Ok, this may get long…so bear with me
The 2013 ING New York City Marathon was amazing. I don’t know how words can do it justice but I will try to describe my day!
First, I want to thank everyone who wished my mom and me well, commented or tweeted with advice and support, and to those who were at the race as spectators, especially my family and friends. We couldn’t have done it without your support, especially me since I was freaking out about my whole shin problem…
So where to begin…
We woke up at 6 am because luckily we didn’t have to get on a ferry until 8:30 am (though this actually would turn out to not be so lucky). I was so nervous. I was nervous about not having run over 5 miles in the last 2 weeks, I was nervous about the wind…I was really scared it wouldn’t be my day. But having a bright, fun outfit did make me feel better
We got ready and drove into the city. We waited for the 8:30 Staten Island Ferry, though in hindsight, we should have just gotten on the 8:15 one that was there right when we walked in. I didn’t know they wouldn’t be checking your bib to see your boarding time.
Anyway, we got on the ferry around 8:40, and I attempted to eat my breakfast. I had a piece of toast and 1 egg before leaving the house, then had oatmeal with PB, honey and a banana/1 more egg on the ferry. I was so nervous it was honestly hard for me to get this down!
Once we got off, it was a long wait to get on the buses to the start village. It took probably 30 minutes to get on a bus, at which point we had to stand because there were no seats. Now I was worried about my feet/shins from standing so long. The bus ride took an additional 30 minutes. This was probably the most annoying part of the day.
We finally got to the starting area at 10, and needed to be in our corrals by 10:40. We sat down in the starting area and started putting on socks, numbers, taking our jackets/sweats off etc. and the next thing I know it is 10:30!!! We had 10 minutes to get our bags to the UPS trucks and go to the bathroom, then run to our corral. Now I was really cursing myself for not signing up for the 8 am ferry…why did the man at the expo say we’d have plenty of time?!
The UPS truck literally started pulling away and saw my mom running after him so he took our bags. We ran to the porta-potty, then started running to our corral. We looked behind us and we were actually the last runners going in lol. Oops!
Whatever, once we got there it was fine. We relaxed and made the walk to the base of the Verrazano Bridge. We actually got there when they were singing the national anthem, and were quickly trying to set our watches, put phones away, make our fuel belts comfortable etc, last minute. Then the cannon went off! I had to pull to the side before crossing the starting mat because I was having issues with my Garmin…but after a few seconds we were finally off!!!
Miles 1-2: Like they always say, you really don’t feel the incline of the Verrazano Bridge. It’s a mile uphill but you’re too busy feeling excited! Mile 2 is all downhill so you have to make sure to rein yourself in. Once you get to the other side, you start hearing the crowds and bands and know that your journey is about to begin.
Miles 3-6: Last time I ran, I wasn’t a big fan of the Brooklyn portion of the race, because it seems never ending (you run about 13 miles in Brooklyn), but this year I loved it! As soon as we got off the bridge, there was a marching band playing and people screaming your name. Mile 3-6 few by and we were averaging about a 10:30 pace. I got my first comment about the back of my shirt A girl came up to me and said, “We’re following the leader!”
Miles 7-10: Seriously, the crowd support in Brooklyn was phenomenal. It felt like everyone was screaming out “PATTY!! TINA!!” to us and we loved it. I high-fived people, waved and fist pumped…it was great. Our pace had dropped to 10:35 but I was okay with it. I wanted to say in the easy zone until after mile 15. We met up with my family and Dan around mile 7.5. Dan surprised me with a sign that said, “Run Like This Wind.” We took a quick pic and then continued on our way.
Miles 11-13: There was a good thing and bad thing about being around mile 10. The good thing was, we ran this portion of the course twice in practice (mile 10-finish), so we were finally in familiar territory on Bedford Ave. The bad thing was it was pretty narrow and we were so crowded at one point I was forced to stop and walk to try to get around runners! I know there were 50K runners this year but this was not fun. I was glad once we got closer to the Pulaski Bridge because it opened up. The Pulaski Bridge is at mile 13, and I remember this being challenging in 2011, but this year we cruised right on over it. I was so happy to be in Queens!
Miles 14-15: I don’t remember much of running through Queens because I was mentally preparing myself for the Queensboro Bridge. Around mile 14.5, we saw my family and Dan again, yay! Though this threw me off here…my dad was supposed to hand off some GUs to me, but I forgot! So I waved, kept running, then remembered and sprinted back to grab them. Thankfully my mom remembered, but I think this is where my pace got all wacky, because once we got onto the bridge, my breathing and rhythm were off. The bridge wasn’t bad at all, and once again I was happy we had practiced it in training. We were still feeling strong!
Miles 16-20: People talk about the crowds on First Ave. but I definitely prefer Brooklyn. The road here is really wide so it doesn’t feel as if you’re running through a tunnel of people like on Fourth Ave. But don’t get me wrong, there are still a ton of people. We were feeling good though our pace had dropped to around 10:45 after the bridge. Around mile 18 I told my mom we could probably pick it up a bit. I was just looking at the street signs, counting them down (or up?) until we could get to 126th and cross into the Bronx. I got another comment here about the back of my shirt -this woman came up to me and said, we are following you because you’re such a nice girl! Then wished me luck…put a smile on my face.
Mile 20-22: We crossed into the Bronx and finally got to mile 20! I vividly remembered in 2011 how much I was struggling here. It felt so good to be feeling strong and going steady. I asked my mom how she felt, and she was fine too, so we tried to speed up a tiny bit, and even though it felt like we did, according to splits, we actually stayed the same haha. After mile 22 we saw my family and Dan again! I told my mom I couldn’t stop for a pic or anything because if I did it would be too hard to start again. We just waved and gave them a thumbs up.
Mile 23: Uh oh…the pain has set in. Here, my hip flexors started feeling really weak. It was such a weird feeling. It was weak, or tight, I don’t know but I felt like if I ran faster, my legs would give out. I slowed down to what felt like a crawl, but according to the splits, it was only a 10:59 pace at this point. I felt guilty for holding my mom back yet again, because she was totally fine, just like in 2011, but she stuck with me.
I think this is where the hill on 5th Ave starts? It’s almost a mile uphill, and in practice I remember thinking, OMG this hill will be killer on race day! Actually, I was so thankful for the hill. I wanted a hill at this point because I figured it would take pressure off my hip flexors and allow me to use different muscles. It kinda did…
Mile 24: We’re in Central Park! This is the one and only place we stopped the whole race! I stopped to stretch my hips for 30 seconds then we continued…albeit slow. I started to play a game where I’d speed up from light pole to light pole and slow down in between. Right before miles 25, I pulled over to stretch real quick again and spectators started chanting PATTY! PATTY! PATTY! Once I got up to run, they cheered so loud and a woman put some grapes in my hand. I smiled and went on my way. PS-why is it taking so long to get to mile 25 at this point?!
Mile 25: Ok, the last mile. I CAN DO THIS. I told my mom, Let’s go, and we sped up. I kept repeating to myself, “Ignore the pain. Pain is temporary. You want to finish by 4:50.” I knew 4:45 was out of reach but I really wanted 4:50. I looked at my Garmin and it said we were going around 10:45/mile (as opposed to the almost 11:30 I was doing at mile 24).
We ran up Central Park South which seemed neverending, but I knew my family and Dan were waiting at Columbus Circle to see us one last time. We were actually passing a bunch of people here which felt great! In 2011, I was walking this part, I was dead. This time I still had all the energy in the world and was waving to people who were screaming my name. We saw my family and I gave them the thumbs up and a big smile, and kept running.
Mile 26 (!!!!!!): We saw the sign and it felt surreal. My mom was like we finally made it! I said ok let’s pretend this is a track workout and speed it up! We went as fast as we could (after 26 miles), and were all smiles. Someone yelled, only 400 yards to go, you got this!!! We threw our hands up in the air and crossed the finish line: 4:50:49. A 33 minute PR!!!
We hugged and were so happy. I was cherishing this moment, because the last time I crossed this finish line, I immediately ran to a bush and threw up, and then ended up in the medical tent. Seriously, this race was a far cry from 2011…look at this picture that says it all…
Now, I honestly felt like we had just done a long training run. My energy levels never waned. Our fueling was spot on…and I’m glad I discovered S!Caps which helped regulate my electrolytes and salt…especially since my face was covered in dry salt at the end!
We picked up our medals and heat sheets, and started walking to the UPS trucks. I had to sit on the curb for a little to stretch because my legs got so stiff, I couldn’t bend my right knee. I also stopped and sat in the truck for a bit, though it was hard to get back up…
We got out on West 88th, and my family was on West 63rd, so there was NO WAY I was walking that far. We hopped on the subway (well, slowly walked down the stairs with a bunch of other runners lol) and finally met up with them around 2 hours after finishing. This part of the race sucks too but it is what is is. I’ve read people say that they will never run NYC again because of the long march after the finish but come on people, there are 50K runners, NYRR does what they can!
We finally met up with my family, Dan and my best friend Nicole
I couldn’t walk Sunday night (actually almost cried trying to go up the stairs, not gonna lie), or Monday…but I am finally back to normal now! My dad said, “Hey you did this to yourself,” and I would do it all over again!
Here are our splits, in case you’re curious. I’d say we stayed pretty steady the whole race until around mile 23-24 when my hips got all weird. I’m really proud of our pacing!
My Garmin was pretty spot on too…so glad I invested in one finally:
Although our A goal was 4:30, we are so happy with our performance. I knew going in that 4:30 may not be feasible due to the time off I had to take because of my shin. Our B goal was 4:45, and our C goal was anything under 5…so we’re pretty happy!
It was truly an amazing day. We had a perfect race…PRed, and the spectators made us feel so special. I have been thinking about the whole day since Sunday, and replaying it in my head. I can’t believe it is over! I definitely have the post-marathon blues, but I’m already thinking about what spring races to do I wish I could complete 9+1 for 2014 NYCM, but it’s too late. Oh well, we’ll be coming back in 2015, New York!
Did you run NYCM? Is it on your bucket list? What’s the best race that you have ever had?
Read my 2011 NYC Marathon Recap here.
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