This race was my fourth world major and I think I’m finally getting the hang of them (if I say so myself)! How to have fun, not let the crowds stress me out, still run well, and enjoy the city.
Race day kicked off at 4:00am. I took a quick shower, got dressed, braided my hair, checked and rechecked everything, rolled my calves out, and headed downstairs to try and be first in line for Starbucks, which opened at 5am. I lucked out and they were just unlocking the door and no one else was there yet. I grabbed a large coffee and hopped in a yellow cab to the New York City Public Library.
I know the Staten Island Ferry is the popular choice to get to the start line, but the mid town bus was way closer to my hotel, and involved one less bus between Columbus circle, were we were staying, and Staten Island.
Everything I had read online said it would be a 90 minute bus ride. Maybe because I was on one of the first buses – it got there in 36 minutes. Not sure how that worked?
Athletes village was freezing. I look like a marshmallow in the picture above because I was wearing a lot of throwaways. I got to talk to some great people while waiting.
– Nancy from Australia: she was really cold! She didn’t know you couldn’t use hydration packs and was going to have to hold her phone. I ended up giving her my koala clip since my sports bra had a pocket.
– A guy from Twin Cities: he had a daughter my age who was living in Portland and they were trying to move there. I wish I could remember his name. I saw him at some point in the race too. He was just a really nice human.
– Last, but not least, I met Cat in the start corral. She’s in the pic above. She was awesome and ran a super fast race in 3:10.
Pre race I ate: a bagel with cream cheese + half another bagel and 2 bananas – one with peanut butter.
With every corral starting, they shot off a cannon and played Frank Sinatra’s New York. That was cool, but the cannon was a lot for my ears lol.
I was in one of the early start corrals and I realized too late that we were on the lower half of the Verrazano bridge. At first I was bummed. However, after the gun went off and we started across, the NYPD helicopters were having a great time flying along the second level with us. That was worth it to see what a great time they were having.
I know listening to a playlist during these big races is controversial, but the big crowds can make me a little tired sometimes, so I had made a playlist and listened to it the whole time. As we kicked off, I reminded myself to relax and enjoy this. My legs felt nice and pop-y and it was cold.
After the first bridge, the sun came out and I had ditched my gloves, arm warmers and ear warmer by mile 4.
I kept everything really relaxed this part of the race. My mantra was cruise and close. The race plan was to hold back and go through halfway at 1:41-1:42, and don’t make any big moves until 19.
After mile 4.25, I started working on my first gel. I also had a handheld bottle that I needed to finish my mile 10, so I worked on that. I really liked running through Brooklyn. Everyone cheering was THERE for it. I stayed calm and kept holding back. At mile 9.25, I started my second gel which I absolutely did not feel I needed.
At the halfway point, I realized we were only going over our second bridge. Weren’t there supposed to be 5?! Had I missed one? I had kind of just been cruising and maybe I didn’t even realize we ran over others? But I did see the clock at 13.1 said 1:41:30 and did a little fist pump. Right on track.
As we crossed the Pulaski and Queensboro bridges, I realized I hadn’t missed any, they were all just going to come the second half the course. I worked hard to tuck into groups, but people were quite scattered, so that wasn’t super successful.
Miles 15, 16 & 17 were deafening and so much fun. I promised myself I wouldn’t get carried away, but I did have a huge smile on my face and I did high five some kids. There was a fire truck with firefighters perched up on top. They were having a great time, just like a lot of the NYPD in the medians of the roads.
I kept manually lapping my watch every mile and took another gel at mile 20. They were starting to gross me out. I started thinking about whether I would take another one at mile 24 and shut that down as quick as it started. I told myself to just one gel at a time. One mile at a time. Don’t get too ahead of yourself.
I knew miles 23, 24, & 25 were all hills. So I did start to push, but knowing I needed to save something for those miles.
I was feeling my glute medius on my right side pretty good, and my hips were getting a little tight, but I felt good otherwise and took that as a sign to start going harder.
Mile 24 was so hard and so uphill. Once I got to the top and into Central Park I knew it was time to go. I can’t believe those miles were 7:18/7:20. I also wanted to look strong for John and I knew he’d probably be near mile 25.5/26.
The finish line came at the end of the last little hill and I saw my watch showed 3:22. I ran the whole race with it on the current lap screen. So that way I could only see the mile I was running. I was really happy with my effort.
I was a LONG walk to get to John, but getting that poncho felt pretty amazing! The weather, the city and the experience couldn’t have been better. Having John there made it incredibly special and so much fun.
I lasted until 7:30pm before I started bonking LOL.