I haven’t blogged in forever, but when my running coach suggested writing a race report so that I could keep track of how the race went to learn from–I decided it was time to bring it back.
For some background–NYC marathon wasn’t originally a goal race for me. I had signed up for Portland, Oregon Marathon in October and that was going to be my goal race. One day, I noticed that you could get a NYC marathon bib for free if you had enough New Balance points. Well…I had enough New Balance points because I am a regular shopper there and workouts verified by GPS + Strava counted towards points! I didn’t know if this option would be available in the future, so I decided to give it a go. I figured that I could run it as a slow, long run if Portland marathon went really well.
Portland Marathon went well (3:41:50 = 8:28 avg pace), but it didn’t go as well as I wanted it to. Short story–I felt like I wanted to quit the entire race and was sick leading up to the race. Regardless–I still wanted to treat NYC as a long run and would really try to listen to how my body felt. It ended up that I felt really good and did even better than I had at Portland! I finished NYC marathon in 3:35:48 (8:14 avg pace)! Before I get into the race itself, I want to talk about leading up to the race and some of the things that Coach suggested that I take note of…
Dave and I didn’t want to use as much vacation so we drove in early Saturday morning for the Sunday race. I knew going in that it would mean it might be a little hectic Saturday trying to get everything done. I think we did pretty well not getting me too tired, so I might still come in Saturday so that we could also save on lodging expenses. One reason I might come in earlier next time is to participate in shake out runs or other events that are happening.
I think because I got my bib through New Balance points, I was able to go to the VIP bib pickup which took no time! My one regret at the expo was not looking around more and taking advantage of the photo opps. I get a little overwhelmed in spaces with a ton of people and things to see. One tip–make sure you go to the bathroom before you get to the expo! The bathroom lines for the women were a bit crazy.
Dave and I went to LaRina Pastificio & Vino. I ordered the saffron tagliatelle with roasted wild mushrooms and parmigiano. For apps we got the radicchio salad with roasted beets and candied sunflower seeds and another dish that I can’t quite remember. Some of the other dishes looked good but I wanted to get something that was somewhat plain and wouldn’t upset my stomach. We also ordered the banana tiramisu for dessert. I normally don’t eat a dessert pre-marathon just to make sure I’m not risking any stomach issues, but I decided it would be okay since this wasn’t a goal race.
Race Morning Logistics and Food
These are approximate times because I didn’t really track everything! 🙂 As far as layers, my race outfit consisted of spandex shorts and a tank top. I wore a pair of capri leggings, sweatpants and then a light pullover and a sweatshirt over my race outfit to keep me warm at the start village. I forget what the actual temperatures were at the start of the race but I looked up a news article that said it would be around 56 deg F at the start of the race and around 60 by noon.
4:10 am – Wake up! I was going to try to sleep until 4:30 but I couldn’t sleep anymore. I think I was a little anxious to get things ready. I had laid my clothes and everything I needed to bring with me the night before so I took a quick body shower, made some oatmeal in a disposable container for later and tried to relax a bit.
4:55 am – Head to the train which was literally outside the place we stayed! I was comforted to see some other runners waiting there so I knew I was heading to the right place.
5:30 am – Arrive at Staten Island Ferry and board the ferry and get on buses which would bring us to the start village. I ate my oatmeal on the ferry. It had some craisins, brown sugar and walnuts in it.
7:00 am – I think I arrived around 7 am-ish to the start village. I made a friend on the ferry and he gave me a little tour of start village since he had run NYC before. I grabbed a small cup of coffee to get kick start my system and prep for the porta potties.
8:00 am – Ate a cinnamon raisin bagel and a banana. I also drank about 32 ounces of Nuun while at the start village.
9:15 am – Enter the corral. At this point I took off all of my extra layers except for a lighter pullover. As I was waiting in the corral, I actually started to freak out a little bit. I was cold, the sky was looking like it might downpour on us at some point, there were sprinkles of rain and I realized that I might be crazy to run 2 marathons only a month apart. I texted Dave and said I didn’t have a good feeling about this. He said it will be okay. He ran 14 miles that morning and felt good and thought that my legs would feel good too. I think my eyes started to well a little because I still didn’t believe him. But I tried to gather all the confidence I could to go. I told myself to keep it steady and just keep running.
10:15 am – Race start!!
Race Pacing and Fuel
If I hadn’t been sick for a week and a half before Portland Marathon, I would have aimed for 3:35 (8:12 pace) and ideally a 3:30 (8:00 pace). Going into NYC, I wanted to run how my body felt and knew I had to try to be conservative so that I could finish. I ended up running pretty consistently paced throughout the whole marathon and accounting for the terrain (it’s pretty hilly!).
I felt consistently strong throughout the race and I think that was partly because I fueled better than Portland and paced myself better. I fueled with 2 honey stinger vanilla gels (~4.5 miles and 8.5 miles), 1 vanilla Gu (~13.5 miles), and 1 Powerbar gel (provided at the race at mile 18). I also had 2 bananas thanks to the spectators and volunteers (2 half bananas along the course and one around mile 23).
Another factor was that the crowds kept me feeling so positive and energetic. I saw a few familiar faces along the course and also just felt so emotional through the run. I was proud of myself for running the race and also felt so appreciative of those taking the time to cheer myself and the others on. I felt my eyes well up a few times during the race because I felt so happy!
NYC is an absolute must-run race!
Believe in yourself and it’s OK to freak out.
I’ll be sharing some of my NYC marathon tips in a post later this week!