12-12-2016

2016 New York City Marathon Race Recap

It’s here – it’s finally here!!

Took my long enough but I really wanted to finish my recap video (which will be below) before I wrote this. It’s been over a month since my mom and I ran the New York City Marathon, but I still feel a runner’s high from that day.

You’ll be able to take the journey with us in the video, beginning with the Staten Island Ferry ride and ending at the finish line.  I have so many thoughts about this race – I don’t even know where to start. This post might get a little jumbled!

Here’s me 2011 recap and my 2013 recap.

Leading Up To Race Day

It was weird. I expected to be nervous but didn’t really feel anything. I wasn’t sure if that was a good or bad thing. I’m always nervous before big races, but this time I felt pretty at ease. I think I was the most mentally and physically prepared I’ve ever been, so that helped. 

About 2 weeks before I did get a bout of nervousness, but in order to get past that, I read through my training logs from this cycle and those from 2013 and realized I was in pretty good shape. Also, my shin pain had gone away for the most part thanks to physical therapy and custom orthotics. I’ve never been able to train this consistently AND be pain free.

I went on a shakeout run the day before and felt great. I felt ready.

The Expo

We headed to the expo with my mom’s friend and my sister. My mom’s friend has never done a half marathon or marathon, so this experience was all new to her. She loved it and is thinking about doing her 9+1 next year to get into NYC Marathon…another one on the marathon team! :)

I love race expos and know I will want to walk around and explore, so we always try to go on the first day. We picked up our numbers and then it got real. My sister filmed this part for my NYC Marathon Expo vlog (below) and said, “Wow that even made me nervous!”

New York City Marathon Expo

New York City Marathon Expo

We walked around and I sat in on the course strategy session. Even though this was my third time running it, it helped to get a refresher on the course and what to expect. PS – totally forgot about that long climb at mile 23ish. That killed me.

Race Day

We were running the race with one of my mom’s friends. This was her first marathon so she was a bit nervous and didn’t know what to expect. I told her to just take it easy in the first few miles, but she could leave us at any point if she wanted to (we split up with her around the half way point).

We opted to take the Staten Island Ferry although I’m not sure I will do this again in the future. We also took the ferry in 2013. I don’t mind the process of getting to the city and on the ferry; the problem comes once you get off the ferry and have to wait to get on the busses. That part probably took 45-60 minutes itself and my feet were starting to get tired which made me nervous. Then you get on the bus and it takes you to the starting area, but there was a ton of traffic so that also ends up taking 30-40 minutes. I overheard a few people saying they missed their wave.

In 2013, NYRR placed us on the 7:45 ferry and ensured we’d make it on time for the 10:55 wave. Well, we barely did and legit were the LAST ones running to the start corral. So this year we got on the 7:30 ferry and although we made it on time, we were still a bit rushed.

The starting area is very well organized though with plenty of port-a-potties. We picked a spot to get our numbers on and do last minute things. We headed to the corral at 10:45 and there were also bathrooms in the corral which was good because I always need to pee RIGHT before I run :-)

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Ok let’s get into the race itself!

Miles 1-8

We started on the Verrazano Bridge which is the steepest and longest hill of the whole race, but as everyone always says, you barely feel it because you’re so amped up.

Mile 1 was slow, like around 12 min/mile pace, which was fine with me. By mile 3 we were in the 10:45-10:50 range that I wanted to be in.

Time out, I forgot to mention I forgot my freaking watch and my mom’s didn’t work because the memory was full. So we mainly ran by feel. I turned on RunKeeper for a mile just to see what our average pace was, and then turned it on later in the race when I split up with my mom. We also meant to join a pace group but forgot that as well on race day. Moral of the story, write a to-do list or something because you will be all over the place on race morning.

Anyway, so we were cruising along in Brooklyn and knew we’d see my family (dad, brother, sister) at their first stop at mile 6.5ish. I took my GenUCAN around mile 3, and that would last me for 2 hours.

The Brooklyn crowds are always awesome. Everyone is screaming your name (if you have your name on your shirt) and high-fiving…it’s easy to get lost in the noise and speed up but don’t! Maintain control here.

We saw my family at mile 6.5 and I always feel bad because we stop for like 5 seconds to say hi and then run off. But they have been to each of our NYC Marathon’s and are pros by now at navigating the course and cheering us on :)

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My dad, sister and brother around mile 6

We kept trucking along and my mom filmed at times with her GoPro (where a lot of footage from my video came from). In 2013 my family went to mile 14 next, but this time they made another stop in between at mile 8ish. Around mile 8 is also an awesome spectator scene. It’s full of crowds and music. 

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Selfie with my dad (and a stranger filming me lol)

I was feeling awesome but I could tell my mom was not herself. In previous races she was always talking to me, smiling, filming, running ahead of me to take pics, and this time she was just silently running next to me. I didn’t want to say anything and get in her head, so I tried to be motivating with things like, “Ok we got this, almost at half way. We are at a good, steady pace.”

I also said I would be the one to take more pics this time to let her just run her race, so I ran ahead and took some pics.

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Miles 9-16

Remember in my short recap of NYC Marathon how I said I felt the best I’ve ever felt? Around miles 9-10, my body felt like it could start speeding up, but I held back. I  was too afraid and wanted to conserve energy. I think if I had just done what my body felt like doing, I could have PR-ed. More on that later.

Around mile 10 I said to my mom, ok after the halfway point we will speed up a tiny bit. Again, once we hit 13.1, I was afraid, and decided I would wait until after Queensboro bridger (mile 15-16).

Why is mile 13 (and halfway marker) on a bridge?? This was around when my mom stopped to walk for a bit. She said her knee was hurting, and that she was hungry. She also was using GenUCAN, but I think she hadn’t fueled enough in the week prior. We walked for probably 30 seconds then kept going. I said, ok we will go easy until after the bridge, then it’s time to turn it on.

The Queensboro Bridge, for me, is the toughest part of the race. Mentally, I was preparing myself for this almost mile-long incline. I felt like everything after that would be a piece of cake…well as much as it can be in a marathon.

We got on the bridge, and I was still feeling good. Like I’ve said before, the best I’ve ever felt, and best I’ve felt at this point in the race. In 2013, this was about where I was getting close to hitting the wall. This year, I was running up this bridge not even feeling like I was working that hard.

However, this was where my mom and I slowly started to split. I had to stop and walk a few times to wait for her to catch up to me. Some of my friends have asked why we don’t just run our own races…yeah, we could, but I love running and experiencing the race with her, especially the finish. So I stopped to walk and wait, and tried to give her a pep talk.

We knew we would be seeing my family again just off the bridge, a little past mile 16.

In the video, you’ll hear me say to my sister, “I feel good, I gotta go!” and she looks into the camera and says, “she feels good…for now…” lol. 

Miles 17-20

At this point in the race, I was like wow less than 10 miles to go! When you’re regularly doing 8-10 mile weekday training runs PLUS your weekend long runs, having 8-9 miles left in the race feels totally doable. I was having fun…I’ve never felt like this! It was amazing. In my past 3 marathons before this, these miles were a struggle, mentally and physically. Now I was running as if I had just started a run and had to run 8-9 miles.

Around mile 18, the crowds start to thin a bit. And then your mind starts playing tricks on you. You start to feel the fatigue. You start to think “Uh oh I’m getting tired…” So I put in headphones and put on the marathon playlist I made.

At this point, my mom was slowing down. I stopped again a few times to walk while I wait for her. She kept saying just go (she said this around mile 15) and I insisted no.

At mile 20 she said just go without me it’s fine. I said, yeah but what about the finish?!? She said we’ll meet after the finish line, it’s fine. I asked her if she was sure and she said yes. So at mile 20 we split up, and I felt so guilty about it for the next few miles. I called my dad to let him know. I kept thinking what if something happens to her and I left her?? Thankfully, nothing did.

It’s funny because my friend who was tracking me said she saw a spike from mile 20-21 and was wondering if there as a glitch in the app lol. I went from an 11:30-12/mile because I was with my mom, to 9:50-10:00/mile. 

I saw my family again at mile 22 and my dad yelled, “Only 4 more miles!!” I was like yeah!!

Miles 21-25

I maintained that pace for miles 21-22…and then the dreaded incline at mile 23. It doesn’t look like much, but I swear this incline is NEVER ENDING. I tried to keep my pace but stopped to walk twice and catch my breath. My music was what was helping me push myself at that point. If you need motivation in a race, put Work B*tch by Britney Spears on your playlist ;)

I turned into Central Park and thought to myself, ok NOW I have to turn it on. And I tried, as much as you can, at mile 24 of a marathon lol.

There are some undulating hills, and I tried using the downhills to my advantage. I remember I kept thinking, “WHEN are we getting out of Central Park??!”

Around mile 25 you finally get out of the park and onto Central Park South. This was also where my playlist ended but I wanted to take in the finish line crowds anyway. You run on Central Park South and then turn at Columbus Circle before entering the park. I didn’t see my family at this point because I had split up with my mom and they waited at the last checkpoint for her. 

I tried to pass as many people as I could, or hold on to those who were passing me. I tried to stick to them as long as I could (not very long).

Then you start seeing signs like 800 meters to go…

I was like ok TWO laps on the track that is easy, let’s do it!

Finish Line – Mile 26.2

You turn back into the park and then you see mile marker 26. I couldn’t believe it! I had 0.2 left. I thought, that is less than a lap on a track. Pretend this is a track workout and run 1 lap as fast as you can.

Well, I could barely speed up but it’s the thought that counts :)

I saw the sign that said 200 meters to go and really tried to kick it in.

I raised my arms, and crossed that finish line.

And it was bittersweet…because I was alone and had no one to celebrate with. 

I teared up and couldn’t believe it. I just felt SO good and had the best race ever.

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My finish time won’t reflect that (it was 4:56), but my body felt great, my energy levels were stable throughout, I had no shin pain…like I said, I couldn’t believe it. This was the first time I’ve teared up crossing a finish line. It was an emotional moment.

I started shuffling and stretching while I waited for my mom. She came in about 15 minutes after me. We hugged and got our medals and then it was time to make our way out of the park (another half mile UGH) and to see our family at our meeting spot, which is always the West Side YMCA.

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At this point I could barely walk right (and we had to go down subway stairs…went down the stairs backwards lol), but other than that was feeling good. 

Ok, enough of my writing, do you want to see the course and race for yourself? Here’s my race video!

Overall Thoughts:

  • I really liked Jason Karp’s Running a Marathon For Dummies plan. I felt super prepared for this race mentally and physically.
  • I need to figure out how to pace myself and “race” a marathon. I felt like this was too “easy” (whatever that means after running 26.2) but I’m always scared to push the pace and end up bonking.
  • This is still my all-time favorite marathon. Chicago was cool too but I just don’t think anything will compare to NYC Marathon.
  • I’m still on a runner’s high like I said – I have never felt so good in a race. Now after writing this I’m super pumped up to train for NYC Half!
  • Thank you for all your comments, well-wishes, etc. and thank you to ALL spectators that come support runners at the NYC Marathon/any marathon/any race! You have no idea how much that helps, even if you’re a total stranger to me.

Well that was long! :) Until next time NYC Marathon…perhaps 2018?

Did you run the New York City Marathon this year/in the past? What are your favorite parts of the course?

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11-03-2014

Philly Half Marathon Training Week 13 + NYC Marathon!

Can’t believe I’ve been training consistently for 13 weeks now. I’d say that I’ve only missed a handful of runs and have generally been feeling good minus my shin issues recently. It’s weird to write that I’m training for a half and it’s been 13 weeks, but as I’ve said, I’m mainly training to be consistent, nail a 5K PR by December, and hopefully feel strong in this half marathon! :) I plan on taking a week or so off after the race then getting right back into it. My main goal is to get faster over the next few months and have a strong fall marathon in 2015…we’ll see…

Anyway, here’s last week’s training:

Monday: Off

Tuesday: Went to a local park with all intentions of running 4 miles but only ended up doing 2. Why? Because my shins were hurting with every step. I knew I had to do 11 miles on Wednesday so I decided to just call it a day at 2 and spend more time stretching. Sigh.

Wednesday: 11 miles! My mom felt fine as always, but I struggled for the first 5 or so miles. My shins hurt a little but it was mainly a mental struggle. Ever have those days where you just feel sluggish and like you won’t be able to finish? That was me. But at mile 5 I told myself to snap out of it because I HAD to finish regardless. Once I hit mile 6 I was feeling good and then felt like we were just cruising along until we hit mile 11. I’d say it was a pretty good run! We finished in 1:54, with average pace of 10:22.

Thursday: Easy 3 mile recovery run. 

Friday: Track workout time! Except this time we decided to go to our local park (and cross country course) to do 5x1K repeats. I wanted to try running it on a different terrain since races are never on a flat, nicely marked course like a track. It was weird to not know my exact pace like I would on a track (I like to glance at my watch every 200 meters to see how I’m doing), but overall it went well. We did a 2 mile warm up, then the goal was 6:33 per 1K (8:45 pace). You’ll be able to tell by my splits which part of the course was a bit easier ;) Splits where: 6:23, 6:27, 6:09, 6:27, 6:13. Felt really good…I think I’m a fan of 1K repeats! Here’s a picture my mom took on our cooldown:
 

 

A photo posted by pattyrivas13 (@pattyrivas13) on


Saturday: There was a Rutgers football game (though it was a pretty bad loss), and I meant to wake up early but come on…we all know I’m not a morning person AND that meant I’d have to be up at like 5:30 AM. So instead I just sucked it up and ran when I got home around 7. I was soaked and tired from the rain but you gotta do what you gotta do! Ended up just doing an easy 3 miles.

Sunday: OFF DAY TO WATCH THE NYC MARATHON!!!

I can’t tell you how much fun it was to cheer on runners. It was my first time being a spectator as opposed to running and I loved it. Though after walking around Central Park going from different places, I give mad props to all you spectators and what you do for your runners. It’s exhausting!

We were right before the mile 25 marker and I loved seeing people smile at me or give me a thumbs up when I was yelling their names. I got lots of compliments on my sign too (and one lady asked for a picture of it) that my sister made me last year for the marathon:

nyc marathon

We were at the finish to see all the elites finish, then walked over to mile 25 after getting lunch. I was really inspired by all the elite athletes! I feel bad for Kara because she didn’t have the race she wanted, but I’m sure so many of us runners can relate to that. It sucks training for something for months and then not having it go the way you’d like. But I believe she’ll have a great comeback…I mean look at Meb! He finished 23rd last year and then ended up winning the Boston Marathon in 2014…and he’s 38. He is seriously awesome.

It was a great day and I’m excited to go back to NYC (hopefully) in 2016 and run it for the 3rd time. In the meantime I have to figure out what fall marathon to do in 2015. Chicago? Marine Corps? Help!!

Oh and a huge congratulations to all the finishers! You all braved some serious conditions for 26.2 miles…way to crush it!

Did you watch the NYC Marathon yesterday? What were your thoughts?

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10-30-2014

My Marathon Training Must-Haves

If you’ve run a marathon, you certainly have your own “must-haves.” So I wanted to share mine with you. It’s funny how every runner is different. Some people swear by GU and others swear by ShotBloks. I personally am a GU Vanilla Bean fan ;)

If you’re planning on running a marathon next year, perhaps try some of this stuff out and see if it works for you! PS – this post contains some affiliate links. If you purchase something I make a small commission…could help me register for my next race ;)

Okay, here we go…

Marathon Training

Garmin Watch

I have the Garmin 405, as seen below, but it’s been discontinued.

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I debated between getting this one and the Forerunner 10, but that one doesn’t show you multiple things on the screen at once, and I believe also rounds your pace to the 5′s (so 8:20, 8:25, etc.). I wanted to be able to see distance, time, average speed and more on one screen (or have the option to). A similar watch might be the Garmin Forerunner 210. Or if you just want something simple then try out the Forerunner 10.

What’s the difference between this and an app like RunKeeper? I like being able to glance at my watch when I need to (I don’t carry my phone in my hand), and I think it’s a little more accurate than RunKeeper. It’s all preference really!

Spandex Shorts

I cannot run in anything else anymore. I used to run in looser running shorts, like those Nike shorts, but then it started riding up in the front and I just was uncomfortable. I’m all about lululemon “Groove” shorts now. I actually just bought this pair with a giftcard Dan gave me:

lululemon groove short

I think they’re the perfect length and fit. I love the waistband because it never digs in or sits awkwardly. I have also found great, similar options at T.J. Maxx…hey, I even wrote a whole post about it ;) I love that you can now shop online at T.J. Maxx.

S!Caps

S!Caps by Succeed! were probably the best thing I could have discovered before the New York City Marathon last year. I had been looking for an electrolyte supplement because I didn’t really like Nuun or GU Brew. Drinking something carbonated while running long distances did not work well for me.

Somehow I found S!Caps:

S!Caps
I forget how I even found them, but I was a bit wary at first since their website isn’t necessarily the most technologically advanced ;)

But I gave them a shot and they were amazing. I took them every hour on long runs and during the marathons, and never had the issues I had in the 2011 marathon…no excessive salt collecting on my skin, no extreme thirst or dehydration, no water sloshing around in my stomach. It’s all the electrolytes + salt you need in 1 capsule. I can’t recommend this product enough if you’re a heavy sweater like me.

Nathan Hydration Belt

I use the Nathan Swift Hydration Belt:

Nathan Hydration BeltI am not a fan of hydration belts with multiple bottles – I feel like it gets in my way or feels to bouncy. So last year I bought this belt, and figured I could refill it at every other water station during the marathon (which I did no problem). It’s super light and you barely even notice it’s there. The water bottle is also a bit bigger than others which I also liked. And the pocket is huge! Perfect for fitting in your GUs and other stuff.

FlipBelt

I wrote about the FlipBelt a couple months ago…and I have not stopped wearing it on runs since. For shorter runs where you don’t need fuel, this is seriously the best thing you could invest in.

FlipBelt
It has multiple pockets all around the belt, and I’ve been able to fit my keys, phone, tissues, etc. no problem. It does not move AT ALL. I have already had friends buy it off my suggestion who have told me the love it. I wear this most days on my runs. I used to just hide my key in my wheel wells (don’t judge me), but now I can always have it on me. You can buy the FlipBelt in different colors and sizes.

PlantFusion

Everyone needs a recovery drink, especially during marathon training. My protein powder of choice is PlantFusion. It’s a plant based protein, and trust me, it doesn’t taste chalky or have a weird after taste like other plant powders out there. I like the vanilla bean flavor because it mixes well with anything, and it’s good enough to have plain as well. My friend really likes the chocolate flavor. There is also cookies n’ cream and unflavored. It’s all preference.

PlantFusion
GU

I had to end with GU…because it’s obvious! So many runners use GU in their marathon training – me being one of them. I only stick to Vanilla Bean though, but I do want to try the Salted Caramel Pretzel.

GU energy gel
I while ago I wrote about my fueling strategies, which may be a bit different than others. I take GU every 3-4 miles with water. That’s what works for me, but it takes experimentation to find what works best for you. Some people love ShotBloks but I cannot chew while running. It is so hard for me for some reason. Just try it all out!

Wow this list ended up getting a bit long. When I started writing it I figured I’d come up with like 3-4 things. I genuinely love all of these products, whether I’m marathon training or not. I’m always recommending these things to my own friends, and have turned a few of them into PlantFusion and FlipBelt fanatics! ;)

What are your must-haves for marathon training & running in general?

Are you loyal to one certain brand for fuel or you can use whatever?

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10-07-2014

New York City Marathon Tips

The TCS New York City Marathon is less than a month away! I’m so jealous of everyone who will be running it this year. If it’s your first time running the NYC Marathon you will not be disappointed. It was my first marathon and one I’ll never forget. I also ran it last year (2013) and it was even more amazing the second time.

I wanted to share my perspective on NYC Marathon course tips and strategy. The course runs through all five boroughs, and there are different things to expect within each one. Let’s go through the course, starting with the wait at Fort Wadsworth.

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BEFORE THE RACE

Give yourself plenty of time. Last year my mom and I literally had to run to our corrals and were probably the last ones to get in. Why? Because we should have gotten on an earlier ferry. The ferry was on time but once we got into the terminal we waited probably 30-45 minutes for a bus to take us to Fort Wadsworth. That’s a lot of standing around before running 26.2 miles! Plan out the logistics and try to get there 2 hours or so before your wave. That gives you plenty of time to get there, get settled, put your gear on, go to the bathroom, eat, do bag check etc.

Pack warm clothes. By now you already know to wear layers and throwaway clothes at the beginning. But make sure to pack something warm for the finish. I know that you have the option to exit the park early if you don’t do bag check, but I’d rather just pack my bag and put in a jacket and comfy shoes. Last year I fit my puffy winter coat in the bag they gave me. Just stuff it all in there!

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Pack a warm jacket, I’m telling you!

Write your name on your shirt. This is obviously something to be done before the race (though people hand out markers at the start village in case you want to write on your shirt). Some people think this is cheesy but I’d say the spectators are what really got me through the race. It feels awesome to have hundreds of people screaming out your name and cheering you on. Total strangers who are out there yelling your name. This is why I love running and spectators (which I wrote about more here). I also like to add in something corny on the back of my shirt too :) Here are my shirts from 2011 and last year:

384918_10101040005677169_1662753243_n picmonkey-collageGet to your corrals on time. You don’t want to be locked out and have to wait more time to start. Or if you’re like my mom and I, you don’t want to have to run and be the last ones in and all rushed getting yourself settled that you miss all the start line festivities. From what I remember, there are port-a-potties on the walk to the starting line.

THE COURSE

Okay let’s get right into the race itself!

Miles 1-2: You’re running over the Verrazano Bridge and it’s awesome. Yes, everything you’ve heard about not feeling the one mile uphill is true. You are too amped up to notice it. Look over the sides and you’ll see the New York Fire Department and their water display. Look at the NYC skyline and know you’re about to conquer that city ;)

Miles 2-13: These are all in Brooklyn. Honestly, I’d say cheering wise this was my favorite part of the race (besides the finish of course). There are so many spectators out in full force screaming your name as you run by. I like this better than the famous First Avenue because the road isn’t as wide, which means it feels like you’re running through a tunnel of people all cheering for you.

My family met my mom and me at mile 8, which I believe is right by a subway station…I think they got off at the Prospect Ave. station. There are several subway stops on Fourth Avenue, so your spectators can get off the subway, see you, then get back on to go to their next location, which for my family was the Queensboro Plaza stop to see us before we went over the Queensboro Bridge.

Miles 13.1-15: At the halfway point, you cross over the Pulaski Bridge. We practiced this a few times in our long run training so I knew what to expect. It’s a hill but not too long, you’re up and over in no time. Just maintain even effort and try to save what you can for the Queensboro Bridge.

Mile 15-16: This is where the bridge starts. Both years I’ve had a tough time here. It’s not that steep it’s just an incline that never ends! I believe I measured it to be almost a mile. There are no spectators so it’s just you and your fellow runners. Stay strong and pump your arms to keep propelling yourself forward. At the end of the bridge there are signs that say something along the lines of “Only 10 miles to go” but in a way more motivational sense. I can’t remember it now! Just think to yourself, 10 miles is nothing! You did 10 miles how often in your training? I like to pretend the previous miles of the race were just a warm-up ;)

Mile 16-20: These miles seemed never ending to me not gonna lie. You’re running up First Ave. which is a slight incline that lasts forever it seems. It’s cool to be able to see all the runners in front of you, but I also just felt like mile 20 was so far off. Towards miles 18-19, the crowds get thinner. We were supposed to meet my family there but they didn’t make it on time. I’d rather have them closer to the finish anyway.

Mile 20-21: You’re in the Bronx for a little bit before you will cross another bridge into Manhattan. There are lots of fans in the Bronx as well who will be cheering you on!

Mile 21-24: Thankfully that bridge you cross onto Fifth Ave. isn’t an incline. I remember getting to this point and telling my mom okay let’s speed up! Well, we tried anyway. Around mile 23 you are running along side Central Park, but the incline starts. It’s a long, steady climb before you get into the park. Be strong and use whatever mantra you need. I actually didn’t mind this section because my hip flexors were tight and running on an incline helped a bit.

Mile 24-26: You run through the park!! You are so close! You will go through some undulating hills here but the spectators are amazing. You will definitely feel that runner’s high. Try to pass as many people as you can! At mile 26 you come out of the park and then you’ll be going towards Columbus Circle. SO MUCH CHEERING! I was smiling the whole way to the finish line. You go back into the park and see the Mile 26 mile marker…only .2 to go!!!

Mile .2: Run strong because you’re there. There is a slight incline to the finish but there are signs counting down the distance (400 yards, 200 yards, etc.) Cross the finish and get your medal!

WATER STOPS

Someone left a comment about this and I wanted to add this section in. Water stops can get crowded but it’s never crazy enough that you’d have to stop all together to get water and wade through people. Just keep running until the last tables in order to have more space.

My suggestion would be to wear a fuel belt with 1 or 2 bottles. That’s what I did, and I was able to skip 2-3 water stops, and when I needed to refill my bottle, the volunteers were great about it. They would see me running up with my open bottle, and they’d grab a jug of water and come running up to me and top me off. Took less than 15 seconds I bet you. If you don’t want to carry anything, you’ll be fine. Like I said, just run to the later tables as opposed to the very first ones where everyone goes.

POST-RACE

Before you start walking to bag check, grab two mylar blankets (one for your shoulders and one to tie around your waist). They really do keep you warm!

I found that post-race was the hardest for me. Not only do you walk one mile to get your bag from bag check, then you have to walk to wherever your family is meeting you. Certain areas are restricted to the public which makes it hard. I suggest meeting at the West Side YMCA on West 63rd Street. We are YMCA members so we are allowed to use their locker rooms and showers (we didn’t though because I just wanted to get home). But even if you’re not members you can use their restrooms or lobby as a meeting place. We got out of Central Park around 83rd or something? I was not about to walk 20 blocks so we took the subway to meet my family.

Have a concrete meeting location because you either a) won’t have much cell battery left after running (mine died) or b) won’t get good service because everyone will be using their cell phones too.

Most Important Tips

If you didn’t want to read that whole thing, here are my most important tips:

  • Have a set plan on where to have your spectators. Map out the exact time they should be there/when you think you will run by there, along with their subway plan. Make sure to tell them if you will be running on the left or right side of the road.
  • Pack warm clothes for the finish!
  • Have a meeting location for after the race.
  • Start slow!! Queensboro Bridge is tough and you want to get there feeling fresh(ish). Try to even split or negative split.
  • NUMBER ONE: HAVE FUN AND ENJOY THE SPECTATORS!!!

I’ll be there this year cheering on all the runners and I can’t wait! Writing all this and reading my own race recaps makes me wish I could be running this year. Best of luck to everyone!!!

Here’s my recap video from last year where you can really see how there are spectators every step of the way :)

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10-01-2014

10 Ways To Avoid Hitting The Wall In Your Next Marathon

It’s marathon season! I can’t wait to go be a spectator this year at the New York City Marathon. Exactly a month from tomorrow! I have ran it twice with my mom and although we haven’t experienced any other marathon yet, we seriously love that race. Such amazing fan support the entire way. 

Although I’m not training for a marathon this year, I wanted to talk a bit about what I learned in 2013 on how to avoid “the wall.” Now, there’s no doubt about it, you WILL feel tired in the later miles of a marathon. But there are ways to avoid that feeling of “I can’t do this anymore” and feeling miserable. 

How To Avoid Hitting The WallPhoto Credit: familymwr via Compfight cc

IN TRAINING

Add more mileage. This is one thing that majorly helped me in my second marathon. I used the Hansons Marathon Method which focuses on adding more miles (more on that in a second). I was running the most weekly mileage I ever have before! According to Runner’s World, runners with more training miles finish marathons faster. Check out their cool chart below:

completion-timePhoto source

Do more specific workouts. Will 400s really help you in a marathon? Sure, they have their place and time…usually in the beginning of a training circuit, but there are other workouts that are more specific to your goals. Add in tempo runs and longer interval workouts. During my last marathon training round, I started doing 1,200 meter and 1 mile repeats…killer! I was also doing tempo runs that went up to 10 miles at marathon goal pace.

Run on tired legs. Another thing I loved about Hansons Marathon Method (can you tell I loved it?) is their notion of running on tired legs. You need to get used to running when you’re tired…because isn’t that what the marathon is all about? ;) A simple way to do this is to run the easy miles the day before and after a long run. Yes, the day after sucks and your legs feel like lead, but it will lead to a better marathon experience.

Run higher mileage during the week. This goes along with my first point. Stop running just 3-4 easy miles during the week and a super long run on the weekends. Add in some longer weekday runs too. Now I’m not talking about 15 mile runs or anything, but if you can, start doing 6 mile runs instead of 4 mile runs, and ramp it up from there. This will not only 1) add weekly miles but also 2) help you “run on tired legs.”

Strength train. Duh right? But during marathon training it’s easy to let strength training fall by the wayside. Make sure you hit the gym at least 2 times a week to do a full body strength circuit. I like to focus mainly on legs and core. If you’re limited on time, check out my 10 minute leg workout! Not only will strength training (especially legs) make you stronger, it will keep you injury free.

Find the right fuel plan for YOU. I wrote about this a while back, but during my last marathon training stint I realized that I needed to fuel more often. I sweat A LOT and as a result am losing more nutrients and electrolytes than others. I found that doing 1 gel pack every 45-60 minutes wasn’t enough for me. Test different types of fuel and fuel timing on your long runs and find what works for you.

DAY OF THE RACE

Don’t start out too fast. I mean we’ve all heard this before but it is all too easy to start out too fast. Your adrenaline is pumping and you feel good…until you don’t. Start off at a comfortable pace and as the miles tick by you can evaluate how you feel and if you can speed up. I say at mile 16 you will know if you can run faster or not…if you can, go for it!

Don’t be a slave to your watch. I’m a competitive person so this is even hard for me to do. But some days just aren’t going to be your best days. Don’t end up bonking because you were determined to hold that X:XX pace per mile even though your body was telling you it was too fast. Listen to your body and if you need to go slower than you goal pace, then so be it. It’s better to cross the finish than DNF.

Use electrolyte supplements/salt supplements. This kind of goes with my fueling point, and you should obviously try this in training first, but using supplements during a race can really help you avoid that wall. It helped me a lot in my second marathon. I remember in my first marathon I saw the salt accumulating on my clothes…not good. Second time around I started using S!Caps which seriously helped so much. No dehydration or salt loss this time around!

Stay hydrated but not TOO hydrated. Yet another rookie mistake by me. Because I lost a lot of salt in my first marathon, I felt SO THIRSTY. I started drinking multiple cups of water at each water stop starting at mile 15. By mile 18 I was done. That water was sloshing around in my stomach and making me feel awful. I’m pretty sure I was at borderline hyponatremia. Needless to say, I crossed the finish line, ran to the bushes and threw up. Doesn’t my first marathon just sound lovely?? :) Moral of the story: drink fluids at every stop if you need to. If you’re thirsty, drink water. But don’t overdo it. The salt caps also helped keep my thirst in check.

So this post got a bit long but these are all things I learned in my 2 marathons. I know many of you have ran way more than that, so please leave a comment and tell me what tips you would add!

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07-28-2014

Back To Running!

You may have seen on Instagram that over the weekend I got my training log from running coach Marc Pelerin, owner of Train With Marc. He’s also now in my sidebar, so click over to be taken to his coaching website!

I used to (literally) train with Marc, and he provided me with a running plan for over 2 years. He got me through my first half-marathon and marathon!

nycm

I’m excited to start working with him again, and along with that, he will be posting here 1-2 times a month with special running tips and guides for you all. He is so knowledgeable and experience, so hopefully now I can break my 5K PR ;)

So today I get back to running and lifting. Last week I went to the gym to lift for the first time in about a month and I was SO SORE for 2 days. Needless to say, I felt out of shape…and yeah it’s time to get back into my routine.

I haven’t seriously ran in a few months. In the early spring I was running up to 4-5 miles with my dad because we thought we were doing a July half marathon which ended up getting canceled. Now I am planning on training for the Philly Half Marathon (anyone else running?).

My main goal is to break my 5K PR this fall. I want to train to get faster. I know this will help me be faster overall and hopefully run a faster half marathon and (eventually) full marathon. I know I had mentioned running a fall marathon but my mom and I decided to just wait until next year. It’s a lot of time and sacrifice and I wanted a break from super long runs.

We also were really hoping we would run NYC Marathon again next year but looks like we won’t complete our 9+1. We were away or busy during recent races and we would need to run literally every race left on their schedule. But this gives us a chance to experience a new fall marathon next year!

Schedule for this week:

Monday: Chest & back

Tuesday: Legs

Wednesday: Shoulders

Thursday: HIIT maybe?

Friday: Off

Saturday: Off

Sunday: Off

Running will be included throughout the week – just not sure yet…depends on my schedule once I get it!

I really cannot wait to get back into running. I know at first it will be hard after taking so much time off but hopefully I won’t be too sore. Oh yeah, and I’m also going to 3 weeks of physical therapy for my shin issues, so maybe I can fix or alleviate those issues early on before real training starts.

What is your current training schedule?

What’s your next race?

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06-17-2014

The Untold Story: Race Spectators

Whenever we read race recaps, we read about the course, what the runner thought of the race or the organization, the conditions, whether it was a bad day or not…and sometimes we read about the spectators. 

I really got a chance to feel the power of race spectators during the 2013 New York City Marathon, and randomly was thinking about this yesterday, which is why I wanted to write about it. I know I’ve written about how much I love the running community a few times now, but I wanted to focus this post on the spectators.

My Personal Cheering Squad

As runners preparing for a marathon, we sacrifice a lot. We train for 16-20 weeks. We get up early for long runs. We miss out on fun events because we need to sleep. But spectators sacrifice a lot too! The day of the marathon, my brother, sister, dad and boyfriend woke up at 5 am with my mom and me to head to New York. We got there around 7 am, and our race didn’t start until 10:50 am. They had to entertain themselves and wait around for over 3 hours!

Once the race started it was GO time. While we were trekking our way through the boroughs, they were navigating the subways. Squeezing onto packed subways in order to make it to where they said they would be. They were running around making sure we would see them. And all that for what? 30 seconds or less as we ran past them and said hi? But regardless, they smiled, they cheered, they made signs for us.

marathon-sign

We did miss them at a stop once, but instead of complaining they just got right back on the subway and went to the next stop. Since they missed us, that meant waiting extra at the next stop around mile 22. Once again, we saw them, said hi, and kept going on. Since they were at mile 22, that meant they had to book it to the finish if they were going to see us in Columbus Circle. We saw them right before the finish, and then finally finished those 26.2 miles. But the day wasn’t over yet. They still had to wait for us to get our medals, get our bags, and somehow get back to West 63rd street from West 81st street (almost 1 mile away). But they waited patiently.

Once we got to our meeting location, we were able to take family photos and recap our day. 

They were troopers, and what the spirit of the marathon also entails. It’s not just about us runners, but also about those who support us. Who get up early right there with us. Who run around all over the place to get pictures of us, see us for 30 seconds, hand us our GU or extra water. But then there are also the strangers…

The Other Spectators

I want to thank ALL race spectators here. You cheer on random strangers. You scream your heart out and pump up the runners. This is what got me through those 26.2 miles in New York. Every step of the way my mom and I heard our names being yelled. At one point a chant was started by a group, “PATTY…AND TINA! PATTY…AND TINA!” It was awesome. When we got into Central Park, I stopped to walk. A group started cheering my name and as I slowly started to run again they got louder and louder. This lady ran alongside me and said, “Here take some frozen grapes!” 

In the 2011 New York City Marathon, around mile 21 I was done. I was walking and miserable. This random stranger stepped on the course when he saw me and said come on you can do this! I said, no I am dying right now my legs are shot. He was like, “I wanted to run NYC, but I didn’t get in. So I’m running Philly next week. But you’re here and got the opportunity to be here so we are going to run!” He then grabbed my arm and started jogging with me. He was like “Come on, we’re going to the next corner.” So we jogged. He wished me luck and sent me on my way. I will never forget that moment. That is what the spirit of the running community is.

All of this is why my mom and I went up to Boston to watch the Boston Marathon this past April. Many asked us why we were going and if we knew anyone. Our response? “Nope, we just want to watch the race and cheer people on.” We wanted to pay it forward and cheer our hearts out. It was such an amazing day. 

boston-marathon

After reading Heather’s (from Relentless Forward Commotion) post about her experience running in the back of the pack, it made me kind of sad. The running community is a great one, so why are we not supporting ALL runners, regardless of pace?

Race spectators help get runners through the race, and it was sad to read her and other’s accounts of how there aren’t many for those who are in the back of the pack. Every runner deserves people cheering them on, yelling out their name, high fiving them.

Which is why my mom and I told each other that from now on, after races, we will stay and keep cheering on our fellow runners. We had always planned to be at this year’s NYC Marathon as spectators as well, so we can’t wait to scream for all of you who are running! 

Moral of this post? Thank your fellow spectators. Whether it’s your family or a total stranger, they have made some sacrifices to get to that race as well. They don’t have to be there, but they are…for you. I’ll leave you with my New York City Marathon recap video I made, which shows our story, but also that of our spectators. Let me know what you think!

Do you enjoy watching races when you’re not running them?

Tell me one race spectator experience you’ve had in the comments!

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03-18-2014

Introducing Tuesdays With Tina!

Some of you who have been following me for awhile know that I run every race with my mom (maybe with the exception of 1 or 2 in the past few years).

I wanted to tell you our story, but also introduce my mom because she will be contributing some posts from time to time. Hence this post’s name! It won’t be every Tuesday, but check back on Tuesdays to see if she has written something ;)

Our Story

When I was a senior in college, I decided to start getting active and eating healthier. I gained about 10 lbs. from junior-senior year, mainly because I was eating out a lot more, and taking advantage of the buffet style eating in the dining halls.

My mom and I decided to start doing Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred, and would call each other to check in and talk about our progress.

In April of 2010, we decided to run our first 5K! I had ran cross country in high school, but this was my first organized race since that time (2006). It was my first public road race too. You can tell how much of noobs we were by this picture:

We got to the start line like, 20 minutes early because we wanted to be the first ones there. Little did we know, only the fast people go in the front! :-P

Isn’t it funny how you can look back at early race pictures and tell you were new to it based on your clothing and gear? We were wearing the race shirt, and I don’t even know what shorts and sneakers I was wearing.

We finished in around 29 minutes. After that, we started running more and more races. At this point, the thought of running a half-marathon or marathon had not even crossed our minds.

Remember Soffe shorts?

Around this time was when we got my dad more into active living too. He started running a couple races with us as well.

Then I told my mom we should run a half-marathon, and she thought I was crazy. Eventually I convinced her though, and the Long Branch Half Marathon was our first!

long branch half marathon

After that…I told my mom we should run a marathon. Then she really thought I was crazy. But I somehow convinced her to do that too. We decided to fundraise for the Christoper Reeve Foundation, and entered the New York City Marathon. Here’s my recap of our first NYC Marathon…we both couldn’t believe we did it!

nyc marathon 2011

There were a couple half-marathons in between as well. But yeah, 2011 was the year we truly fell in love with running. This past year, we ran the New York City Marathon again (<-recap), and using Hansons Marathon Method, PRed by 33 minutes! Here’s our video recap if you like those…I like to think it captures both us running, but the amazing spectators and spirit of the marathon!

What’s Next?

Currently, we haven’t really been running or training for anything. But we gotta get our butt in gear because we want to do the NYRR 9+1 program to get in for the 2015 NYC Marathon! We also have a half-marathon in July while we are away in Paraguay. I’d also like to break my 5K PR.

So what was the point of this post? I wanted to share with you all how special running is for me and my mom. We have gone through it all with running, and it’s amazing to have someone to motivate you, as well as someone to listen to you talk about running all the time ;)

I also wanted to introduce you guys to my mom. She has played an instrumental role in my fitness life, and I know she will have some great things to share with you as well.

So without further ado…say hello to my mom! Please leave a comment with any questions that you may have for her! She’s a mom, runner, lifter…she may be able to provide some insight and experience that I cant. The next post will be her words and not mine!

Do you exercise with loved ones?

If you’re a runner, when was your first race?

Did you ever wear soffe shorts? :-P

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12-13-2013

2013 – My Year Of Running

I found this great link-up on Miss Zippy’s blog and wanted to take part. 2013 was a great year for me in terms of running. I conquered some fears and mental roadblocks, and worked hard for a marathon PR. Hopefully there is more to come in 2014! Here are my answers to her running survey. If you fill it out, head over to her blog to participate in the link up!

run

  • Best race experience? I mean…I think you know what I’m going to say. NYC MARATHON!! I didn’t run many races in 2013, not even a half marathon in my build up to NYC, because Hanson’s Marathon Method didn’t really recommend it. My training was 100% for NYC. I wanted that PR. And I got it! It was also a great experience to run 26.2 miles with my mom, and cross the finish line together.

  • Best run? Hm…I’d have to say running on a trail that my mom and I just discovered this summer. We did short runs and long runs there. It’s paved and scenic…can’t wait to run there again this spring!
  • Best new piece of gear?  My Garmin! Finally invested in one. I used to use a Nike GPS watch but the screen went black. Then we used RunKeeper for the longest time but I wanted an actual watch for the marathon. It’s pretty on point in terms of distance, and is certainly handy!
  • Best piece of running advice you received?

*In reference to my worrying that missing days due to injury would affect my marathon. Everyone should remember this when they freak out about missing a few days!

  • Most inspirational runner? Gosh there are so many awesome running bloggers I follow…I’m going to pick 2. Lindsey from Out For A Run, and Theodora from Losing Weight In The City. Lindsey is just a beast at running. She crushes it in training and I wish I had her work ethic when it comes to running! I hope to be as fast as her one day…but that is long ways away ;) Theodora was one of the first bloggers I followed when I first started blogging. She has an amazing story as well, and has really gotten faster since she began her journey. I also hope to be as fast as her one day! Both of these ladies inspire me to get out the door and work my butt off for my goals.
  • If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be? Hard work pays off. I went into marathon training with the goal of not only a PR, but finishing the race feeling good. I had the best race I could that day. I attest that to doing the most training I have ever done since starting to run. I ran the most monthly miles and the most miles in a year since 2010!!

2013 was truly a great year for running. I pushed myself and conquered my fear of running 6 days a week, and accomplished my goals. I can’t wait to try the Hansons Marathon Method again!

How was 2013 for you in terms of running and fitness?

What goals do you have for 2014?

Let me know if you fill this out for yourself! I’ll be doing a fitness related one in the next week or so.

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Don’t forget to enter my giveaway!

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11-07-2013

Best Race Ever – 2013 ING New York City Marathon Recap

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 ;)

marathon outfitWe 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.

on the bus

on the bus

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!!!

startline

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.

Waiting for us to arrive

Waiting for us to arrive

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.

nyc marathon mile 22

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.

nyc marathon mile 25

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!!!

nyc marathon finishWe 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…

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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…

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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 :)

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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!

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My Garmin was pretty spot on too…so glad I invested in one finally:

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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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