the 2019 NYC Marathon is officially in the rear view and I DID IT. Linking up with Kim and Zenaida to discuss. Apologies in advance for the all caps and exclamation points, but you’ve all been there and totally understand it. Oh, and it’s ridiculously long.
[bctt tweet=”#MedalMonday: my long thoughts on becoming a marathoner” username=”travellingcari”]
It’s impossible not to think of Fred Lebow while running anywhere in NYC, but especially true for the marathon. As Ron Rubin’s biography said, Anything for a T-Shirt. True when Fred started the marathon and still true now.
I was originally going to bucket this as good/bad, but other than 26.2 being the challenge it is, there was nothing I’d really call bad. Just some wardrobe adjustments I’ll make for my next Half.
Surprisingly I was able to sleep Saturday night. I went to bed on the early side and while I woke up once or twice, I woke refreshed at my alarm. After adding some raspberry, because you can’t have grey roots in your first marathon photos!, I was out the door to get the train to NYPL. The line was long and moved quickly and efficiently. Darlene and I had boarded a bus and were en route to Staten Island by 7:05.
I never did plan and fully try out a breakfast, but I went with a tried and true for most of my nearly 40 years… PB&J. That was one of my errands Saturday as I wanted avocado on a bagel for dinner the night before. Yeah, never did get around to buying a toaster this training cycle. I ate half the PB & J on the bus as I sipped Science in Sport.
While the starting area wasn’t exactly organized logically, it was relatively easy to follow signage. We were through security in 5m, tops, and wandered around to find our hats and hit the potties before heading to our respective villages.
I’d brought a copy of Runners’ World, but by the time I hit the potties again for a nervous pee, finished the PB & J sandwich and switched out my shoes, it was almost time to go into the corrals. Yes, my first pair of 1080s that got me started with marathon training ran out of miles and I decided to donate them in the best way possible as I already have two pair of knockaround sneakers.
I had to stop here on my way to the corrals. Dunkin also had plastic topiary but there were too many people around it. I followed some of the great advice to keep layers into the corrals, but had ditched the warm up pants by this point.
I’ve been to Fort Wadsworth before, but if you told me then I’d have seen it from the bridge I’d have laughed in your face. Verrazano, like the Henry Hudson, is the rare NYC bridge without a pedestrian path. Everyone talks about the emotion of New York, New York on the bridge, but I admit I didn’t hear it. Downside of corral F. We had Joan Jett’s I Love Rock and Roll , which really set the tone for the next 26.2 miles.
We crossed the start relatively quickly given the large number of runners in Orange Wave 4 and suddenly I was taking in the span of the Verrazano. This was when it hit me that I was officially running the NYC marathon and was going to be running for a very long time. There are almost no photos as I focused on running and taking it all in. I wanted to experience it in the moment, but did take this photo from the bridge because New York harbor is just stunning.
Everyone told me that you could hear the crowds coming off the 59th Street Bridge, but I could hear the amazing Bay Ridge crowds from the Verrazano too. The 2.62 mileage signs, DJ playing Beastie Boys. It was an amazing but LONG run up 4th. Like Ocean Parkway when you’re doing the alphabet, the street countdown reminds you how long it is. My amazing friend Rachel found me and ran with me for a minute or two and I just took it all in.
As we turned onto Lafayette, it was great to see BAM and this area of Brooklyn before turning into Williamsburg. Someone in the start village was warning others about the quiet zones of the 59th Street Bridge and Hasidic Williamsburg, but I didn’t find Williamsburg to be that quiet. Compared to the raucous earlier streets, yes, but the little kids out cheering were amazing.
Shortly after this as we headed through Greenpoint was my first supremely happy moment – someone handing out Swedish Fish. I opted for the theory that no one was going to try & poison the marathoners and took one. The actual nutrition was going well, starting with a Gingerade Gu in the corral, but I already needed something different.
I was happy to find the “secret” bathrooms with no line just before the Pulaski Bridge and in the short stretch in Queens I was super stoked to find one of my Rogue coaches, Justin. I should have warned anyone within arms’ reach that they were getting a flying hug. Justin ran with me for part of a mile and took one of my too many gels off my hand. It was on the Pulaski that the 6:00 pacers caught up with me. They started before me so I’m not sure what pace they were relative to my start, but didn’t worry too much about it. I was enjoying it.
I didn’t find the 59th St. bridge to be that quiet because we runners were making a ton of noise. Both celebrating a wheel chair coming through and generally whooping it up to make noise on the lower level. Not quite the CP tunnel noise with the open sides, but still loud. We could hear 1st Avenue coming off the Bridge and I knew Mom & Bob were watching from the New Balance party at Treadwell Park. The surprise lasted until Saturday night when Bob had to tell mom – I call that mission accomplished. I was looking for Bob since he’s 6’4 and mom is shorter than I am, but I was able to spot mom’s sign and started blowing kisses.
The most awesome thing that has changed on 1st Avenue since the last time I spectated there was the bike lane on the West side. It allows the crowds to be in close. Best decision I made was writing my name on my shirt. I had so many “friends” on the course it was awesome. I won’t lie — passing my apartment was a challenge. The only real quiet zone was the charity zone, most of whom had gone home by the time we came through. Fred’s Team was out there though and amazing.
While I was plotting to surprise Mom, my brother was doing the same with Bob to surprise me. Bob really enjoyed being the linchpin of all the surprises. Jordan texted me Sunday morning with a video of my nephew and telling me where he’d be. AMAZING. Did I mention that he lives in Albany?!? So I knew to expect him at Mile 22 – and as a marathoner himself he told me runners’ left. I didn’t expect him just shy of mile 20 headed into the Bronx. Loved this.
I was struggling by this point. It wasn’t The Wall-I don’t think I ever hit that. This was just tired legs. I never once thought about dropping out though. I knew I’d finish even if it was walking. I’ll be honest, part of the reason I never had nerves about NYC was not finishing was never an option even if i was crawling. I detoured into the Biofreeze spray station in the Bronx and that was great for my calves.
There were so many great signs on the course but my favorite might have been Welcome to the Last Damn Bridge on Madison Avenue. Luckily this one was just an overpass and was basically nothing. After we hit Fifth Avenue I was ecstatic to find my colleagues’ water station and flew into them for a hug. By this point they knew I was running (and it eventually made our Insta), but it was so good to see them. Shortly after this I saw Jordan again and unloaded a pace band I was mad at and a gel I’d taken but didn’t want and didn’t want to waste.
I knew Fifth Avenue would be hard. We ran it last week. But I didn’t anticipate how hard it would feel this late in the race. At about 110, I made a deal with myself that I could walk until the museums at 105th. I then ran a little until a water station where I walked under the condition that I would run the park. This was absolutely the right decision as I felt rejuvenated in the park. No doubt the downhills helped. The weirdest thing was a large screen suspended over Fifth Avenue at the Park’s entrance. It was cheer cards, I think, but so disorienting as there’s no TV there!
I knew I was feeling relatively good in the park as I didn’t even flip off Cat Hill which always happens in Lebow. We exited the Park and I was feeling strong. I knew the look toward Columbus circle was long from prior reads so I focused on the crowds and hugged a Santa. I didn’t do all the high fives I could have for stamina, but I got as many of the kids as I could.
The stage at the entrance to the park was a pick me up and I honestly did not notice the incline to the finish. Before I realized it, we were done. The actual finish is almost anti-climactic as there was a slight backlog of medical spotters, but we were done and I remembered to smile for the camera. Photos TK, I absolutely bought the MarathonFoto package because you’ll never have another first marathon.
I got my medal, had a couple of photos with the sideline backdrops and headed up the path to my poncho and meetup. This was absolute walking on adrenaline and it didn’t seem as bad as the recaps sound. We had a meeting place at the Starbucks at Columbus and 73rd and getting there was fine and relatively quick. The hardest part was holding the recovery bag with the heat wrap & poncho, neither of which had arms.
The best decision was asking mom to bring me flip flops because I wanted out of my shoes. She thought to bring me pedi socks and I may have laid the poncho on the ground to change into the flip flops and stash my sneakers in the recovery bag. Beth, who I first met in an NYC running meetup in March/April 2017, lives in the UWS and my question to her was where coudld we eat right there. I wasn’t hangry – and still haven’t really been hungry – but I just wanted to sit. She delivered with a recommendation of this diner.
All in all, a super successful day. Capped off by an epsom salt bath, Biofreeze and Advil.
I knew my idea of 6:00 was gone by about half way, but I was OK with that. I just wanted to enjoy it. Wasn’t worth pushing it and hating the race. I got mad at my wrist for telling me, so I ripped off the pace band in the Bronx, but didn’t want to litter so handed it to Jordan.
I actually didn’t know my finish time at all until we sat at dinner and Beth showed it to me. I never had an A/B/C goal, as I mentioned, but I was fine with 6:18ish. I really need to look it up.
This went well. But by mile 20 or so, I couldn’t really chew the hardening margarita blocks and found the honey stingers too sweet. I was SO GLAD for the random Starburst and Swedish fish. Race nutrition by Cari. I hung on to a 20 oz water bottle for 25 miles and refilled it every / every other water station.
This wasn’t about weight loss, but my scale does all the data and I somehow lost 3.8 lbs between the first day of training and the NYC marathon. I’ll take it.
Capris were the perfect choice. I could have tossed my long sleeve on a couple of occasions but glad I didn’t as it was chilly as the sun went down. For future halfs, I’m going to get an SPI or Flip Belt. While I need the water on training runs, I do not need the heavy belt for a race. It was great to have the bib toggles but otherwise it mostly just annoyed me as it shifted around. If it didn’t have the bib on it and phone in it, Jordan probably would have taken it to Albany with him.
I was most excited by my epsom soak that nothing chafed. Literally nothing. That never happens! I brought extra body glide to reapply in the starting village and it was perfect. My favorites along the course besides edibles were vaseline and tissues.
On future plans:
Yep, still one and done. That was always the plan going in and nothing in the race changed that. I enjoyed the training – and as someone said in a comment (Marcia, I think?): I had a sparkly unicorn cycle. Weather especially. I made some sacrifices I was willing to make for my first marathon, especially travel, but I can’t see fitting marathon training in again. I loved almost every second of this. But I’m looking forward to a return to Half land. It’s my happy place.
I’m so glad I trained with Rogue. More to come on that in a later post, and probably things I’m forgetting in this post.
I took the day off work not knowing how I’d feel and the only plans I made were a Rēcover session and lunch with Darlene. Surprisingly I was awake early and feeling relatively good save for some stiffness and decided to walk for coffee. That felt good so I extended the walk into Central Park as moving felt better than not. I skipped Marathon Monday in the Pavilion as I had no pressing need to have my medal engraved today or shop.
I did hop the subway as I was running late for my recovery session (officially in love with Normatec). After a quick gym visit to stretch and roll, I met up with Darlene and Lacey for lunch and a post-race debrief. It was great to see Lacey as excited after 22 as Darlene and I were after one.
After a trip to JackRabbit Union Square (more Normatec!) and Columbus Circle for the 30% off sale, which was 100% off as I bought nothing, I went to my hair appointment and came home to my couch which was very comfortable.
So glad I took the day off as it was beautiful day to play tourist and enjoy the finishers walking around.
So so glad I ran this. Best city. Best marathon
Other 2019 NYC Marathon Posts: