My Favorite Quote:

"There is an inner beauty about a woman who believes in herself, who knows she is capable of anything that she puts her mind to. There is a beauty in the strength and determination of a woman who follows her own path, who isn't thrown off by obstacles along the way. There is a beauty about a woman whose confidence comes from experiences; who knows she can fall, pick herself up, and move on."

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Marathon #14: New York City Marathon (again!)

Sunday, November 1, 2015
It was the day we turn the clock back for daylight savings time and that gave me an extra hour of sleep.  I think this was the most sleep I had ever had prior to a race.  We woke up, showered, and walked down the street to the subway station.  I was preparing for what I knew was a long journey to the start line.  We had planned to take the 1 train to the ferry, but when we got down there the train was delayed.  So, we headed over to the R train.  By the time the subway came, it had been more than 30 minutes since we left our hotel room!

Once on the train, I was lucky enough to get a seat!  The ride was at least 30 minutes, with one delay when a person in our car passed out and we had to alert authorities.  Once off the train, everyone was walking towards the exit when another runner passed out and people were calling for a doctor or nurse.  A woman that was next to me on the subway happened to be a nurse.  I ended up chatting with her at the ferry terminal and she said that everyone needs to eat breakfast and relax more - that's why everyone was passing out.  I don't think it helps with the high number of people fighting for oxygen in a below ground subway :)

We made it to the Staten Island Ferry terminal around 7:15am.  I was scheduled for the 7:30am ferry, but was hoping to get on the 7:15am ferry as I could see it would be pushing it to get to my corral by 9:10am.  I ended up missing the 7:15am and ended up on the 7:30am ferry anyway!

Dressed in my throw away gear!

The ferry ride was 30 minutes long.  I spent most of it waiting to use the restroom and then sitting on the floor to rest my legs.  I did stand up to watch the Statue of Liberty go by.  Very cool!  I've seen it many times and it never gets old!

Packed ferry!

We made it to Staten Island at 8am and headed directly out to the line for the shuttle buses.  I was in that line for another 30 mins at least.  It was a lot of people to get to the start!  Once on the shuttle bus, I sat next to a woman from Virginia that was running it for her first time.  The shuttles were really backed up on the streets and it took us forever to get to the start.  We finally got there at 9:15am, which was 5 mins after my corral opened.  But I needed the rest room, so my corral had to wait!

We had to get through security and walk a long ways to get into the start village.  I was in the orange start area, which was much more open and roomy than the blue corral last year!

Walking into the start village.
Standing outside the gates of my corral!  Orange, wave 2, corral C!

For the first time, I was starting to feel some excitement!  I was ready to go and waited patiently to get into the corral.  The corral was to close at 9:40am and we were all still outside of it at that time, but no one panicked this year.  So, that was relieving!  Once inside the corral, we had the chance to ditch our warm clothes and make our final preparations.

I could hear the national anthem in the distance and then a loud BOOM!  The race had officially started!  Wave 1 was on it's way!  We still had to make our way to the start line.  The corral gates closed for wave 2, and we started our walk to the start line.  Once up there, I could see the Verrazano–Narrows bridge (linking Staten Island to Brooklyn), which we start at the bottom of.  I could also see a man tethered to a helicopter, hanging out of it to take photos.  Crazy person!

I did end up right next to a woman from MN for a few minutes.  This marathon has a HUGE amount of people from all over the world and I hadn't been near many English speaking people all morning.  It was nice to have someone to talk to for a moment, especially a Minnesotan.

Start line just ahead!
Photographer hanging from helicopter!

They played "God Bless America" before the start and then we heard our loud BOOM!  Except it must have been right next to us because it made most of us jump off the ground and we could feel it ripple through us!  A woman from New Zealand and a man from Haiti were right next to me and we all screamed a little in shock!  Holy cow!  Our adrenaline was pumping now!  To top it off, they started playing the song "New York, New York"!  It was an exciting start!

The crowd started to move and we started up the 2 mile long bridge.  The pace was extremely slow and I hesitated to even look at my watch to see how slow.  I finally did and it was well over a 10:30 pace.  I had no choice though, there were too many people and no where to go.  I had to run slow.  So, I gave in and decided to enjoy it no matter what my pace.

As I left the bridge and turned into Brooklyn, I remembered the crowd from last year.  I love Brooklyn.  I was very excited to finally get to see Coney Island this trip!  Brooklyn is a very interesting place to be.  And only during a marathon, would a person get the opportunity to travel safely by foot through this borough on their way to Queens!  This year, Eric decided to come over to Brooklyn and cheer for me at mile 8.  He had an interesting subway ride and saw some interesting things on his way!

This locked bike was next to Eric, LOL!

As I made my way towards Eric, I got a side stitch for 2 miles.  Man!  It hurt and it took my breath away.  I hate it when that happens.  It was probably due to my altered gait from the slower pace.  I was still stuck running slow with this going on!  I finally found Eric at mile 8 and recited my favorite running t-shirt saying to him "Everything hurts and I'm dying!"  The man next to him looked at me funny - I didn't care.  I told Eric I was not into this race.

Mile 8!

Shortly after I saw Eric, we took a right turn into a different neighborhood that led us to the bridge that had the half marathon chip mat on it.  I was looking forward to that bridge.  As I neared mile 12, I saw a sign that read "When your legs give out, run with your heart."  I realized that I didn't have any heart that day.  My heart just wasn't in it.  I started to slow down and even thought about walking.  I really wanted to walk.  I managed to talk myself out of it until after the half split.

My split was slow for me, but I knew it would be after the early miles being stuck in the slow crowd of runners.  I gave myself a 2 minute walking break after the half and kind of just kept walking after that.  I can't explain it, but I was just "done" with running.

The run (or walk/run in my case) through Queens went fast.  We were only there for 3 miles.  Then we headed up the Queensboro bridge, which was incredibly LONG.  It was a really long uphill.  I had always thought NYC would be flat, but it really isn't.  It is full of long uphills - especially the bridges.  I decided to walk the first half of the bridge and run the "down" side.  I was tired, my legs were shot, and I was done.  I got going on the back side of it and exited into Manhattan.  There was a seriously huge crowd, so running was the only option.

I quick ducked into a porta-potty at mile 16 and just stood in there.  I was hiding from the race :)  It was starting to get comical.  I had 10 miles left of this race and I really did not want to run it anymore, but I knew I would.  I would finish this race no matter what.

I saw Eric again at mile 18.  It was nice to see him.  He gave me a hug and I told him I was just going to walk/run it to the end.  I've never had this happen to me, except for Med City.  But at least I had a decent time at Med City.  This race was going to be brutal and slow.

Tired at mile 18!

I wore my USA Track & Field shirt.  Since many people were wearing a shirt with their country on it, I got a lot of "USA, USA" chants along the route.  I was happy to represent our country, lol!  I hadn't done it intentionally, but since it was an international race, I stuck out!  After I left Eric, I walked quite a bit.  I was done :/

The Bronx seemed long and I just couldn't get my legs to work.  I had remembered all of the turns and streets that we ran on from last year.  I was very happy to cross back over a bridge into Manhattan.  I looked at the street sign and it read 136th street.  I was supposed to meet up with Eric again at 96th street, so I was a little bummed that it was still so very far away.

I tried to run for a couple blocks and walk for a couple blocks, just to keep myself moving forward.  It worked for a while, then I just walked and walked.  I finally reached 96th street, but Eric was nowhere to be found.  He thought he had missed me and had set out for the finish area.  I was moving so slow and he didn't know it.  I was saving my phone battery so I could call him when I finished (I learned that trick from last year!)

Eventually, I made my way into Central Park.  The crowd was uplifting.  I thought it would give me the boost I needed to run again, but I just had nothing.  I've never felt this way in a marathon before - so empty.  So, I ran until I just couldn't and then walked again.  There were usually a few other walkers around me, so I didn't really care.  By the end, I started to see signs of the finish and I tried to run to the finish line.  It was really hard to keep the legs moving.

There's that Mile 26 sign :)
The final stretch!
Finally, the finish line!

I crossed the finish line only to stumble over 3 people that decided to kneel down and kiss the line.  This was not a great idea since the flow of people crossing was thick and steady.  All I wanted to do was grab my medal and get out of there, but I knew better...there would be the long walk to the exit.  I overheard a New Yorker talking to her boyfriend telling him that she was doing the "walk of death" to the exit.  That's exactly what it feels like when you finish a marathon and the exit is over a mile away.  We did get our medals, food bags, and heat blankets as we walked and walked.

After the exit, there was a second walk to take to get to the ponchos.  I deemed this "Poncho Road".  I was so happy to get a poncho this year.  It broke my heart last year to not get one, so I made sure I did everything right this year to get the wrist band and poncho :)

Hard earned medal!
The "walk of death".
Poncho Road :)

I started down the street to meet Eric at a Starbucks, where I was to sit down for my first time in many hours.  I was thrilled that he had found me a seat.  I had a hot chocolate and piece of coffee cake.  It was awesome!  We then headed to the subway and took it back to the hotel where I showered, slept, and then we headed out for some pizza and beer!

Race swag!
Me and Eric.
My unfortunate time...oh well!

We found a pizza place near our hotel.   It looked like a single door with an awning from the outside...and on the inside it was HUGE!  It had multiple levels, with a huge ceiling!  It's so weird how businesses in NYC are just a door from the street, yet super cool from the inside.

Door and awning.
Inside John's!
The ceiling of the pizza place!

Since I had walked much of my race, I had plenty of energy and leg power the next day for sight seeing.  We decided to take a bike ride through Central Park.  The bike path is 6 miles long and goes by all of the really cool places tucked in there.

Wollman Ice Skating Rink (from my fav movie "Serendipity")
Central Park Model Boat Sailing
Alice in Wonderland
Loeb Boathouse
The Reservoir
Bike path

My absolute favorite part of Central Park was the northern end.  It had beautiful hiking paths and ponds.  We stopped to see "The Pool" which was beautiful with the Fall colors.  There was a foot path down to a small waterfall and arch.  If I lived in NYC, I would surely hide out in this place to find my peace.

The Pool
Small waterfall
Glen Span Arch

Just a few more...

Shakespeare's Garden
Belvedere Castle

We walked to a nearby restaurant after returning our bikes.  We had only a couple of hours left before taking the subway to JFK.  We stopped one more time in Times Square to sit on the bleachers (which is something that we never had done).  All in all, it was a fun trip...but I need to take a break now and find my passion to run again.  Hopefully, that won't take too long...running is my true love.

Times Square bleachers

Event: New York City Marathon
Place: New York, New York
Theme Song: "I Can't Feel My Face When I'm With You", by The Weekend
Date: Sunday, November 1, 2015
Time: 10:15am
Overall Place:  32185
Gender Place:  11376
Division Place (F4044):  1855
Half Split:  1:59:56
Final Time:  4:53:37 (11:12 avg. pace)

Sometimes slow is all you got, and that's ok.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Marathon #14: Pre-Race Thoughts

Saturday, October 31, 2015
After an unexpected injury two weeks before NYC last year, I was lucky to get a second chance at this race by being admitted into the lottery in March 2015.  I actually cried when I received the email saying that I was admitted.  I couldn't believe it.  It took me 4 years the first time to get in and then I got right back in the following year, with only 15% of U.S. applicants getting in.  Pretty cool.

I saw this as my second chance - a redo - to have a NYC race that I'd be proud of.  But a couple months after being admitted, I ran the Med City Marathon in May and realized that I was just "done" with running for awhile.  But, with a second chance at NYC I couldn't exactly stop and take the break that my soul was telling me I needed - so I pushed on and kept running, but without much heart.

As NYC approached, I was getting excited.  I love that city and this would be my 6th time there.  I was excited to see the only sights remaining on my bucket list and Coney Island was one of them.  I have always wanted to go there and finally I would get to.  We would also be in NYC on Halloween, which we thought would prove to be interesting!  Our hotel was in Times Square too, so we were right in with the crowd!

We flew in on Friday morning and spent the afternoon going to the expo and getting my packet.  As we entered the expo, I didn't have the excitement that I thought I would.  I had a feeling of dread.  I wasn't up for the 26.2 ahead of me and I knew it.  I just wouldn't admit it to myself, so I went through all the pre-race motions.  My heart just wasn't in it anymore.  What a journey I've been on for the past 5 years.  Maybe I just need a little down time, with no training, no feeling the need to HAVE to run, and just run when I feel like it.

Entrance to the Expo
Photo op with my bib!
Start line flag!

We left the expo center and headed out to the "Highline" which was an old elevated railroad that had been turned into a mile and a half walking path/park.  It was really pretty and ran through neighborhoods on the west side of the city.

The Highline

My feet were starting to hurt by now from traveling and being on them all day, but we still had one more thing to do before the day was done.  We wanted to see the finish line and opening ceremony parade for the marathon in Central Park.  There would be fireworks too, but we were too spent and headed back to the hotel after our tour of finish line.

Posing in front of the finish line.

Parade forming.
The French w/ a Baguette, so funny!
The USA!
Can't wait to see this sign on Sunday!

We headed back towards our hotel in Times Square, had dinner at the Olive Garden and then spent the rest of the evening with our feet up, watching HGTV in our hotel room - with no distractions!

On Saturday, we tried to keep off our feet so that I had something left for the race!  We took the subway to Coney Island, which was over an hour trip through Manhattan, over a bridge, and then through Brooklyn.  We walked on the beach, out on the pier, on the boardwalk, and then took a ride on the famous Wonder Wheel!

View of Brooklyn from the subway.
The beach and pier in the distance.
View from the pier.
Eric approaching the Wonder Wheel.

We headed back on the subway and remembered that it was Halloween as people in costumes started getting on the subway.  It was a little freaky to approach an underground subway station and look out and see a big guy in a skull mask and cape!  We headed back to Times Square and found a small Italian restaurant to carbo load in and then walked Times Square to see all the Halloween hoopla!

Pre-race meal!
Times Square on Halloween!

After seeing the interesting sights of the evening and battling the serious amount of people piling into Times Square for Halloween, we headed back to the hotel, watched some more HGTV and crashed for the big day ahead of us tomorrow.