I was up at 6:30 and out the door at 7:03. It was definitely much warmer than the day before and then I was expecting but I started the trek nonetheless. A few people on the street wished me good luck and I headed over to 57th and Broadway. The regular trains were not running so I had to walk farther to another station and it looked like the trains were running behind. It finally came and I was able to get a seat.
I got on the ferry around 8:30. Never having been on the ferry I just picked a seat when I found one. Big mistake-I was on the inside and could barely see the Statue of Liberty and also ended up in the back so was one of the last people off the boat! Oops. While on the boat, I ate breakfast and just took in the scenery and relaxed. I debated playing a game or listening to music but I didn't want my headphones or iPod to die and I didn't want to engage my brain too much. I spent time reviewing the elevation map and my race strategy (yes, I printed it out) and before I knew, we were at Staten Island. I think we got there around 9:10.
I got in a huge line, took off my throwaway clothes and added them to a massive pile, got my fuel belt on and packed it and took out my Mylar blanket. This was happening so fast! I got in the corral as corral 2 was heading off and it was insane. They moved while I was trying to get in line for the portopotty and was able to hop right in one and then file in line to get in my corral.
The thing I loved most was having my name on my shirt. Someone literally said my name every minute for the duration of the race. Honestly Brooklyn was a blur as it was so much crowd support. I was feeling strong and fueling every 2 miles. I do remember grabbing a banana around mile 5 that I held on to until I think mile 21 haha. I slowly ate it but wanted to grab one before I needed it. At one point we turned off the main road through neighborhoods and it was beyond adorable. The brownstones and stoops were covered with people having parties and cheering. I used a Porto around mile 8 as it had no lines-I was in and out in 1 min :)
As we headed towards Williamsburg and Queens, we passed a video screen with shots of the elites finishing and results scrolling. I could tell Meb didn't win but did not know how he did (top American! Woohoo). Next to the screen was a stage and they were just starting to play Empire State of Mind: now I'm down in Brooklyn, now I'm up in TriBeCa...THAT WAS GOING TO BE ME! AHHH! (even though we dont go through tribeca but you get the point)
We hit our first real bridge in Queens and it wasn't too bad. Queens had good crowd support and at that point, I started taking salt. I could tell I was sweating more than I would have liked (it was pretty humid) and knew it would do me some good. We were only in Queens for a few miles before hitting the big one-the Queensboro Bridge. I had studied this bad boy and it was time to tackle it.
To me, the bridge wasn't too bad at all. I stuck to my intervals and never walked more than I needed. However I can't say the same for everyone else. People looked defeated and were walking. The thing that sucked about that is I got boxed in more than I would have liked and just conserved my energy until we were off the bridge. I could tell I was losing valuable time that I had built up in Brooklyn.
At the bottom of the bridge, I turned the corner and saw Ralph! He surprised me being at the bridge and it really helped. I stopped at the porto coming off the bridge (so I don't know what this was but I would have the urge to pee and when I go, basically nothing happened. It was so weird!) and kept going. First Ave was pretty incredible. The sound, the people were electrifying. The incline-not so much. I could tell I was slowing down not because I was tired but because of the incline. I counted the streets until I hit 89th and saw Jen and Jen where Jen got the greatest pic ever!
We headed towards the Bronx and I almost lost it on the bridge. Something was wrong and I'm not sure what it was so I did a check. I felt hydrated, had been taking salt, maybe I was hungry? It was passed lunch time so I had almost the rest of my banana and felt much better. However I was so over bridges and knew there was only one more after this. This is also the time when I started doing math and realized I would not be getting my sub-5 but knew if my legs could hold up, I could PR. All the warnings about this course were no joke!
The Bronx is the shortest part of the course but people were still out cheering! Before we hit one of the water stops, I noticed a few people with Stick rollers. THEY ROLLED ME OUT FOR ONE MINUTE AND IT WAS HEAVEN SENT. all of the weird leg aches and pains that are typical for a marathon were worked out and I was ready to rock it home!
I stopped to have another phantom pee (I wonder if it was my salt intake?) and they finally started handing out bananas. I was finally not feeling wonky and was not hungry for anymore food but all of the bananas at the water stops made for very slippery ground so I took extra caution.
Before I knew it, we were mile 25 and heading out of the park to loop back in. I knew exactly where we were and kept solid intervals turning into the park. Those feelings from Friday came flooding back and it hit me: 400 m to go until I finish the NYC MARATHON. 400m UNTIL I PR THE NYC MARATHON, MY FIRST WORLD MAJOR.
Honestly it was all a blur, I took one final walk break about 200 m to go and then took off. Holy crap-I can see the finish line and this is about to happen! BOOM
5:12:41. New PR!
I love that the food came in a bag but with runners brain in full effect and a Mylar blanket that covered my arm, I couldn't get to anything. And I had to pee. I stopped a volunteer and got them to open my water (I couldn't do it!) and asked about the restroom. They said to keep going. I know the drill-you keep walking and they have spotters everywhere and I did see people get pulled. Ralph called and I couldn't talk (I got super cold and also I had no idea where I was minus walking through the park to exit to walk back) and said I would exit at 66th and would meet him at shake shack. I have the best friends as the Jens went to shake shack and got in line and ordered my food.
FINALLY after a mile we headed out of the park to get our ponchos but they were exiting at 58th and not 66. A police officer opened up a path for us at 66 and I walked to shake shack. Mentally I was off, I felt out of it and just kept moving. I called my dad and mom while walking to let them know I made it and loved it and was getting food. Surprisingly my legs weren't tired. I was physically tired haha. I knew recovery started now! Less than 6 days until my next races.
Ralph forgot to bring my recovery bag so I was stuck in my sweaty socks but ate food, finally peed twice after lots of water, and felt good. We walked to catch the subway, took it one stop and walked to Josh's for a shower and dinner. Again I have the greatest friends because they cooked me a full course meal even though I barely ate (I didn't have much appetite until a few hours later) and they relaxed with me after.
I would recommend this race to any and every runner. It is definitely a bucket list race and a great experience.
- It takes forever to get Staten Island so plan to get up early and get there!
- Pack some toilet paper for the Portos
- Put your name on your shirt so you can get support
- Have a race day after plan-where to meet, where to eat, how to get back to where you are staying
- Pee when you see a porto at the end of the race (or maybe before)
- Take it all in!
- The app rocks-I obviously didn't use the app on myself but Ralph was able to find me and know my estimated time, my family was able to track me from all over the country and it worked wonderfully.
WHAT I WOULD DO DIFFERENT NEXT TIME
- Fly in a day earlier-the day after the marathon was the first day I felt well rested. I would take a red eye on Weds to allow for some extra recovery time
- Stay off my feet a bit more before
- Pack a bigger suitcase-I had too many bags with me!
- Have a better plan for seeing people-I need exact location
- Practice more hills on tired legs-my legs did not like the hills around mile 23
- Run the last few miles of the course in NYC
Overall, I am so happy with my performance in my first world major. The course was hard but overall I never hit a mental wall or even a physical wall. I know there is always room to improve but there is nothing I could done differently to improve how I did. I am very proud of what I accomplished. That course was hard and I think I faired pretty well.
Would I do it again? HECK YES! Will I do it next year? Nope, sadly :(. I am hoping to get through most of the World Majors before repeating.
Anyone else run NYC this year? Have you ever run NYC or want to run NYC?