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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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When you wish for a PR: TCS NYC Marathon 2014

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.”)

Marathon Morning:

  • 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).
Marathon runners at South Ferry Terminal

Marathon runners at South Ferry Terminal

  • 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.
ready to get our ny on

On the SI ferry

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!

My squad in LIC!

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.
via @racepacejess

Mile 19 via @racepacejess

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!
Wheres Ang? Photo from the finish line bleachers!

Wheres Ang? Photo from the finish line bleachers!

Finish

  • 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.
4:11:09 (9:35 pace) - 13 minute PR

4:11:09 (9:35 pace) – 13 minute PR

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.

nycm finisher!

PR in the city that I love: CHECK.

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Not my recap but we gotta talk 2014 NYC Marathon!

Not so spoiler alert (especially if you follow me on Twitter or Instagram): a huge PR happened in NYC yesterday!

nycm finish

4:11:09 (9:35 pace) – 13 minute PR

Some quick things about yesterday’s NYC Marathon:

  • Don’t believe the media. It wasn’t that cold and it wasn’t that windy. Sure, there were a few crazy gusts (like cups flying all over the street crazy) but it wasn’t a consistent wind. Also, temperature wise, the weather was pretty amazing. I wore crops, a thin long sleeve, a singlet, a hat, and a thin headband to cover my ears. I dropped my gloves by mile 3, rolled up my sleeves by mile 5, and pulled the headband off my ears quickly after that.
  • The crowds were INSANE! You’d think with the weather (and the media making it out like it was a tornado out there), that there might have been a reduction in the amount of spectators along the course. NOPE! NYC came out hard and made it a 26.2 mile block party.
  • I watched thousands of runners in front of me do the YMCA in Brooklyn. Perfection.
  • I cried at the start, I cried in Brooklyn (the crowds were ridiculously loud in one spot and I overheard a tourist scream “this is ze best city in ze world!”), and I cried at the finish line.
  • I felt good the whole marathon. Obviously, those later miles hurt and my legs and hips were tight but I most definitely did not hit a “wall.”
  • I found what works for me on 5th avenue… with each step- “Mom, Dad, John. Mom, Dad, John.” Repeat until Central Park.
  • Fleece-lined ponchos are awesome.
  • I live in the greatest city in the world.

nycm finish family reunion

A huge THANK YOU to my cheerleaders who traveled all over the city to see me in various spots, to my friends and family stationed along the course, to the strangers cheering my name, to the volunteers who had a longer day than most of the runners, and to everyone else who called, texted, tweeted, or sent messages. YOU ARE THE GREATEST.

CONGRATS to every NYC Marathon finisher! Enjoy a day of rest today!

Stay tuned for a full NYC Marathon recap 🙂

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Filed under marathon, marathon tips, new york city, PR, running, tcs new york city marathon