I am so sorry this took so long. I really am. Life yada yada, all the excuses,but you know. I try really hard.
Most of you already know what happened, on broad strokes, though not all the details, I had a crazy and great race… The video is here, so you get a good idea of what the day looked like, but the details and behind the scenes are below, … and there are some juicy details…
I hadn’t run the NYC Marathon in 5 years. After running it SEVEN years in a row, I made a hard stop. I run one or two since (Boston and Hudson Mohawk) but it had been a while. I fell out of love with the distance and crushed hard on the half. And it was all fine, the half and I were so happy together… But then, New Balance reached out with the offer to put me in their team for the marathon and I couldn’t say no. It’d be such an honor to be a part of the team and they were taking care of everything so I barely thought about it, I jumped in with both feet and yelled I DO, I DO!
The truth is, I was pretty trained. I was doing all these halfs and training with my friends who are all doing marathons. My weekend run was always at least 14 miles, so it wasn’t a big change. That was taken care of.
The nerves… wow. I was excited about such a fun experience… but the MARATHON…uh. That distance… I am the opposite of most people: I love the marathon training, but I don’t enjoy the race itself, mostly because marathon pace is so excruciating… UGH. Always waiting and waiting to fly and then, when it’s time, you are in pain. GREAT. That’s why I stopped.
But here we went. I got ready. Physically ready.
came around and the nerves came back up a bit… it’s gonna hurt… will it all be worth it… why do I have to suffer… all those thoughts. It all makes no sense when you have no goals.
My fastest race is 3:27 in Berlin. My fastest NYC was in 2009: 3:42. It’s be good to get a course PR or even go sub 3:40, but I know NYC is a tricky course so I wasn’t sure I could do that. On the other hand, I never run over 4 hours and I didn’t want to go over 4… the nerves!
The switch was on. I was hyped! I had never gone to the start with Juan so I was SO pumped for that…! We saw everyone in the tent!
Got some coffee, water, ate a couple of bars and just chatted with one million people. Soon, I dropped my bag and walked about 200 meters to the Orange F corral. This is REAL. It’s been so long. Feeling all my feelings.
AT THE CORRAL/START
I found a few friends in the corral and soon we all walked into the bridge. OMG so many feelies. Can I start crying now? It was a SCENE. The Orange wave starts a few meters ahead of the blue wave, where the male elite runners start at the same time. So I had a PRIME position to watch the elite runners start. It was awesome… And then, I get to chase them. How lucky are we that in this sport we play on the same venue as the best of the world, at the same time??? Beyond awesome.
We get the national anthem, the cannon, confetti, Frank Sinatra’s New York New York, helicopters and a all the yelling. It’s time to go.
What a thrill. The start is quite exciting. Pumped 97%, scared 3%.
I always tell everyone you can ruin your race on your first mile, and I know how hard it is to keep it all under control with such hoopla. Seeing the city so far away into the distance helps to sober you up. Marathons are such a huge enterprise that you need to respect the distance, no matter how many or how well you’ve done before. Respect.
Or FEAR. that also works sometimes. 😉
The first two miles are epic. I was on cloud nine thinking about all the people I love. And then I saw my husband on the other side of the bridge, we blew kisses at each other, touched hands and wished each other luck. Then I watched him get swallowed by the crowds ahead.
We were off the bridge in a hot second. It’s blowing past me too fast. And I am going too fast. But, am I? It looked too fast on my watch. On the other hand, who knows what will unfold in a few miles…
1- THIS IS WHY I LOVED THIS RACE SO MUCH
2- #$!&*#! I AM RUNNING TOO FAST. I AM GONNA PAY FOR THIS. IT’S GONNA HURT. THIS IS WHY I STOPPED RUNNING MARATHONS
Wow, this is LOUD and AWESOME, and I am letting these awesome spectators push me too fast… CRAP. I was so scared… These miles were FAST and way under that I had planned. FFFFFFFF. Can I hold this pace? Am I gonna die a slow death on Fifth Avenue? Whatever I don’t care this is soooo fun.…
Seriously, my poor brain was so overstimulated and trying to control my emotions and speed. I had to veer to the inside lanes and put the music on to calm down and shut it down a few times.
It was impossible.
This is waaaay toooooo much fun. Life is too short. Let’s go in.
This was also wild… the Pulaski was amazing. YOU have to look left. I was really absorbing it all in. Really. Then I just run through the streets looking for QDR and NP. I missed QDR but NP was unmissable. You could have heard them from Staten Island. It was also a highlight.
Then the mighty Ed Koch brige, or Queensoboro, or the QuadKiller, or whatever you wanna call it.
Also, yey for the views. And, we were fine. We slowed up a bit up the incline, yey to level effort, but it was a happy place for me. Then the steep downhill. I have to say that is one of the points of the race that I look forward to the most -coming off the bridge into the loudest First Avenue. It was NOT SO this year. The block was blocked off spectators and it was eerily quiet. A bit sad even.
Luckily, we turned the corner into First, went over the overpass, after a block of fluids, aaaaaaand there was everybody FINALLY. A bit anticlimactic, but only if you were expecting it like me…!
First Avenue was great. I was looking for Martina, and later Susan at 100. I saw LOTS of people I wasn’t planning on and eventually Susan at 100. That always keeps me focused. Get to the next friend.
Then things got scary for a second:
Ah crap. I had overused my music and drained EVERYTHING. Even my spectacles died. That’s what happens when you don’t do marathons often and you don’t think about these things.
I tried to collect myself… I don’t need a watch… I was barely looking at it… So, I knew I was in ok shape, having passed the half-way point in 1:45 to come in sub 4… but now I had no idea what I was running… Am I running ok? Am I fading off? UGH. Let’s go, hey Bronx, here I am!
I really enjoyed the Bronx… there was no slump there. It helped that I had 1 million friend cheering and that I did 2 or 3 course practice runs. I knew every turn and every step, that makes a HUGE difference. Hey Bronx, not afraid of you anymore!
Back in MANHATTAN
One last time… this is it. This is when things get tough. You have 20 miles on you and no matter how your race is going, your body can not be happy. I was mentally pumped, not scared anymore, a bit of stiffness but READY TO FLY. This is why we look forward to the last miles, right?
Fifth Avenue was awesome. Harlem Run had an insanely loud cheer zone and I managed to get a high five from Alison! Around the park and then we are right there… where dreams die.
Luckily for me, I had my friend Andrea waiting at 100. I kept telling myself “100”, “100”, “100”, like a crazy person, sometimes out loud. Totally normal, right?
I got to Andrea quickly. She had her dog with her and I almost died. Thank you babe! Fifth Avenue was never this amazing before.
Now, I was really wondering how I was doing, and where was Juan. He had predicted for months that I would pass him around 5th Avenue, but no sight of my hubs… where is he?
Now up this killer long uphill, into Central Park for the last final 2 miles and I knew I had Carolina and Patricia waiting right there. Carolina is a pro cheerer so I was ready!
The park was SO CROWDED… literally, lots of people on the course, a bit dangerous and annoying but I’ll take it. Not going to slow down now… no thanks!
THERE THEY ARE! hey HIIII
If anyone can jump for 2 seconds to take a selfie and keep up with anyone, it’s her! She told me I was doing amazing, I kept asking where was Juan, “Juan is like two miles behind”, I was in shock, never registered that I was “doing amazing”, said good bye and kept at it.
Right around 3 minutes later, at 72nd, I saw Melissa! Everyone looks miserable but I am shouting and blowing kisses.
Is having so many friends an illegal advantage? Sue me!
Well, now off just for the last bit. Let’s go. I can do this. My legs felt like they were going to fall off I swear… but hey. Hiiiiiii Whitney!!!!!!
A couple of minutes later, I was done.
That is literally how I felt. I wasn’t posing. I was crying, laughing, hysterical. FEELING ALL MY OATS at the same time! WOW. What a ride. Hey, I get a medal too!!!
Happiness… Seriously, it’s been a month and I still feel the glitter in my soul!
I found some more friends…
Then Remi brought me a scone. I died. What a day… Then I found my husband in the VIP area where our bags where. I WAS SO HYPER THO. So much caffeine. I took just 4 uncaffeinated gels, water, and 3 caffeine pills (I love these), and they really get me moving…
Once I got my stuff, first thing I did is I put some Cure in my water, chugged it, got all the layers on, got my phone and OMG WHAT THE FUCK DID I JUST DO????
WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK?
I felt good but I wasn’t expecting a 3:3X at all. WHAT? I was yelling. My poor husband, I get so loud!!!!
Everyone would tell me that “of course” and “I knew you would do that”. I didn’t. I was shocked. That is NOT a PR for me but my fastest NY was a 3:42 from 2009. Literally 10 years ago. I am TEN YEARS OLDER, PEOPLE!!!! well, that happened.
This was awesome. We walked the 2 miles home (not so awesome) and then I was hyper for about 3 more weeks. Help.
I am sorry this was too long. I am just processing it all now. While I sign up for next year’s race. Again: HELP.
Great fucking post !
SO GREAT TO SEE YOU IN THE CORRAL!!!
Not long. What a party!
Right????? SO GOOD
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Fantastic post! I felt your enthusiasm in every word. Only got to run NYCM once (2013) and I’m much slower. Still, the energy is (almost ) indescribable. Thank you for the run down memory lane.