ING New York City Marathon - RunMarathon

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New York City, New York
United States
New York Road Runners
Total Time = 4h 52m 28s
Overall Rank = 36281/
Age Group = F35-39
Age Group Rank = 2094/
Pre-race routine:

I flew into NYC Friday night and took a cab to the friend's place in Brooklyn where I'd be staying. Shizu, the very best cheerleader in the whole world, flew in Saturday morning and went to the Expo with me that afternoon. We had dinner at a place my brother-in-law recommended, and then went back to the apartment to watch movies. I set out my gear and was in bed by midnight, which was great because with the time change I had a good seven hours for sleeping. Not that I could actually sleep.
Event warmup:

I was up at 6:30 and out the door taking a car to the Staten Island Ferry by 7. I was able to get on the 7:45 a.m. ferry, then hopped a bus to the start area. Security was crazy all along the way, but for all the crowds and chaos, it was all really, really well organized. I ate a bagel with peanut butter -- half on the ferry, half on the bus. I hopped into my corral just before it closed and ditched my throw-away sweats about a quarter mile from the start. And we were off!
  • 4h 52m 28s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 11m 10s  min/mile

I started off this training period with an unfortunate tendonitis issue (self-diagnosed). It wasn't a deal-breaker, but after being side-lined for half a year with PF after my last marathon, I wasn't going to mess around with this. I still wanted to do the marathon, but a PR was out of the question so my training was geared toward a healthy and happy finish. I had no time goals, just wanted to run the whole thing and enjoy it.

With that in mind, I started easy and just went by feel the whole way. The start of the race was awesome -- the huuuuuuuuuge crowds at the start line as the three corrals came together, the music, the run over the bridge of Staten Island, loved it all. Hitting Brooklyn was a blast, with the first big crowds welcoming us. The Brooklyn crowds were massive for the first 10 or so miles, then we hit the dead spot in south Williamsburg (Hasidic neighborhood). I saw Shizu for the first time at mile 4, and stopped to give her a hug, along with my sunglasses and the baggie with cash I'd carried for the car to the ferry.

At mile 12, I knew a couple of other friends would be waiting for me at the bar on Bedford Avenue where my brother-in-law used to work. (Side note: my sister and brother-in-law, who had lived in Brooklyn just three blocks off the marathon course for five or so years, moved back to California FOUR DAYS before the marathon. Bummer not to have them there, but I can't complain because they're back in California!) When I saw my friends outside the bar I ran over to give them hugs, and Scott said, "So, you want a shot?" And I said yes, and he and Julie did a shot of coffee-flavored tequila with me. Yay! We'd talked about doing a shot before but I wasn't sure I'd actually do it until I got there. Turned out to be a great decision -- the drink was sweet and syrupy and the alcohol barely hit me.

My nutrition plan on the whole, however, was a mess. I realized somewhere around mile 13 that I'd screwed it up. Having done two prior marathons I figured I'd just go by the usual plan, but I forgot that meant eating a Shot Blok every two miles -- instead, I was eating one every three miles. Which, it turns out, is not nearly enough calories. (I also probably should have had more for breakfast, given the late start time.) By the halfway point I was feeling *famished*. Really, really hungry, plus my energy was fading way more than it should have, given the easy pace. I bumped up my Bloks to every two miles, but I think the damage had already been done. I was super hungry for pretty much the rest of the race.

Finished Brooklyn and moved into Queens, then across the bridge into Manhattan, and holy shit, the crowds along First Avenue were incredible -- it was like running in a parade, with spectators six or eight deep on both sides, for miles. I stopped for a quick pee break when I spotted a bunch of portapotties with no lines.

I spotted Shizu again at mile 19 and stopped to give her another hug and chat and stretch a bit (seriously, no time goal here). My legs were holding up just fine, although my back was feeling a bit achy. I'd been walking the water stops every two to three miles. I was pleased that the hills -- which were all pretty long, but also pretty gentle -- weren't bothering me. They might have slowed me down, but I don't think so since my pace stayed pretty even throughout the race (I know from looking at data after -- I wasn't really watching my Garmin).

We ran up through Harlem and the Bronx, where the crowds were thinner, but still bigger than almost any other race I've done. Then we were back in Manhattan and the massive crowds, only by now, around mile 21 or so, I was SICK OF THEM. Yep, I was totally over the crowds. I realized in this race that running is, for me, a peaceful, meditative thing, and while I do love the energy of a good crowd, I need to get in my head and just be in the moment when I run, and I was having a hard time doing that. I saw Shizu again at mile 22 and said this to her, and she just laughed and pointed out that she wouldn't be able to make it to the finish line (spectators had to pay, like, $75 to get there), which was fine with both of us.

So the last four or five miles I focused on tuning out the crowds and just running. It worked mostly, although I was just ready to be done. I was thrilled to reach the last leg into the park, where the crowds were very thinned out, and gave a good push to the finish. Done!
What would you do differently?:

My only big mistake was screwing up the nutrition plan, which was just dumb.
Post race
Warm down:

It was a loooooooooooong, cold walk through the finishers' area to get to my poncho, but man, did I love that poncho. So warm! I walked a few blocks to meet Shizu and we took the subway back to Brooklyn, then sadly had to race through dinner, take a quick shower and pack my bags to catch a fight back to San Francisco.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Mostly being injured at the start of training. I did all of my training runs at a really slow, easy pace, and I was pretty half-assed with a lot of the midweek runs (although I got in almost all of the long runs). I even trained with my hand in a cast after breaking a finger, so I can't really be too hard on myself on the training front.

Event comments:

NYC Marathon is amazing. I didn't believe it until I ran it, but it really is a kind of once-in-a-lifetime race. So glad I did it!

Last updated: 2013-06-10 12:00 AM
04:52:28 | 26.2 miles | 11m 10s  min/mile
Age Group: 2094/
Overall: 36281/
Performance: Below average
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5] 5