It’s official! I’m a NYC Marathon finisher! It’s hard to believe the race was 2 weeks ago and I still feel a huge rush of excitement when thinking back to that incredible day. All I can say is WOW! For someone that has only completed 2 half marathons and felt like I was dying at the finish line of both of them, I never in my wildest dreams imagined that some day I would scratch NYC marathon off my bucket list. It just goes to show that you should always dream big and go for it!
Our entire Big Apple race weekend was a whirlwind so I thought it would be fun to share some of my fave. pictures from expo to race to post-race celebration. Ready, set, go!
After checking in at the New Yorker, we headed to the marathon expo. As soon as I walked in, saw the signs and felt the energy, it finally hit me that the marathon was here and I was running in it! Here’s me and my lucky race number! :)
Part of what made this entire experience so much more special was that my sister was running too and it was also her first marathon. So awesome, right? Here we are next to the map of the course which included each of NYC’s 5 boroughs. We had a loooong way to run!
After making our way out of the chaos of the expo, we grabbed lunch, did a bit of sightseeing and then headed back to the hotel to relax before dinner and our attempt at an early bedtime. Thank goodness for daylight savings time that night!
Check out the Empire State Building decorated in the signature orange and blue of the marathon!
After our 4:20 AM wake-up call, 5 AM departure from the hotel and 5:40 AM departure from Staten Island, we arrived at our start village on Staten Island around 6:30-ish AM. Whoever said it was a marathon to get to the start of the marathon wasn’t kidding! So with nearly 4 hours to go until our 10:30 race start, we bundled up, sipped cup after cup of Dunkin Donuts coffee, nibbled on snacks and nervously chatted with other runners to pass the time. The temps were in the 40s, which would have been fine, but the gusty wind made it feel soooo much colder! Everyone was rocking these adorable fleece DD hats to keep warm.
Miraculously, the time breezed right on by and before we knew it, our wave number was called and we headed to the base of the Verrazano Bridge. It was right around this time that the clouds broke for some blue sky and sunshine. Perfection! :)
Once we were at the official start line, everything happened super fast. There were a few announcements, the National Anthem was sung and then the moment I had been waiting for— Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” begin to play and we were off! The bridge was very crowded and boy was it ever windy over the water, so the first few minutes of the race were a slow go. I normally despise running in the wind, but not this time. I think I had a crazy runner’s smile on my face across the entire bridge as I could see the Empire State Building in the distance and was repeating to myself “you’re running the NYC marathon, “you’re running the NYC marathon!” Pure bliss!
Aerial shots of the race, like this one, blow my mind every time I see them. Such an incredible sight! This view is somewhere in Brooklyn which is where half of the marathon miles were run.
My sister and I were so lucky to have an entourage of dad, mom, Nate and Bryan keeping up with us on the course the entire time. The shot below was taken around mile 18-ish in Manhattan. It was right around the time that I started to hit the wall a bit, feeling overwhelmed at the number of miles still ahead. I clearly remember thinking that I needed a boost—a great song to come on, a funny spectator sign to appear, anything. Within seconds of thinking this, I looked to the left and there stood our entourage along the street! I was so excited and surprised that I starting crying but then quickly realized that crying makes it tough to breathe when you’re running. Go figure! ;)
I made my way over to them to say hi and pass out some high-5’s as I ran by. It was so awesome and just the thing I needed to push me through the next several miles.
After more miles up to East Harlem (our old neighborhood!), I finally made it to 5th Avenue along Central Park and about 4 miles from the finish line. Can you spot me below rocking my pink and black? As much as I wanted to stay focused and take note of every spectator, fellow runner, building, Central Park detail etc. to remember the moment, I sort of tuned out. The last bit of the race is all a blur of repeating mantras and running towards that sub 4-hour finish time.
The good news is…I did it! My official finish time was 3:58:18!!
Crossing the finish line was crazy exciting! I crossed with a pretty big group and we all congratulated each other, snapped pictures and cheered together while making our way to the recovery station for water, snacks and one of my favorite mementos of the race—this mylar Marathon Finisher blanket!
After what seemed like an eternity because I was freezing, tired, sore and starving, I was reunited with my entourage and super speedy sis (she finished in 3:37:20!!) and we boarded the subway back to the hotel to warm up before celebrating.
Can you tell that mom was a little proud of us!! Love.This.Picture!! :)
Post-race celebration with champagne!
I can’t say enough about the incredible experience I had as a runner in the NYC marathon. I doubt another race will ever compare. The amazing crowds, the scenery, the history—everything about this race made it so special!
In case you wonder how I fueled during the race, I used strawberry-flavored Clif Shot Blocks every few miles starting around 7. I’m not a fan of gels and the blocks taste great!
As encouraged by many marathon experts, I stopped for water at nearly every water station from mile 3 to the finish (unfortunately hydration packs like the Camelbak I trained with weren’t allowed). I also speed-walked through them to give my legs a quick break and so I could actually drink the water instead of splashing it all over myself. Yes, my first attempt at drinking on the run at mile 3 resulted in water going into my eyes and up my nose. Not my finest moment of the race! Haha!
Around mile 21 I started to feel really hungry so I nibbled the bites of banana that were offered at the water stations and a half of a peanut butter Power Bar over the last few miles.
After the race I drank a ton of water, snacked on salty pretzels and had a turkey and cheese sandwich before our celebratory dinner.
While I felt sore for a few days after the race, I was truly surprised at how quickly I recovered. All that training sure paid off and I was back to running by the Thursday after the race. I don’t currently have any races, with the exception of a Thanksgiving morning Turkey Trot 5K, on my schedule but am thinking about a spring half marathon.
There you have it, NYC Marathon Mission accomplished! :)
In case you missed my other marathon training posts check them out:
Pre-Training Run Rituals
Saturday Long Run Prep
Bring It On: NYC Marathon Training
What are some of your bucket list items?