Our Honeymoon in Hawaii: 2nd Stop – Big Island.

After an incredible 3 nights on Oahu, we were ready for a new adventure on another island. I had no idea what to expect of the Big Island and, looking back, I can’t even remember what it was I was expecting, all I know is that the Big Island wasn’t what I had in mind. It was nothing like I imagined and it was everything I needed in a place on earth. This place is everything to me and I struggle to even speak about this island without getting choked up so I’m sure writing this will bring on some waterworks. Here we go!

Island of Hawaii

Before we chat honeymoon, I want to address the Kilauea eruption and new lava flows currently occurring on the Big Island. For info on what is happening and ways you can help those displaced by the new fissures and lava flows, check out my Instastory Highlight.  I’ll also include some information below. Madame Pele (In the Hawaiian religion, Pele is the goddess of the volcanoes and the creator of the Hawaiian islands.) has been quite busy these past two weeks.

 

Okay, back to the honeymoon…

We left this:

Diamond Head, Oahu from the sky

And landed in this:

Landing at Kona Airport

Island of Hawaii (Big Island)

I legit had this moment of “what have we gotten ourselves into?” when we got off the plane and “into” the airport (I use quotes because you don’t go into anywhere. The airport is basically a bunch of little outdoor huts.). I looked at Justin and said, “well, this is different.”  While I was a little wary, he was just excited because all he wanted out of this honeymoon was volcanoes and here we were on the Big Island which is basically just five volcanoes, two of which are currently active.

Some notes on the Hawaii volcanoes:

  • The active volcanoes on the Big Island are shield volcanoes. The name comes from the fact that they look more like a warrior’s shield than they do what we normally think of when we hear the word “volcano.”
  • Shield volcanoes have relatively gentle slopes (they just look like regular mountains to me) and their eruptions tend to be non-explosive, with lava that gently slopes down from the volcano vent.
  • Kilauea, the volcano that is currently making headlines, has been erupting non-stop since 1983.
  • Mauna Loa, considered the most massive volcano on earth, is still active but hasn’t erupted in over 30 years.

Mindy arranged for us to pick up our rental car at the airport and then we were on our way to the hotel that would be home for the next 6 days. After stopping for lunch at a place Justin found on Yelp (incredible food, btw), we decided to make a pit stop at a coffee plantation before heading over to the Fairmont Orchid (we’ll be returning here in September!).

Hula Daddy Coffee Plantation

Justin called Hula Daddy Kona Coffee before we drove up the mountain to make sure they’d be able to give us a tour. Lucky for us, we had about 30 minutes before they were going to start a tour for another couple and we’d be able to hop on with them!

The ladies at Hula Daddy welcomed us and set us up with some coffee to taste while we waited for the tour to start. I said it in my Oahu post but the coffee in Hawaii is AMAZING. Seriously, I don’t drink coffee (#teaforever) but I had a cup every morning. 

As someone who knew nothing about coffee, all the information was new and surprising to me. I’m not sure what is common coffee knowledge but I was blown away by the fact that coffee comes from a fruit (red berry looking photo above) and that the darker the roast, the less caffeine (I always assumed the opposite!).

Hula Daddy was the perfect welcome to the Big Island. We left with lots of goodies (chocolate covered coffee beans, medium roast coffee grinds, and tea made from the coffee fruit) and we just might have to stop in again to refill our stash.

Fairmont Orchid and Surrounding Area

While Mindy showed us a few options on the Big Island, she was very clear that she truly thought that of all the options, the Fairmont Orchid was actually the only option for us – and she could not have been more right!

The hotel and grounds are beautiful, the dining options are fabulous (Justin-approved is a big deal!), and the staff is beyond helpful. We had so much fun exploring the Fairmont Orchid and the area surrounding the resort. I’m extremely glad we peppered in some “free” days into our time on the Big Island to allow for lots of relaxing and mini adventures at the hotel.

One morning, we decided to take advantage of a free culture “hike” and walked over to the beach hut nice and early. We ended up being the only guests to show up so we got our own personal tour! We walked around the grounds for about an hour and learned so much from our guide about Hawaii and the Big Island specifically.

Shown above from our culture hike:

  • Flow hive “hotels” that are home to thousands of bees making honey!
  • Ancient petroglyph
  • Fresh guava straight from the tree (I finished the whole thing before Justin even got a bite – whoops!)
  • Ahu a Kupuna – a sacred Ahu (stone altar) built in the 1750s, during the reign of Kamehameha 1. People will often leave  a single flower as an offering at the ahu or come and say a prayer. Facing east toward Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa (volcanoes) will pay tribute and respect to elders and ancestors.

While we were in Oahu, I continued to have the “omg I’m in Hawaii” feeling but the Big Island gave me more of a “omg this is what I’ve been missing” feeling. The landscape, the ocean, the sunsets, the people, the adorable sea turtles – everything just felt like home. I had been looking forward to Maui; this island took me by surprise.

Puako Petroglyph Park

On one of our “free” days, we decided to do the short hike to Puako Petroglyph Park, right next to the Fairmont.

This archaeological park is a state and national historic site. No one is completely sure what all of the symbols mean but they do speak to the history and culture of Hawaii (there are pictures of deities, animals, paddlers, dancers, and families). According to the sign when you enter the park, ancient Hawaiians traveled across harsh lava flows to reach this spot.

The trail to and from the park is well-maintained and marked clearly. We went mid-morning and saw maybe two or three other couples along the way. I’d love to go back with someone who can speak more about the history and significance of these particular petroglyphs – I’ll definitely be looking into that for September!

Pana’ewa Rainforest Zoo

One day we decided to take a drive across the island to Hilo to visit the Panaewa Zoo and Gardens. Panaewa is the only naturally occurring rainforest zoo in the United States so we decided it was something we definitely wanted to check out!

It was a great morning at the zoo but we didn’t linger too long because it was so hot! Justin kept going back to certain animals and I kept complaining that he is the slowest human ever.  Humidity makes me an absolute delight, dontcha know.

Some info about the Big Island and its’ two sides:

  • The two main areas of the Big Island are referred to as the “Kona side” and the “Hilo side.” There is an international airport in both Kona and Hilo.
  • The Kona side is definitely the dry side, averaging about 18 inches of rainfall a year. Hilo is essentially a rainforest, averaging about 130 inches of rainfall a year.
  • Hilo is the city closest to the active volcanoes and Volcanoes National Park. Hilo is about 35 miles from the current lava flows on the Big Island while Kona is about 100 miles away. The eruption and lava flows are currently affecting only a small fraction of the island and life is continuing on as usual in other areas.

Big Island Touring & Volcanoes National Park

What Justin was most excited about and what ended up being one of the major highlights of the trip was our small guided Big Island Twilight Volcano Tour with Viator. We were picked up bright and early at the Fairmont and began traversing the island via the very scenic Saddle Road.

I was immediately at ease with our guide for the day and the small group of travelers in our van. Our first stop was Rainbow Falls near downtown Hilo!

Rainbow Falls is over a lava cave that legend says is home to the Hawaiian goddess, Hina, the goddess of the moon. In the morning, it is most likely you will see a rainbow and see a rainbow we did!

Also, atop Rainbow Falls is one of the largest banyan trees in the world. These trees are insane – they look like they are multiple trees because there are multiple trunks. These trees grow roots from the top and when they fall to the ground, they dig in and become new trunks. Seeing these trees never got old for us. We definitely don’t have these in NY!

Next up was Richardson’s Black Sand BeachI had been waiting for this! Black sand beaches form when a large lava flow enters the ocean and basalt fragments are created. The black sand beaches in Hawaii were built extremely rapidly due to the violent reaction between the hot lava and the ocean water. I had just assumed they were from erosion of lava but NOPE!

We were able to see a few endangered sea turtles swimming in the water – one even got super close to me while I wasn’t paying attention. It was all absolutely breathtaking. FYI – don’t ever ask someone to bring you back sand from a black sand beach – it’s illegal (and very bad luck)!

Upon entering Volcanoes National Park, we took a trip down Chain of Craters Road where we made multiple stops to walk across past volcanic eruption and lava flow sites and take in the amazing cliffs and Holei Sea Arch.

We spent quite a long time exploring here and soaking in all the interesting stories from our guide. One of my favorites was about Hawaii officials who kept trying to build a road and the lava kept overtaking it so finally they just gave up because obviously Pele did not want the road to be built (see photo above).

We did an afternoon stop at the Thomas A. Jaggar Museum to see the Halemaumau Crater during the day. This crater contains the lava lake of Kilauea that dropped so much earlier this month that it caused the recent explosive eruption of ash. Luckily, Volcanoes National Park was closed and evacuated in anticipation of this event so no one was/is in immediate danger following an eruption.

We had dinner at the Kilauea Military Camp and I had an extremely cheap (but extremely tasty) sangria. I completely approve of this use of my tax dollars 🙂

Before finishing our evening back at the Halemaumau Crater, we hiked through the rainforest to explore the Thurston Lava Tube and got free facials at the steam vents. The lava tube is exactly what it sounds like – at one point several hundred years ago, a river of hot lava ran through and created what now resembles a cave.

The natural steam vents were a really cool experience because it was completely dark when we walked up to them and I really had no idea where I was supposed to go or if I was supposed to look somewhere. Turns out I needed to do nothing because you essentially walk right into a rush of the most intense steam you can imagine. The steam is naturally created when ground water seeps down to the hot lava rocks and comes back up to the surface in the form of hot steam.

And then there was Halemaumau Crater at night. My God was this incredible and I am so glad we got to experience this miraculous show from Pele (the crater is believed to be Pele’s home).

Visiting Volcanoes National Park was one of the best experiences of my life, let alone of my honeymoon. I am praying that Pele gives the island a nice reprieve so others can enjoy the park the way we did (I also selfishly want to be back there again to explore some more in September!).

Mauna Kea Sunset & Stargazing

Mauna Kea, considered by many Hawaiians as the most sacred place on all the islands, is a dormant volcano and the highest point in the state of Hawaii. Mauna Kea is over 32,000 feet from the ocean floor to the summit and is the tallest mountain on Earth! We rode with Hawaii Forest & Trail to the summit at 13,796 feet above sea level for some spectacular views and some seriously cold weather.

The parkas and gloves were provided by the tour and THANK GOODNESS because I do not own anything that would have been able to protect me from that level of cold. Ooph!

After an unbelievable sunset and some spectacular views, we moved down to 9,000 feet to set up a telescope and enjoy the sky with some hot cocoa and warm brownies. Believe me, you wanna look up this view.

Pele truly outdid herself with the Island of Hawaii (and continues to both destroy and create as I type this). What is truly astounding is how many of those currently displaced by the new lava flows mention respecting Pele’s wishes with the land in interviews. It’s astounding but not completely surprising, given what I learned about Big Island natives and residents while on the island myself.

This island means the world to me and it is so incredible to read how residents are reacting and adapting to the current situation. The love and spiritual connection Big Islanders have with the land is inspiring and even though my body and the majority of my heart is always on the island of Manhattan, there is now a huge chunk of my soul on this island of volcanoes in the Pacific. #LevineKonaRetirement2052 

Big Island, Hawaii

I love you, Big Island. See you in September.

______________

Ways you can help those who have lost homes or are currently displaced by the new Kilauea lava flows:

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Our Honeymoon in Hawaii: 1st stop – Oahu.

Because our wedding was a whole long weekend extravaganza, we knew we wanted to give ourselves a few days before heading out on our honeymoon (I also needed to squeeze in a 20-mile training run). The day we left for Hawaii was one full week after our wedding and it was the perfect amount of time. We were able to stay in Saugerties a few days after the wedding and relax (there was no going back to work!), I was able to get in some solid marathon training runs (looking back, I really can’t believe I managed to train for a marathon during these months and peak the weeks of my wedding and honeymoon. What was I thinking?), and we had time to casually pack for 15 days of heaven.

FYI: Our entire honeymoon was booked with the help of Mindy at MyVacationLady. She’s also helping us with our anniversary trip to SF and the Big Island coming up in September. I cannot say enough good things about Mindy and I could dedicate an entire blog post to how easy and wonderful she makes everything. (Also, I get nothing for singing her praises, I just love her SO much and she’ll probably plan all our vacations from here on out.)

 

Landing in Honolulu

Our flight on Hawaiian Airlines left at 10am EST and we landed in Honolulu at about 2:30pm Hawaii time. The time difference going to Hawaii is FANTASTIC because you truly feel like you gain an extra day of vacation.

Oahu

Day 1: Waikiki

When we landed, Mindy had a car waiting for us to take us to the Hyatt Regency on Waikiki Beach. The location was great because we were right on the beach and right in the middle of all the fun restaurants and shops of Waikiki. Our balcony had a view facing Diamond Head and it was EVERYTHING.

Since we were still operating on NYC time, we took it super easy and walked along the beach, had a nice dinner, and meandered through all the adorable little shops of Waikiki before calling it a night.

We had a busy day at Pearl Harbor ahead of us!

Day 2: Pearl Harbor

Since our internal clocks were still quite a few hours ahead, we woke up bright and early on Sunday and I was able to squeeze in a strength workout before we had our first Hawaiian breakfast and experienced my favorite juice ever, POG. It is a combination of passion fruit, orange, and guava juice and it is the best thing to have every morning alongside a cup of Hawaiian coffee (I don’t even like coffee but I had a cup every single morning of this trip whaaaat). 

Let me tell you, of all my memories of Hawaii, and taking into account the fact that I feel like I literally left a piece of my heart and soul on the Big Island (I struggle to talk about this island without tearing up), it is this feeling that I think about most often – the feeling of having breakfast outside overlooking Waikiki Beach, having a cup of coffee with my new husband, on our first full day in Hawaii. I wish I could have bottled that up.

Waiting to get picked up for Pearl Harbor!

We spent the entire day touring Oahu with E Noa Tours. Our tour guide was incredible and his passion for Hawaii and Oahu was so palpable. Not only did we spend the day at Pearl Harbor, our guide also made sure to drive us around and show us other areas of Oahu (where Obama was born, where Bruno Mars went to high school, Honolulu’s financial district, Iolani Palace).

Top to bottom: Honolulu, King Kamehameha statue, Iolani Palace, hospital where President Obama was born, Bruno Mars’ high school

When we first got to Pearl Harbor, we had time to walk around the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center. The Visitor Center is extremely well done and we definitely could have spent more time walking through the displays and reading about the events before, during, and after the attacks.

After exploring there for a little while, we hopped on board a shuttle boat to the USS Arizona. The first thing that struck me when walking onto the memorial is that you can still smell the oil leaking from the ship. It’s unbelievable. I cannot think of the right words to adequately describe the feeling of being above the sunken USS Arizona but it’s not just an Oahu must-see, it’s a must-feel.

From there, we traveled over to the USS Oklahoma Memorial and went on board the USS Missouri. We got a tour while we were on the USS Missouri and it was so incredible to learn about the ship’s history while standing in the very same spot where these things happened (the Missouri is where Japan formally surrendered to the Allies).

From top to bottom: USS MIssouri, me getting excited about vegetables because I’m a weirdo, flag aboard ship and instrument of surrender, footprints marking where a Japanese kamikaze pilot’s body was commended to the sea, USS Oklahoma Memorial.

I can’t explain what happened to me at one particular spot while we were on the water of Pearl Harbor but I truly believe that my grandfather’s spirit is there. He was stationed at Pearl Harbor during WWII (one of the reasons Pearl Harbor was one of our non-negotiable destinations) and ya know, I don’t blame him, I’d hang out in Pearl Harbor over Maspeth, NY, too.

Day 3: Dole Plantation

With my (borderline unhealthy) obsession with pineapples, it makes sense we’d end up at the Dole Plantation. Mindy arranged for us to pick up a car so that we could travel to the other side of Oahu for the day.

The weather wasn’t the greatest but we were able to get in a bunch of the attractions (and a Dole Whip!) before the sky rained on our parade. Our original intention was to head out to the North Shore after the Dole Plantation but the weather had us changing our plans. The forecast for the North Shore was not so lovely and the the forecast in Waikiki Beach?

DAMN NEAR PERFECT.

Sooo we forwent the North Shore and went back to Waikiki for a quick run to Diamond Head and some beach time.

Day 4: Diamond Head

Our flight to Kona wasn’t until early afternoon so we were able to sneak in a hike to the top of Diamond Head before heading over to the Big Island.

It didn’t take us too long to get to the top. The trail is very well maintained and as someone who doesn’t particularly like heights, I felt super safe the entire way up and down.

It was the perfect activity to end our days on Oahu. When we got back to the hotel, there was time for a quick shower and one last Oahu breakfast before making our way to the airport. I was so excited to continue our adventure knowing we still had the bulk of our trip ahead of us.

During our flight to Kona, I snapped the below photo with my phone of Diamond Head. ARE YOU SERIOUS, HAWAII?

Oahu –> Kona

Show off.

_____________________________________

Next up on our Hawaiian adventure – the Big Island 🙂

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Bueller. Bueller.

Oh hey there, it’s been uh… 5 months. Eek. I needed the mental break though (insert shrug emoji here – it’s my favorite).

Anywho, let’s play quick catchup (but also, I’m super into Instastories so that’s the best place to follow me)…

Still Running

Did you think I wouldn’t be? I’m gonna be honest, throughout the winter I very rarely stepped outside to run. Instead, I signed up for an unlimited membership at Mile High Run Club and made sure I went 2-3 times each week (now that it’s warmer, I have a 5x/month membership). I also began taking 6am Soulcycle classes (my favorite instructor has a bunch of them and I’d rather be in his class at 6am than anyone else’s class at a normal hour). To balance all the cardio and running-related strength training, I began taking a yoga class 1-2 times each week. I’m lucky in that my office building provides FREE yoga classes Tuesday and Thursday at noon on an empty floor.

Justin and I will also be returning to the Brooklyn Half Marathon this May. While last year we tried (and succeeded) to beat Justin’s time from the year earlier, this year we’re just going out there and having fun. I’m super into this whole “just running for fun” thing and I honestly don’t know when I’ll get back to legitimately racing. I’m sure at some point I’ll get the itch but for now I’m happy just trotting along and chatting with people I love.

I Planned a Random Disney Trip

Justin and I decided to forgo our annual Disney trip in January/February this year since the larger family wasn’t planning to go. We figured we just took a super long honeymoon and we’d save some days. Well, that was all well and dandy until I got an email late December about annual passholder hotel rates for the end of January. I looked up how many Disney points I had on my Disney Visa and I sent Justin an e-mail…

Me: Disney? I have enough points that the hotel would be $1 for 3 nights. Thoughts?

Him: Up to you.

Me: Okay. Good because I already booked it.

So yea, within the next 3 days we had our flights, fastpasses, and restaurant reservations. #disneypros

I don’t know what made me think I could last through a winter without a Disney getaway since I’ve been going every winter for the last 9 years. This is one tradition that has to stay <3

I Got Wasted (Away Again) in Margaritaville

My father turned the big 6-0 this March and his one birthday request was that the family take a trip down south to Margaritaville.

We spent 4 full days at this amazing resort on Hollywood Beach and it was absolutely perfect. We laid by the pool and on the beach and we drank too many fruity cocktails and it was very, very good for our souls and our skin tones. We’re already plotting a trip for next year because the end of March in NY is still cold and sucky and you need some sunshine in order to stay sane. Birthdaycations are the best 🙂

We’re Heading BACK to My Favorite Place (Big Island, Hawaii)

Ever since coming home from Hawaii late last October, I’ve wanted to go back. Scratch that, the honest truth is I didn’t want to leave Hawaii in the first place. During our last breakfast I told Justin, completely seriously, “We can extend our trip a little more. We have money. We don’t have to leave.” Justin’s response was that he had to go back to work. I said, “No I don’t know that you heard me. I said, ‘we have moneyyy’.” 

Since I lost that argument and we left Hawaii as planned, I’ve been plotting to go back. When it came time to thinking about an anniversary trip, I proposed going back to Hawaii, which Justin promptly shut down because he wanted to go “somewhere new.” I said we could go to a different island. He laughed. A DIFFERENT ISLAND IS SOMEWHERE NEW, JUSTIN.

Anywho, I pushed Hawaii hard in the coming weeks. I bought dragon fruit (his favorite when we were there), I decorated Easter eggs as hula girls, I bought pineapple shoes and was all “hmm I wonder where I could wear these, Justin?” and so many other little things and each time he rolled his eyes at me. It looked like I wasn’t winning this one either.

UNTIL, I came up with the perfect compromise. I proposed the following to him – a few nights in San Francisco (somewhere new!) and then a week on the Big Island (hands down, our favorite) where we could stay in Volcanoes National Park for a few nights (new hotel and experiences on the Big Island!) and then spend the other nights back at the hotel from our honeymoon but do different excursions we didn’t do last time.

He stared at me while I smiled up at him. This was THE compromise! I just knew it. You could tell he wasn’t happy to admit but through gritted teeth he said, “that is a fantastic compromise.” Thirty minutes later he had a list of things he wanted to do/see while in SF and the Big Island. Three days later our travel agent had our flights and hotels booked. We move quick over here!

Yes, I know I haven’t recapped the honeymoon. Or the wedding. At some point I will. Or not. I don’t know. (shrugging emoji)

Mr Big Got a Baby Sister

And she’s perfect. Her name is Cookie and she’s the sweetest little snickerdoodle you ever did meet. She was about 10 weeks old when we adopted her and she’s been following Mr Big’s lead from the beginning. We’re all very smitten. #adoptdontshop

Puppies > therapy.

The Plan for This Space Over the Next Couple Months

Summer is busy for me – but not in a bad way – just in the way that I LOVE SUMMER AND BEING WARM and I want to do ALL THE SUMMER THINGS ALL THE TIME. With my brother’s wedding coming up in September, my cousin’s wedding in October, and my 10 year college reunion, summer is full of travel for bachelorettes, showers, and other fun with friends and family. The plan is to update here at least once every two weeks (hey, it’s a start!).

Anywho, thanks for checking in or stopping by since it’s been quite a while. Again, I update instastories the most so if you’re at all into posts about how I’m socially awkward, that’s your best bet. If you’re a resister, I’ll see you here.

See you somewhere 🙂

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Proof that you can plan a wedding, train for a marathon, peak the weeks of your wedding and honeymoon, and then finish said marathon feeling fantastic.

If you’re just tuning in:

Actual NYC Marathon Workouts:

I stuck to the plan I laid out all those months ago pretty closely. I think the best thing I did for myself this training cycle was to not pay attention to pace for any of my runs. I threw a couple “speed” workouts in there but I did them because it felt like something fun to do that day. Even during those runs, I never looked at my watch.

Being able to let pace go and just think about this marathon as a fun run allowed all those long runs to not feel stressful. Instead of adding stress to my life like marathon training sometimes does, these runs relaxed me. It allowed me time to chat with a friend or listen to a podcast or just think about the wedding. If anything, marathon training kept me sane and more laid back all throughout the wedding planning process.

2017 NYCM “Training”

NYC Marathon Week

Marathon week is pretty much my favorite week to be in NYC. Everything is exciting – the subway ads, the obvious tourist runners, the crisp air that basically screams “marathon weather!”

The weather forecast for Sunday never looked particularly good. It was constantly changing between light rain in the morning to light rain in the evening or rain throughout the day or mist throughout the afternoon but it was always some combination of cloudy, rainy, and misty. I kept my fingers crossed that we’d have a dry race, mostly because I wanted needed fans along the course since I wasn’t planning on running this race particularly fast and I felt like rain would deter a lot of people from coming out to cheer.

NYC Marathon – Sunday, November 5, 2017

Sunday morning was perfect, no rain/mist, good temps in the 50s. I was very hopeful.

When we started out in Staten Island, I spoke to Alec next to me, “if it stays just like this, we’ll be fine.”

WAY TO JINX IT, ANG.

It started misting and light raining just a few miles in and continued throughout the entire marathon; however, my fear that this would deter crowds was completely off base because OMG the sidelines were unbelievable.

After the race, I did my best to describe the crowds on Instagram:

“NEW YORK CITY!!! Do you know what you did today?! You SHOWED UP with voices and signs and instruments and so much god damn spirit. You welcomed the world onto your streets. You lined 26.2 miles of pavement IN THE RAIN and you were larger and louder than any year I’ve run in perfect weather.

Tell me this isn’t the greatest city in the world and I’ll give you 2.5 million reasons why you’re wrong.”

My friends and family traveled throughout the city and I was able to see people I love in Brooklyn, on First Avenue, on Fifth Avenue, and at the finish line. Because we were taking it nice and easy and didn’t have any time goals, whenever we saw friends/family, we ran to the side and loaded up on hugs. At mile 8, our families were on different sides of the street and we split up. We completely lost each other after that and I ended up having to move over onto the side of the race, take out my phone and call Alec to figure out where she was. I waited for her right after the 8 mile marker and we continued on our way. Things are so much less stressful when you’re not worried about the time on the clock!

My body really started to ache in the later miles on Fifth Avenue (as expected) but I just kept feeding off the crowds. I thought about the rain, I thought about the terrorist attack on the Westside Highway earlier in the week, I thought about all the reasons New Yorkers could have stayed home that morning but instead stood outside to cheer on virtual strangers. I thought about the 50,000+ people running next to me and how any number of things could have prevented them from showing up on Staten Island that morning. And focusing on that – on how much I love this sport and how much I love this city –  kept me in good spirits to the finish (even when I asked Alec at Mile 24 if the stinky person I was smelling was me – it was not, btw).

We finished in 4:42:21 (and I had to look up that time just now because I genuinely had no clue beyond a general idea of what our finish time was until this moment).

After a warm shower and changing into sweats, I pulled on my finisher’s medal and we met up with Alec and her clan for dinner at Mel’s. It was a perfect night for the widowmaker 🙂

Thank you, NYC, for a fantastic party throughout my city. Congrats to all finishers!

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