(aka the official super-long NYC Marathon race report.)
Yeah. Sunday just showed-I totally own this city 🙂
I’ll start this off this long report with the mile-by-mile splits, courtesy of Mr. Garmin…
(my chip time was 3:44:14…so based on my chip splits, looks like 1 second comes off the last .2 and 2 seconds comes off mile 1)
So…as I had mentioned before, I set my goal for the marathon publically at the beginning of August as 3:50. Enough to be a strong PR, and seemed pretty doable for my abilities at the time. However-after the Philly Distance Run, I began wondering if 3:45…although scary, could be doable. After doing Grete’s at a 3:45 marathon pace-and it feeling like an easy run and running that at the end of a 7-day period where I racked up close to 60 miles-I decided to secretly make 3:45 my stretch goal. I tapered well and just trusted my training…
So, race day. Despite the fact that I got an extra hour of sleep due to turning the clocks back, I still found it difficult to actually sleep, and woke up before my alarm was due to go off. Fine with me, more time to do the race day routine. Coffee w/ bagel and PB. Listen to my “marathon morning” mix with some of my favorite and/or lucky songs. Roll out the yoga mat and do some stretching. Get dressed, check a million times to see if I remembered everything, then head out the door.
This year, I took the Staten Island Ferry instead of the bus-I highly recommend it, was so easy. Just hopped on the 1 train to go downtown-took 20 minutes. When I got to the terminal, I waited for TB who was coming from Brooklyn so we could get on the ferry together. We both got on the 6:30 ferry-got seats right away, enjoyed the view, and just gabbed excitedly about what was ahead. Once we got to Staten Island, we were also able to get on a bus right away that would take us to Fort Wadsworth-easy peasy. I was very satisfied about how stress-free this process went.
Finally, arrived at Fort Wadsworth around 7:30ish. There was no line for the porto-potties so immediately took advantage of that. After that, we met up with Runner26 who was hanging out with her college friends in a tent in the orange start. Ate, “hydrated,” tried to stay warm, gossiped, laughed…the time actually went by pretty quickly. It was almost time for those in Wave 1 (which included TB) to check their bags and get to their corrals, so I took that as my cue to make another porto-potty stop (gotta take advantage of short lines while I can!) and then make my way to the blue start village. once there, i spotted my baggage truck and made any final preps I needed to and checked my bag while the line was still short-I had my throwaway sweatshirt and my heat sheet from the SF Half to keep me warm. From there, I walked over to the corrals. Wave 1 hadn’t left yet, so I hung around until they left and Wave 2 was allowed to enter. And I will say-they really did a good job at policing the corrals, I was pleasantly surprised. And they even had porto-potties in the corrals too!! So far-big thumbs up from my 2006 experience.
Finally, it was time to head over to the bridge. The ropes between the corrals were dropped and we all jogged to maintain our position (good, this can be my warmup.) This resulted in an awesome starting spot for me!! Was a little chilly-I had ditched my heat sheet and sweatshirt and arm warmers-was just in my sports top, shorts and gloves but I knew with the strong sun, I’d be warm soon enough. 10 am was getting closer and closer!! Was a little different having someone besides Mary Wittenberg give the “New York City awaits you, the world awaits you” speech-but we still got the ceremonial cannon and “New York, New York” to mark the start. And I crossed the line within seconds!! Here we go, here we go, here we go…
OK-so my plan was to run the first 2 miles in no faster than a cumulative 17 minutes, maybe closer to 17:30. I felt like I was taking it easy, so I was shocked that my first mile was under 9 minutes, and even more shocked to see the 7:40 mile 2. Off the bridge and into Brooklyn, this time on the right side of 4th Ave, so I got to see a different approach this time. The crowds were in effect already, heard a lot more people screaming my name this time around-maybe because I was easier to spot with less crowds? Either way, I liked it. Maybe too much, both mile 3 and my 5k split were faster than I wanted. Honestly-I was doubting the positions of the mile markers, that’s how good the splits were looking!! Question is-would this haunt me in the end? What’s done is done-I wasn’t gonna slow down dramatically to “make up” for that-I thought of something that JS told me once-“Don’t try to ‘make up’ for time, whether you’re ahead of schedule or behind schedule. Aim to hit the pace exactly right at the present moment.” And that was what I did, going forward, I just tried to stay relax, and shoot for 26:30 5k splits. Before I knew it, I was at the mile 8 merge…it was almost like I floated down 4th avenue in some kind of dream state…I took that as a good sign, and I was thankfully still feeling good 🙂
Here was where the wave starts came into play-miles 9-13 in Brooklyn were a much, much more enjoyable experience this time around, no bottleneck that I experienced in 2006 and I didn’t lose any time and slow dramatically here. Lafayette Ave had a great cheering section, I saw Flyer YP cheering and taking pictures. Was still feeling great through Williamsburg and Greenpoint-saw Flyer JT during that stretch and he commented that I was “flying.” Heart rate was a little bit high-at the very top of my easy zone…but that could have been more excitement than actual effort, as I wasn’t breathing hard at all. But I had to keep telling myself so many times…eye on the prize, eye on the prize. I might have been on BQ pace at that point, but that wasn’t the goal today. I’d rather get the 3:45 and finish strong rather than try for 3:40 and bonk.
Almost to Queens!! I noticed that the playground where a lot of people usually cut across was roped off this year…hehe. Made the turn onto McGuinness Boulevard, just as we did in the bridges run so it all looked familiar…hit the half-marathon point on the bridge at 1:50:43-ok, good. If I lose 2-3 minutes in the second half I can still get my 3:45, so as far as I was concerned, I was right on target 🙂
Well considering I got knocked down in Queens back in 2006, my goal for this year was to just make it through this borough still standing 🙂 These next coupla miles were actually a little uneventful…maybe because I was thinking ahead to Manhattan already? Either way, I breathed a sigh of relief when I reached the Queensboro bridge and had stayed vertical 😛 Once again, my training running the bridge had paid off-felt strong and steady, and was still passing people. Mile 16 was my slowest mile so far…only one over 9 minutes so far, but not too shabby considering that it included a bitch of an incline 🙂 Yay for the downhill, I can hear the crowds….
…First Avenue, here I come!! Those crowds were just tempting me to go fast, but I tried to keep it under control…remembering the “last 10 miles run” and the surprising hills. Don’t know how well that worked as the splits showed 🙂 That plus I couldn’t wait to get to the mile 18 marker, where 2 miles of personal cheering sections would begin. First one being the Flyers at the PowerGel station. I was in great spirits then…one of my favorite dance songs (“Insomnia” by Faithless) was blasting over the speakers at this time, my teammates were cheering for me…as the picture showed, I was definitely in my element 🙂 What a rush!! Next was the 30K point…saw some Harriers by the White Castle, and shortly after that was the family cheering section!! (this year wearing Jets green…hehe.) Next, Uptown Girl and the rest of her TRD cheering section was just past the mile 19 marker. After that, it seemed to thin out a bit-til I hit the Willis Avenue Bridge and saw Flyer PD playing the bagpipes once again. Kinda made me forget how crappy that bridge felt (more the surface than anything else-don’t like that metal grating, the red carpet didn’t seem to hide it enough this time…)
For whatever reason, I found the Bronx to be much more lively this time around, was kind of a shame that we only ran 1 mile there. Lots of old-school dance music playing…felt like I was at a block party or something. There was also a big screen that showed the runners (I saw me on there!), and “Stronger” by Kanye West playing…always a song to get me pumped to run well!! And I was still holding up very well, much better than in 2006!! At the 20-mile point, I estimated that I needed 8:45s or better to make it under 3:45, and so far so good. Now back to Manhattan…let’s finish this thing!! 🙂
Upper 5th avenue felt like a continuation of the Bronx…good music playing, block party atmosphere…saw the Flyers’ Mr. President right before Marcus Garvey Park, was glad to see him as I missed him back in 2006. Then miles 23 and 24 happened. That incline on 5th Ave that would.not.end. Yeah, I knew to expect it, but when you’re tired, it’s still a bitch. Plus, the running room was limited as the spectators were sorta crowding us…and I had to dodge walkers, and those who stopped and/or walked through the water stations (I didn’t stop to walk once-at the water stations I just grabbed a cup on the run)…I didn’t want them interrupting my “rhythm” so to speak-as I was afraid if I was forced to slow down or walk I wouldn’t be able to start back up. My dad was near the mile 23 marker and took a picture…my mom and my brother missed seeing me, but my brother took off to try and catch me to yell out some words of encouragement. (was sorta glad my mom missed me-as she said she was gonna yell “almost there!”…which at that time, i did NOT want to hear…you know why!) Then almost out of nowhere, Derek pulled up besides me…took pictures, ran with me…I didn’t even ask him to but I was so grateful for the support, as I think I went through a little mental bonk at mile 24 (which turned out to be my slowest mile of the race)…at that time, you’re just counting down the blocks to the park, but it seems like forever. Finally, Engineer’s Gate was within view…I said to Derek then “I got this.”
The last 2.2 miles…so many things went through my head. Whatever pain my legs were experiencing at the time was probably nothing compared to what my relative has been dealing with for the last few months, so what’s another 20 minutes. I had the same thought in my head that I had in the Philly Distance Run-that I didn’t come this far to have another “so close” moment…I was so close to the sub-3:45, no way was I gonna lose it now!! After mile 25…good mile, but I wasn’t completely in the clear just yet…gotta hustle for the last 1.2 miles!! Think of how great my last mile was in 2006. Think of that 7:44 mile 13 at Grete’s. You can do it, you can do it. Saw Flyers EF and SD cheering on the East drive leading out of the park…was so glad to see a familiar face or 2 at that point, really gave me a boost!! Just kept the intensity up Central Park South…hit the half-mile to go sign and knew I had it…made me sooo happy. And the fact that mile 26, at 8:16 was my 3rd fastest mile of the race? Once again, I knocked that damn wall down…
That hill to Tavern…always a bitch, but I could take it on (and as it turned out-ran the last .2 at a sub-8 pace!) just counting down the “x yards to go” signs…oh yeah. The finish line calling my name just ahead…I felt like I was in that surreal dream state once again-but this was no dream. Or rather, this a dream coming true!! Put my arms up in celebration once again…sub-3:45 was mine, all mine!! Crossed the line and was officially 2-for-2 when it came to running a great NYCM!! 🙂
Official time-3:44:14 (half splits 1:50:43/1:53:31)
530/4462 females 30-39
Once again-I was happy to stop running, but my quads hated me. I think I was in a lot more pain than I was 2 years ago! I got a finisher photo taken with my medal, but not sure if I was smiling!! Got my heatsheet and food bag, then started the trek up to the baggage trucks…the entire time I was saying “ow, ow, ow”…my legs were in such pain. I wanted to sit down, but I knew I had to walk it off. I actually didn’t mind the walk to the baggage truck, as I had to walk that far to get home anyway 🙂 Finally got my bag, exited the park, met up with la familia and headed to my place to shower and relax, before heading out to dinner and indulging in some fajitas, guac, chips and salsa, and the first of several, uh, “recovery beverages” (aka margaritas.) Continued the celebration across town with the Flyers, which included more margaritas!! Everyone was in good spirits that nite, happy with their times-was very glad to see.
I guess since I was in so much pain after crossing the finish-it took awhile to sink in how everything just went according to plan, everything went so smoothly…that I achieved a goal that over a month ago, I thought would have been “crazy” or “scary.” Only thing I may have done differently was run that first 5K a minute slower…but hey, I still got my goal, so ain’t complaining 🙂 And I got my goal thanks to my great support system-whether you were cheering from afar or on the course-you don’t know how grateful I am that I had you. My training, my mental toughness, may have gotten me to the finish line when I did, but “I get by with a little help from my friends” as well 🙂
What’s next? That’s a topic for another day, another post. Right now, just sitting back and enjoying this one. 🙂