I ran a marathon! (Long Recap)

GUYS. I DID IT!! I ran the New York City Marathon!!!

If you’ve read my blog through the years, you know I’ve dealt with running related injury for the past 8 years. Knee surgery, chronic ITBS, strained hamstrings, tight hip flexors, sprained arches, Patellofemoral syndrome–you name it. I’ve been in and out of physical therapy and doctor’s offices countless times. There were moments when I worried that I might never be able to run more than a few miles at a time, let alone 26.2.

But I did it. And I didn’t get injured or die even though it felt like it at times. Here’s my recap of the race:

After some heavy carboloading (bagels, pasta, pizza throughout the day), I went to bed around 9 pm on Saturday night to be up for 4:15 the following day. I wasn’t feeling particularly anxious but I still didn’t get a very good sleep that night. Thank God for Daylight Savings giving me an extra hour.

We left Long Island at 4:45 and headed towards Manhattan. I chose the 6:30am Midtown bus as my transportation to the starting line. I was worried we were leaving too early but when I got to the pickup spot I couldn’t believe how many people were there and already in line.

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After being loaded on to the buses we made our way to the starter village on Staten Island.  I ate the chocolate chip muffin I brought with me and took a short nap. We got there around 7:30 and I was in the village by 8am.

I wasn’t scheduled to start until the last wave, around 11am so I had some time to kill. I grabbed some coffee, food and water and got in line for the bathrooms while I was waiting.

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When it was finally time for me to start, I shed my extra sweatshirt and sweatpants (to combat the early morning cold) and ate a pre-race guu. There was music blasting and all the volunteers/police were lining the start, cheering us on.

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Crossing the Verrazano Bridge was amazing. We had a clear, bright day and a spectacular view of the city. It was also cool because the Verrazano is closed to pedestrian access regularly so there really isn’t any other way I’d be able to cross is by foot.

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The bridge let us off in to Brooklyn, where there were crowds, music and camaraderie everywhere. I made sure to start my mid race fueling early. I brought a combinations of beans, gels, and chews with me and tried to take some every 12-15 minutes. Aid stations began at Mile 3 and I alternated between Gatorade and water at each one, skipping about 3 throughout the race.

For the first 9 miles, I felt stronger than I ever had before. I was worried I would make the same mistake as many other runners in heading out too strong/fast and burning out in the second half so I made sure to check my pace regularly and keep it at a conversational level.

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I had read that the crowds in Brooklyn tend to peter out and it can be a difficult stretch afterwards but I found there were pretty much crowds along the entire length of the course, except for bridges.

Miles 11-16 were where I hit my wall. My pace slowed by about 2-3 minutes per mile and I was feeling overwhelmed by the mileage ahead of me. I started taking walk breaks at each aid station but ran for the majority of the time until I reached the Queensboro bridge, around Mile 15.

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Great view, tough bridge.

It was definitely the most difficult bridge in my opinion and I, along with many people around me, walked  almost the entire incline. With 11ish miles left, I didn’t want to waste too much effort on it so I did my best to keep up a steady speed walk and ran the downhill.

Around Mile 17 my body was really starting to ache but I was buoyed by the closeness of Mile 20 and resigned myself to keeping a steady gait. There was also a pace team close behind me, which encouraged me to stay ahead of them. It was around this point that I became repulsed by the gels/chews I brought with me and had to force myself to keep consuming them.

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Mid marathon texts

Seeing the Mile 20 marker was euphoric and exhausting all in one, but I did pick up my pace until Mile 24, which, by the way, is pretty much a giant hill along Central Park. 23-26 was hillier than I expected and I’m not going to lie and say I didn’t start crying a little when I entered Central Park right before 25.

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Pushing through the final stretch

Once in the park, it was like a giant party full of people, music, lights, and nearby attractions. 25 to 26.2 felt like the longest running stretch of my life but I refused to stop running until I reached the finish line.

I was emotional, exhausted, and so excited to cross the finish. When the volunteer placed the medal around my neck, I was full on sobbing, haha.

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I grabbed my recovery bag, took a finish photo, and headed on a 15-20 minute hobble to the early exit/poncho pick up. I exited the course and met Chris nearby at the corner of Columbus and W 81st.

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Overall I can say that the experience was amazing, not what I expected, and not anything like my training. I honestly think I’ve never run a stronger 10 mile stretch than my run through Brooklyn and I’ve never had a more difficult time on miles 11-16 despite having covered that distance a number of times on long runs.

Another notable difference I found interesting was that while my cardiovascular ability felts strong throughout the whole race, my lower body hurt significantly, whereas in training it has always been the opposite. I never felt more than foot pain in my long runs.

Although I swore off running for the two post-race days during which I couldn’t walk properly, I’m already feeling antsy to get another goal/race set in the future. I’m giving myself a solid week before I start running again but I did do an easy half mile on the treadmill yesterday, just to make sure I still know how 🙂

In my next post I’ll talk about how I’m recovering and returning to normal life (so much free time!)

Happy Saturday x

 

 

 

 

Holiday via iPhone

As I’m sure most of you are, I’ve been running around this week for the holidays so I haven’t had much time to write but I did want to do a quick post and share some pictures from the past few days.

Don’t worry–I had my camera with me too, but I’m going to wait for some more detailed posts when I’m back home. Hope you enjoy! x

Chris and I FINALLY got a cat! Everyone, meet Miso! Miso is a rescue from the New York Animal Care Center in Brooklyn. We had a really tough time choosing a cat because all the animals in the shelter were so sweet and deserving of homes but we decided on Miso, and he is the most lovable, quirky little kitty.

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  1. Sneak shot of me enjoying some wine on Christmas Eve
  2. Buccatini Pesto Pasta from Gather
  3. The Chicken & Waffle Bites and Napa Cabbage Pierogies, also from Gather
  4. Sunrise I caught after an early morning gym sesh before jumping on the road

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The craziest light display we stumbled upon in Queens, on our way out of the city.

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More proof of my Primark obsession. Loving this reversible cape & oversized tunnel neck sweater.

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Ending our rainy shopping day in Midtown. Can we talk about how it was 75 in Manhattan on Christmas Eve? Insane. I wasn’t quite dreaming of a wet Christmas…although I do love New York in the rain.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday! Merry Christmas!

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Weekend Recap

Welp, I finally got to a doctor after injuring my foot about two weeks ago. It’s been painful to walk on and I was going off the idea that it was plantar fasciitis but the pain hasn’t gotten any better with massage or rolling it out so it’s looking more like a stress fracture. The doc put me in a boot for the weekend and I’ve got an appointment with a specialist tomorrow. Wish me luck.

After the advice of many, I finally bid adieu to my beloved minimalist New Balances and picked up some Brooks at Marathon Sports. I haven’t been able to run in them yet but so far they’ve been comfortable to walk in. I’m hoping this is the last complication I have.

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Being in the boot did have its advantages–it gave me an excuse to sit in Copley Square and pick up some rice and refried beans from the Baja Taco truck.

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That night Chris and I packed up and drove to New York. It’s hard to coordinate plans because our work schedules are so different but it feels good to get out of the neighborhood sometimes.

We headed out to Long Island, where his family is from, and spent the next day at the beach. First trip of the year! I’ve got to say, it felt really liberating to strip down to a bathing suit and feel comfortable in my own skin.

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Afterwards, we went to a family cook out. It’s difficult and feels rude to be picky on holidays or at family events when it comes to food. I used to by bothered by these situations but sometimes I see it as an opportunity to, as Chris likes to call it, “junk out.” Hotdogs, hamburgers, and sangria aren’t ideal for the waistline but it can be valuable to indulge once in a while without worrying about how it fits in to your diet. If it becomes a habit then begin to reconsider things –but after a day spent eating junk I usually am craving healthy food. It’s about getting to know what’s right for you. Indulging every once in a while doesn’t mean you’re weak or you’re “cheating.” If anything, being able to eat a little unhealthy sometimes without falling off track is a sign of strength because it shows self-control and the choice to return to healthy habits. All or nothing mentalities can be harmful to weight loss efforts and your self esteem. Guilt will keep you from growth and at the end of the day, none of us are perfect. It’s okay to embrace that now and then.