ING New York City Marathon - Run

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New York City, New York
United States
New York Road Runners
48F / 9C
Total Time = 4h 56m 31s
Overall Rank = /
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

Oatmeal in a cup and some coffee for breakfast, also part of a yogurt. That morning, we had to make our way first to Penn Station and to the Staten Island Ferry, and then from there by bus to the start area. Once at the start area, we waited in a line to use the port-o-potties, and then went to our respective areas. My friend was in orange and I was in green. When I got there, I had some water and a bagel, because my start time wasn't until 10:55.
  • 4h 56m 31s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 11m 19s  min/mile

My plan was to run at a 4:1 run/walk ratio beginning after the Verrazano-Narrows bridge, so maybe around mile 3. Right before the race started, I fired up my timer only to discover that I had a dead battery, in other words, I had switched out a good battery for a dead one before leaving home. Doh!! I felt a little bit of panic at that moment, thinking that I had already ruined my race, but then I snapped out of it. People ran races without timers or even watches for years, so what's the big deal? I decided I would use walk breaks at the 5's according to my watch whenever possible, but no big deal if I missed some. I had a pace band for 5 hours, which I hoped to beat, and I would check it on each mile.

The weather was chilly and windy, but it seemed that the sun was breaking through the clouds. I had only shorts and a short-sleeved shirt for the race, and a windbreaker over that, since I had already ditched the long pants. Right before the race started, I also decided to ditch the windbreaker, since they were collecting for goodwill right there.

At the start area, I felt very much like crying, probably just the nerves. The cannons went off and Frank Sinatra played as we all shuffled towards the starting line. I started my watch right at the line and headed up the bridge! The V-N bridge is a long slow incline, the biggest hill in the race, but I couldn't tell at all. Maybe it was because we were on the lower level and the view wasn't great. By the way, the stories about getting sprinkled on by the people peeing on the top level are not true, at least not any more. They are super strict about not peeing on the bridge and make a lot of announcements about it at the start.

OK, so I was cold on the bridge because it was so windy, but I figured it would get better as I warmed up. I did have to remove my nutrition from my belt because it was bothering me as the fuel pocket bounced. I just held the whole thing in my hand as I ran. Rookie kind of mistake, not to have used the same fuel belt as I trained with.

Brooklyn was amazing. I loved every minute of this part of town! The people were awesome, so loud and interesting, great signs, interesting neighborhoods and buildings, bands, everything. Plus, it is early in the race and the runners are full of energy, too. I felt great and found myself running for 8 or 10 minutes before putting in a short (30 sec) walk break. I figured it was fine since I was taking water at a walk, too.

Leaving Brooklyn for Queens, the energy drops a bit. This is where I felt more serious, more business-like about running. I think I skipped a lot of walk breaks, but I felt good. I remember seeing some good crowd support here, too, but I don't remember a ton about Queens itself. At this point, I was about 3 minutes ahead of the times on my pace band, which I was pleased about, but I knew the hard part had not started yet.

The next thing I knew, we were heading for the Queensboro Bridge. This is a tough time for everyone, it seemed. It's pretty dark on the bridge, very quiet, just the sound of footsteps and breathing. It seems to go uphill for a long time before finally cresting and starting to drop. Still, I had heard so much about the crowds in Manhattan, that I was in a lot of suspense waiting to hear them. You actually hear the cheering crowds quite a bit before you see them, which is neat.

Rounding the curve off the bridge into Manhattan, I felt good but I was working pretty hard already. The crowds here are so strong that it helps immensely. My nutrition and drinking seemed to be fine at this point, and I think I even took my gloves off somewhere around here, I was feeling so comfortable in terms of temperature. I had been over 5 minutes ahead of the pace at some point, but dropped back to 3 minutes. At least that woke me up a bit knowing that I was slowing down and losing time.

On the long straight route through this part of Manhattan heading for the Bronx, though, I definitely started to feel pretty tired. As that feeling grew, my walk breaks got a little bit more frequent, though still not the 4:1 ratio. I started doing the math to figure out how much more time I had left. I remember the bridge out of the Bronx and back into Manhattan - a tiny little bridge - but it felt hard and most runners were walking up it.

Finally back in Manhattan, this part was both exciting and hard. I was tired, my mental state was fairly good, but I was getting colder and colder as I just couldn't keep my temperature up. I felt like I didn't want water, but forced myself to keep drinking a bit at every opportunity. I remember the man next to me saying "Praise God" when we could see the trees of Central Park! It was actually nice at this time of day, too, since the sun was getting lower and breaking through the clouds again, the leaves on the trees of the park were so gorgeous.

The park. What can I say, I was sooooo tired at this point, but no way in hell was I going to walk any more. I was ready to be done, ready to break 5 hours, and at this point, my legs just hurt anyway. I just ran through the pain, what is going to help at this point anyway except being finished? When we just had a 5k left, that was a nice feeling. But then 2 miles left, and 1 mile left! I imagined I was running on a track and only had 4 laps left! Then the banners for 400 yards, 200 yards and finally the finish. Wow!

I felt completely spent at the finish line. Dizzy, shaky and very happy, too. I was handed a space blanket and a bag of snacks. I forced myself to drink some of the Gatorade recovery stuff (yuck) and a few pretzels. Then I began the long journey to bag pickup and finally to meet my family.

What an awesome race! I really want to do it again someday!
What would you do differently?:

Dress more warmly!!!! That would have been much, much more enjoyable not to have been so cold in the last half of the race.
Post race
Event comments:

This race is run so very well. I loved the expo, the start area, the volunteers on course and after the race were great.

Many people will tell you that the course is hard because of the many bridges. Coming from SC and no hills, that did worry me, but I found them to be no problem at all. Training on our bridge, which is a much bigger and steeper hill than any you find in this race, was a great way to get ready for hills.

Last updated: 2013-11-06 12:00 AM
04:56:31 | 26.2 miles | 11m 19s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Good
Course: Through the 5 boroughs of New York City!
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
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: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5