It is now a few days after the NYC Marathon and let me tell you, I am still BEAMING from this race. I fell so much deeper in love with this city on Sunday.. and damn if I don’t feel good about a 13-minute PR on a tough course, on a tough day, in the city that I love. (I’ll let you in on a secret- last December, when I went to the Times Square New Years’s Wishing Wall, I wished for “a PR in the city that I love.”)
- There were problems with downtown 1/2/3 trains (“problems” as in they just weren’t running) so I hopped in a cab to pick up Jess to head to South Ferry terminal (Thankfully, by the time my family got into the city, the trains were actually working or my mom would have cried).
- I’m so glad that Jess and I went to the start line together. It really helped in calming my nerves to have her with me. We sat on the ferry, got on the bus, and talked about all sorts of silliness before getting out at Ford Wadsworth with the perfect amount of time for a port-a-potty stop before getting in the start corral.
Start – Staten Island & Verrazano Bridge
- I cried during New York, New York (yet again).
- The bridge was not as windy as I expected. It was definitely windy but I didn’t feel it was any worse than in 2009 when I ran the length of the bridge with my hand on my head to keep my hat from blowing off. The thing that was pretty bad up there was that all of the throwaway clothes and bags that people dropped were whipping around and getting under runner’s feet. NOT SAFE, PEOPLE.
Brooklyn: Miles 2-13
5k in 29:38 (9:32), 10k in 58:53 (9:29), 15k in 1:28:37 (9:32), Half in 2:04:30 (9:30)
- The goal with these miles was to keep the pace between a 9:20 and a 9:35 pace. #nailedit
- I knew my mom, John, and Nikki would be on the left side near Mile 8 so I made sure to stay close to the left even though I did my best to stay in the middle of the road for most of the course (Pops cheered from home as he’s still recovering from his knee replacement). I saw mom first and heard her scream my last name so I was able to give them a huge smile and a wave. (Marathon spectating tip: Call out your runner’s last name. EVERYONE screams their first name, by calling out their last name, it will catch their attention better).
- The lovely Nicole was spotted not long after and she had an awesome sign for me! I saw her first and screamed “Nicole!” like a madwoman until she saw me. Gabrielle, you will be happy to know that her sign requested I “shake it.”
- I almost missed them but Emily was quite persistent in her screaming so I was able to spot my friends Emily and Mallory in Brooklyn as well! This was right before I started crying on the course…
Queens: Miles 13-15
- I was supposed to pick it up at this point and aim to keep my pace between a 9 and a 9:20. In listening to my body, I knew I’d be much more comfortable hovering on the slower end of that. I readjusted my plan and told myself to aim to keep my pace between a 9 and a 9:35 based on the mile I was running and what felt “comfortably hard.”
- My amazing ex-coworker and always friend, Madeline, and her kiddos were in LIC. They also had a sign for me. GAH SO MUCH LOVE!
Manhattan: Miles 15-19
25k in 2:28:01 (9:32), 30k in 2:57:12 (9:30)
- I felt really good on the 59th St Bridge. Unfortunately, this didn’t seem to be the case with the other runners and I found myself behind a full wall of walkers. This is not the first time this has happened to me on the bridge. I wanted to scream something along the lines of, “OMG doesn’t anyone train on hills?!?” But I didn’t say that… because I didn’t want to be a jerk… also, ya know, I wanted to conserve energy to run and not waste it on yelling at people.
- Once I got off the bridge, I ran along the left side of 1st Avenue because that’s where all my people were gonna be. My family missed me as they stopped to get food and I was running too fast. Sorry I’m not sorry that I was running too fast, mom.
- Luckily, about 10 blocks up from where my family was supposed to be, my beautiful cousin Maria was there and legit grabbed me so that I saw her.
- Only about 10 blocks from where Maria assaulted me on 1st Avenue, I had my second assault of the day from my lovely coworker, Jenny. She almost missed me but overheard someone scream my name and then torpedoed herself after me and onto the course. Because she’s awesome, she had equipped herself with Gatorade and Honey Stingers just in case I needed anything. Love it!
- As I approached Mile 19, I knew my unbelievably amazing coach, Jess, would be cheering from the sidelines. She snapped the below photo of me and I ran away from her so incredibly grateful that I chose her to push me these past 16 weeks. She is an amazing coach and I can’t believe how mentally and physically prepared I was for this race.
Bronx: Miles 19-21
35k in 3:27:32 (9:33)
- These miles were a blur. All I could think about was getting back to Manhattan.
Manhattan: Miles 21-26.2
40k in 3:58:08 (9:35), Finish in 4:11:09 (9:35)
- For me, 5th Avenue up in Harlem was the windiest it ever felt out on the course. I kept myself moving forward, waiting for that steady incline near mile 23 that has totally ruined me in past NYC marathons. I promised myself I wouldn’t look at my pace during the 5th Ave incline and would just focus on keeping a consistent effort.
- When 5th Avenue got tough, I stepped up my mental game. With each step I repeated, “Mom, Dad, John. Mom, Dad, John.” I kept pushing because these people were tracking me and waiting for me. My tip for this portion of the race for anyone running is to think of why you’re running and who you’re running for… and do whatever you need to do to focus on that during this portion of the course.
- Once I turned into Central Park at Engineer’s Gate, I had to step up my mental game even more. The pace felt hard. I knew I could PR even if I slowed down. It was an internal battle with myself… slow down, feel a little more comfortable, and get a PR? Or keep pushing, feel uncomfortable (and possibly get increasingly more uncomfortable), and cross the finish knowing I left it all out there on the course? I am so proud that I chose to keep pushing.
- SURPRISE! Sethy is spotted standing on a railing near Mile 25! I threw my hands in the air… 10 MORE MINUTES!
- Once we turned back into Central Park, I envisioned myself running the “finish line intervals” Jess had me run in my workout earlier that week. I knew this finish line well and I knew I could pick it up.
- Once I saw mom, John, and Nikki in the grandstands, I went absolutely nuts. PR! PR! PR!
- Unlike last year when I started crying before I even crossed the finish line of the Chicago Marathon, I made it almost a full 2 minutes after the finish before bursting into tears.
- The finish line exit is definitely not fun. Once you get your medal, foil, food and drink, it takes almost a full 30 minutes to get out of the park (especially with everyone doing the post-marathon hobble). They have the (non-baggage) runners walk up to 79th, exit the park, grab the fleece-lined poncho (SO awesome! I just wish we didn’t have to wait until we were out of the park for them), but then still have to walk down to 72nd before being able to get off of Central Park West. At one point I believe I whined, “just let us ouuuuuut.”
- I celebrated with pizza and beer. And it was perfect. I love you, NYC.
I feel so incredibly blessed to have been able to complete my 5th marathon in this amazing city. New York is not an easy course by any means but it is so, so special. New Yorkers – you are the spirit of this marathon… and it is because of you that this race is the greatest marathon in the world.
A huge congratulations to all finishers and a huge thank you to all the marathon supporters out there.
PR in the city that I love: CHECK.