The day that seemed like it would never arrive finally arrived! There were no more days left to countdown… only hours. IT WAS MARATHON DAY!
We bounded out of bed, laced up our sneakers, put on our throwaway Wal-Mart sweats, and ate our normal long run breakfast: whole wheat toast, creamy peanut butter and banana for me and oatmeal for Davey. I also had a handful of Energy Bits… they’re awesome by the way! Stay tuned for a review and giveaway coming soon!
Since we used the coffee maker to make Davey’s oatmeal, we didn’t have time to make coffee, but we figured we’d just get some at the start village. Plus, Dunkin Donuts (one of the sponsors) is much better than hotel coffee in our opinion.
When we stepped outside we were greeted with a lovely blast of freezing cold air. It was WINDY and cold which was ironic because it had been unseasonably warm the day before. Go figure.
We took a taxi to the marathon bus stop and tried to stay warm as we waited. Once we were on the bus, we could barely contain our excitement! We were en route to the starting line of our first marathon! And this was our view:
We had a long wait once we got to Staten Island, but before we knew it, we were lining up with our wave. We had gloves and hand warmers and I even stuck two shoe warmers to my sports bra and it surprisingly kept me really warm!
We lined up with the 5:00 pacer and started making our way to the start. We chose the 5:00 pacer for 2 reasons. 1, it was the last pacer and 2, we really liked the guy who was pacing. He was really funny and we thought it’d be a blast to run with him. My marathon training program gave me a projected finish time of 5:15, so I was up for the challenge of trying to keep up with the 5:00 group.
Here we are waiting to start. I love how the lady behind us smiled for the camera too!
A few minutes later, a HUGE cannon fired, Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” blasted from the speakers and we were off and running up the Verrazano Bridge!
This was one of our favorite parts of the race. It was absolutely AMAZING to run over this bridge with millions of other people and a perfect view of the Manhattan skyline in the distance.
It was crazy to think that we were going to run all the way to Manhattan!
After the bridge, we rounded a bend and entered Brooklyn and the crowds were roaring!
We ran with the 5:00 pace group until about mile 6 and then gradually fell behind.
My 3 goals going into this race were to 1. finish before the street sweepers, 2. enjoy the experience and 3. stay mentally tough. (And my secret goal was to beat Pamela Anderson).
Running is not my strength and so I didn’t set a time goal because this was my first marathon and because I wanted to run by feel and not put pressure on myself to beat a certain time. Plus it’s my first marathon so whatever time I get is a PR!
Davey and I both felt great and the first 6 miles flew by. We decided to do run using the Galloway Method and so we walked through each water station (every mile).
I felt mentally strong up until about mile 6 when I thought to myself, “I have TWENTY more miles to go…”, but I stopped that thought and focused on the mile I was running and that really helped. My mantra was “make it to the next mile with a smile”. Davey and I were both SO glad that we had taped our names on our shirts because the fans were so amazing and hearing them cheer our names helped so much!
Davey was adorable and whenever someone cheered his name, he’d run faster. Then after a few seconds, he’d realize I was behind him and then return to my side with a big smile on his face. He’s so awesome! 🙂
Before I knew it, we were at the halfway point. Mile 13 was a low point for me. I felt tired and was kinda surprised by how hilly Brooklyn was and I wished I had run more hills during my training. It felt great that we were halfway done with our first marathon, but then I got discouraged because I thought, “I have to do that all over again?!”
Davey was amazing and helped me snap out of those negative thoughts. The good news was that we finished the 1/2 marathon in 2:41:39 which was only 5 minutes slower than my first 1/2 marathon last Sept! And basically the winner of the marathon ran the WHOLE 26.2 miles faster than I ran 13.1. Those elite runners are amazing.
By mile 16, we were running up the Queensboro Bridge. And when I say we were running, I mean that we could’ve walked faster than we were “running”, so we decided to just walk up the bridge. There was an incredible view of the Manhattan skyline to the left and since it was quiet on the bridge, it was a cool moment to take it all in and soak up the fact that we were running a marathon!
What goes up must come down and the benefit of the hilly course were the downhills! It felt good to run downhill and before we knew it, we turned the corner and were running up 1st Ave and it was AMAZING!
I knew that I’d be running in the back of the pack and so I was worried that there wouldn’t be very many fans left by the time we got to 1st Ave, but boy was I wrong! TONS of people lined the streets and cheered for us and I felt like I got my second wind.
Mile 17 was the PowerGel fueling station, but I don’t like PowerGel, so I ate one of my Strawberry Huma Gel’s and it was deeeeelicious!
Mile 19 was very memorable because there was a lady who was holding a plate of Goldfish crackers and potato chips and I literally turned around because salty potato chips sounds SO good to me. And they were. It was probably the best potato chip I ever ate. No, not probably. Definitely.
Mile 21 was awesome because it was the farthest we had ever run. And because our families and friends had made us support videos via Asics Support Your Marathoner and a few of them were shown on the big screen as we ran by. That was so encouraging!
Miles 24-25 were tough, but we were SO CLOSE to the finish! These were some of most beautiful miles because we were surrounded by trees with gold and orange leaves as we ran through Central Park.
Mile 26 was awesome because after 5+ hours of running, we could finally say, “Only one more mile to go!”
The last 200 meters were phenomenal and I started to get emotional. Once we crossed the finish line, I started crying tears of relief and joy. WE DID IT! WE RAN A MARATHON!
It was such a surreal moment and all of the months of training, the long runs, the ups and downs, my mental breakdowns and sore legs were worth it!
Our final time was 5:42:26. We beat the street sweepers, enjoyed the whole race, didn’t have any mental breakdowns and PR’d our first marathon! Unfortunately Pamela Anderson beat us by ONE minute, but we’re already looking forward to running again next year, training harder and beating our time!
5:42:26 may sound slow to you, but I’m SO proud of that time because it represents the fact that I did something only 1% of the population does and that I proved to myself that I could do it. It’s easy for us “back of the pack” runners to get down on ourselves and even feel embarrassed about our times… I mean, I felt like a loser when I didn’t even make it into the marathon finisher section of the NY Times the next day. I’ll be writing a post about this later on this month, but for now, let’s just say I’m proud to be a marathoner!
I am SO thankful to Davey, who could’ve run the marathon in under 3:30, but chose to run with me the whole race. It’s so much more fun to run together and I couldn’t have done it without him!
After we crossed the finish line and got our medals, we were wrapped in those cool shiny foil heat sheets and they were surprisingly warm! We also got a recovery bag that had an apple, water, Gatorade, pretzels and a few other things in it. Davey dug right in, but I felt kinda sick, so I just stuck to the water.
One funny thing that happened is that Davey ended up wearing his Wal-Mart sweats the whole race! He was so cold and he had so many Shot Bloks and Huma Gel’s in his pockets at the start, so he decided to keep his sweats on for the first few miles. However, he ended up crossing the finish line in those snazzy sweats!
The walk from the finish line to the exit seemed longer than the marathon. Our legs were so tired and although we chose the no baggage option, we still had a long walk. But a huge plus of choosing the no baggage option, was that we got the most amazing fleece lined ponchos. They were so warm and it was so fun to see people walking around the city wearing them the rest of the night!
I won an awesome Instagram contest a few weeks before the marathon and I got some awesome New Balance Swag as well as a ricksaw ride after the marathon. This ride was possibly the best part of the prize because it was impossible to get a cab after the race, the subways were packed and our hotel was WAY too far to walk to. It was so much fun!
Once we got to our hotel and took a HOT shower and stretched a bit, we headed back out for a celebration dinner! We were craving Mexican food… especially salty chips and guacamole!
We wore our medals and our orange ponchos proudly even though it didn’t seem like the waitress cared that we just ran a marathon. I mean, this was my water glass. I might need a refill. Maybe, just maybe.
After we were full and happy, we hobbled back to the hotel and went to bed at 9pm. Marathons are hard work!
Our legs felt like the were throbbing all night, but we slept sooooo good.
We woke up the next morning, put on our medals and walked to get bagels and coffee and then limped down the stairs to the subway. We got a mix of reactions when people noticed our medals from , “Take it off!” to “Congrats on your marathon!”
Our first stop was the newspaper stand to buy an issue of the NY Times. We were so sad when we realized they stopped listing the finishers names after 4:22. I mean, come on… we finished the marathon too!
We stood in line to get into the Marathon store to check out the finisher gear and stretch and as we waited, we talked about what an awesome time we had running the marathon! The whole experience seemed so surreal and we would’ve thought it was a dream, but we had the sore legs to remind us that it was, in fact, very real.
Once we got into the store, we made a b-line to the stretching station. We warmed up on some stationary bikes for 5 minutes and it felt surprisingly good. Then, a physical therapist helped us stretch and roll our sore legs. It hurttttt! But it was great at the same time!
Once we were good and stretched, we set out to buy a hat that I had my eye on, but I couldn’t find it anywere! In the 20 minutes that we were rolling and stretching, it must have sold out! I was so bummed because everything else was sooooooo expensive and I really wanted that hat.
We asked one of the volunteers if they had any in stock and he was so nice and took the one off the display and gave it to me. It was the LAST ONE! Lucky me!
Then, Davey hung out with Fred Lebow for a few minutes…
… and then we set out to find some more NY pizza. Like my hat?!
Then we got a pretzel to go because we like to carbo load after the race too.
Then we took the train back to NJ and sat by the fire for the rest of the night drinking Coco Hydro and reminiscing about the marathon.
What a incredible experience! We ran the 2013 ING NYC Marathon and we have the 26.2 sticker to prove it! (Oh yes we did!) Whoop Whoop!
Can’t wait till next year!