I can’t believe it’s already been two and a half weeks since the NYC marathon. It’s still somewhat surreal that it’s over. This was my second marathon, and I’ve admitted a few times now that I was pretty nervous about it. Since I’m a more experienced runner than when I ran my first marathon four years ago, I really wanted to do better this time around.
Well, I beat my time from before, so yay!
~ finished! ~
My husband and I (and kids) arrived in New York Thursday evening, headed straight to the hotel, and crashed. The next morning we went to the infamous Expo to pick up our bibs and randomly ran into a friend from Barbados who was also running the race. Not planned at all and with thousands of people in the convention center, it was so surprising to see him. We wandered through the expo, which had booth upon booth of gadgets, gear, treats, and anything you could possibly imagine needing (or not really needing) for race day.
~ 5 boroughs, 50,000 runners…amazing experience ~
We wandered about the city and then went to one of our favorite Italian restaurants and indulged in a carb-loading feast with friends. Saturday was relaxed, more roaming the city, and trick-or-treating for the kids. We got back to the hotel early, ordered dinner in, got all of our stuff together for the next day, and were in bed by 10.
~ getting ready to start ~
The plan was to wake up at 5:30, but I overslept so didn’t wake until 5:50. The babysitter arrived at 6 and we were out the door by 7. We made our way to Panera Bread for plain bagels and double espressos, then hopped in a cab and went downtown to catch the Staten Island Ferry. It took us almost two hours to reach our corral, but we’d finally made it.
~ waiting to start ~
The first mile for me was really tough. My pace wasn’t coming naturally and I was struggling mentally. But at mile 3 my husband made a pit stop and I continued on. I agreed to stay on the left side of the road and he promised to catch up to me. I was a little nervous at first thinking there was no way we’d make it back to each other, so I focused on two guys who had a great pace and I started to relax. By mile 5 the Mr. still had not caught up to me, and I started mentally preparing myself for the idea of running alone. At that point and with the help of those two random guys I was following, I’d gotten into a pretty good grove.
Next thing I knew my husband was tapping me on my shoulder. It was insane! He said he’d basically sprinted for two miles to catch me! Then he and I picked up our pace and we sped through the next 10 miles.
By mile 14 he was tired and told me to move on without him. I felt great until mile 18, even ran quickly up the Queensborough Bridge which has a huge incline, but then the pain kicked in. In 2011 I felt great until mile 22, so this was a bit of a shocker to me. My knees were on fire and I wanted to stop like you wouldn’t believe.
~ trying to stay focused ~
Then I saw two women running in the same shoes as me, go Vibram FiveFingers!, and I followed them for a few miles. By the time I got to mile 21, I pushed myself simply because I was pretty confident I would beat 5 hours, which was my goal. Sadly mile 24 was my slowest so I lost two minutes there, but I crossed the finish line at 4:53. It was fantastic!!!
My husband and I met at our meeting point and we hopped on the train back to our hotel. Everyone quickly offered us their seats when we got on the train. New Yorkers are the best! When an older woman in her 70s got on the train, my husband offered her his seat and she refused. She said, “Honey, you need that seat much more than I do!” She was so sweet.
To celebrate we ordered the most wonderful Korean food, something we’re severely lacking in Barbados, and had a few beers. It was glorious! Ever wonder what to do with your foil cape? Throw it into your hotel sink and it’s a cooler for your beer and ice=)
~ a much deserved cold one…or two ~
The next morning was Gwyneth’s 6th birthday so we went out for a pancake breakfast, walked the city (which was the best therapy for sore legs), got an evening sitter for Jackson, and took her out for a fabulous dinner with friends. She fell asleep and we had to wake her for the cake.
~ birthday pancakes, yum! ~
Of course, we couldn’t leave the city without seeing our beloved Rangers.
~ at the Rangers game ~
Overall, it was a phenomenal trip. I felt great after the race and was back to normal within two days. My recovery for this marathon was much faster than before. I started running last week and finally returned to CrossFit yesterday. I still can’t believe it’s over!
Marathon At A Glance
What was my time?
My time in 2011 was 5:11:28. 18 minutes faster this time around!
~ just crossed the finish line ~
What was unexpected?
How terrible I felt during that first mile. I had serious doubts that I was going to finish the race. But after a couple miles, we hit a good pace and I started to feel great. Well, until I hit mile 18…
What was the weirdest thing I saw?
Training for the marathon helped me get back in shape and lose the baby weight! 8.5 months after having my son, I feel really fit!
What would I change?
I would run with a race day running group. I can’t find anyone to run with in Barbados, but if I ran with a group, getting to that finish line might not have been so tough.
What did the organizers do really well?
It’s amazing how well this event is put together. Getting to the starting line still takes a really long time (almost two hours), but since there were 50,000 people headed to the same spot as me, it’s forgivable.
~ selfie on the Staten Island Ferry ~
What needed some work?
The walk that is required of all runners to exit Central Park after the race is killer. All I wanted to do was sit to stretch and breathe, but they funnel you through like cattle for 10 blocks before there’s an exit or even an area to spread out. It’s a terrible set-up.
The same thing happened at the end of the 2011 race, but I had heard that if you opted out of having a personal bag held for the end of the race that the exit for “non-bag” runners would be sooner. No such luck. It was sooner, but only by a block.
What’s my training program?
Would I run this race again?
Nope. I’m done. No more marathons for me. I do love half marathons though, so maybe you’ll see me at another one soon;)
What races do you have coming up? Any half marathon location suggestions?