2013 New York City Marathon Race Recap

The New York City Marathon is already over. This is so sad. Good thing I can re-live it on the blog, right? Right. Here’s everything you ever wanted to know about my third marathon:

Saturday Night: I ate lots of carbs in the form of spaghetti and bread. After dinner, Brendan took me to his “office” and gave me a bunch of old gear that I could use to stay warm at the starting line and toss once I began running. Thanks to the Jets’ switch to Nike, I was able to take some of their unused, super warm Reebok gear.

new york jets office

I’m fine with Reebok…I’m not sponsored…YET.

I foam rolled, chatted on the phone with my fam, and finished my raceday playlist before going to bed around 10PM.

Race Morning: As soon as we woke up, Brendan started playing motivational videos for me. Isn’t he the greatest? Once I was properly inspired, he drove me to my friend Meghan’s house, where were finished getting ready and watched “Friends” while waiting for our ride. From Meghan’s house, we were able to get to Staten Island via the Bayonne Bridge. It was SO EASY! We were dropped off steps from the starting villages and only had to wait around for 30 minutes or so before our waves were being called. It was so perfect. (And much better than 2011, when I had to take the bus from NJ at 5AM!)

Meghan and I

I’d been up for hours but apparently I still couldn’t keep my eyes open.

And then, the wave fiasco happened. I was supposed to be in wave 3, so I got into a line for my corral and my wave. We waited and waited for about 30 minutes as the line slowly moved. All of a sudden, they shut the gates and told us that wave 3 corrals were closed. WHAT!? Hundreds of us were still waiting. Everyone started yelling and running toward the gate, but no one would let us in. The cannon went off for wave 3 as we were all still standing there. I was so upset – I was very excited to be in the earlier wave. I was ready to go. I was planning to meet up with Meghan along the course so we could run together (she was in wave 3 too). I wanted to run with people my own pace and was hoping to find the 4:30 pacer, also in wave 3. I had friends who were waiting for me based on the starting time I told them. I know I should have stayed positive, but this put me in such a bad mood. I didn’t even enjoy hearing New York, New York at the starting line when I finally got there. I just wanted to run. I was just angry-tweeting, naturally. (Yeahhh sorry about that.)

new york city marathon starting line verrazano bridge

Not a bad day to run a marathon.

new york city marathon verrazano bridge starting line

The views were amazing, but this is the best I could do while running. Whoops.

As I started running, though, I decided that only I have the power to change my mindset, and that negativity wouldn’t do anyone any good. I mean, come on…I was running the NEW YORK CITY MARATHON! And then, I saw BETH! It was the best thing that could have happened. I was so thankful to see her and to be able to share part of her first marathon with her. I think I was more excited for her race than mine. We ran together, just chatting and reveling in the fact that we were FINALLY running this race. After about 6 miles, I decided I wanted to pick up my pace a little bit. I gave her a hug and headed off through Brooklyn (which is totally underrated, by the way. The support there is incredible!).

My knees were already a little achy at this point, which really worried me. I kept focusing on running with a little forward lean like my physical therapist taught me, and that definitely helped take some of the pressure off. The miles ticked by. I was making a major rookie mistake – weaving in and out of other runners – but I felt like I had to. It was a lot more congested than I remember from 2011, although I’m guessing that had to do with starting in the later wave. I knew I did the right thing by starting slower, but was a little anxious I was running too slow to reach my goal of 4:29. (I was a few minutes slower than my pace band showed I should be.) Nevertheless, I kept putting one foot in front of the other, knowing that was all I really needed to do.

Jazz hands! x2

Jazz hands! x2

Eventually I found myself in Queens; a welcome change of scenery after running through Brooklyn for so long (no offense, BK!). I  started thinking about the Queensboro Bridge and how I was ready to take on this notoriously tough section of the course. The rap song I was listening to (can’t remember what it was now) was repeating the lyrics “Queen B” and it made me laugh. Of course they weren’t singing about the Queensboro, but hey, it pumped me up! Whatever works, right?

A lot of people were walking on the Queensboro (or whatever it’s called now…59th Street Bridge?). I felt lucky to have run it multiple times in training this season. (I felt that way on a majority of the course – it’s so nice to know exactly where you are and what’s coming up!) It was frustrating when people were walking in the middle of the bridge instead of moving to the side, but I just focused on what I knew was ahead…the famous 1st Avenue! At this point my watch went crazy as it always does when I run the Queensboro. It said I was at mile 15.1 for pretty much the entire span of the bridge. As you’ll see in my splits, my mile 16 time makes it look like I was basically walking…but I wasn’t! I was powering up that hill. I could faintly hear the cheering coming from 1st Avenue below, and I became extremely antsy and excited.

Before I got to the bridge, my watch was showing that I was running the course about .15 over what the actual mile markers were reading. When I got off the bridge, my watch was at about 15.5 when it should have been over 16. (Sidenote: I remember seeing the “10 miles to go” sign and being SO happy. 10 miles seemed like nothing, but I tried to remind myself that a lot can change in those 10 miles and to not go crazy.) It was at this point that I stopped going by the mileage on my watch and started solely looking at the time. I was trying to calculate the pace I’d have to run to reach my “A” goal, 4:29. That didn’t last long. I can’t do math normally, much less while running a marathon. I did figure out that I was more than a couple minutes off…bummer, but I still thought it was a possibility.

Coming off the bridge into Manhattan was a lot better than I remembered. I knew that a lot of my friends were along this stretch and was really looking forward to seeing them. Not to mention, the spectators in general were pretty fantastic – they were 2-3 rows deep, screaming for everyone…not just their own marathoner. I smiled and waved as people called out my name (which was on my shirt – always write your name on your shirt!). I eventually saw Kim, Abby, Steph, and later on, Ashley and Danielle. It made me SO happy to see each and every one of them and they all really lifted my spirits. (THANK YOU LADIES!!) I’m stealing these pictures from Ashley:

running the new york city marathon, 1st avenue

Photo Credit

I headed into the Bronx around mile 20. I started thinking about my last run with Beth – when we ran the last 10 miles or so of the marathon course – and it gave me strength. My knees were hurting a lot more at this point, so I just reminded myself to run with my heart. I only had a 10K left – I could do that! I saw a guy with a sign that said “F*CK THE WALL”…and then, it was on. There’s always one race sign or saying on a shirt that gets me totally jacked up, and this one was it. (Thank you, random man.) I was smiling ear to ear, thinking there was NO WAY “the wall” was going to get me down. (If you’re not familiar, around mile 20 is typically when runners “hit the wall”. Their energy levels drop, the pain takes over, and they slow down.)

No wall for me today.

new york city marathon bronx

Pure happiness in mile 21.

I saw my coworker at this point and he hopped in and ran with me for about a minute, telling me I looked awesome, which gave me another huge boost. I was still thinking I could maybe hit my 4:29 goal if I ran 10 minute miles the remainder of the race, but looking back I think I must have done the math wrong, haha (sounds about right for me). Anyway, I prepped myself for the long uphill on 5th Avenue, knowing GB and a few others would be there. I wanted to look strong when I saw my friends!

Eventually my knees stopped hurting but my hips started aching, and my energy levels were decreasing (obviously). I gave a thumbs up to people cheering for me, but for the most part just focused on powering up the hill with each step. Thanks to the crowds, 5th Avenue felt much easier on raceday, which was really surprising. (Not EASY, but easier for sure.) There were alot more spectators than I thought there would be. I actually think it was better than 1st Ave, because the road is much narrower so it’s like you’re running through a tunnel of spectators.

In my head, I kept telling myself to keep pushing and not to give up. That I really, really wanted as big of a PR as possible. That I wanted to prove to myself that I could finish faster than I started. I wanted to finish this race proud of myself. As I pushed through the last few hills in Central Park and on Columbus Circle, I just looked straight ahead and pounded the pavement as quickly as I could. I’m SO, SO proud that my last (uphill!) mile was the fastest of the entire day!

NYC Marathon Splits 2013

Even though my watch went nuts at mile 15/16, it ended up showing exactly 26.20 when I finished. How crazy!

I crossed that uphill finish line with my hands above my head, totally ready to stop running but so proud of myself for everything I’ve done this year. Neither of my first two marathons went well for me, so this was a huge PR…based on the official results (which have me running a 4:38 instead of the 4:36 my watch shows), I improved my PR by 44 minutes! (I ran a 5:22 in 2011 in this same race.)

new york city marathon finish line west side

#proof

I’m proud I never walked (minus a few seconds when I got caught up in crowds at a water station). My fueling was perfect (a bagel with PB and a Honey Stinger Honey Waffle before the race; during the race, 3 Gus with caffeine and 3 salt pills, + water and sips of gatorade). I kept a smile on my face. I may not have reached my “A” goal (4:29), but I’m so happy with how the day went.

new york city marathon finisher medals

All smiles!

nycm finisher

Brendan’s Dad and I. Still can’t open my eyes.

Brendan’s parents were gracious enough to go wayyy out of their way to drive me back home to NJ (how did I get so lucky to have all these wonderful people in my life?) at which point I took a hot shower, put on some yoga pants, called my parents and laid on the couch for the rest of the night. Our household was extremely happy with the Jets win and my marathon, so everyone was in great spirits. Today, the outside of my right knee still hurts (which is worrisome), and my quads are definitely the most sore. Although, the more I move, the better I feel!

Now, I just have to figure out what’s next…

Did you run this weekend? How did it go?!

P.S. I’ve written all my favorite NYC Marathon tips here!

I’m a writer currently living in New Jersey and blogging about running, fitness, wellness, and motivation. I want every reader to laugh and feel empowered, balanced, and motivated! Subscribe by email to get 1-2 newsletters a month with post updates, my favorite articles, running playlists and more!
Follow:

39 Comments

  1. November 4, 2013 / 4:38 pm

    “I can’t do math normally, much less while running a marathon.” — ME TOO. Haha. You look so happy and strong in every photo, and I am so happy you got your PR! You’ll definitely go sub 4:30 at the next one, I am sure. CONGRATS!!!

    • November 5, 2013 / 2:57 pm

      Thanks so much Dori! I remember the exact day in 3rd grade that I began hating math…it was the day we learned long division. Ever since, I’ve been horrible at it and therefore have hated it. Haha!

  2. November 4, 2013 / 5:04 pm

    Congrats!!!!!!!!! That’s amazing. Glad you had such a wonderful race.

    • November 5, 2013 / 2:57 pm

      Thank you! I’m still smiling :)

    • November 14, 2013 / 10:55 am

      Thank you!!

  3. Dad & Mom
    November 4, 2013 / 5:54 pm

    We are so proud of YOU!! Mom and Dad

    • November 5, 2013 / 2:57 pm

      Thank you!! xoxo

  4. November 4, 2013 / 7:56 pm

    Nice job!!! Congrats on a new shiny PR!! Way to dig deep too! So exciting! I can’t wait to run NYC next year!!!
    I was in SF last weekend and ran across the Golden Gate bridge so that was awesome!! :)

    • November 5, 2013 / 2:57 pm

      I can’t wait to cheer you on in NYC next year!!

  5. November 4, 2013 / 8:09 pm

    Congratulations!!! We basically had the same experience, so weird! My goal was originally 4:30 but a few weeks of minimal running changed that. I wanted as close to 4:45, and ended up with 4:50. I also ran in 2011 and had a horrible experience due to not fueling right, and finished in 5:22, so this was a huge PR for me as well! Also, Around mile 23 my hips and knees started hurting, which they never do, so it was weird…but I kept thinking, “pain is temporary, pride is forever!” lol. And you’re right, the crowds did make 5th ave seem easier! I ran it in training and thought, omg I’m never going to make it up this hill after running 23 miles!

    Awesome job!!!

    • November 5, 2013 / 2:58 pm

      Wow, we are the same! That’s so funny. Congratulations on your race and PR!!

  6. Jenny
    November 4, 2013 / 8:10 pm

    A 44 minute PR, that’s insane! Great job and congrats on your achievement!

    • November 5, 2013 / 2:58 pm

      Thanks so much!

  7. November 4, 2013 / 8:43 pm

    Ha! I can’t ever do math during a race! And I don’t waste my energy trying! I just want to run and finish. You had a great time for NYC and it looks like you had fun, you look happy at the end too which is what matters. And I love that you got to use the Jets old gear as your throwaway jacket, how cool is that?

    Congratulations again!!

    • November 5, 2013 / 2:59 pm

      Haha, exactly! Too much thinking wastes energy :) I had so much fun, I’m very sad it’s all over :(

    • November 5, 2013 / 2:59 pm

      Thank you, Cynthia!

  8. November 5, 2013 / 8:11 am

    WAY TO GO!!!! I am especially impressed by your ridiculously fast last mile – that is so awesome :)

    • November 5, 2013 / 3:03 pm

      If only I could have crowds cheering me on for all my tempo runs… :) thank you Laura!

  9. November 5, 2013 / 3:19 pm

    Oh my goodness, a 44 minute PR? That’s INSANE!!! You were AMAZING!!!!!

    • November 5, 2013 / 8:34 pm

      Thank you!! I was actually thinking about you and your AWESOME marathon a lot, and it inspired me!

  10. November 6, 2013 / 7:08 am

    What an amazing PR!!! Well done!!!

    • November 14, 2013 / 10:55 am

      Thanks so much!

  11. November 6, 2013 / 8:09 pm

    Great job babe!!! So close to your goal that i think you can call it done!! Ps: wtf on getting shut out pf your wave!!!?!?!? Wtf!!

    • November 14, 2013 / 10:56 am

      Hahaha you knowwww it doesn’t work that way :)

  12. November 6, 2013 / 9:03 pm

    a) congrats amazing!!!!! what a pr. b) i can never ever do the math. my husband plays the over/under game and i am like what c) yay for nj.

    • November 14, 2013 / 10:57 am

      Thank you! Haha yes my mind blocks out anything involving numbers.

  13. November 14, 2013 / 10:48 am

    Great race! I was in the Green corral and because of running on the lower level of the bridge my Garmin miles were also all out of whack, so it just became a glorified stop-watch. You really had an advantage over us out of towners – the 59th Street Bridge was terrible for me!

    • November 14, 2013 / 10:58 am

      Yeah those bridges always mess Garmins up! But sometimes it’s nice to just ignore it and not worry about the numbers :) Congratulations on your race!

  14. Beth
    November 18, 2013 / 1:59 pm

    This post made me tear up and just be SO INCREDIBLY HAPPY FOR YOU! And insanely proud of you! You are so STRONG! You are proof that hard work pays off and the power of believing in yourself. I was beyond excited to get to run those first 6 miles with you and get to share some of this amazing experience with you. I’m so so so proud of you! You have inspired me so much! Now I just need to get faster so we can run a WHOLE MARATHON together! :)

    • November 19, 2013 / 8:21 pm

      I love you! Thank you!! And let’s do it…you pick a marathon and I’m in!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *