It took me months to work up the courage to hit the “Cancel” button on the NYC Marathon website, but I finally did. Knowing I wasn’t going to have the time to properly train, it was the right decision, but that doesn’t mean I wanted to do it. I did, however, make it into the city to watch, cheer and take some pics to share with you all! Congrats to everyone who did an amazing job on this windy Sunday on one of my favorite days in NYC! Enjoy:
Hey guys… sorry I’ve been a slacker on my posts lately, you all know how life sometimes has a way of getting busy. To follow up my last post, I wanted to share what I put up for my NYRR Social Reporter. Since Instagram is my fav social media right now, that’s where you’ll find my posts, but here they are in case you don’t follow me there. Questions were about why I want to run the NYC Marathon, the NYC Half, a training tip and why I want to represent NYRR:
I’m running NYC again this year as a “runner”. I know a lot of people may look at what I’ve accomplished and think I could easily be called a runner, but this year will be the first time I’ve felt like I deserved the title. I have put a lot of work into my training and races over the past couple years and running has given back to me in multiples of what I’ve put in. I want to tackle the 2014 NYC Marathon with new confidence and share every step of my journey along the way.
The first time I ran the NYC Half marathon was in 2007, it was my first Half Marathon ever and I’ve been trying to get back into it ever since. I ran a time of 1:46:01 at the age of 24. It holds a special place in my heart because it was my first, I remember the feeling of running through central park, through Time Square with all the people cheering and the music and my heart soaring! Little did I know that this race would kick off years of racing and reignite my love of running.
Training Tip- I ran the 2013 NYC marathon last year and it took me a whole month to come down off the high from it! It was my fourth marathon and my first marathon I ran injury free. The difference making this marathon a success vs the past ones was a combination of paying close attention to my training. And although it wasn’t perfect (let’s be honest, we all have social lives, jobs and families) it was a huge step up from my last 3 marathons. I was a little bit older, I understood my body better and I paid attention to training plans and built one to fit my lifestyle. I put in the extra time and work and crushed my NYC PR by almost AN HOUR, finishing at 3:29:44.
I think having NYRR’s as part of NYC is a wonderful thing. I’ve seen the races grow, from the days I could show up race morning & register, to now, when races have to be planned out months in advance to make sure you can get in. The explosion of people running is remarkable. NYRR has done a terrific job, even throughout tough times, in keeping a meaningful organization running, positive & a place for all levels of competitors. The feeling after a run, the feeling watching other people overcome their struggles, the way everything else in your day goes right after a run, the more NYRR can bring this feeling to others, the better, and I will be here to preach till everyone shuts off their computers, tvs, mobile devices and is out running laps with me!
Wish me luck!
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!!!
Like a lot of you, I like to set goals for myself when it comes to my running. I think having goals are super important, they give focus to anything you do, motivate you, and are important in making you become the runner you want to be.
For the Marathon, I have a couple… a range really, of goals. I like to break it down to 3 things:
Goal #1: Run a sub 3:30
If all goes as planned, if my training pays off the way I hope it does, this is the goal I want to reach. This is what I’m shooting for, what my sites are set on.
Goal #2: Run sub 4 hour
I’d be happy with this. If goal #1 doesn’t happen, I’d be happy with this.
Goal #3: Get a PR (which would be a sub 4:21:39)
Any race you get a PR in is a good day!
With all the time spent training and the hard work put into getting ready for a marathon, the last thing I would want is to set a lofty goal for myself, then not reach it and be broken hearted. A marathon is a lot of both physical and emotional work/pain, and no matter what the outcome of my actual race time is, I want to be proud of myself. So with having a range of goals, I have more than one chance to run a race I’m happy with. Don’t get me wrong, I’m shooting for Goal #1! But if for some reason the stars don’t align for me, I know I’ll come through pleased with the results and without any regrets.
How do you guys set race goals? Are you as neurotic as me?
I’ve talked about things that I’m doing in the weeks leading up to the NYC Marathon (another post about it here), it’s equal parts preparatin and to keep my sanity over the next couple weeks. I’ve done 3 marathons before (2 and 1/2 really… keep reading) and none of them have particularly gone well. Here’s a brief recap and why I’m nervous about NYC this time around:
My First Marathon – the ING NYC Marathon in November, 2007
Not really having any clue of what I was getting into, I willingly threw myself into my first marathon. I had no training buddies, no coaching, nothing other than the fact that I knew how to run and I liked it. Highschool cross country and track were the base I thought could get me through my marathon, it didn’t end up great. I finished, which was good, but I hurt every step. I had no idea what my iliotibial band was before this marathon, and for years after this marathon, but I should have, and I should have learned how to prevent it feeling like someone was knifing my hips every step from mile 7 or so on.
I finished with a time of 4:21:39. And as soon as I stopped running, this nasty little thing called the runner’s high, immediately forgot about the pain and I signed up for another marathon.
My Second Marathon – the Paris Marathon in April, 2008
This time I was going to be smarter about my training, so I signed up with Team In Training and thought it would be great to run with other people, have coaches and a plan for my training. But as life would have it, I rarely got out of work in time to make it to practices and I like doing long runs by myself. But the training was going good until a couple weeks before the marathon, my left knee really started to bother me. Again, if I had only known what a tight ITB can do to a runner, I probably would have avoided this problem once again. I went to the doctor about a week before the marathon, long story short, I spent that week with ice on my knee and very little activity. I went back hours before my flight to Paris and he told me I shouldn’t be walking on my knee, let alone running a marathon.
My plan marathon day was to run the first couple miles, I was with TNT and I wanted to be part of something I had trained so hard for. I was going to take pics, have some fun running, then jump out of the race and be a cheerleader. I should have known that that wasn’t to be the case, I’m pretty hard headed sometimes. So, once I started running, I decided I could keep running, and halfway into the race I was on the other side of Paris and would have to walk back anyway, so decided I would just keep running. Around mile 20 my slow jog became a walk, I think I cried my way through miles 23 and 24 because it hurt so bad. But I finished! A slow 5:51:54 as my time, but I finished marathon #2!
My Third Marathon – the Nike San Francisco Marathon in April, 2008
After some rest, for both my body and my ego, I decided I’d give the marathoner in me another chance. This time I set my sights on the Nike Women’s San Francisco Marathon. Again, I signed up with Team in Training and thought how fun a women’s marathon with Nike was going to be, and let’s be honest, a Tiffany’s necklace is always a great incentive. Again with the training, and the loops of harlem hill in preparation for those San Francisco hills (which, let me tell you, central park hills are nothing compared to the hills on the course). Everything was going great, I was on track with my running, I felt great and was super excited, fast forward to San Francisco… I had plans the night before the race to meet up with some friends I made when I lived a semester in Florence. They lived in San Francisco and we went to dinner, I didn’t get anything crazy, and it was a restaurant they were familiar with, no problem right? Wrong. I went to bed around 10ish and woke up a little after 11 not feeling so great. What happened next was not ideal, the food poisoning was here! I spent from 11p.m. till the moment I had to be out of the hotel, up and puking. Thankfully my assigned TNT roommate never showed up, I would have kept her up all night with my barfing. I literally was the last person out of the hotel that morning, off to the race starting line I went.
The sun wasn’t up, the streets were packed and at one point I fought my way to the side of a building and some very nice ladies moved over and let me sit down in the cramped corral. Maybe it’s wasn’t their kindness as much as the fact that I looked like I may barf on them any second. Either way, I sat on my butt taking deep breathes till it was go time. Off we went. I felt ok for the first couple miles, the stubborn me again, thought I could do this. I made a decision along the way that finishing the 26.2 was not attainable, but made up my mind to make it to that 13.1 mark. Seriously dehydrated (I couldn’t even keep water down), I struggled my way along and as soon as I crossed that finish line and got my little blue box, I made a dash for the side to puke once again. As I was carried to the bus that would shuttle me back to my hotel, I was happy, I at least made it as far as I did. So when asked how many marathons I’ve done, I usually say three, even though I’ve only finished two, this 13.1 was harder than any 26.2 I could imagine. My official time was 2:34:11
So that’s a little recap of my marathon history and why I’m overly stressing and driving my husband nuts about this upcoming race. I know I’m way more ready for this year than I ever have been, I’ve put in the training and I’ve learned so much along the way, but the marathon and I have had a bad relationship, here’s hoping we get along this year!
The NYC Marathon is getting surprisingly close and I’m not feeling nearly as ready for it as I should. I feel it’s part of the training process, however, to feel behind, to feel like life gets in the way, to feel like you spend too many hours at work, or you have a couple too many cocktails at the few social functions you allow yourself to attend. So, with that being said, the 18 Mile Tune-Up is a necessity in my marathon training! I’ve done NYC once before, and ran it then as well. It is a bench mark in my preparation that, once I’ve signed up for it, I am committed too. No skipping it, no excuses to cut my run short, no stopping to take a long bathroom break in the middle… it’s an 18 mile run, without stopping, without being lazy, and no matter how much I regret that I signed up for it before the starting clock starts, I’m always super happy I did as soon as I cross that finish line.
The day was perfect, the sun was out, it was a cool beginning of fall day. It literally could not have been a more perfect day for a run. I also had the great idea to finally invest in a gps watch and it was my first time using it (although I hadn’t quite figured out all the functions on it yet). I went with the new TomTom Runner and nailed my pace! Ideally I’d like to run around 8 min miles in the marathon and managed to nail 7:55 min/miles on my run.
The race kicked off at 7:00 am, but with long lines in both the baggage check and bathrooms, people were still crossing the start 7:15 and after. I sadly had misplaced my husband (this is a whole other story I’m sure he’d love to tell) and started late, thinking he had already gone. I got a missed random phone call (I run with my phone, because how else can I listen to spotify and take photos) and returned it to talk to a woman who said my man was looking for me, I had just started, literally 3 steps over the go mark, and told her so. She started yelling to him, “go go, she just started”. My first 3 or 4 miles were a little slower than I would have preferred, thinking he would have caught up to me, but not so much that I was off my pace.
The first loop (6 miles) went by fast, it’s amazing how the company of thousands of other runners going along with you make it seem so much more fun and like running 18 miles is a normal Saturday morning. The second loop (miles 6-12) was still good, things start to ache a bit, but that’s what happens when you run miles after miles for months after months. The third lap (miles 12-18) got tough on the Harlem hill, but looping around the bottom of the park, I still had some strength in my legs to finish strong on the last 3 miles. So all in all, I’m feeling good about my training and good about tackling the 26.2 in less than 2 months!
I’m a scatter brain, it’s true… I think I have adult ADD sometimes, or just a really short attention span. With that being said, I also am super dedicated to something if I decide to do it. So for my Marathon Training, which I usually just haphazardly go for runs when I can, when I feel like it, and do what I want, that I’d follow a training schedule for the last 2 months I’ve got left.
I’ve just finished my first Olympic Triathlon, so I’m not starting my training from scratch 2 months out from the NYC Marathon, but now I figure I better start to focus on specifics and get me butt in awesome running shape!
Here are the two running plans from Nike that I’m going to use as my main guides:
First, their Lead from the Front plan: NYC Marathon – Lead from the Front Nike training schedule (full schedule)
And the PR plan: NYC Marathon – Set a new PR training schedule (full schedule)
This will be my first time trying to use a training schedule (other than my own personal running plan) to actually train. Anyone have recommendations other than this? Favorites? What do you guys use?