Tuesday, November 5, 2013

New York City Marathon Race Recap

I don't even know where to start. This entire weekend was such a whirlwind experience that left me on the biggest endorphin high ever. As someone who loves reading blogs I'm guessing the race report is what people want to read most but I will also be writing posts about the rest of this incredible weekend. So onto the recap!

Race morning started with a 5:45 wake up call. I stayed at my uncle's apartment on the upper west side for the weekend so it took a little while to make it downtown to catch the Staten Island Ferry. Knowing that I wouldn't start running until 10:05 I waited to have anything to eat and only got dressed before getting on the subway.

Because we were staying on the upper west side I was able to get on the subway at an earlier and was luckily able to get a seat. By the time we made it downtown to the Staten Island Ferry Station we could not have possibly fit more people in our subway car. Since it was a thirty five minute ride I drank an Odwalla mango smoothie to both get in some calories as well as hydration.

I got to the Staten Island Ferry around 7:20 and took a few minutes to soak everything in and say goodbye to my dad. This was the moment that everything started getting real. Even though my assigned ferry time was 6:15 I was planning on taking the 7:30 ferry. I thought I had enough time but it was so crowded that I ended up taking the 7:45.

I meant to pay more attention to how long the ferry ride took but I got too caught up in everything going on. The ferry ride was pretty uneventful but it was warm and actually pretty relaxing. It was really calming knowing that from that point on out I was only surrounded by other runners. We were all in this together.

Once arriving in Staten Island I waited in line for a bus to take me to Fort Wadsworth. This is when I ate my breakfast on a cinnamon raisin bagel. The bus ride wasn’t very eventful either but it felt like it took much longer than it should have. I don’t know how long the ride was but I was off the bus and in the starting village by 9:15.

With a 10:05 start time my corral closed at 9:35. I was nervous about getting into the corral so the first thing I did once getting to Fort Wadsworth was get in my corral. Then I finished getting ready and finally hit the port o potty.

It was really not too cold out, but I was well-dressed. I stayed in my throwaway clothes as long as possible to stay warm. Although getting to the starting village so close to my start time meant I wasn’t outside in the cold for very long I wasn’t able to sit down at all before the race started. It also meant I didn’t really have time to get nervous about what I was about to do.

Miles 1-2
Before I knew it we were in front of the Verrazano and New York, New York started playing. I had a quick “what did I get myself into” moment but that disappeared as soon as I saw the amazing views of the skyline. While the first mile flew by, I did feel like we on the Verrazano for forever. I kept my sweatshirt on because I knew on the bridge would feel cold as it was a windy day, but as soon as we exited the bridge I tossed it.

Miles 3-6
These were some of my favorite miles of the entire race. The spectators in Brooklyn were absolutely incredible. There were so many bands out that I may have danced the entire way. I high fived as many people as possible and I swear every time I got a high five from a little kid I got a burst of energy. The spectators here carried you along and were so genuinely excited for everyone running. One of my favorite things was the old Italian man who said "God bless you" and blew me a kiss. It wasn't in the least bit creepy but was the sweetest thing. These miles also flew by. I couldn't believe when I was already at mile 6.

Miles 7-8
Miles 7 & 8 were very similar to 3-6 except I was starting to get really anxious about seeing my dad and some family friends at mile 8. I started the race at a super easy pace but was having a hard time keeping it so easy because I was so excited. I felt on top of the world and was having a blast. When I finally saw my dad I was elated. I stopped to give him a hug and say hello and to tell him I was having the best time in the world. It was a short stop but gave me the strength to make it though what would be a rough next 10 miles.

Miles 9-15
Not long after I stopped to see my dad did things start to go south. As soon as we started running downhill the much dreaded knee pain made an appearance. Initially it wasn't too bad and I wasn't too worried but the more we went down the more my knee hurt. I honestly don't remember much of anything about the course at this point because I was in so much pain. Coming into this race injured I told myself if I could get to mile 16 and First Ave then I could finish with the help of the crowds. All I remember during this time was doing whatever possible to get to mile 16. I also walked for the first time and decided to walk the aid stations to give my knee some relief.

Miles 16-19
These were the hardest miles of the whole race for me. I'd heard so much about the dreaded Queensboro Bridge but honestly I didn't think climbing it was that bad. Running down it was a different story though. That was the only time I had to walk throughout the race other than the aid stations. The second half of the Queensboro seemed to take forever but as soon as it was over I was turning onto First with all those spectators you always hear about. As much as I wanted to love this part of the course I was just in too much pain. This was the only time I debated whether finishing was a smart idea. Luckily I saw my fan club and was given two ibuprofen type pills. I gritted my teeth and desperately hoped it would help.

Miles 20-21
Between these two miles things started to turn back around. I started feeling some relief but didn't want to get too excited. If I remember correctly these miles were in the Bronx and although there were certainly less spectators they made up for it by being very enthusiastic.

Miles 22-26.2
The homestretch! This was hands down my favorite part of the race. Once we left the Bronx we were running on Fifth. The crowds were insane this entire stretch- they wanted you to finish as much as you wanted to. The specifics have blurred but either mile 21 or 22 was the last aid station I walked. I got a second wind and suddenly felt invincible. I started to pick up the pace a little but was cautious to not run out of steam too early. With each mile I was feeling stronger and stronger. While my mind was telling me to hold back, my heart was telling me to fly so fly I did. I let my legs go and felt completely unstoppable.

Since my knee was primarily bothering me when running downhill the uphill last few miles worked in my favor. When we entered the park I knew I was almost there and couldn't hold back anymore. I was in awe of everything about this race and wanted nothing more than to finish strong. Before I knew it we were reentering the park and rounding the corner to the mile 26 mile marker. These were my favorite two minutes of the race. Everything about it was indescribable. With each flag I tried to pick up the pace, knowing that it would be close to finish in 4:35:XX.

Although I missed my pre-injury goal by around 40 minutes I could not have been happier with how this race turned out. There was a time during the race where I thought I would be finishing well over five hours. Aside from my knee everything went as perfect as it could have. No GI distress, no hitting the wall, nothing. My last 10K was my strongest and fastest of the entire race. Never in a million years did I expect to finish the marathon feeling the way I did.


After the race I made the long, notorious walk out of the park and then back down to 72nd but at least I got a sweet orange poncho out of it. The walk was cold and painful but I was still in awe on the race and ready to see my dad. Once meeting up we went back to the apartment to get a shower and then went out for the biggest dish of pasta I've ever seen.

And that concludes my day on November 3, 2013. Who else ran the NYC Marathon?!


  1. SO proud of you, you pushed through hard training and injury and still pulled out a PR. Maybe it wasn't the original time you wanted, but you know you can only improve from here. You have a lot ahead of you!

  2. Love this recap, and you have some fun photos! It was such a great day.

  3. I am so incredibly happy for you - I wish Laura and I could've seen you out on the course, but I will tell you that she filled me in on the injury situation and we were both crossing fingers, toes, and everything else hoping that you would not only finish, but have a great day. And you did! It may not have been the time you wanted - and are capable of - but you have plenty of opportunities ahead of you. Great job!!

  4. So happy for you!! Congrats on a GREAT day! Big things ahead for you, girl :) Hope you're recovering nicely and that your knee is healing!