running the new york city marathon – (part 2)

miles 1-2: up a bridge and down a bridge (i’m not going to pretend i know the names of all the bridges or when exactly i crossed from one borough to the next.. at some point over the last few years my attention to detail has gone out the window) there were helicopters on either side of us hovering at our level which was really cool and I thought about how much dane would have loved it. at the 1 mile marker the race official was yelling “you’re almost done!” I thought this was funny. i was feeling great, happy, excited. i loved seeing the other herds of runner from my wave that started down other routes. i felt like i was part of something really awesome and was feeling optimistic.

my garmin was of course “locating satellites” for the first mile or so. when I could finally start it, my pace registered somewhere in the mid 8s. I knew this was probably too fast, but I felt like a little wind-up toy that had been wound and wound for hours then finally set free. I kept a comfortable pace knowing I would surely be slowing down sooner or later and that was fine.

miles 3-4: just felt so effortless. don’t get me wrong, i’m running just under a 9 minute miles, so i’m not setting any records here (and you better hope 4 miles feels easy when you are running a marathon) but it was the easiest 4 miles i’ve ever run. brooklyn was great. good crowds, everyone seemed to be having a lot of fun.

5K // 0:27:24.00 // 08:49 

miles 5-9: i just remember there were bagpipers somewhere along this stretch and i had to really convince myself to not get emotional. way too early for that. i thought about my dad for the next couple miles. i was going to bring his rock with me… its a little rock that my sisters gave him to hold when he died because i couldn’t be there with them. but i pictured him laughing at the idea and making fun of me for carrying a rock along with me during a marathon. he loved irony.

10K // 0:54:16.00 // 08:45

around mile 7 i finally finished & chucked my hand-held water bottle. i didn’t think it would last this long, but i definitely benefited from not having to stop for water this whole way. i think i was super hydrated going into the run.

15K // 1:22:03 // 08:49

mile 10: i thought – 10 miles! i’m going to run a pretty solid half. i was still running a consistent sub-9 min. mile. the course was so flat so far and the miles were flying by.

mile 13: there is a hill somewhere around here. lizzy warned me. sure enough, there was a bridge that definitely made me work a little, but didn’t slow me down. i ran a 1:55 half which is a solid 20 min. pr from my previous half marathons. (what?). around this time, i approached a group of ppl wearing 4:00 pace signs. this was literally the first time it occurred to me that i was on pace for a 4 hour marathon. i sort of knew at this point that it was very possible i could break 4 hours and i decided i was going to fight like hell to do it. the field was really thick around the pacers, but i really wanted to pass them while i was still feeling strong. that was the last time i saw the 4:00 pacers.

Half // 1:55:53 // 08:51

i have no idea where i am in this photo

miles 14-15: i don’t remember much. i was just running. around this time i finally took off my long sleeved shirt & tied it around my waist. all i was thinking about was the infamous queensboro bridge and that i could soon (hopefully!) see my family who was supposed to be somewhere around 18.

25K  // 2:18:23 // 08:55

mile 16 – the bridge: it wasn’t bad at all! i couldn’t believe it. it was a hill for sure, but nothing like some of the inclines on the courses i trained on. everyone had warned me about the incline, the isolation, etc. the bridge posed no problems and before i knew it, i was at the top smiling because i knew at this point i had this race.

turning the corner onto first ave was great and all, but i think it was too hyped up and i couldn’t help but be unimpressed. i hate to sound like such a downer, but i think the problem was really just all the hype and how amazing everyone told me it would be.

miles 17-19: i’m hugging the left side of the road looking everywhere for mike, dane, and mike’s parents, but i never saw them & they never saw me. we didn’t do the best job coordinating an exact plan.. he didn’t even know what i was wearing. i got here significantly faster than i thought i would and i think they must have just missed me. there’s no way i didn’t see them. i love them for being there for me though. it wasn’t easy for them to get around the crowded city with a big stroller and a baby who is supposed to be napping right around the time i passed this point. i especially love my in-laws for coming out to support me. it really means SO much.

30K // 2:46:44 // 08:57

mile 19-21: hard. aches and pains everywhere. 6 more miles? shoot me. i had a really bad cold the week leading up to the race and tried to keep it under control while i was running, but at this point i am coughing and my lungs are cold & tight and my whole body is convulsing. please get me to the finish line. i run a 9 min. mile for the first time at 21.

Mile 19 // 08:57
Mile 20 // 08:59
Mile 21 // 09:00

mile 23: i want to die. no one adequately warned me about this hill going up (down? along?) central park. this was BY FAR the most difficult, painful mile i have ever run in my entire life. i want to finish so bad. i am so ready to be done. there is no way i am slowing down now. i find it impossible to enjoy the stretch along central park. i wish i had tried harder to take it all in & enjoy it, but all i remember is that hill and the pain in my knees, hips, and back.

you can see the pain here!

Mile 23 // 09:02

miles 24-26.2: i look at my phone for the first time & see that some of my friends who were tracking me are texting about my time and sharing my splits and saying i’m going to break 4. my sister texts something about choking up and this makes me majorly choke up. i was so happy to have fans even if they weren’t along the course. people around me were slowing down, walking, stopping to stretch… I thought, c’mon people we’re so close! and i weaved around maintaining my pace with everything I had left. i thought the finish line would never come. but there it was. i double fist-pumped or did something awkward and looked up at the sky and finally stopped running. I wasn’t sure what my time was, I didn’t remember to stop my garmin or the map my run ap i had running on my phone. I just wanted to get the hell out of there and find mike & dane.

Mile 24 // 09:04
Mile 25 // 09:05
Mile 26 // 09:05

i had the “no baggage” bracelet and walked as quickly as I could in the direction I was sent. my body was in so much pain. I thought not running anymore would be such a relief, but walking out of the park was almost as painful as the final miles.
Finish // 3:57:53

i’m trying to smile here, but i literally can’t…


they gave us a heat wrap, a food pack and then a glorious fleece-lined poncho once we were out of the park. i put pretzels in my mouth for the salt then spit them out bc I couldn’t stomach anything but I really thought I might keel over if I didn’t do something. about 45 mins after finishing, I finally found mike, had a nightmare of a time finding a cab and sitting in traffic, took the best hot shower of my life and then ate a veggie burger the size of my face along with as many beers as I could get down (not as many as I would have liked).
so that’s my story.

going into the race I though 4:30 was a realistic time. i thought one day i’d run under 4 hours, but had no plan to attempt to do so this time around. i think there are several reasons why this race went so well:

1. i put zero pressure on myself and had no pace plan (sounds counter intuitive!) i had very little pre-race anxiety (not typical of me). if i tried to carefully pace myself, i would have slowed down early in the race when i didn’t need to and would never have made up for it in the end.

2. i am stronger than i think i am. i have been doing a lot more strength and speed work-outs than i’ve ever done before. when i workout with ed, my legs are sore for days every single time. this definitely helped with not getting injured during training (my only real “goal” for this marathon aside from finishing!) and powering through those hill and late miles.

3. i trained on way hillier (that’s a word) courses. the two 19 – 20 mile long runs i did had way more and way steeper hills. i also did 2 crazy hill workouts in october with my ridiculously fit friend alli that definitely helped condition my legs for inclines.

4. gu. i swear its like cheating. i ate one every 5 miles. during training runs i never had more than 1 or 2, but i kept making myself suck these down and they totally fired up my tired legs each time.

5. MY BABY. having a baby has made me so much stronger in so many ways. you can’t be lazy, you can’t be selfish, you need to endure pain whether it be birth, sleeplessness, nursing, the list goes on. my baby has toughened me up ten-fold.

ALL IN ALL. i’m glad i did it. i’m glad its over. it was so expensive. it was a little lonely (no friends at the start and not a single familiar face along the route), it was extremely difficult… but honestly, not as difficult as i thought it might be. i have no plans to do new york again. i but i definitely want to do BOSTON! i hope it works out.

ok. i’m done.

running the new york city marathon – (part 1)

training for this marathon has been a huge part of my existence for the past couple months. i never really feel like documenting or making a fuss about running on this blog because i’m not particularly good at it, not overly passionate about it, and have had very close to zero plans throughout the entire course of my training. some people can blog about running almost every day and make it sound interesting. for me, exercising, being fit, healthy and, well, not fat are my requirements. i NEED to work out. i’ve had plenty of issues with anxiety and depression and one thing i’ve learned about myself is that i need athletics to manage all of the above. but its not necessarily about running.

running a marathon is a challenge i naturally gravitated toward after a few years of road races and a couple half-marathons. i attempted to run the boston marathon in 2011, but after a fateful long run in february and an mri that showed a nice little stress fracture in my hip, this race was not meant to be…

2 years and one baby later, i finished 26.2 miles in the ing new york city marathon in 3:57:53.

for good measure. here is my ny marathon race recap.

i arrived with the fatz four in manhattan around 1:30 on saturday. we were staying at the carlton in midtown (88 madison).

the hotel was a zoo and we weren’t able to check-in early. we left our luggage, valeted our car, and walked down to the madison ave park. it was so nice out. there was an awesome little dog park. we met a bulldog named stanley. all was well.

we finally checked in just before 3 and decided it was best i scoot down to the expo myself to grab my bib. we were 1.67 miles away from the javits center and i figured i’d just walk. i enjoyed the walk very much. i love the city. every time i’m there i verify that not living in manhattan for a few years in my 20s is one of my biggest regrets.

i quickly checked in and grabbed my bib, shirt, and a $13 red, glittery sweaty band and headed back, all in a matter of 10 or so minutes. i had to sign up for the 5:30 ferry at the expo because i missed the transportation deadline (which was july 31.. so early! no one warned me about it).

on the walk back i was thinking that i definitely should not be on my feet for so long the day before the race. this was quickly added to my list of reasons why i ran slow that i had on deck.. just in case.

we had plans to meet family for dinner at schnippers quality kitchen at 5. it was a perfect casual and cheap (relatively speaking) place to eat and catch up w/ our new jersey based family. i had a brooklyn lager (i couldn’t resist. i added this to my list of reasons why i ran slow i was preparing) a turkey burger on a wheat bun (should have been eating white bread.. add that to the list), sweet potato fries, and most of dane’s mac & cheese that he didn’t touch. a questionable pre-race meal. it was a really nice time & really great to see everyone. they even brought little gifts for dane.

we went back to our room and attempted to put dane to bed in the little crib the hotel provided. no dice. we eventually brought him into bed with us and he wiggled and squirmed, whacked me in the head, stole my pillow. the usual. finally around 9, just when i was about to lose my mind, i was able to transfer him back to the crib without complaint. and thank the lord almighty, he slept through the night.

thanks to day light savings, falling back, or whatever, i was ready to get up around 4:30. i was in a cab at 5 and at the ferry terminal by 5:15.

everyone told me they didn’t check your transportation option and that i could probably get on any ferry, but there was a sticker on my bib that said 5:30 ferry and i just didn’t think it was worth worrying about. so after a security dog sniffed my special clear bag we were given at the expo, i was on the 5:30 ferry with a whole bunch of runners and a few people in halloween costumes who definitely had not gone to sleep yet from their sat. night escapades. and no, they definitely were not checking bibs for transportation options.

i used the ferry bathroom right before i got off (not much better than the port-a-potties to be honest). the bus ride to the starting village was about 30 mins. and fairly seamless. off the bus, dogs sniffed us again, we were patted down and i walked a short distance to my blue village.

i was here for a looong time. at first it was pretty cool. i felt like i was in the olympics or something.. i’d always wanted to be in a village. there were bagels, powerbars, coffee, water, comfy fleece dunks hats and tons of port-a- potties. i ate a powerbar because i was hungry, but i thought it was early to eat my special pre-race breakfast. i hung out & read my elle decor mag on my yellow fleece blanket.

finally i forced down my rice, egg, chia seed, and almond breakfast recommended by my fitness mentor, ed lippie. this will definitely be my go-to, i really think it was the perfect, bland, pre-race base i needed.

i basically laid around, sipped water, gatorade and black coffee with intermittent bathroom trips until it was time for my corral (i was wave 3.. 10:30 start time).

i ate a gu waiting for the official start… the gun went off, new york, new york blazed and i was off.

this is a really long post and i haven’t even started running yet. i guess that is appropriate since the pre-race process was longer than the actual race (including the arduous walk out of the park!) 

to be continued….