Thursday, November 7, 2013

ING New York City Marathon

November 3, 2013

Saturday: I've been looking forward to running this race for years! I was so happy to be traveling to NYC on my birthday. I intended to celebrate my big day by hanging out with friends and running 26.2 through the streets of New York!

Kathy, Sue and me at the expo.
Donna, a friend from my running group, picked me up at 4:30 am saturday morning. Her flight was an hour earlier than mine, but I decided the early wakeup was worth it, so that I didn't have to drive up to Tampa and drive home on Monday. We made good time to the Airport and were soon parting ways. She was flying a different airline, with a layover in Atlanta, while I had a direct flight with Delta. I got my bag checked, grabbed a coffee and hung out until we were called to board. The flight up was uneventful and only about 2 hours. Once we landed. I texted Donna, to let her know I had made it and was going to hop on the shuttle and would meet her at our hotel. We had a crazy ride in to Manhattan, these drivers are fearless! I got to the hotel, the Sheraton Times Square, which was also the race headquarters. I believe a lot of the pro athletes were staying there, and of course, lots of middle of the pack runners, like me. :) Once Donna got to the hotel, we checked our bags, then made our way to the shuttle that would take us to the expo. Once at the expo, we didn't have much of a line. Which I hear was not the case in the previous two days. I got my shirt, a medium, which thankfully fit, as they had nothing larger left in women's sizes. I met up with Linda, one of my Active Ambassador teammates. She is with Powerbar, so she handed me a package filled with goodies and I handed her a bunch of Aquaphor samples. Nice trade! :) We talked for a bit, before trying to meet up with Kathy. We found Kathy, walked a round a bit with her, before finding Sue. Took some photos, then Donna and I walked a round the expo a bit more before heading back to the hotel. I actually left with only one purchase! A pair of cool compression socks. I did, however, purchase a marathon tank top and arm warmers a week ago online. ;)

Once we got back to the hotel, we were able to check in. We hung out a bit before heading to Times Square for the Marathon Maniac group photo. And then we were off to an early dinner. Unfortunately it was a pasta place that did not have anything gluten free. So, I settled for grilled chicken and a side salad. We had a good dinner with Maniac friends, before heading back to the hotel. I stopped at a little corner market for water and Fritos. I was still hungry and needed my prerace carbs. :) Thankfully, these worked. I had not issues the next day. Shouldn't really try something new the night before a race!

Race Morning:

Daylight saving's ended this morning, so we got an extra hour of sleep. With such a late race start, this didn't really help us much. We were both up on our own, way before the alarm went off at 6 am. We took our time getting ready, then headed downstairs. We got coffee in the lobby, then headed to the subway. We only had a few minutes to wait before we, along with many other runners, packed into the subway. Donna got a seat, and then I got a seat a couple of stops later. That was good, because we then heard that all the people in the cars further down, were going to have to come and squeeze into the first few cars for the last stop. The subway car quickly became jam packed! Thankfully, it was only that way for a short ride, before we all unloaded at the ferry dock. After about a 15-20 minute wait in the crowded building, we walked onto the ferry, found a seat on the floor near a window and settled in for the ride.

Once we got moving, we noticed a small coast guard boat traveling along side of us. They were there to protect us! There was a guy at the front of the boat with a large gun. The ride didn't seem to take long and soon we were on Staten Island. Another long line greeted us. This time the line was for the buses that would take us to the start village. We made it through that, got on the bus and took the short trip to the base of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. Lots of security awaited us there. Police had the wands out and waved it over each runner after they exited the bus. We then made the short walk to our Blue village. Donna and I found a nice grassy spot that was protected from the wind. Race morning temp is mid 40s, with a wind chill in the 30s. Someone had left behind a plastic cushion, so we took advantage of it after a pit stop at the porta potties. Many runners seemed to have these cool orange and pink hats, so I went in search of those. I ended up in the Orange village, where they had a nice set up! Coffee, water, food and plenty of porta potties with no wait. I couldn't figure out why we didn't have that. As I learned later, when we walked further down to the corrals, we had just not gone far enough into our blue village. All that was there for us too! We hung out for a while, before hearing our time called to line up in the corrals at 10:25. We stripped off some of the extra clothing we had on before getting into the tight corral space. We found the 4:30 pacers right away. We didn't have to wait very long in the corral before they had us moving towards the start area. Donna and I talked with Julia, the 4:30 pacer, who is also a Marathon maniac. I told her I hoped to stay with them for the entire race! After another short wait, we were finally starting!

Miles 1 to 10 - 10:06, 9:38, 10:04, 10:06, 10:04, 10:04, 10:01, 10:09, 10:04, 9:57
Donna, Julia and me before the 11am start.
The early miles are a bit of a blur. :) I keep hearing about how steep the bridge is and that the first mile is hard, but I really didn't notice it. I took one quick photo, then put my phone away so that I could concentrate on the race. It was so tightly packed. I tucked in behind Julia, but there were a lot of people with the same idea. I was getting knocked around a lot. When we started our down hill run, Julia kept the pace slow, which was hard, but I knew we needed to do that, so I kept with it. The wind was brutal. After a few miles, I realized that I probably should have worn another layer under my Maniac tank. I kept with the pace group through the first 10 miles. If I needed water, I ran ahead of them a little to get it, then caught back up with them. It worked out well. I had my first gel at mile 5, a peanut butter Gu. I figured after all the coffee I had that morning, I didn't need a Gu with caffeine yet. At mile 10, I had half a pack of Power bar Cola blasts.

Miles 11-17 - 10:07, 10:00, 9:53, 9:44, 10:06, 11:30, 9:18
Feeling good and still on pace. I loose the pace team at a water stop around mile 12. I just keep going, trying to stay on pace. Just before the 13 mile mark, we run up an overpass, where I decide to go ahead and take a short walk break to save my legs. At mile 15, I have my second Gu, the Salted Caramel, as we make the turn to run over the Queensborro Bridge. This spot is so cold. My lip is getting numb, which happens to me on cold days when running a long distance. We are running on a lower level, so no shade, plus we have the wind blowing through. It's a long, gradual up hill that is rough. This ends up being my slowest mile of the race (11:30). But with an uphill, comes a down hill. I feel like I am flying as I run down the bridge and enter Manhattan. I turn the corner to the left and see lots of crowd support cheering to the right. We make another left turn to run under the bridge. I see a line of porta potties with no lines! Amazing! I see one with a green open slot, so dash over. I get in the fastest potty break ever, exiting just as the pace group is passing! I catch up with them and continue on with our pace. This mile ends up being my fastest (9:18), even with the bathroom stop!

Me and Donna before the race.

Miles 18 to 23 - 9:37, 9:53, 10;38, 10:30, 10:01, 10:06
From mile 16 to 20, we are running up First Ave. The crowd support is tremendous. It has been great throughout the entire race, but I really feel it here. The miles go by fast. I am soon at mile 20, running over another bridge, into the Bronx. I eat the rest of my Cola blasts. I have been taking my endurolytes here and there, but, since it's not hot, I'm not feeling like I need them as much. Just after mile 21, we head out of Queens, back into Manhattan for the final time.

Miles 24 to 26 - 10:46, 10:44, 10:26
Finishing strong and happy.
The last few miles were the hardest. We are now running up Fifth Ave, next to Central Park. Miles 23 and 24 are a steady climb up hill. It's not steep, but the gradual climb is taking a toll on my legs. This is where I loose the pace group. I had to take a short walk break on this stretch. Thankfully, it only added half a minute to my mile pace, but the walk helped a lot. By now the entire left side of my face is numb from the cold. I was getting a little worried about that. It's never gotten this bad before. We enter Central Park at around mile 24.5. The hills are a little more rolling here. I decide to eat my last Gu while on a walking break. Maybe that last bit of energy boost will help. The Passion Fruit Roctane is awesome! We exit Central park on W 59th St, which is flat! I feel like I pick up some speed here. Just before turning right to run back into Central Park, I look at my watch and see 26 miles. A little further I look at the time for 26.2 (I haven't gotten to 26 on the course yet. I did a lot of weaving). My Polar GPS watch shows a time of 4:25! I wish that was my official time! One day. :) Finally, we get to the banner that shows mile 26. A little past this, I see the finish line. I want to finish strong, so I try to pick up the speed, even though we are on an up hill, but my right shin cramps up. I feel like my leg is going to give out, so I slow down the pace a little. I finish with a smile knowing I still have a PR! :)

Finish: 4:32:17

After we finished, all runners got a mylar blanket, a bag with snacks and water, before making the long walk north. Eventually, we were seperated from the runners who had checked a bag. We turned left, to leave the park, then walked back south, along the edge of the park. Finally, we recieved our orange ponchos. I thought they were very nice. They provided a lot of warmth, which I really need. I decided to just walk back to the hotel instead of trying to find a subway entrance. In a daze, I finally made it back to the room. Donna was not to far behind me. We relaxed for a while before heading out to dinner.

The New York City Marathon is a great race. Pros: tons of crowd support, aid stations at every mile, great views of the city from the bridges. Cons: very crowded. I weaved a lot trying to stay with the pace group, which added distance to my overall time.

No comments:

Post a Comment