The big day has come and gone, along with it a whirlwind of emotions. Months of training, painful massages, skipping social events, early mornings and long runs have all come together for this one amazing day, the NYC marathon. Here’s a recap of the race weekend, the run and all my little bits and pieces.
I had the great opportunity to kick off marathon weekend Friday night at the New York Athletic Club with a pasta dinner and Shalane Flanagan speaking. With some great words of advice and feeling motivated after being in the presence of such a talented women, I was amped up the race.
Saturday was spent going to the Expo and cooking food for the annual party we do in our apartment every year. The race goes right by, so we always host a party, and it’s always packed. Luckily we have family that lives on Staten Island, so 4 of us headed to the ferry around 4:00 to go relax, eat even more pasta and go to bed before 10. I was surprised I actually slept well, I figured I’d be up tossing and turning all night with anticipation. I must have gotten it all out of my system the week before.
Up at 6, with some oatmeal in our bellies and trying to shake out the last of the butterflies, we all got dressed and ready to go. Through all the check points and porta-potty lines and almost missing our wave start (lines are really long), we made it to our corral. This was my first marathon I wasn’t injured for, the haunting of marathons past made me extremly anxious and nervous, which led to my stomach cramping for miles 1-4. It took me a while to calm down, focus on deep breathes and to just relax and run. It was painful but I knew calming myself down was the most important thing to get me running relaxed and not in pain… I was having marathon flashbacks and didn’t want to go through another 22 miles like this.
Mile 4 I started feeling normal again and really wanted to keep my pace slower, not knowing how the second half of the race would go, my goal was negative splits and I didn’t want to blow up. I decided to keep myself in check till the Queensboro bridge. This really felt like my first marathon, not having the experience of running the others I had done due to injuries.
Once I got to the Queensboro Bridge and the 16 mile mark, I knew it was time to focus and get moving. Running “easy” up to this point, my legs were still feeling good. Coming down off the bridge and hearing the roar of the crowd, running past my apartment and all my friends and family gave me a rush like no other! Focusing on my form and zoning out, I kept moving. I ran the first half correctly to pump out some serious negative splits.
First avenue is absolutely amazing and my favorite part of the race. Not only is it where I have to look forward to seeing all my friends, but the crowd and energy is contagious and seeps into your body, no matter how tired you are. Seeing the race extend out in front of you with the runners and spectators surrounding you, it is the most unforgettable feeling.
As I cranked up 1st ave, I felt lucky to have run the last part of the course a couple weekends earlier. I knew what I was about to run in those last 7 miles, which let my brain rest and go into auto mode. I zoned out and had my music rhythmically distracting me and all I kept thinking was “No Regrets” “arms” “form” repeating over and over again. Soon mile 21 became 22 then 23 and so one. 5th ave SUCKS and it was all heart at this point, I knew I was going to be right around my goal time of 3:30 but didn’t know how close (I forgot to start my watch just as I went over the start line). I figured I started about 3 minutes after the gun, so my goal was to get across the finish before 3:33. Trying to figure out what I needed my pace to be in the last couple miles I just put my head down and plowed away, trying to keep up with any runner that passed me.
As I looped down out of the park and onto 59th street I couldn’t believe I was almost to the finish line! I felt incredible. My legs that were exhausted under me didn’t seem to hurt, my phone died at mile 25.8 and I thought I might fall over, but away I went looking for the finishing clock. As I did my best “sprint” up that final hill I saw it counting down 3:28:42… 3:28:43… 3:28:44… I passed it under 3:33! With a finishing time of 3:29:44! Just squeaking in under my 3:30 goal. I made some friends in the long walk after the race who still had a working phone and had them look up my time for me, as soon as I learned it, I was ecstatic! I felt great during the run, I ran it smart and knowing I hit my goal time topped off my perfect race!
And to make the day even better, when we finally made it back to the apartment, it was filled with my family and friends! This will go down as one of my favorite days ever and I’m already thinking of my training for next year and how I’m going to get faster!!!