November 6, 2015

New York City Marathon Race Recap

November 1st was a good day, in fact a very good day in New York City for those runners participating in the marathon.  While the weather would not be considered ideal for running, it was not uncomfortably hot and we would not freeze in the athlete's village.



My morning started with a 4:30 am alarm followed by my usual jumping out of my bed saying "It's race day!". Mind you I had woken up at 3:30 and never quite gotten back to sleep due to race day excitement.  It was nice to have the extra hour from Daylight Savings so I still managed to get close to 7 hours of sleep.  After quickly getting dressed and eating my first breakfast of banana and an English Muffin with peanut butter, my roomie Joanne and I met our teammate Sam in the lobby of the hotel and went outside to hail a taxi or Uber car.  We got an Uber car quickly and proceeded to the first stop which was at the library where Sam and I would take the bus to Staten Island.  Joanne had chosen the ferry as her mode of transportation so she stayed in the car for the second drop off point.

After arrival at Fort Wadsworth on Staten Island, Sam and I made our way to the Runner's Village with 49, 998 other runners. After about a 1/2 mile walk, we entered the Blue wave area.  It was well organized with tents filled with volunteers serving bagels, Power Bars, coffee, tea, hot chocolate and water. Both of us brought our own food, but in hindsight, we would have been fine with the offerings at the village. At about 8:30 am, I ate my second breakfast of another banana and English Muffin with peanut butter with some Gatorade. There also were volunteers from Dunkin' Donuts handing out these really cute knit hats with the NYC 2015 logo.

Ebay image
Porta potties were plentiful and we found a tree to lean against for the next 3 hours.  Yes, you read that right, after arriving by bus at 6:15 am, we had more than 3 hours to wait until we would move into our corral.  With people watching and trying to stay warm, the time did go quickly and soon our Wave 2 start group was entering the corral area.  After a few minutes, the corral was closed and we started our walk to the start.  After passing the toll booths, we knew it was go time.

Miles 1-6:  Splits 10:43, 9:29, 10:11, 10:11, 10:08, 10:06  The race starts with a huge uphill climb for the first mile on the Verrazano Bridge.  I knew what to expect and told Sam goodbye as he sped up the hill and I kept an easy pace.  This was a long race and I knew conserving energy on this first challenge of the course was important.  As soon as we hit the top of the bridge, the downhill came and by my splits you can see how much faster I ran the second mile which was all downhill.  Going with my legs and staying comfortable we soon were in Brooklyn with crowds that were not only enthusiastic, but deafening at times.  One of my goals for this race was to smile alot and I don't think a smile left my face for the first 6-7 miles.  It was amazing to have so much crowd support going through so many different neighborhoods which started with Bay Ridge moving into Sunset Park. One of the things that stood out to me were the places of worship mixed in with stores and restaurants, with many spectators offering their hands in support of all the runners.

Miles 7-12: 9:58, 9:58, 9:59, 9:46, 10:16, 9:49  During this next neighborhood called Park Slope, there were some lovely Victorian homes with numerous families cheering with cowbells and their voices. Many times during this race I turned my music off so I could soak in the crowd and atmosphere.  These miles seemed to go by quickly with a slight downward slope and bands and spectators keeping the runners entertained.  One thing that bothered me during the race was the number of runners who seemed oblivious to the other runners on the course.  Between miles 7 and 8, I was given a "flat tire" by a foreign runner. She stepped hard on my heal removing my shoe and I was very fortunate not to take a header into the pavement.  Turning around quickly, a tall man was right behind me, but he was alert and missed me and I was able to grab my shoe and put it back on.  While I did receive an apology, she never stopped and continued to be consumed with the crowd and totally unaware of those around her, with the exception of her posse of 5 other runners.  Let's just say I was not pleased!  After mile 9, there seemed to be alot of turns on the course and this definitely reduces your speed.

Mile 13:  9:58  This mile marker was the one I was most excited about because I knew my niece Erica planned to be spectating here. I spotted her running along the road barrier and screamed as soon as I saw her.  I quickly turned around and she took this photo.  It is the only candid race photo I have other than those taken my Marathon Foto.
Big smile for Erica!
Halfway: 2:13.18 A marker on the Pulaski Bridge marked the middle of the course and I was very happy with the time on my watch.  I had conserved energy, but was still giving a strong effort.  I knew the hardest part of the course was coming, and the most challenging would be mile 16 that included another bridge, this time the Queensboro that takes you from Queens into Manhattan.

Miles 14-19: 10:11, 10:20, 11:03, 9:57, 10:20, 9:59  For some reason I struggled during this part of the marathon, and this was the area that Coach Sami said would be difficult.  The bridge was long and it seemed like we had a fair bit of wind.  I tried my best, but I knew my paces were lagging.  In every marathon most everyone experiences highs and lows and I think this was one of the times I was fighting those negative thoughts in my head. One huge surprise was after exiting the bridge onto 1st Street in Manhattan, I expected huge crowds and noise.  It was eerily quiet despite many people lining the streets.  This was quite strange and perhaps they were sick of cheering after being out there for many hours.  I kept raising my arms asking for some noise to get me going again!

Miles 19-24: 10:17, 10:07, 10:19, 10:10, 10:37  During these miles we covered two more bridges as we moved from Manhattan, to the Bronx and back to Manhattan.  When we crossed the 138th street bridge and moved back into Manhattan, I knew we were getting closer and I was excited to be arriving at 5th Avenue.  This street was the beginning of the end and despite the incline, I tried to pick it up a notch.  Fifth Avenue is on an incline and it has one section where you feel like you are climbing a mountain between miles 23 and 24. By the time I got to 24, I really wanted to walk the rest of the way.  I mean I really really wanted to walk.  But I kept myself focused and stayed with my planned intervals and finally got out of my mental hell.  At around mile 23, I was calculating in my head what I needed to run to finish under 4:30. Let me tell you that after running for nearly 4 hours, my brain took a very long time to figure out what I needed to do!

Miles 25-26.2:  10:08, 9:57, last .2 at 9:11 pace The last two miles included East Drive and the final turn into Central Park for the finish line. There were tons of runners in this congested area, but I kept on trucking and passed many during this last stretch.  When I turned into Central Park for the last time, I was so emotional that tears started to form in my eyes.  After getting food poisoning and finishing the Boston Marathon last April under not the best circumstances, I needed this race to get my marathon confidence restored.  As I crossed the finish line, tears brimmed from my eyes as my goal had been met.  This race gave me back the marathon!


Tears of joy
Other details just in case you are interested:  I ate a half banana that was given out around mile 15 on the course. (That could be incorrect mileage, but I am still suffering from marathon brain post race.)  My GU supply was ample and I took one starting at mile 4, but then ended up taking them a little closer together after mile 13. In all, I took 6 gels during the race, some with caffeine and some without. Water and Gatorade stops were plentiful, in fact more so than any other marathon I have run.  Due to the humidity, I took a drink at every station except one, when I missed the Gatorade and did not want water.

Official Results:
Time: 4:28:27
22875/49460 Overall
7052/20674 Female
67/409 Age Group Female 60-64

46 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Karien, I would recommend this race for all marathon runners.

      Delete
  2. Fantastic race and I love the candid turnaround picture! Great work as I know that many people had a bit rougher of a day. Like Chicago, many people didn't heed the weather. But you nailed it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Susie. I have a great coach who had provided detailed information about the course and definitely warned her runners about the back half!

      Delete
  3. You ran such a smart race. Great job! I was cheering from afar.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Darlene...next time we will meet in NYC!

      Delete
  4. First of all, you did an AMAZING job at taking this race in like you hoped to! There are definitely things you mentioned that I literally don't even remember! I unfortunately went into this race with a really negative mindset, so I think that really affected the way I felt about it.

    Second, that turn off the bridge on to 1st Ave...I remember being it SOOOO quite too! Which is weird because everyone says that's the loudest place on the course!

    I am so glad you enjoyed this race and that it helped you get your marathon confidence back!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Danielle. I did find the quiet 1st Ave to be such a weird thing. I was expecting roaring crowds and found quite the opposite.

      Delete
  5. that is marvelous! though I just cannot wrap my head around waiting 3-4 hours to start. You could've run the marathon in that time! lol. but what a fabulous race. You did amazing. Congratulations!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mar I think as long as you have someone to wait with, the area is comfortable and in fairness, we had perfect weather for the pre race wait. I know some years it has been really cold.

      Delete
  6. Waiting so long- oh my goodness! I'd go crazy with that! But what a cool race- NYC is one of my favorite cities. I'm glad you had awesome success out on that course- you always look so happy when you run!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Patty. The wait really was not that bad since Sam and I kept each other entertained. It's also fun to people watch at a race start!

      Delete
  7. SO PROUD OF YOU, Pam!! Congratulations on your comeback race and you did an amazing job!! Way to go! (Btw, I couldn't imagine waiting that long to start a race! lol Kudos to you guys!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Karen. It reminds me a bit of the Disney races because you do wait up so darn early for those. However, you don't have near as long a wait.

      Delete
  8. Congratulations on a great race! I love the photos and am so glad you had good weather and a great day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We were very lucky with the good weather and strong crowd support. Thank you so much.

      Delete
  9. WAY TO GO! you ran an amazing race and i loved reading this - your joy is just so apparent. i love it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Courtney. I really needed a strong race and now I am ready to tackle a marathon for time again!

      Delete
  10. I'm so proud of you- what an AMAZING finish time and also a great race experience. I loved following your blog through it and also looking at your results on race day. Glad you guys had a good day and great weather. I hope your recovery is going well and can't wait to see what you do next.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This means alot Amy coming from such a strong runner. Recovery has been going well and I have been foam rolling and stretching nightly. I am now excited for my 2016 races!

      Delete
  11. Loved reading your recap. Thanks for taking me through the course one more time. I loved every line. The Queensboro Bridge and the Bronx were really the hardest part, the Bridge was hard mentally and the Bronx was really hard physically I thought. It was such an emotional race overall. Your finish is so beautiful and I'm sending you a HUGE Congratulations! Well Done!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for the nice comments. It was a fantastic race experience and I would go back every year in a heartbeat. I do have lots of other races that I would like to run, but there will be another NYC Marathon in my future race plans.

      Delete
  12. Congratulations! That is a fantastic finish time! Great picture, I love the joy in it! Well deserved and earned!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Maggie. You are always so supportive of Christine and me and we both really appreciate it.

      Delete
  13. Congrats Pam! Lacey and I are so proud of you. We watched on TV hoping to catch a glimpse of you. We saw all the runners wearing those orange caps and wondered if they were given in the swag bags.
    I am so glad the girl stepping on your shoe did not cause a fall. However, we did see a girl wipe-out right at the begining of the race and yup, she was shown on TV! Not a great race to start the NYC marathon! -M

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks ladies. I think they only show the speedsters on TV! Yes, falling would be awful after all that training and work. It really shook me up when I had my shoe removed by one of the other runners.

      Delete
  14. Great great job! You look like you are dancing in that picture at mile 13!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I felt like dancing when I saw Erica. She made me smile and really picked me up when the race starts to get tough

      Delete
  15. Way to go, Pam! So happy that you've reconquered the marathon! I still can't believe how long you had to wait prior to the start of the race. That's just insane!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, the wait time is really long, but honestly Sam and I sat and chatted the whole time and it went by so quickly.

      Delete
  16. Great race! You really did get it back! I do think runners get self-absorbed during races, but I'm not sure if it's rudeness or cluelessness from focusing so hard on what they are doing. I've accidentally elbowed someone -- but I do apologize!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree that sometimes it is hard not to have an elbow bump, but not watching your footing on a crowded course is a recipe for disaster. I was so fortunate that I did not fall.

      Delete
  17. Great job, Pam! You are always an inspiration to me as I am also 61 years old but training for my first marathon at Disney in January. Did you use intervals in NY and if so, what ratio?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I used 4/1 once I got a couple miles into the race. The first mile is totally uphill on the Verrazano Bridge and the next mile is downhill, so it did not seem smart to try to walk when the course was so crowded. Have fun at the Mickey Marathon. I'm running that one too.

      Delete
  18. Wonderful Pam! Congratulations on a strong race! I love your candid photo. You did a great job in pacing. That's very close to an even split. What an extra nice touch for the Dunkin Donuts folks to do. I worry in large races about being stepped on, etc. I've been elbowed a few times, but that's all. Isn't it funny after you've run for a long while, you can't remember how to do math. I struggle with that!

    Great job! You should be very proud.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Holly. I am really proud of the race because I definitely had to fight for it after mile 20. They always say a marathon starts after 20 miles and I felt that way during NYC.

      Delete
  19. Great race, Pam!!! Hope to see you at the Disney Marathon in Jan.!! ------ Denise

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Are you also running the Mickey Marathon Denise? I love that marathon, it was my first in 2013!

      Delete
    2. Yes!!! It was also my first in 2012!! ------ Denise

      Delete
  20. Congrats Pam! I was following you online Marathon Sunday and cheering you on. I thought the mobile tracking was excellent - it would say which mile marker you were at in addition to each 5K split. Last year I had no idea the food would be so plentiful at the starting area. I was also surprised coming off the Mile 16 bridge the "wall of sound" wasn't there. I wonder if all those spectators have move onto Brooklyn - which was definitely loud for me. Again, congrats! Excited you will have Tokyo next (I am thinking of Berlin for next year). Maybe we'll eventually converge and run London the same year ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Jenny. It was really fun and I loved almost every minute, except the whole shoe incident. I have backed out of Tokyo and Chicago in the fall! Hopefully we meet at a race sometime soon!

      Delete
  21. Pam I have tears reading this!!! What an amazing race for you!!!! SO so proud of you!!! And I totally understand the whole someone stepping on the heel of your shoe and it coming off thing. That happened to me in March at a local 10K. But it worked out for the best because since that happened I met my friend Jenny on the course and we've been inseparable ever since! Congrats again!!!

    ReplyDelete
  22. I heard it was a tough race day, but you did awesome! This is definitely on my race bucket list!! Although I don't know how I feel about the 2-3 hour wait around before the start...

    ReplyDelete
  23. Pam I always love reading your recaps! I got tears in my eyes reading about your finish and am so excited that you had a great race. Can't wait to hear how the next one goes :)

    ReplyDelete
  24. Congratulations on running the Big Apple! I'm glad your weather was so much better than last year's weather. Great job!

    ReplyDelete
  25. I know I'm late to the party, but I've so been looking forward to sitting down and reading your NYCM recap! CONGRATULATIONS on an amazing race! You definitely captured the "ups and downs" (no pun intended, haha) of the NYC Marathon. I didn't perform nearly as well as you did, and I definitely didn't meet any time goals, and yet I bawled like a baby at the finish line, lol. So happy for you, and glad you had such a great experience! :-D

    ReplyDelete