New York City Marathon Race Recap

Marathon #6
New York Race #2

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.

Pre-Race

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.IMG_9343I 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.IMG_9404 IMG_9405The 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.IMG_9452I 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.IMG_9353I 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.

IMG_9354Staten Island

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

Brooklyn

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.758579-1086-0001sThere 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

Queens

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.758407-1093-0031sThe 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

First Ave

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).IMG_6528 IMG_6564It 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…758424-1099-0021sMiles 16-19: 8:20, 8:08, 8:06, 8:22

Bronx/Harlem

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).758472-1081-0044sOnce 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.

758439-1452-0003sI 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.

IMG_6608 IMG_6627Hearing 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.

758441-1374-0012sI 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). 758459-1099-0015s 758459-1099-0016sI 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 Stats

3:39:09
6531 overall
1121 female
245 female 30-34758541-1010-0036s

A 20+ minute PR and my first BQ by 41 seconds!!

Garmin StatsScreen shot 2014-11-07 at 12.12.26 PM Screen shot 2014-11-07 at 12.13.08 PMPlease note that last .45. THAT was adrenaline and the time clock!

Screen shot 2014-11-07 at 12.13.33 PM

 Post Race

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.IMG_6639I 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.IMG_6649 IMG_9412 IMG_9361I was still cold, but so thankful to be walking- it really helped with recovery.

IMG_9417I 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.

Overall

Favs

  • The volunteers
  • The crowds
  • Starting with Alma and Sally
  • The bling
  • The poncho

Not so Much

  • The wind
  • My attitude
  • The wall

Bling

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!IMG_9362I like the race shirt, too. Long sleeve, womens cut, fits well.image (1)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!

 

 

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Elizabeth

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22 Comments

  • Ahhhhh!!!! It was so exciting to track you! What a great telling of the race. I’m really looking forward to the follow-ups and knowing more about where you are in your head and heart on this 🙂 You are truly amazing! It is just awesome to watch your comeback and advancement! Way to go!!!

  • I’m so proud of you and so happy for you! It sounds like the crowds were amazing! I can not imagine that wind! I loved getting to read the recap and see the photos! Hope to see you in NOLA in Feb!

  • I’ve been reading for a few months now but this is the first time I’ve felt compelled to comment–congratulations! I ran the NYC marathon on Sunday too, and found your blog when looking for training recaps of others training for the race. I had a similar time/experience as you, finished in 3:39:54 with a 9 minute PR, but felt disappointed in my mental game the last 4 or so miles. For me, I think fighting that wind for 20 miles was mentally draining and I was so hoping for a tailwind when we left the Bronx, that when it didn’t happen I started letting myself struggle. Just wanted to let you know you’re not the only one with those feelings about the race, and that you should be extremely proud of a huge PR and BQ on a tough course/day! Love your blog, looking forward to seeing you continue to improve.

  • FRIEND!!! I have been anxiously awaiting this race report!! I am dying to talk to you and hear more details too! I am so so so proud of how you fought back in miles 25-finish. I was watching every mile click by and I knew how tough things were in 22-24. Hey, I was there last year and I KNOW how hard those miles are. I could just feel it when you realized that you were going to be cutting it close – you dug deep and threw down the miles you needed to get that BQ. If anything, that is one thing you can be most proud of – because fighting back when your attitude and your body have shut down is something that is nearly impossible to do. You will look back on that in many races in the future and remind yourself what you have left if your mind and heart want it bad enough. I think you ran a smart, well-executed race on a VERY difficult day and super tough course. I can’t wait to see what you do when you have a full year of training under your belt and another marathon notch to draw from. You have many speedy marathons ahead, my friend!!

  • CONGRATS!!! I’m so excited for you. That wind had to be so tough. It’s a hard race without the wind. I can’t believe you wore a tank top. I’m cold just looking at you. So true that you never know what you are going to get on marathon day. There is so much out of your control. Everytime I run one, I learn a little more about how to tackle it. Great job!

  • Amazing work on your strong finish and BQ! I love this recap so much. I got a little emotional just reading it because I was doing the 9+1 with NYRR for guaranteed entry to run next year, but ended up stopping at race #6 after finding out I had 3 stress fractures. I know you’ve been there in terms of big injuries though, so seeing you come back strong and ROCK the NYCM really gives me hope! Look forward to hearing more about the race! (ps – i’m meg_dizzle on insta)

  • Congratulations! Such a great recap, I loved it!!! The marathon is so amazing and I always find it emotional to read someone else’s account of going through it. It’s incredible and you really dug deep. I can’t wait to read the rest of your posts on this. You really have so much to be proud of – a huge PR and a BQ is awesome and you mention your attitude, but you decided to go for it (and you got it!). Congrats! I love all these recaps….I had lost interest in running NY and then I ran Chicago this year and loved it, it has made me REALLY want to run NY as well and I love your recap.

  • OMG what an awesome race! That’s a massive PR, and after a long year! Congratulations and good for you for pushing it at the end instead of giving up. I admire your attitude.

  • Blah this was such a hard race. And the damn wind! As I told you, it is rare to BQ here under perfect conditions. To do it in that wind is amazing. SO so great to finally meet you! 😀

  • Congratulations on a PR and qualifying for Boston! That’s huge! I can imagine it’s frustrating when the conditions are much tougher than anticipated, but you put in so many miles and hours of training – and it paid off. Just wanted to drop you a note to congratulate you and let you know that you’ve been a huge inspiration for me with getting back on the running wagon. I can’t wait to hear what’s next.

  • I love reading your experience! Getting to the blue ponchos really DID take forever. So cold. And you are right about the Queensboro bridge, it was really tough and I didn’t think it would be (even though everyone said so.) You are amazing for pushing when you didn’t feel great and a big congrats on the BQ!

  • The fact that you PR’d by so much, and BQ’d on that course on THAT day, is simply amazing (and beat me). Congratulations! Those winds were brutal. If you took that same training level and attitude and hit a flat marathon with good weather in the spring of 2015, I have no doubt you can BQ by 5+ minutes and remove all doubt about getting into Boston in 2016.

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  • YOU are amazing!!!! This gave me chills. Watching you via social media gave me chills. Knowing how far you have come with the injury and training through all that is just amazing. Congrats!!!

  • I’m so impressed by your fight!!! You are amazing and such a dedicated runner. I can only imagine what the future will bring. And now get a drink or two and CELEBRATE!! You BQ’ed – woo hooooo!!

  • I’m so glad to get the run-down on your race!! I don’t remember a lot and I wasn’t even “racing.” Phew – what a time! You had a fantastic race, Elizabeth. I know you didn’t like your attitude but really, the fact that you say you were struggling but had the mental strength to push hard even when you felt done, is an accomplishment. A BQ under those conditions – go girl! Way to push through the pain. I think what I like best is your reference to your “first BQ,” signifying that there are more to come.
    Dare I ask…what’s next? Will you do a Sally and register for another in a couple months to see what better conditions will bring?

  • Ahhh, how inspiring. I love, love, love this!!! You make me want to consider trying another marathon. You are such a good example of how to stick to a training plan. I am so happy for you. You worked hard and deserved the extra reward of a BQ!

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