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Best Race Ever – 2013 ING New York City Marathon Recap

7 Nov

Ok, this may get long…so bear with me 🙂

The 2013 ING New York City Marathon was amazing. I don’t know how words can do it justice but I will try to describe my day!

First, I want to thank everyone who wished my mom and me well, commented or tweeted with advice and support, and to those who were at the race as spectators, especially my family and friends. We couldn’t have done it without your support, especially me since I was freaking out about my whole shin problem…

So where to begin…

We woke up at 6 am because luckily we didn’t have to get on a ferry until 8:30 am (though this actually would turn out to not be so lucky).  I was so nervous. I was nervous about not having run over 5 miles in the last 2 weeks, I was nervous about the wind…I was really scared it wouldn’t be my day. But having a bright, fun outfit did make me feel better 😉

marathon outfitWe got ready and drove into the city. We waited for the 8:30 Staten Island Ferry, though in hindsight, we should have just gotten on the 8:15 one that was there right when we walked in. I didn’t know they wouldn’t be checking your bib to see your boarding time.

Anyway, we got on the ferry around 8:40, and I attempted to eat my breakfast. I had a piece of toast and 1 egg before leaving the house, then had oatmeal with PB, honey and a banana/1 more egg on the ferry. I was so nervous it was honestly hard for me to get this down!

Once we got off, it was a long wait to get on the buses to the start village.  It took probably 30 minutes to get on a bus, at which point we had to stand because there were no seats. Now I was worried about my feet/shins from standing so long. The bus ride took an additional 30 minutes. This was probably the most annoying part of the day.

on the bus

on the bus

We finally got to the starting area at 10, and needed to be in our corrals by 10:40. We sat down in the starting area and started putting on socks, numbers, taking our jackets/sweats off etc. and the next thing I know it is 10:30!!! We had 10 minutes to get our bags to the UPS trucks and go to the bathroom, then run to our corral. Now I was really cursing myself for not signing up for the 8 am ferry…why did the man at the expo say we’d have plenty of time?!

The UPS truck literally started pulling away and saw my mom running after him so he took our bags. We ran to the porta-potty, then started running to our corral. We looked behind us and we were actually the last runners going in lol. Oops!

Whatever, once we got there it was fine. We relaxed and made the walk to the base of the Verrazano Bridge. We actually got there when they were singing the national anthem, and were quickly trying to set our watches, put phones away, make our fuel belts comfortable etc, last minute. Then the cannon went off! I had to pull to the side before crossing the starting mat because I was having issues with my Garmin…but after a few seconds we were finally off!!!

startline

Miles 1-2: Like they always say, you really don’t feel the incline of the Verrazano Bridge. It’s a mile uphill but you’re too busy feeling excited! Mile 2 is all downhill so you have to make sure to rein yourself in. Once you get to the other side, you start hearing the crowds and bands and know that your journey is about to begin.

Miles 3-6: Last time I ran, I wasn’t a big fan of the Brooklyn portion of the race, because it seems never ending (you run about 13 miles in Brooklyn), but this year I loved it! As soon as we got off the bridge, there was a marching band playing and people screaming your name. Mile 3-6 few by and we were averaging about a 10:30 pace. I got my first comment about the back of my shirt 🙂 A girl came up to me and said, “We’re following the leader!”

Miles 7-10: Seriously, the crowd support in Brooklyn was phenomenal. It felt like everyone was screaming out “PATTY!! TINA!!” to us and we loved it. I high-fived people, waved and fist pumped…it was great. Our pace had dropped to 10:35 but I was okay with it. I wanted to say in the easy zone until after mile 15. We met up with my family and Dan around mile 7.5. Dan surprised me with a sign that said, “Run Like This Wind.” 🙂 We took a quick pic and then continued on our way.

Waiting for us to arrive

Waiting for us to arrive

Miles 11-13: There was a good thing and bad thing about being around mile 10. The good thing was, we ran this portion of the course twice in practice (mile 10-finish), so we were finally in familiar territory on Bedford Ave. The bad thing was it was pretty narrow and we were so crowded at one point I was forced to stop and walk to try to get around runners! I know there were 50K runners this year but this was not fun. I was glad once we got closer to the Pulaski Bridge because it opened up. The Pulaski Bridge is at mile 13, and I remember this being challenging in 2011, but this year we cruised right on over it. I was so happy to be in Queens!

Miles 14-15: I don’t remember much of running through Queens because I was mentally preparing myself for the Queensboro Bridge. Around mile 14.5, we saw my family and Dan again, yay! Though this threw me off here…my dad was supposed to hand off some GUs to me, but I forgot! So I waved, kept running, then remembered and sprinted back to grab them. Thankfully my mom remembered, but I think this is where my pace got all wacky, because once we got onto the bridge, my breathing and rhythm were off. The bridge wasn’t bad at all, and once again I was happy we had practiced it in training. We were still feeling strong!

Miles 16-20: People talk about the crowds on First Ave. but I definitely prefer Brooklyn. The road here is really wide so it doesn’t feel as if you’re running through a tunnel of people like on Fourth Ave. But don’t get me wrong, there are still a ton of people. We were feeling good though our pace had dropped to around 10:45 after the bridge. Around mile 18 I told my mom we could probably pick it up a bit. I was just looking at the street signs, counting them down (or up?) until we could get to 126th and cross into the Bronx. I got another comment here about the back of my shirt -this woman came up to me and said, we are following you because you’re such a nice girl! Then wished me luck…put a smile on my face.

Mile 20-22: We crossed into the Bronx and finally got to mile 20! I vividly remembered in 2011 how much I was struggling here. It felt so good to be feeling strong and going steady. I asked my mom how she felt, and she was fine too, so we tried to speed up a tiny bit, and even though it felt like we did, according to splits, we actually stayed the same haha. After mile 22 we saw my family and Dan again! I told my mom I couldn’t stop for a pic or anything because if I did it would be too hard to start again. We just waved and gave them a thumbs up.

nyc marathon mile 22

Mile 23: Uh oh…the pain has set in. Here, my hip flexors started feeling really weak. It was such a weird feeling. It was weak, or tight, I don’t know but I felt like if I ran faster, my legs would give out. I slowed down to what felt like a crawl, but according to the splits, it was only a 10:59 pace at this point. I felt guilty for holding my mom back yet again, because she was totally fine, just like in 2011, but she stuck with me.

I think this is where the hill on 5th Ave starts? It’s almost a mile uphill, and in practice I remember thinking, OMG this hill will be killer on race day! Actually, I was so thankful for the hill. I wanted a hill at this point because I figured it would take pressure off my hip flexors and allow me to use different muscles. It kinda did…

Mile 24: We’re in Central Park! This is the one and only place we stopped the whole race! I stopped to stretch my hips for 30 seconds then we continued…albeit slow. I started to play a game where I’d speed up from light pole to light pole and slow down in between. Right before miles 25, I pulled over to stretch real quick again and spectators started chanting PATTY! PATTY! PATTY! Once I got up to run, they cheered so loud and a woman put some grapes in my hand. I smiled and went on my way. PS-why is it taking so long to get to mile 25 at this point?!

Mile 25: Ok, the last mile. I CAN DO THIS. I told my mom, Let’s go, and we sped up. I kept repeating to myself, “Ignore the pain. Pain is temporary. You want to finish by 4:50.” I knew 4:45 was out of reach but I really wanted 4:50. I looked at my Garmin and it said we were going around 10:45/mile (as opposed to the almost 11:30 I was doing at mile 24).

We ran up Central Park South which seemed neverending, but I knew my family and Dan were waiting at Columbus Circle to see us one last time. We were actually passing a bunch of people here which felt great! In 2011, I was walking this part, I was dead. This time I still had all the energy in the world and was waving to people who were screaming my name. We saw my family and I gave them the thumbs up and a big smile, and kept running.

nyc marathon mile 25

Mile 26 (!!!!!!): We saw the sign and it felt surreal. My mom was like we finally made it! I said ok let’s pretend this is a track workout and speed it up! We went as fast as we could (after 26 miles), and were all smiles. Someone yelled, only 400 yards to go, you got this!!! We threw our hands up in the air and crossed the finish line: 4:50:49. A 33 minute PR!!!

nyc marathon finishWe hugged and were so happy. I was cherishing this moment, because the last time I crossed this finish line, I immediately ran to a bush and threw up, and then ended up in the medical tent. Seriously, this race was a far cry from 2011…look at this picture that says it all…

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Now, I honestly felt like we had just done a long training run. My energy levels never waned. Our fueling was spot on…and I’m glad I discovered S!Caps which helped regulate my electrolytes and salt…especially since my face was covered in dry salt at the end!

We picked up our medals and heat sheets, and started walking to the UPS trucks. I had to sit on the curb for a little to stretch because my legs got so stiff, I couldn’t bend my right knee. I also stopped and sat in the truck for a bit, though it was hard to get back up…

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We got out on West 88th, and my family was on West 63rd, so there was NO WAY I was walking that far. We hopped on the subway (well, slowly walked down the stairs with a bunch of other runners lol) and finally met up with them around 2 hours after finishing. This part of the race sucks too but it is what is is. I’ve read people say that they will never run NYC again because of the long march after the finish but come on people, there are 50K runners, NYRR does what they can!

We finally met up with my family, Dan and my best friend Nicole 🙂

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I couldn’t walk Sunday night (actually almost cried trying to go up the stairs, not gonna lie), or Monday…but I am finally back to normal now! My dad said, “Hey you did this to yourself,” and I would do it all over again!

Here are our splits, in case you’re curious. I’d say we stayed pretty steady the whole race until around mile 23-24 when my hips got all weird. I’m really proud of our pacing!

Screen shot 2013-11-03 at 10.31.25 PM

My Garmin was pretty spot on too…so glad I invested in one finally:

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Although our A goal was 4:30, we are so happy with our performance. I knew going in that 4:30 may not be feasible due to the time off I had to take because of my shin. Our B goal was 4:45, and our C goal was anything under 5…so we’re pretty happy!

It was truly an amazing day. We had a perfect race…PRed, and the spectators made us feel so special. I have been thinking about the whole day since Sunday, and replaying it in my head. I can’t believe it is over! I definitely have the post-marathon blues, but I’m already thinking about what spring races to do 🙂 I wish I could complete 9+1 for 2014 NYCM, but it’s too late. Oh well, we’ll be coming back in 2015, New York!

Did you run NYCM? Is it on your bucket list? What’s the best race that you have ever had?

Read my 2011 NYC Marathon Recap here.

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5th Avenue Mile Race Recap

25 Sep

This is one of my favorite races.  While some people may think it’s crazy to pay to run 1 mile…actually people think it’s crazy to pay in general…this race is so fun!

Saw this on Jess’s Facebook Page (blog: racepacewellness.com)

I was also excited because my dad would be running this one too, along with me and my mom. The race is broken up into age groups, so we all got to see/cheer each other on.

We got there around 8 and I registered and quickly did a 1 mile warm up. I was hoping to beat last year’s time of 7:07, but I knew it might be hard. I had run the past 12 days prior (didn’t actually realize this until now) and the day before we had a big tailgate for the Rutgers football game, aka I was standing for hours. It’d be hard but I was going to try to get that PR!

I had butterflies waiting in the corral and once I started running. I had to calm down in order to breath right. Does anyone else get butterflies when they first start a race?

I love this race because it really does fly by. They have signs at 1/4 mile, 1/2 mile, 3/4 mile, and 100 meters to go. At the half mile mark there is a slight downhill so you can really turn it on for the rest of the race.

I was feeling more tired during the race than I did last year so I figured I wouldn’t PR. I tried not to look at the clock, plus I’m bad at mental math anyway so it would do me no good. I suppose I could have looked at the street signs (the race is 20 blocks) but I didn’t think of that lol. I started my phone stop watch at the line and planned to stop it once I crossed.

Before I knew it, it was over! I sprinted the last 100 meters because 3 girls around me sped up and I did not want to be passed! I finished in 7:23. I’m okay with that!

Afterwards, my mom and dad went for their warm up run, as their races were back to back. I couldn’t get a picture of my mom because I lost her in the crowd, but here’s my dad:

photo

He had been running the past few weeks again to prepare for this race and I knew he was excited for it. He didn’t think he could break 8:30, but he ran 7:22! We stayed and watched a few more races, then my mom and I went to run an extra 3 miles. When we got back, the 80+ category was up. Seriously so inspirational! Check out this man:

I hope I am still running when I am older, I don’t care how slow I go.

Afterwards, we went to get some breakfast before the professionals race. I wanted to watch Jenny Simpson race, especially because I got a pic with her at this very race last year!

She won the race in around 4:18? Seriously, can I be that fast??

I didn’t get to take a picture with her, however I did get one with Olympian Leo Manzano:

As I was writing this post, I looked up 1 mile races in NJ…and found one on Nov. 30! I will definitely try to run that, and hope I can PR since it will be after the marathon!

Overall, it was a great day for a race. Can’t wait to run it again next year!

Have you raced 1 mile before? What’s your favorite race distance?

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Brooklyn Half Marathon Race Recap

23 May

Ok, I have finally gotten around to writing this recap! Let’s just jump right into it.

So we woke up at 4 am on Saturday morning, which was the earliest I have ever been up for a race. I went to sleep at 9:30 the night before, but was tossing and turning a lot thinking about this race. Do you get actual sleep before race day?

My dad drove us in and we got there around 6:15. Here’s the pretty sunrise we saw on our way in:

We used the restrooms and then basically just hung out in our corral. I really liked that each corral had their own set of bathrooms. It didn’t get too packed or have crazy lines which I was expecting if they just had a long row of them outside of the corrals for everyone.

Our corral was set to start at 7:30 am. As the time got closer, I got more and more nervous. Not necessarily because I wanted to PR (which I did) but because I just wanted to finish and not have to stop because of shin pain.

At 7:30 we were off, and the first 3 miles were great. We felt good. and from what I remember our splits were:

Mile 1: 10:15

Mile 2: 9:18

Mile 3: 9:25

My plan was to do the first 5 in 9:30 pace then pick it up to 9:20 pace. Well, I thought I could do this during the first 4-5 miles. Then Prospect Park happened.

I was expecting hills, and I train on hills but for some reason these hills just really slowed me down. One in particular was super long, like probably half a mile (maybe a little less). Once we got out of Prospect Park we were at Mile 7 and it was pretty much flat but the damage was done. I was beat, it was hot and humid, and I was sweating A LOT aka losing a lot of water and salt.

photo 3

Running in the park

photo 2

Finally leaving the park onto Ocean Parkway

Isn’t my shirt drenched with sweat so attractive? :-p The humidity definitely started slowing me down. I was glad we were on the parkway heading straight to Coney Island, but personally, I thought it was pretty boring. It seemed as if it lasted forever. But, at the same time, the miles did tick by quickly. I don’t know how to explain it haha. I was glad that we were at Mile 7 after the hilly park, because if it was Mile 4 or something I would definitely feel defeated.

Anyway, so yeah the parkway stretch was boring. At mile 9 we had to stop and walk to fuel and just take a break. My mom’s knee was bothering her as well. Once we started running I made a pact with myself that I would run until the next mile, then walk a short break, then run to the next mile again. I kept telling myself it was just a treadmill working. Just hold on for a few more minutes then you get a break.

At mile 11 I knew we had only 2 more miles. I WANTED to run the whole way but I just couldn’t catch my breath with the humidity. What is so frustrating about this race was that my legs and shins felt great. But I just couldn’t get my breathing right. Also, at Mile 8ish we knew we wouldn’t hit our time goal of around 2:05. I would be happy with anything around our original half marathon time. At Mile 11, I really thought we’d finish 2:15.

RANDOM NOTE: There were NYPD officers around Mile 10 who were cheering on runners and yelling out, “DO NOT WALK. YOU WILL GET A SUMMONS.” That gave me a little pick me up. I love spectators.

So then we finally made it to Mile 12. There were a ton of spectators on the road entering Coney Island which really helped me speed up a little bit and not walk at all in the last mile. I saw the sign that said, “800 Meters To Go” and was pumped. I thought, ok just 2 laps on the track. I can do this. I always break things down into laps on a track when my mind needs a little help.

Then, I saw the ramp up to the boardwalk. SO CLOSE! This is another complaint, however. The ramp was not big enough for how many runners there were, so we had to all slow down A LOT. Like, almost walking. I got to the top and my mom and I sprinted as hard as we could to the finish. We also FINALLY remembered to raise our arms up for a posed finish picture. In the 3 halfs and 1 full we have done, we always have forgotten to do this.

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And then, we finished! My mom’s stopwatch said 2:11 and I was honestly shocked. I thought we finished around 2:15 because of how our pace slowed. Our official finishing time was 2:10:56 which was basically our 1st half marathon time from 2011, which was also way flatter (2:10:58). I’ll take it!

So happy to be done!

We got our medals then kept walking. My dad and brother were at the finish and took a lot of photo and video of us. I love when our family comes to support us!

photo 1The good thing about the day was that it was cloudy the whole time. The bad thing was the 70% humidity. But what can you do, race day is always a toss up of whether you will get perfect conditions or not.

We had to leave right after the race so we didn’t get to experience any of Coney Island. Sad. I put on my new compression socks by 110% and iced in the car. I will be writing a review on this product very soon!

I had a few stomach cramps for a few hours after the race, but made sure to get in some protein in the car and ate some eggs. Other than that I couldn’t really eat until dinner that night.

But good news, very little shin pain after! In fact, my legs were just stiff and tight. I took a 4 hour nap while having my legs raised that helped too 🙂

The next day, I was a little bit sore but not much, and the third day I was perfectly fine! Best I have felt after a half marathon. So, at least my body has gotten used to the long distances!

So that’s pretty much it! I would rate this race a B. The route wasn’t anything to write home about, but the finish on Coney Island was pretty cool. I was disappointed with my time, but then realized, hey, my body just ran 13.1 miles and feels mostly fine after. I need to give myself credit. Plus, I didn’t even get my worst time ever which was what I was expecting.

Overall, it was a good day, and I’m happy I felt so good afterwards, as opposed to how horrible I felt after NYC Marathon.

Who else ran Brooklyn? What were your thoughts on the course? In general, are you disappointed when you don’t hit a time goal?

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Run as One 4M Race Recap

29 Apr

On Sunday, I ran the NYRR Run as One 4 Miler in Central Park. The goal was to do it in half marathon goal pace, so around 9:00 minutes per mile. I ended up averaging 8:50-ish per mile!! It was challenging BUT more like “comfortably hard,” instead of really hard.

Pre-race

NYRR has my average pace at 9:05 per mile, but my Runkeeper app (and my mom’s) said we ran 4.2 miles and at a faster pace. I figured it was the tangents, etc. but a fellow runner tweeted at me that he had the same issue with his Nike app and his Garmin, and that others were commenting on this issue as well. They had new B-tags for this race so maybe that was the issue? Either way, I’m going with my Runkeeper time!

My mom and I finished together and felt really strong overall. We probably could have kept running! We ended up doing a 1 mile cooldown in the park before heading out. My brother and dad came to support us and take pictures as well =)

Overall, it was a great day to run! Beautiful weather and I felt awesome. The hills didn’t really phase me either, I really felt like I was powering through them. Hopefully my successful long run, and this great race bodes well for May 18!

Did you race this weekend?

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Miles for Matheny 5K Recap

22 Apr

Yesterday, I started the day off by going to the Rutgers Unite Half Marathon in the morning. My half marathon training group was running and I wanted to go support them. It was great being a spectator for once and taking the race in!

It was on the chillier side but a great day for racing all around. I left early then headed back home to start warming up for my 5K which was at noon. My mom and I did some dynamic warm up drills, and jogged the 1 mile to the park where the starting line was. It’s so convenient having a 5K right in your town!

The course has 2 major hills and a few small ones, so it’s tough. I finished in 27:26, which isn’t my best and I really wanted to PR but you can’t always get your best time! Overall, I felt really strong and my pacing was even, so I am happy with that. Plus, I did get 2nd in my age group!

Mom and me at the finish.

 

It was a great day, and at least it wasn’t rainy like it was last year! This race always has great post-race food so we had a bagel, then headed over to the lunch tent where there were a ton of burgers, hot dogs and desserts. Yum!

Afterwards, we did a cooldown mile back home. I was exhausted and ended up taking a 2 hour nap as soon as I got home. Those post-race naps are the best!

My next race is this upcoming weekend. It will be me and my mom’s first NYRR race of the year – a 4 mile run in Central Park to raise money and awareness for lung cancer. My running coach had me doing a 4 mile tempo run this week, so I figured I’d sign up for a race to make it seem easier/give me more motivation.

Less than 1 month until a) the Brooklyn Half Marathon and b) I graduate with my Master’s degree!!!!

What spring races are you doing this year?

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Are You Faster Than a Ridge Runner 5K

26 Mar

This past Sunday I ran my first 5K of the season! I wasn’t expecting anything huge from this race…I was using it more as a a fitness test. While I obviously WANTED a 5K PR, I knew it was unrealistically…but that doesn’t mean I didn’t try. Despite that, I finished in 27:55.

It was tough. Not gonna lie. So my average pace ended up being 9 min. per mile. That’s around my goal pace for the half marathon so it was a bit discouraging that that pace was so hard for only 5K! My legs felt fine, no shin pain really…but my breathing was just off. My lungs just didn’t feel like they could handle it. My first mile was in 8:30 and then it all dropped from there.

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But it’s ok! It’s a starting point for my goal 5K race on April 21, and my half marathon on April 27. I’d love to break my 5K PR of 25:42 in April, and break my half marathon PR of 2:07. We’ll see!

Anyway, my mom and I placed 3rd in our age group at the 5K. She did awesome! She came in front of me in 26:39. It’s one of her fastest times yet. She’s trying to beat her PR of 26:10. So we both got some medals out of it!

And they ran out of race shirts since we registered that day, so we got this awesome shirt instead (that was for the high school kids who sponsored the race):

I love memes 🙂

Did you run a race this weekend? How did you do?

Forgot a top moment of 2012…my first mud run!

31 Dec

I can’t believe I forgot to write about that. I was actually just reminded as I read Ericka’s top 5 running moments on her blog.

I did my first mud run this past summer…the Rugged Maniac 5K. I ran with a group of college friends and it was a blast!

I’m 5578

I was initially really nervous about all the obstacles, but I got through all of them except one and had a lot of fun doing them all. I guess I was delusional that day because I thought we would finish in 30 minutes. Ha! We finished in about 50 minutes, which was fine by us. We were so tired by the end…talk about a full body workout!

Definitely my favorite obstacle.

If you have yet to do a mud run, I highly suggest it! It is so fun getting muddy and dirty, and you feel so badass going over all the obstacles. I definitely want to do another mud run in 2013, but I guess it will depend on marathon training. Our group will be doing this race again so hopefully I can join them!

On the end, on the right. So muddy and loving it!