Well it’s about time, right?
Coming back home is always such a whirlwind and there are way too many things going on in our everyday life at the moment, so this recap business will be the perfect distraction.
I did what the pros tell you to do and after we made our rounds at the expo I set out all my race goodies to be ready for the morning.
NYC race essentials:
Mizuno Wave Sayonara 2 shoes, Pro Compression socks, Mizuno Daria shorts, Mizuno Inspire Singlet Tank, Handful bra, Halo Headband, Polar RC3 GPS, Zelle arm sleeves, my favorite running sunglasses, Auria all-weather musicbelt, GU gels, Vega Sport gel, Vega recovery accelerator and hand warmers.
I also had some warm throw away clothes to wear until I was ready to take them off.
I had my pre race eats all ready too.
Oh hey, getting ready in the hotel bathroom at 5:00 am. Always a good time.
I made my way by myself out to find a cab to the library to catch a bus to the start line.
This was my last picture of actually being warm before braving the cold weather and wind for over seven hours.
I met a cute couple from Mexico in the lobby and we decided to share a cab.
It didn’t seem too cold or windy while we waited in line for the buses, but we were getting high wind advisory emails and my friend Reese was texting me telling me that it was super windy where she was.
The shuttle system was very efficient and they had us loaded up and on our way rather quickly.
It was a pretty long ride to the start. I think it took about an hour.
There were lots of people once we got dropped off and we just followed the crowds. Oh and by “we” I mean my new friends I made on the bus ride. They were just the best. Debbi who has run about a bazillion marathons and qualified for Boston with the very first marathon she ever ran and Rosanna who was running her second ever marathon.
There were like five different starting villages based on the color of the corral you were assigned. Let me tell you friends, it was NOT easy to find my starting village. All I wanted was to find a place to sit and try to get warm and about four cups of coffee. Ha.
I ran into my San Diego buddy Lana in search of the blue village.
Right after that it was time to whip out the hand warmers and get a free Dunkin Donuts beanie they were handing out.
After about another 20 or so minutes of walking and asking people where to go, I found the blue starting village and more importantly coffee.
I do have to say though that there were a lot of volunteers with signs standing around ready to help direct people where to go.
After being told not once, but twice, I couldn’t sit down where I tried to find a spot because people were saving spots for their friends, I finally found a spot on the grass to sit and eat my potato goodness.
I sat by myself for awhile without my phone on because I didn’t want the battery to die. IT was kind of weird and humbling.
After awhile I looked over and saw these two cute people right beside me.
Then I noticed they were eating sweet potatoes out of Ziploc baggies. Obviously I had to start chatting with them.
They were New York locals and did up the sweet potato thing with chicken. I told them about the magical NuttZo and that they must find it. Speaking of, to my new friends, if you haven’t found it yet and you happen to be reading this, email me because I want to send you some.
You already saw this, but hey, I’m always one to keep it classy at the starting corrals.
Not to make things sound worse than they were, but it was miserably cold out there. I mean, I felt the wind chill INSIDE the port a potty. No joke.
I even grabbed an extra beanie to try to keep my face warm.
After a lot of standing around and waiting we made our way to the start line.
(Random, but just noticed the guy standing by me for this picture has good taste is shoes. ha ha.)
To put things into perspective, from the time the bus dropped us off to the time we actually got to the start line was about 2 hours and 45 minutes. It was a LONG time to be out there in the cold just waiting.
It was right about here that I put everything into perspective and changed my goals for the race. Even though I was feeling good, I already could not feel my fingers and my feet were numb. I decided to just do whatever I could to not cramp and survive.
The horn sounded and we were off. There wasn’t too much time to think about things. A lot of people had already ditched their clothes, but there was no way any layers of mine were coming off.
Oh the wind on the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. I can’t even explain. It was brutal. You could tell it was bad because you saw the runners in front of you getting thrown to the side by it.
Oh look, I did manage the shortest video ever so you cold feel like you were running it with me.
My first of four stops was right after the video. I turned my phone off and put it away because I didn’t want to risk losing power and having the battery die.
So yeah, my marathon playlist I had made and my new special earphones I had just purchased at the expo because I forgot mine were not even put to use. Actually, wait, that’s not entirely true, I still ran with one earphone in, there just wasn’t anything coming out of it. It was all just for show. Ha ha.
I had planned on turning my phone on the last few miles because I knew I would need some music, but when the time came I was still worried about the battery life of the phone so I just left it off safely in my Musicbelt. Oh and I actually lost one of my earphone pieces when I was hit by a gust of wind around mile 20 or so and it was flown from where it was tucked in my shirt. I was not happy about that. Yes, I’ll be begging for a replacement part. That is so something that would happen to me. Ugh.
Notes and thoughts along the race course:
The course was relatively flat. There weren’t hills, but there were definitely some spots where huge gusts of wind would almost knock me over.
It was cold and windy the entire time. This was actually the first race ever that I would get excited when the sun was on me for a bit.
The crowd support along the way was amazing. It reminded me a lot of Boston. People just lining the streets cheering loudly. You could not help but smile and wave back.
It was really cool running through the five boroughs. I mean, I got to see a lot of New York. It was so surreal.
The course was crowded pretty much the whole time. I felt like I was always struggling to find a good spot where I wasn’t too close to someone and could keep a decent pace. There was a lot of weaving in and out and hugging the side for a bit, etc. I’m not used to running races with that many people by my side.
The first three miles went by so fast. I didn’t see any signs or markers until mile three. I don’t think there were any set out because of the high winds, so when all of a sudden the first marker I saw was mile three it was exciting.
My throwaway clothes stayed on for the first seven miles. When I finally started warming up, it was a big decision as to what piece of clothing I was going to ditch first. I decided on the pants since they would take the most effort.
At mile 6 I stopped to take off my pants. My attempt to get rip them off quickly while standing failed, so I ended up having to sit on the dirty street to try to pull them off. A nice police officer just happen to be standing there asked if I needed some help. I told him I had it, but he helped anyway. What a nice guy. I was back upright and on my way shortly afterwards.
The jacket stayed on for a few more miles. I kept moving the zipper up and down though. Sometimes I needed a little air and to breath, then I would get cold and have to zip back up again. Ha. It finally came off around mile 8 or 9.
Other really awesome things along the way were just all the runners out there. I love people watching while running races. There were blind runners being led by others, tons of runners who were running for charities, challenged athletes and quite a few people named “Sam” that I randomly was running by at some point because I kept hearing people cheer for Sam as I ran by. Ha.
Everyone seemed to be running with a smile. How can you not though while running the biggest marathon in the country, right?
It was truly amazing just running side by side with over 50,000 runners. I never would have dreamed that I would have that opportunity.
I knew a lot of people who were spectating along the course, but I didn’t see any of them as I passed. There were just so many people everywhere.
I did get passed by both the cute Michelle (she got a PR by the way) and the cute Carlton from Arizona. I got a quick chance to chat with both of them out there before they passed me up. Yeah, lovely. Ha.
Despite the whole cold and wind factors, I felt really great up until mile 20. I had a GU at mile 9 and then a Vega Sport gel at mile 17. By mile 20 I kind of fell apart. We hit an area where the wind had picked up again and it was hard to run forward. I got tired fast. Physically and mentally I just felt like everything caught up with me. I was actually surprised it didn’t happen sooner since I know I don’t handle harsh environmental factors that well, but my adrenaline had kicked it a lot for the first half of the race.
I fought really hard for the last few miles. I just had to keep my legs moving. Slower, yes, but just keep moving forward. Music would have been a really nice addition, but I just kept going without.
I didn’t even look at my GPS the entire race. It was on the wrong setting and was only showing me my heart rate and my pace. I didn’t feel like messing with it, so just kept it on for show like the one earphone. Ha.
I knew when the 3:30 pace group passed me at the end that I would probably be somewhere around that finishing time.
The last few miles were hard, but they were also my favorite. Making my way towards Central Park was just awesome. Sure, I really wish I would’ve felt better, but it finally wasn’t too windy and I knew the end was close.
I remember saying to myself around mile 21 that I only had 5 more miles and around 40 more minutes to live out this dream and then I would be celebrating with my best friend in New York. That sure gave me some extra motivation. I like to picture myself crossing the finish line too once I get close. I think it was actually Deena Kastor who told me to do that.
After a couple miles in Central Park, which just happen to be the only time I’ve ever been there, I crossed that finish line.
Just like the entire race course, it was crowded.
I lost it a little bit when the nice man put my medal on for me. I got all choked up and couldn’t even get out my “thank you” without cracking.
I had just finished the TCS New York City Marathon.
In our runner information sheet they told us that once we finish we would have to walk at least another half mile or so to exit the park. They also told us depending on our baggage option (baggage or no baggage) it would take from 45-90 minutes to actually exit after crossing the finish line.
That was a long walk out of Central Park.
At the end of the walk, those of us that chose the “no baggage” option got these really cool warm ponchos. I ran into my sweet friend Pam right then too as we were exciting.
Turns out I had walked right past my main man, but after just a few phone calls (thank goodness my phone still had battery life) we connected.
Yep, this guy. My best friend, my hero, my partner in crime that I just can’t thank enough for putting up with me and all this racing and running business. He was right there for me at the end. Races where he’s at the finish line are my favorite.
Go figure, he said he got shin splints again from the long walk from the hotel, but it took one for the team. Ha ha.
I was so desperate to get back to the hotel and out of the cold that we got suckered into the most expensive and dangerous petty cab ride of our lives.
We made it back to the hotel though just in time to catch these two on the street.
In our quick chat, Deena told me that she had gotten 8 minutes less than her goal time for the race.
The environmental conditions were tough on everyone. The news said it was the slowest New York City Marathon since 1984. Pretty crazy.
Oh and Kara Goucher, man was I routing for her as well as Deena. She struggled a bit out there too and admits to hitting the wall for the first time in her career. This video of her thoughts after the race brings tears to my eyes.
Oh and we just happen to find the slowest Starbucks ever before actually going back to the room to thaw out.
Hot Starbucks after a marathon. Just brilliant.
Finally getting back to the warm hotel room after over 8 hours.
Even more brilliant.
My official finish time was 3:31:44.
It was about 10 minutes slower than I was hoping for, but I’m just so thankful for the opportunity. I still can’t believe I got to run the TCS New York City Marathon. I mean, who the heck gets to do that?
I am so blessed.
This was such an amazing experience. I’m still trying to wrap my head around it all.
Thank you to CocoaVia for sponsoring the trip and making this the experience of a lifetime.