NYC Marathon Recap

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Are you ready to hear all about my NYC Marathon experience?  If you continue reading this, you will get to do just that and will probably learn more than you ever wanted to about it!

First off, let me explain how difficult it was actually getting to NYC for the marathon.  Period.  No, I am not talking about my car dying, or traffic, or getting lost.  In the week leading up to the marathon it seemed like everything that could go wrong did.


  • As B and I attempted to go up and get ready for bed, he somehow managed to fall down 3 wooden steps and hit his head.
  • I panicked, called 911, and the first responders showed up.  
  • Long story short we ended up in the ER for most of the night.  Luckily he checked out ok in the end, but it wasn't without a ton of worry on the part of my husband and me. 
  • Got a call from my mom letting me know that my Aunt had passed away.  She was old and had been sick with cancer for sometime, but it did not make things easier to take.  She always sent me a card on my birthday EVERY single year of my life with $5.  So incredibly sad.  
  • Got a mid-day call from daycare telling me that B was throwing up, but with no fever or other symptoms.  Immediately I thought...concussion.  
  • Left work immediately and took him to the doctor.  He checked out ok, neurologically, though.  They told me that he might be coming down with something.
  • Got an email from daycare saying that a child was diagnosed with Coxsackie...again.  Uh oh.
  • Had to keep B out of daycare (24 hours after throwing up) and fully expected to be dealing with HFM again, but luckily he never threw up again and actually behaved quite normally all day.  PHEW! 
  • I didn't get much work (or packing) done though since I had to watch him.

So that brings us to the actual marathon weekend.  I'm going to recount as much as I can so read at your own risk!

  • Saturday morning, my Sister and BIL met us at the hotel and took the baby for an outing while my husband and I jogged to the marathon expo and got my number.  It was about a 4  mile run, round-trip, and it was raining pretty hard the whole time.  The expo at the Javits Center was insanity.  It was so huge, but very well organized.  I was able to get in, get my number, get my shirt, and then walk around to the different vendors before heading back to meet up with my Sister and BIL to grab some lunch.  I had to be careful not to eat anything that might upset my stomach so I stuck with an egg-white omelet with herbs (ok...I snuck a few fries), which was a safe and tasty bet. 
  • Saturday afternoon, we got back to the hotel and put the baby down for a nap.  Since there was really nothing that we could do while he was napping, we took a nap, too.  First nap I have had in a while and it was quite nice!  After the nap, I worked on decorating my race shirt with my name and laying out all of my stuff for the next morning. 
  • Saturday night, my husband ordered me an awesome half of a roasted chicken with sauteed veggies and roasted potatoes for dinner.  It was a perfect race night meal.  After eating (and getting the baby to sleep), I ordered a 4:30 AM coffee delivery, set my alarm for 4:25 AM and called it a night.  Thankfully I got an "extra" hour of sleep with the time change and B only woke up once.
  • I woke up bright and early and started my pre-race routine.  The coffee was delivered right on schedule, which really helped to get me going.
  • I wore: a long sleeve Lulu shirt, w/ a Lulu bra & tank underneath, my black Lulu shorts (can you tell I'm obsessed with Lulu?!), Features socks, Zensah compression sleeves, my Nike Lunar Glides, cheapo black gloves, headband, RayBans, my Garmin, my homemade pace band for a 3:24 marathon (haha), a "throw away" fleece, and a "throw away" pair of sweats.
  • In a bag I brought: extra "throw away" sneaks to wear in case it was muddy, chapstick, water bottle w/ Coco Hydro in it, running "fanny pack", 2 packs of Annie's fruit snacks, a banana, baggie of cereal, applesauce, BodyGlide, 3 trash bags, hand warmers (x2 packs), extra toilet paper, an extra water, $60, credit card, ID, and my husband's phone (since I have the iPhone 6 plus and it is HUGE).
  • I headed over to the NYC Public Library to catch the 6 AM bus to Staten Island.  
  • Security was pretty tight, but fairly well organized.  They had police and volunteers checking bibs before you could get into the bus corral, again in line for the bus, and then again before you could get on the bus.
  • I felt like I was the only person from the US on the bus that I got on.  No one around me was speaking English!   
  • The bus ride over took almost an hour and about 40 minutes into it I realized I had to pee.  There was lots of traffic, even at that early hour.    
  • When the bus got to the "Athlete's Village" everyone filed off the bus and walked almost a mile to the village.  Security was even tighter.  We had to have our bibs checked and re-checked, had to go through metal detectors, and had to have our bags searched (and I think they also went through the detectors, as well).  
  • Of course, once I was in, I made a beeline for one of the hundreds of port-o-potties they had there.  
  • So I got to the village around 7 AM and my wave didn't start until 10:05 AM.  It was about 40 degrees, cloudy, and extremely windy.  Luckily I had brought trash bags and hand warmers with me.  I literally huddled for several hours in my trash bag along with thousands of others.  There was really no where to go to have the wind broken.  I sat next to a guy from Brazil for quite a while.  It was his first trip to the northern part of the US and, needless to say, he was freezing!
  • Waiting was so hard.  I was literally in denial that I was about to run a marathon.  My teeth were chattering and I just could not get warm.  It was a pretty miserable wait.
  • At around 9:30 AM they called wave 2 to get in line.  I made one last stop at the porto and then filed into the corral.  One of the most miserable things about the whole experience was taking off those "throw away" clothes!  
  • I pushed up to the very front of the corral and heard a few guys say that they were also in the wrong wave, meaning that they should have been in wave 1, so I felt like I wanted to stick with them.
  • They unhooked the corral gates and everyone pushed up to the starting line.  I was mid-wave 2, but tried to get as close as I could to the starting line once they took down the gates.
  • The gun went off and it was several minutes before I started actually running.  I sauntered over the starting line since most people around me were barely moving.  This was exactly my panic-scenario...not being able to run because the people ahead of me were too slow.  
  • Going across the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge was beautiful, but so windy.  I was also very focused on passing people to get to a place where I could just run straight ahead.  Even though I told myself I was NOT going to weave through people during the first 3 miles, I did.  People were stopping randomly on the bridge to take selfies or pics of others.  I get that people wanted to commemorate their experience with pictures, but at least they could have stepped to the side to do so!  I clocked my first mile at 8:28, which was much slower than my targeted pace of 7:46 so I really stepped it up for mile 2 and hit 7:06.  BIG MISTAKE!
  • My 5k split was 23:47, which was an average 7:39 pace and still way too fast.  For some reason I got this idea in my head that I could bank miles.  Ha.  No.  In case you were wondering, it doesn't work like that in a marathon.  Maybe a 5k, but not the marathon.  Silly me.
  • Running through Brooklyn was exciting because my sister was parked on the course around mile 7.  As soon as I got into Brooklyn I started looking for her.  She said she had a sign so I figured that I would be able to easily find her.  Nope!  There were way more spectators that I ever could have imagined.  It was incredible.  People were blasting music and several punk bands played.  It was so cool!  I had my name on my shirt and it was incredible how many people were cheering for me as a result.  I felt super special!  :)
  • My 10k split was 47:29, which was a 7:38 pace.  Way too fast.  I felt good though until mile 6.5 when I started to get familiar shooting pains up my right calf.  Sh*t, I thought.  Not good.  I guess this is what happens after huddling in a trash bag for 3 hours and then then trying to pass hundreds of people while going up-hill from a dead stop.  Oops.
  • When I got to 7 miles I started to slow down to look for my sister.  I could not find her.  I looked from miles 7-9 and did not see her.  I was kind of upset, especially since my calf was seriously hurting me and I was starting to favor my left leg.  Seeing her would have really made me perk up, but no dice, unfortunately.
  • I didn't realize that so much of Brooklyn would be up hill.  This bothered my calf a ton.  I stopped enjoying the surroundings and started thinking to myself. "If I quietly slink off the course and take a cab back to Manhattan, will anyone notice?"  Then I remembered that lots of my friends and family were tracking me in real-time.  So yeah, that might have confused them.  I kept on going.  At mile 10 I ate one of my packs of fruit snacks and that gave me a little pick-me-up.
  • I got to the 1/2 Marathon point at 1:41, which made my average pace 7:44.  I was definitely slowing down, but I was still on track to make my goal.  I was very worried though because both of my legs were starting to feel heavy.  Cardiovascularly speaking, I could have gone faster, but my legs were just not having it. 
  • Around mile 15/16 my Garmin decided to stop working.  This was right after I had gone across the Queensboro Bridge, which in my humble opinion, was the most difficult part of the race for me and where the wheels started to fall off.  It was so windy on that damn bridge.  The wind blew dirt, dust, leaves, and trash at us.  The hill (which is the upside of the bridge) seemed to go on forever.  I passed so many walkers and dejected runners, but I know that I slowed down, too.  I had no idea how much I had slowed down though because my GPS malfunctioned.  This really hit me hard in the moral department.
  • Running through the streets of Manhattan was cool, but the wind made it super challenging.  There were points where I felt like I wasn't even moving though.  The miles felt like they were getting farther and farther apart.  
  • By the time I got to 30k, my time was 2:26.  I had slowed to a pace of 7:49.  I had no idea how fast I was going because I was so far off my pace band at this point.  I made the decision then to just finish the best that I could.  My legs were feeling really bad and it was a struggle to move one foot in front of the other.
  • Running on 5th Avenue was pretty awesome.  There were so many cheering fans.  Even though I started to go into survival mode and stopped paying attention to the little things, I did see this, which made me chuckle:
  • Those last 5-6 miles, second to the Queensboro Bridge, were the most abysmal.  By the time I got to 40k, I was really slowing down.  I hit 3:19, which is an 8 minute pace.  My pace between 30k to 40k was about 8:30 per mile.  You could say that I hit the proverbial wall at this point.  I was pretty devastated, but continued soldiering on because I couldn't give up now.  So many people around me had also hit the wall, but harder than myself because the amount of walkers that I passed was astounding.   
  • Running though the park and seeing the mile 25 marker gave me a renewed spirit.  In my anger and sadness about slowing down so much, I had forgotten about my goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon.  I tried doing the math in my head (which, I'll be honest was not exact and quite difficult) and figured out that I might still have a chance.  I picked up the pace as much as my lead heavy legs would let me.
  • The course was marked with the last 800 meters, then 400 meters, and so I tried to play mental games with myself to say that I could sprint that out with no problem.  I passed people left and right and had several near misses with people that would randomly stop or zig-zag in front of me.  
  • Then I saw the finish, in all its glory, and I "sprinted" across.  I don't remember what the clock said because it was running from the first wave and was ahead of me by quite a bit.  I was just so happy to be done.   
  • Walking through the finishers chute was a challenge.  I received my medal.  I got my finishers bag.  I got a Mylar blanket.  I shuffled, slowly, with all of the other marathon finishers through the park.  
  • It was at this point that I remembered that I had tracked myself on my husband's phone so I decided to take a look.  There is was (along with over 40 congratulatory text messages from family and friends).  My finishing time was 3:30, about an 8 minute average pace.  So far over my goal, but a solid Boston qualifier. 
  • I started crying because so many emotions hit me at once.  Happiness to have qualified for Boston (a life-long goal).  Sadness and anger to have come so short of my goal and what my coach thought I could do.  Pain because my legs had seized up and walking was so difficult.  Confusion as people tried to point me in the direction of the exit.
  • Getting out to the family reunion area seemed to take forever.  I just wanted to sit down with a cup of hot coffee and put my feet up.  I also cooled down very fast and started to get shivery.  I walked several blocks until they gave us a pretty sweet fleece poncho to keep us warm.
 The long walk...
  • I finally met up with my husband and the baby about an hour after my finish.  I had looked for them briefly during my last few beleaguered miles, but couldn't pick them out of the huge crowds of people that lined the streets.  I was SOOOOO happy to see them.  
  • We had to walk many, many, blocks back to our hotel because the roads were closed, no cabs were getting through, and there was no way I could walk down into the subway.
So there you have it.  I didn't quite hit all of my goals, but I hit some of them.  The race was harder than I thought and the conditions were difficult with the wind and all.  I heard somewhere that it was the slowest NYC Marathon since 1985.  That made me feel a little better.  I DID qualify for Boston and hope to run it is 2016 if I get accepted!

Thanks for all the congrats on my last post.  You all are great supporters!!  :)

share this on »
Add a comment »

Leave a Reply