I wish this was a “I SMILED THE WHOLE RACE” type of race recap… but it’s not. The whole weekend was just off… I felt like I was stressed and tired the whole time and the actual race was no different (hashtag: debbie downer).
Here’s the weekend run down:
We had a 7:30AM flight on Friday morning, but it was delayed, so we killed over 2 hours at the airport before leaving. Brutal when you’ve been up since 4:30… and when you went to bed at 12:30 because you waited until 8pm to start packing! We got to the hotel around 1PM rested a little then headed to the expo. We were so tired, but knew we needed to get over to the expo sooner rather than later.
We decided to take the free expo shuttle, which turned out to the be the worst idea ever! There was a wreck on/in the Lincoln Tunnel and traffic was literally gridlocked along 11th Ave, which also happened to the the route the shuttle was taking. The worst. The expo was what I imagined it to be… huge, but along the same size if the Chicago Marathon expo, so it wasn’t too overwhelming.
I didn’t love any of the race gear, sad face, but I did get a NYCM pint glass and a cow bell. You know, the essentials! By the time we finished at the expo, we were EXHAUSTED … plus we hadn’t eaten for HOURS (like idiots). I think this is when I started getting nervous for the race. Like why didn’t I go to bed earlier the night before?! Why didn’t I remember to eat?! We headed back to the hotel, napped for an hour a so, then got ready to meet Katie, one of my best friends from college, for dinner in West Village. We completely underestimated what the taxi situation in Midtown would be like at 8pm on a Friday, so we were frantically searching for a cab. Oh and for the record, only black cars and SUVs line up at The Palace, there is no taxi line, so if you want a cab there, you have to wait for the bellhop/taxi man guy to whistle and hail you a cab. At this point, I was tired and so frustrated, but relaxed once we got to dinner and saw Katie. :) We enjoyed some wine at dinner and a few beers after – seemed like a good idea at the time!
We slept in a little, then headed up to the Upper West Side for brunch. What sucks about staying in hotels is that you cant just eat immediately (unless you want $45 room service french toast). Lesson learned for next time – stock room with small breakfast items! By the time we showered and got dressed we were famished! We chose the Upper West Side for brunch because we had never been there and we knew we wanted to creep over to the finish line at some point during the day. The weather on Saturday was AWESOME. So awesome that we ate outside, sans coats!
After brunch, we wondered around Central Park. IT. WAS. GLORIOUS. I felt like I was in a movie or something. Central Park in fall is brilliant.
Then of course we took pictures in front of the finish line.
Saturday night we went to Forcella (allegedly it’s is supposed to be good – per Yelp). Not impressed. I don’t know if it was just because I was still so tired from lack of food and sleep on Friday or because I was so hungry from walking around all day, but I was annoyed the whole time we were there. It took so long for the waiter to show up with just our waters and he wasn’t keeping our glasses full (hello! We needed to hydrate!) and then he brought me the wrong pizza! Then instead of apologizing, he rolled his eyes and told me I ordered what he brought. Whatever. They then brought me the pizza I did order (four cheese- what up!) in about five minutes, thankfully. After we finished eating, we sat there, waterless and checkless for far too long. WAH.
Once we got back to the hotel, we started laying things out for for the race. I got my Garmin out to charge it… ONLY TO DISCOVER MY CHARGER HAD BROKEN IN MY LUGGAGE. No place in town sold just the charger (I know because Molly and I called everywhere). Luckily I was able to charge my Garmin by holding the charger on the watch… until my hand went numb/when it had four bars. Crisis avoided (but not really because my watch died at mile 25.5!). Bed time.
We had planned on getting up at 5:30 (both set our alarms), but I was wide awake at 5… which turned out to be a good thing because I had set my alarm for 6:30PM. PM!!! I was a discombobulated mess all weekend. We ate our pre-race breakfast in style in our room before heading to the subway.
We planned to take the 7:15 Staten Island ferry. Hotel man said it would take 25 min to get to the ferry via cab and 35 via the train, so we decided to just take the subway, you know because we are like native New Yorkers. As it turns out, we are not like native New Yorkers, because I’m sure native New Yorkers would have known that it would NOT take 35 minutes to get to the ferry from midtown via the 4/5 train on a Sunday morning.
We didn’t even get off the train until 7:20, so we missed the 7:15 ferry. Then we thought (like idiots) that we could get on the 7:30 ferry. WRONG. So many humans. Finally got on the 7:45 ferry. Needless to say, we were pretty stressed and frazzled at this point, but once we got on the ferry, we relaxed at little. Plus, we are tourists and tourists love Lady Liberty and lucky us, we had a view of Lady Lib the whole ride to Staten Island.
It was REALLY windy on Staten Island and I really started getting even more nervous. Because we had missed two ferries, we didn’t have a ton of time to relax in the runner’s village, which is unfortunate because I was so tired and was hoping to just sit/relax/maybe nap a lil before the race. We did have time to take some sweet pics of our throw away gear though…
And FINALLY, at 10:55AM, we started the race!
I knew it wasn’t in the cards to CRUSH my PR (wind, bridges, lack of sleep), but I thought a PR might be possible (my PR is 4:48). I really underestimated the amount of hills on the course. I did ZERO hill work (like an IDIOT). The wind was also pretty brutal, but nothing I hadn’t seen before (I am from THE Windy City after all)… it was just the combo of the hills and wind that got me. My game plan for the race was to run “conservatively” (11-10:30 min miles) for the first 13, then try to drop “down” to 10 min/miles from 13-20 and then from 20-26.2 just run with whatever was left. This actually went according to plan until mile 13 (and I wish I had a charged Garmin to confirm this). I loved the first half. So many little kids high fiving and I loved hearing people cheering for me! I also liked the people handing out tissues – my nose thanks you.
But then at mile 10, some idiot face stopped short in front of me and I came to an awkward stop and my knee hasn’t felt the same since. I’m not sure what really happened and the knee definitely wasn’t the reason for my demise, but I was worried about it for the rest of the race. (It still feels weird… but then again, I’m still sore all over)
At mile 13, there was a bridge leading to what I think was Queens. It was cold and Queens sucked. It was not pretty (like just a bunch of gross warehouses) and I got pretty lonely at this point (it’s hard to run a race in a new city with limited adoring fans). I’m not sure why I was so lonely and sad, because at this point I was still on pace to PR. Then came the bridge at mile 15 (Queensboro maybe?). I think I left a little bit of my soul on that bridge. I’m not sure what happened to me, but I was pretty demoralized for the rest of the race after that bridge. Not even the crowds on First Ave could save me… and I had my music down really low, because I was hoping to feed off the crowd. And I missed my only two friends out cheering! And I swear to God First Ave also felt like a gradual hill?! Or maybe I was just spent from the bridge, who knows. And the numbered streets, while helpful as a tourist, are not helpful as a marathoner. Counting down miles is bad enough, but now I was counting down blocks!
I also was so lonely in the Bronx. Oh and walked up the bridge that took us to the Bronx. And then I stopped to stretch once I ran down the bridge. But at this point I was past the 20 mile marker and I just need to make it another 6 miles.
I honestly do not remember much about the last 6.2 miles. Well besides the “Welcome to Harlem, Bitches” sign. I liked that. I really wished I wasn’t hating life at this point, because it was pretty amazing to be running down 5th Avenue. It was picture perfect and the crowds were amazing. This was the second place I walked during the race (first was up the bridge to the Bronx). I didn’t allow myself to walk for very long (like less than .25) because I knew that the longer I walked, the worst my time would be and at this point, I was still within reach of at least matching my PR (my secret goal was run 4:45).
Turning into Central Park was also cool and picture perfect. The only thing not perfect about it was how beat up I was feeling (physically and mentally). I didn’t take a lot of pictures during the race, but I do remember thinking “you should take a picture now because this is pretty sweet to be running the New York City Marathon,” so I took this picture.
I also remember fighting off tears at this point and not “yay I’m running a marathon and I love life” tears. At mile 24 I knew I wasn’t going to get 4:45, so I just did my best to break 5 hours. Oh and my other goal once I knew I wasn’t going to PR, was to not look like a t-rex while running… which actually was pretty hard because I’m pretty sure I had minimal motor skills at this point. I think I succeeded because I like to think I don’t look like a dino in this pic (but I do look like death).
I finished in 4:53:53. Five minutes slower than my PR, but it felt 100% worse than five minutes slower than my PR. I wanted to fall to the ground at the finish and just cry (so dramatic). I wasn’t smiling. I wasn’t happy. I was BEAT UP. And to make matters worse, we had to walk like 20-30 minutes to exit the park! DEATH. It also felt like we had to walk forever before we got water and our foil blankets.
After walking for what felt like MILES, I was finally given my hooded poncho. I really wish I would have gotten a pic of it because it is my new favorite thing. I was too cold to get my phone out of my pocket to take a selfie and/or ask a stranger to take my picture. My original plan was to just walk back to the hotel (at 51st/Madison Ave), but I had NO IDEA that I would have to exit the park all the way up at 77th. BRUTAL. I decided to take the subway and knew which trains I needed to take. Plan was to take the C to 50th and transfer to the E. Wellllllllll this didn’t work out because the C was running express (still not sure why?????) and I got off at 59th. I didn’t have the brain power to figure out how to get myself home via subway at 59th, so I walked back outside (which was the worst) and battled a bunch of other orange ponched idiots and walked allllllll the way back to the hotel. It’s not THAT far, but it felt like foreverrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr after running the marathon. (I know now that I should have just taken the C to 42nd and transferred to the E, to avoid walking. Oh well.) AND IT WAS STARTING TO GET DARK. I was getting so enraged! I was so tired and depressed and HUNGRY and cold!
Upon finally returning to the hotel, we showered and drank the finest $19 champagne we could find.
Oh and then we went out to dinner in our medals, like assholes, and ate crab legs, oysters, steaks and lots of red wine (ok it wasn’t “lots,” only 1 bottle for 3 people). Pretty sure we were in bed again by like 10:30pm. We really know how to rage!
We flew home last night… and I’ve never been happier to be home to Chicago because I am still SO SORE. I am so thankful I took the day off work. I got a massage this morning and have spent the remainder of the day on the couch drinking water, hoping it will help my muscles stop hurting. This flatlander is taking a long time recovering from that hilly course! HUGE mistake to not do any hill work during training!
I had told myself I was retiring from marathoning after NYCM, however after that horribly painful race, I am now determined to run NYCM again. I CANNOT have this be my only memory of the race. For some reason I’m not proud AT ALL of this race and how I ran or how I prepared. And I’ve read so many tweets and race recaps about people who “OMG LOVED EVERY SECOND” of the race… and I want that. I felt that about all three of the Chicago marathons that I’ve completed – and I want to feel that way about NYCM.
Maybe the next time I run the NYCM, I will be living in NYC and it will be much less of a production to get ready for the race… traveling, not having a kitchen and not sleeping in your own bed is stressful! Plus NYC is awesome, so it is hard not to get super excited and want to do all the tourist things (which we did) and forget to eat and drink and rest up. Like you can’t go to NYC and just lay around in the hotel room for the days leading up to the race! And staying in Midtown is stressful too. I much prefer the UWS or UES or anywhere that isn’t near Midtown or Times Square and around a million other tourists. I can handle the city, but those areas are just too much. Basically I wish Lincoln Park was in NYC.
And that, my friends, is my unnecessarily long weekend and race recap. NYCM… I’m coming for you again… and next time I promise not to hate you.