This will most definitely be long but hopefully I can make it compelling so you don’t zonk out before you finish reading. And you should know I’ve cued up my DVR to watch the elite race as I type this. :) It’s such a different race for them as it is for the turtles like me! I’m going to put my race tips in bold woven throughout this so if you’re just here for that you can find the pertinent info easily. #yourwelcome But if you like to hear my dramatic diary of tales from the day read the unbold stuff too :)

VZ Bridge

Keri, Jane, Claire, Anne and me. My first time meeting Claire and Anne but I know it won’t be my last. Hope to see all these gals again for any of my Jersey and Philly races in 2016.

So first, I have to say that my morning started off a little different than my 2011, and 2013 NYC Marathons. I wasn’t driving to the start alone! My friend Jane and her Princeton, New Jersey crew came to my house to hang for a bit and then I drove us all to the start. The best thing about living ON Staten Island is having the luxury of literally driving just a few blocks from the start village and knowing about the “secret” start village back entrance. It’s not that secret in that it appears on the map but most people arrive via the ferry/shuttle buses which use the other entrance.

our secret entrance in the back.

our secret entrance in the back.

So we leisurely strolled through the security checkpoint and took some silly photos before I dropped my bag at gear check and then we went to hang out.

Strong women. Meanwhile in hindsight probably wasn't so smart that Anne screamed "Everyone: put up your guns!" right by the security checkpoint. LOL!

Strong women. Meanwhile in hindsight probably wasn’t so smart that Anne screamed “Everyone: put up your guns!” right by the security checkpoint. LOL!

si-pin

The time flew by. We used the port-a-potties and took a few more pics and before you knew it we had to part ways to enter our assigned corrals. TIP: there are PLENTY of port-a-potties so no lines, but most were out of toilet paper and none had hand sanitizer and I made the rookie mistake of not bringing these items with me. Don’t forget to bring some TP and hand sanitizer! Luckily a nice woman (from Brazil I think) gave me some tissues.

Getting ready for go-time

Getting ready for go-time

just before the start and 16 miles before any of my letters fell off my shirt #foreshadowing

just before the start and 16 miles before any of my letters fell off my shirt #foreshadowing

The weather was around 60 degrees at the start but very humid. I knew I was overdressed. I was in Corral A which meant I was literally just about 50 feet from the start mats. So when our wave began I crossed the mat within 30 seconds. Woo hoo!

Just 13 more minutes for Wave 3 to start!

Just 13 more minutes for Wave 3 to start!

I was on the lower level this year. I had the lower level in 2011 and upper level in 2013 and the upper level is definitely more exciting. Remember this silly video? But lucky for me I cross that bridge so much I know the beautiful views of the NYC skyline well.lowerlevel

I knew that I wasn’t planning to see any family or friends until after mile 16 so my plan was to find my zone and just knock off my miles slow and steady and pay attention to all the fun going on around me. Oh, so remember I got brand new earbuds recently? Well somehow while we were hanging at the start village I lost one of the little rubber ear pieces so I just tucked that side under my sports bra strap and only used one side of the buds. Looks like I can order a replacement pair for $10 online. Whew!

My hair didn't mind the lower level. LOL!

My hair didn’t mind the lower level. LOL!

There were so many bands and lots of cheering spectators. I’ve been truly fortunate to have run this race 3 times now. Nothing compares. All was going well although I found myself at the 10k mark trying to shut down the negative conversations going on in my head.

There I am trying to talk myself out of my mental madness

There I am trying to talk myself out of my mental madness

I was telling myself stupid sh-t like “I’m so tired already” “how will I keep my head in the game for another 20 mies”. Really? What was I doing? Sabotaging myself? But then I looked ahead and there was my friend Jorge! I screamed his name and he turned around and It was like the gods were listening…..we immediately started conversation which meant that my brain couldn’t keep going on with that nonsense talk. Jorge had run the Philly half the day before so he was taking it easy. The humidity was getting to both of us so we took some walk breaks over the course of the next few miles. We frog-hopped and then ended up side-by-side again before the Queensboro Bridge. I took a selfie with him and said I was sure we’d see each other again (and we did at mile 20!).

me and Jorge around mile 12

me and Jorge around mile 12

I was pleased with the fact that I ran over the Pulaski Bridge at mile 13 AND the Queensboro Bridge. I shouted out “F-ck You Queensboro Bridge” as I approached it just to get myself in an aggressive mindset and it worked!

I'm telling the QB bridge who's boss!

I’m telling the QB bridge who’s boss!

Just before exiting the bridge I got a text from Jane that her hubby Alex was on 1st Ave as you exit the bridge so I started looking for him. I never found him but for some reason I thought it would be fun to scream out to the millions of spectators “Where’s ALEX?????!!!” They looked at me like I was a nutcase.

So sure enough the amazing energy on 1st ave gave me a high. I plowed up 15 blocks in no time and there at 78th and 1st was my friend Marissa and her family.

It's amazing what a friendly face can do when you're running this race

It’s amazing what a friendly face can do when you’re running this race

I spent a minute or two with them and told them how putting my name on my shirt was the best $12 I ever spent because so many people were cheering my name, and at that exact moment the A fell off. So I became S-LLY. Then it was on to 84th and 1st where I saw my friend Lizz. I was holding the A in my hand and started joking about how it fell off.

I'd like to buy a vowel! Can I get an A?

I’d like to buy a vowel! Can I get an A?

Thank you Lizz for that always-effervescent spirit you have! I wanted to stay and just hang out and laugh with you for longer!

Fueling: I will just interject my play-by-play here for a minute. Before the race I had 2 soft pretzels about an hour apart and a little coffee followed by water and a little Gatorade. During the race I drank lots more Gatorade than normal thanks to the humidity. I had Gatorade at almost every mile. I can count on one hand the number of times I got plain water. Some stops I took one cup of each. But I never got sloshy belly thank god. I went through one package of Honey Stinger chews about every hour for the first 2 hours. And then a package of Sport Beans between miles 18 and the finish (actually I never even finished it). And 2 orange slices at mile 20.

After seeing Lizz, I bolted up another 15 blocks to mile 18 knowing Mr. SOTSS and his family were there waiting for me!!!! It was so great to see them. His older daughter handed me the sport beans and his younger daughter was holding up a great sign. His mom and her husband were there too. I’m really so grateful that they all trekked in via public transportation to support me.

Cutest darn spectator. (And she's also a runner. She is part of Girls on the Run, an amazing organization that I really wish I had time to volunteer for. Thank you so much for making that sign. You rock!

Cutest darn spectator. (And she’s also a runner. She is part of Girls on the Run, an amazing organization that I really wish I had time to volunteer for. Thank you so much for making that sign kiddo. You rock and so does your sister for being there even though I’m sure you could have been doing more exciting things.

Yay! More friendly faces!!!

Yay! More friendly faces!!!

When I left Mr. SOTSS I felt my ankle getting tight along my nemesis, the peroneal tendon. I stopped a few times over the next 2 miles to rub it a bit and loosen my shoelace. This is pretty much where my marathon turned into more struggle than I expected. But I knew my friend Elvia would be at mile 20 with a nice little aid station so I kept on chugging along, walking some and running when I could. Before I even got to Elvia I spotted Steve, another of the Dicks Sporting Goods Every Runner Has a Reason alumni. His mom was running and he was there to cheer her on with a sign in tow. I love that with a million spectators I can spot out someone i know (who I actually never met in person before mind you). And then, like seeing rainbows and ponies and puppy dogs—there was my superhero, Elvia and her crew. 11219434_10153653559437456_4284832544250459186_n

Orange slice break! Thanks again Elvia!

Orange slice break! Thanks again Elvia!

And sure enough there was Jorge again. I grabbed a couple of orange slices and some water and then went on my merry way to battle the last bridge and get back into Manhattan with just 5 miles to go. There was a DJ in the Bronx who was playing a Taylor Swift song and I smiled. Abbie, the 11 year old daughter of my friend, who is the sweet angel I was running in honor and memory of, LOVED Taylor Swift. So I took it as a sign she was saying hello and that gave me a push to keep going.

Mr. SOTSS and family were waiting for me again at the 23 mile mark so while I really just wanted to walk I kept forcing myself to run a little here and there just to keep my overall momentum going. I was so happy to see them at this point. I thought that I might just walk the last 3.2 miles so I told Mr. SOTSS if he didn’t hear from me by 5pm to just go home. It was about 3:25 at this point.

If you can have family and friends out there spectating do it! But plan logistics well and make sure you have specific information i.e. north west corner of 99th and 1st ave. Or “runner’s left”. The miles between 18 and 23 are the least crowded. 

Just as I entered into Central Park I felt a shoulder tap. It was Lisa!!! #sofriggenexcited. I told her how it was a battle for me to stay in the game. She said she had some nausea for a few miles and slowed a bit but was feeling a little better so I said “well wouldn’t it be epic if we finish together so I’m just going to have to stay with you”. We ran some and walked some but it was all negotiated so well. She would say “ok, let’s walk to the next telephone pole” or “after the band we start running again”. I just listened and obeyed. The big plus was that this was our well known territory. We knew where the hills were so she planned the walks mostly to coincide with the inclines. I found myself grunting and groaning at this point. But hey, we only had 2 more miles. And how cool that my (possibly) last marathon would be finished side by side with the girl who got me into running and running marathons in the first place. #serendipity

so relieved to have made it.

so relieved to have made it.

Woot Woot! 26.2

Woot Woot! 26.2

D.O.N.E. We did it! This was lisa's 13th NYC Marathon and 52nd marathon overall.

D.O.N.E. We did it! This was Lisa’s 13th NYC Marathon and 52nd marathon overall.

I finished in 5:23:55. I wasn’t expecting to finish much faster but the voices inside me leading up to race day really wanted to finish as close to the 5 hour mark as possible. I don’t really know why as I knew I wasn’t anywhere as trained as I was for the 2013 race when I finished in 4:57. But I guess that’s just part of the addictive quality of running. You just want to see what your body is capable of. You want to benchmark your training with a certain finish time. It’s really all nonsense because at the end of the day I’m not an elite, this isn’t my job. I run to release what builds up….stress, anxiety. I run to clear my head. I run to figure stuff out. I run to see beautiful sights in my neighborhood and all over the country. I run to focus on positives and to be strong and happy. I don’t run for a clock and while I couldn’t be happier when I had a huge PR at the NJ Marathon last year it’s just gravy really.

After crossing the finish line I have to say the slow walk up to baggage pickup and exiting the park wasn’t as bad as it’s been in years prior. I crossed the finish around 4:04 PM and had my gear and was out of the park at 81st (yes that’s more than a mile north of the finish line) by 4:30. If you choose no-baggage you’ll exit the park about 4 or 5 blocks earlier.

And while you’re walking if you look to the right you’ll see this fabulous view

centralpark

I’m really looking forward to my marathon hiatus and focusing on fun running. And I’m looking forward to spending lots more weekend hours outdoors hiking and walking with Mr. Duncan.

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If you love to read those feel-good stories, these two from Sunday’s race sure stuck out:

Helping out when a wheel breaks

78 year old grandmother finishes

 

6 Comments

  1. Congrats to you! What a fabulous accomplishment! I love hearing race recaps- they are always so inspiring and always make me rethink my decision of “I will never run a marathon”

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  5. Great recap! I ran NYC in 2014 and will be going back for more this year. I volunteered at the Mile 16 water stop last year and had a blast. The temperature was much warmer than when I did it and had to be quite a shock to the system. You sound like me with the earbuds. I’m always losing mine.

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