26.2 (plus .2 more): 8:47, 9:07, 8:29, 8:24, 7:43
I finished and fought off the tears.
Official Stats3:39:09 6531 overall 1121 female 245 female 30-34
A 20+ minute PR and my first BQ by 41 seconds!!
Garmin Stats Please note that last .45. THAT was adrenaline and the time clock!
Right after I got my mylar (thank you volunteer for wrapping me up and taping it so it didn’t fly away) and food (gatorade, water, pretzels, gatorade protein, apple, powerbar) and started the long walk towards the exit, I burst into tears. FINALLY letting it all go. I had so many emotions. I will share more on that in another post because this race deserves that. I was FREEZING. It seemed like forever till I found the glorious blue poncho thing, and it was as warm as it could be with that thing on for the next few blocks till I could actually get out of the park.I found Rich, Ann Marie and John and I was thrilled. We stepped into a coffee shop, I ate the apple from the food bag, had a coffee (to try to turn my lips back from blue) and put on my warm clothes. We hobbled to grab lunch (hells yes to a burger, sweet potato fries and a beer) and then Rich and I said our goodbyes to Ann Marie and John and headed back to our place. I was still cold, but so thankful to be walking- it really helped with recovery.
I showered, foam rolled, got dressed, and we headed to the Sketchers post race party for a bit. We grabbed a slice of pizza on our way home and I think I was asleep by 9. It had been a long and emotional day.
- The volunteers
- The crowds
- Starting with Alma and Sally
- The bling
- The poncho
Not so Much
- The wind
- My attitude
- The wall
I LOVE this thing. It goes in my Top 5 for many reasons. It’s the NYC Marathon, it’s my first BQ, the lanyard is colorful, the medal itself describes the race and city. All in all, it’s gorgeous!I like the race shirt, too. Long sleeve, womens cut, fits well.Final Thoughts
It was an amazing weekend. This is a must-do race, for sure. The logistics are a bit tough, starting a marathon at 10:00 isn’t ideal, but with the way this race works, I don’t see how starting earlier is even an option. As if you couldn’t tell in my post, the crowds were amazing. The fact that the city of New York can shut down is pretty insane, too. A huge thanks to the NYRR, the city, and the volunteers that make this race possible. The course itself, is tough. Harder than I thought it would be.
Am I thrilled with my time? Yes and no. I will write more on this soon….a 20 minute PR and my first BQ is huge. I am very happy with it. But I didn’t love how I felt, my attitude, or how I truly executed the race. I have a lot of “what if’s” that have run through my head since I crossed that finish line. The marathon is a beast. You never know what you are going to get on that day, and it’s only up to you how you handle it. New York, you were a challenge. I’m glad I could conquer you!