The New York City Marathon: A Way Too Late Race Review

The New York Marathon. It’s been 5 weeks since marathon #10 and one that I’ve been trying to figure out how to write about for awhile. I even did the Abbott Dash to the Finish 5K the day before as a shake out run.

I ended up leaving for NYC a day earlier than expected. Last minute, someone from work needed a day covered the Tuesday after the race, so she took a shift for me that allowed me to leave on the Thursday prior to race day. I got into NYC a little after 7 pm and took a Lyft from JFK airport to the hotel. After checking in, I found a little Italian Place for dinner close to the hotel. I walked around Times Square some and then called it a night. Friday, I woke up and headed out for a run in Central Park, and everyone was out stretching out their legs. It’s always fun to see the energy to a bigger marathon, especially leading up to it. After a quick shower, I headed over to an ASICS pop up shop off 28th (ish) street and found some pretty good deals. I checked out of hotel #1 (I had to book a one night last minute hotel with the leaving earlier than expected thing) and switched hotels before heading down to Penn Station and finding lunch in the area.

Around 1 or so,I headed over to the expo. I met up with quite a few of my Bibrave Pro friends and we walked around for awhile and I tried to save my bank account as much as possible. Trust me, I really don’t need another Garmin at the moment! I took the rest of Friday to walk around a little bit and just relax.

Saturday, I was up early and over by the UN for the Abbot Dash to the Finish 5K. I’m all about getting in as many races as possible over a weekend, let’s be real. Afterwards, I got a quick shower and before meeting up with the Team Animal League runners at our pre race brunch. Pretty sure we’re the only ones who had puppies at our brunch (for what it’s worth, their names were Salt and Pepper). Post lunch, I took a load off and watched some college football and found a Saturday night church service to go to over in the Broadway district. After finding dinner, I headed back to the hotel and called it a night.

Sunday. I always appreciate when we fall back an hour on a race weekend, because that means I get an additional hour of sleep. I woke up ridiculously early and headed over to the NY Library to pick up the buses to Ft Wadsworth on Staten Island. We got there just before 730 which meant I had about 3 hours of time to kill before I had to care about getting into my corral. I wondered the runner’s area, went to the bathroom about 5 times (oh hydration), found some bagels and therapy dogs and made sure everything was charged. When it finally got time to line up, we made are way into the corrals where there’s no turning back. I ran into my friend Andy (fellow Bibrave Pro) in the corrals and we chatted while waiting to get to the start. I forgot about the hike to the start from where we were at (I got to run on top of the Verizzano Bridge this year, unlike 2011 where I was on the bottom!). Once we were finally off and running, the real work began.

The first 2 miles are on the Bridge and I wish I could have gotten pictures of it, but I also didn’t want to get run over. The first mile was uphill, the second down hill. Once we got off the bridge, we spent a good 10 miles in Brooklyn. The quite quickly turned into the start of a party and everyone was excited. 3 miles in, the corral from under the Verizzano Bridge finally met up with us and some people were confused as to who they were. I enjoyed the flatness, that’s for sure. I lost a little bit of time because of a bathroom break, but whatever works. We made our way into Queens and we weren’t there for long. I was not excited about the Queensboro Bridge though. Mentally up until mile 15 I was doing pretty well, but the Queensboro Bridge into Manhattan took a lot out of my legs and I felt it the last 10 miles. Coming off the bridge and onto First Ave, it was fun to be back around a good fan support. We headed towards the Bronx and joined in on a few street parties to boot. We didn’t spend much time in the Bronx and when we were coming over the last bridge back into Manhattan, the best sign I saw was “last damn bridge” and it was the best sight I’d ever seen. We chugged along into Central Park, and as my mom put it, I was probably really glad to see it. Yup, I really was. You forget how hilly Central Park is until your legs are really tired after 23 miles or so. By that point, you’re just trying to finish. Once you get to 6th Ave, you get diverted out to road for a little bit until you hit Columbus Circle and sent back into Central Park for the last .3-.4 miles.

I ended up finishing 30 seconds (ish) faster than my time in 2011, which I’ll take. It was light out and I was still standing which is all I really wanted. I forgot how long it takes to get out of Central Park post race though. I didn’t check a bag and went with the Pancho option instead, but I felt like we walked a good .5 mile at least just to get out. I appreciated that they just handed you a bag that had food and fluids in it, but the finish is still fairly congested (beware). The finish is at 67th and the first exit for the poncho group was at 77th. After showing them my bib with the P on it and my wrist brand that said give the poncho (that I had to tape on because it was flimsy), I finally started getting somewhat warm (yes the ponchos are fleece lined and really nice). We had to walk another .5 mile just to fully get out of the finish area. I tried to get a pedecab back to the hotel, but they were grossly overpriced so once it was all said and done, I’m pretty sure I walked another 1.5 miles post race. At least it kept my legs loose.

Overall, I love the NYC Marathon, but I’d be ok if this was it. It’s a fun race, but it’s also pretty crowded in terms of the sheer amount of people running it (52,700 or so this year alone). There were also times where the crowd (I loved them) was getting so close to us on the course it made it difficult to get through. It’s a fun and exciting race, just be ready for a little bit of a long day!

Refund or Defer? What will you do??

This morning, 7 weeks after the NYC Marathon was cancelled less than 48 hrs before it was scheduled to start, NYRR and Mary Wittenberg made an announcement about the resolution that NYRR and their insurance company had come to.  NYRR had been pretty tight lipped about any sort of solution that left runners less than thrilled about whether they’d get guaranteed entry, a refund or anything at all.  In short, here’s the options:

  1. Get a full refund and with no guaranteed entry into any future race
  2. Take a guaranteed entry in the 2013, 2014 or 2015 NYC Marathon, pay the 2012 Marathon price but get no refund
  3. Guaranteed entry into the 2013 NYC Half Marathon in March and pay the fees associated with the NYC Half

Additionally, if you paid for the Marathon Eve Dinner, seats in the bandstand and a few other extras, expect to be fully refunded.  It doesn’t address the runners who ran for charity- will they have to raise their $2,500+ again to gain entry (That’s the lowest amount and how much I raised for Jack’s Fund in 2011 to get in). All NYRR says is that the charity will contact those charity runners for this year.  What about the people with a 9+1 guaranteed entry that they were planning to use for this year?  To read the full release, head over to the NYC Marathon Site or check out the Runner’s World article posted earlier today.

No NYC Marathon? Here’s to Rebuilding and Volunteering

48 hrs before the NYC Marathon was set to kick off in Staten Island and travel through the 5 boroughs of New York City, the mayor’s office and NYRR announced that it was officially canceled.  Earlier this week, the Marathon was still set to take place, but a firestorm of opinion flooded in through social media against the idea.  As a runner, I see both sides.  You don’t want your training, travel plans, money, etc to go to waste.  On the other hand, boroughs are still recovering from massive destruction from Hurricane Sandy/ Frankenstorm, the NYC subway is shut down, the Staten Island Ferry isn’t working, power is out, restaurants are shut down and NYC is trying to recover from mother nature.  Was it the right decision not to have the marathon? Yes.  Was it handled the right way?  Absolutely NOT (this is a PR nightmare for quite a few people, but I’m not going there).  So what to do now?

Runners are known to be some of the nicest people you’ll meet (so for everyone holding massive grudges against us right now for wanting to run our race, hear me out).  If you’re were suppose to run in NYC or are in NYC and looking to stay the weekend to help out, here are a few places to search to see where you’re needed

  1. Donating hotel rooms: if you’re no longer traveling to NYC, but still have your hotel room, consider donating it to someone who needs a place to stay because power is out, water is off and what not.  Head to Races2Recover to learn more.  Also, if you’re a New Yorker looking for a place to stay, head over to their website to get some help
  2. On Twitter, follow Lea Ann Kish.  Runners are meeting up Sunday, November 3 at 830 AM to donate food, water, etc to those on Staten Island needing help (Meet up at the Staten Island Ferry)
  3. Looking to volunteer? The New York Observer has a continuously updated page of places looking for volunteers or how to go about it.  Head over here to see how to help.  Everything from donating blood to
  4. Volunteers can also visit the UJA Federation of New York for places looking for volunteers
  5. In Staten Island?  Head over to Staten Island Recovers to see what they need
  6. Buzzfeed has an ongoing list of different places that need help, people to take food and water up flights of stairs, etc

Were you running and don’t want you’re training to go down the drain?  Check out some other options:

  1. Raleigh (NC) City of Oaks Marathon (November 4, 2012): if you’re in NC and didn’t travel to New York, a good option to look at!
  2. Richmond Marathon (November 20, 2012): there’s limited spaces left in the marathon, so be sure to jump on it!
  3. Rock n Roll Competitor Series: offering 20% off with BIGAPPLE code for Rock n Roll San Antonio (11/11/2012) and the Las Vegas Strip at Night (12/2/12).  20% of proceeds will go to Hurricane Sandy Relief
  4. The Fort Worth Marathon (11/11/12): option for all you Texans out there!!
  5. Looking for other races in your area? Head over to Marathon Guide for some help!

If you’re in NYC, hopefully this list will help you out if you’re looking for where to volunteer at.  Here’s to something positive coming out of this weekend!

NYC Marathon or Not to NYC Marathon

This time last year, I was prepping to run the NYC Marathon.  To say that I had a blast NYC Marathon weekend is an understatement to say the least.  Fast forward 51 weeks and the East Coast is dealing with Frankenstorm and Hurricane Sandy.  Massive storms and flooding showed themselves leaving NYC and New Jersey hit the hardest Sunday and Monday.  Lower Manhattan saw flooding, Staten Island was hit ridiculously hard and the NYC Subway was shut down.  All during marathon prep week.

After the weather was done showing itself, people were left wondering this: would the NYC Marathon be moved or canceled all together?  There are things that happen on certain weekends every year (the Chicago Marathon Columbus Day weekend, the OSU Michigan football game the weekend after Thanksgiving, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, etc)- can you really not have them at all?  People were left wondering a few things:

  1. Why have a marathon and pull first responders from those truly needing help recovering from Frankenstorm?
  2. How will people even get to NYC with the amount of canceled flights from LaGuardia, Newark and JFK and route restrictions on Amtrak and the massive traffic mess with the NYC tunnels?
  3. With the amount of food, water and gatorade used, why not give it to people who are with out power and thus have no water to use?
  4. Why shut down streets when there’s already difficulty getting around and when power, etc is trying to be restored?

As a runner I can see both sides of wanting the marathon to happen and the calls to have it canceled.  After 9/11 for example, there were major sporting events and community events that went on that pulled communities together and helped with the healing process.  The NYC Marathon could bring people together to help deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.  On the other hand, there’s the issue of having 45000-50000 people taking over a city, shutting down streets and drawing manpower away from cleaning up the city.  You also have sponsors donating food and water to a race in a major city, yet people in other boroughs a few miles away have nothing.

Us runners are crazy, and yes, races are expensive.  People take time off work, pay for flights, hotel rooms, food and race fees ($250 ish for the NYC Marathon alone) and to have a major event caused by mother nature threaten something you’ve trained for 4 months for is mind boggling.  However, how do you ignore the fact that you’re running a race where people were swept away, homes came off their foundations and heat, water and power may be out for over two weeks?  NYRR has donated $1,000,000 to recover efforts, canceled their opening ceremonies and the NYRR Dash to the Finish 5K on Saturday.  They’ve also offered runners the chance to defer until next year through Saturday night and extended expo hours so people can still get in to pick up their bibs.  Mayor Bloomberg has given the OK for the Marathon to go on and NYRR has been hard at work to make it happen.  On social media, there’s a debate almost as hot as politics brewing about whether to have the marathon at all or if NYRR should cancel it.  With that said, what’s your thoughts?  Should the Marathon go on or be canceled this year?

NYC Poland Springs Run Type of Weekend

Oh (hurricane) Sandy, why would you try and threaten my birthday weekend?? Yesterday, I decided I wanted to come out to NYC for the Poland Spring 5 Mile Run by NYRR. $32 round trip on megabits and a cheap hotel later, hear I am. I was able to still sign up at NYRR (woot!) and pay all of $23 due to my NYRR membership. Hopefully, Sandy will be nice and the Parks System won’t pull a quick one and cancel the race tomorrow AM. NYC Marathoners, I’m warming up your last few miles for you! Enjoy some race swag while you enjoy your Saturday afternoon college football 🙂




Discount Friday! Who Loves Free Shipping??

I admit it, I’m cheap. I hate paying full price if I don’t have to, especially for things that should be less than what the full price is.  Needless to say, I was happy the other day when said that the $50 nike gift cards were 1000 points instead of 2000 points.  Want to guess who had just over 1000 points?  This girl!  Anyways, I always find good deals so here you go!

  1. Nike: Free shipping for a limited time.  code: SWOOSH and it saves you $8! If you ran the Chicago or the NYC Marathon, they have some clothing that’s going for at least $10 off to boot.
  2. Rock n Roll Arizona Marathon and Half Marathon: Save $10 with the code AZRETREAT. You would think that Rock n Roll would just decrease their prices all together with the amount of promotional stuff they’ve been having recently.  Found this one through the one and only Bart Yasso!
  3. Rock n Roll has invaded Dublin, Ireland for a half marathon.  Currently, price is 33 euros ($44.61) through November 19th, 11:59 PST
  4. Gone For a Run: 20% off Rockbands (headbands) for runners with the code ROK11.  They’re also offering 50% off their portable water bottles for athletes.  Ends November 21 11:59 EST
  5. Schwaggle: The Ultimate Mud Run *Night Ops* which is April 21-22, 2012 in Millville, NJ.  Typically, $99- the schwaggle deal will get you the race for $54 for a 5-7 mile course with 20-25 obstacles and free beer at the end if you’re 21+.  Starts at 6 pm.  Have an membership? Take another 15% off and pay $45.90.


NYC Marathon in Pictures

The NYC Marathon has celebrities, people running for charities and people running with flags.  You also have the people who dress up in costumes- I saw Superman, the Greenman and a few others.  There’s also people who’ve overcome hardships to run- one lady with Multiple Sclerosis finished the marathon in 36 hrs, people running with Achilles International were running after having legs amputated or blind with leaders.

Then, there’s Christopher Niemann.  He’s a NYC Cartoonist.  He live drew his way through the NYC Marathon on Sunday.  Yes, he had a pad of paper, markers and a camera the entire time and drew his way through the NYC Marathon.  His drawings are hilarious and I can say how true most of them are.  I wish he had been running with me and drawing me as I ran through the marathon.  Head on over here and take a look.  I swear they’re good, accurate and funny!

How Did Your Celebrity Fare at NYC??

So how did you’re favorite celebrity do this weekend at the NYC Marathon?  Not sure? Here you go!

  1. Apollo Ohno: 3:25:12 (7:50 min miles)- yes, our favorite speed skater did really well! No, I didn’t get to see him as he started before I did and in a different wave.  But I followed him on twitter- does that count?
  2. Jennie Finch: 4:05:26 (9:23 min miles)- our olympic softball pitcher.  I got her autograph on Saturday.  Yes, I was one of the 30,000 she passed and therefor raised $1 of the $30,000 or so that went to charity
  3. Mark Messier: 4:14:27 (9:43 min miles)- pretty darn good for a hockey player that spent most of his days on skates
  4. Mario Lopez: 4:23:30 (10:04 min miles)- I had no idea he was running but he did
  5. Edwin Van der Sar 4:19:16 (9:54 min miles)
  6. Jack Waitz 3:50:41 (8:49 min miles)- Jack is the husband of the late running legend Grete Waitz.  He ran with a strained calf and said Grete wouldn’t have wanted him to run hurt.  Kudos to him for coming out to the US!
  7. Ryan Sutter 3:17:58- not much of a Bachelorette/ Bachelor fan but if you are, here you go
  8. Richard Blais: 4:31:54- not bad for a Top Chef. I was only 21 minutes behind him!



NYC Marathon- a 26.2 mile Party!

Statan Island Ferry

This time yesterday, I was 5 miles into the NYC Marathon.  This morning, my quads hate me and stairs aren’t my friend and I’m thankful for the day off.  What an experience NYC was.  It seriously was a party like no other!!  I woke up yesterday around 530.  I had a wake up call and had about 10 alarm sets on my phone.  I was hoping my iPhone would reset because of Daylight Savings time and the falling back an hour.  Thankfully it did and I was awake on time.  I ended up taking a cab to the Staten Island Ferry which was nice because there was no one on the roads.  I was dropped off in about 10 minutes and walked right in the Ferry to one that was loading.  It was nice to be able to see Manhattan from a different view, that’s for sure.  Once we got to Statan Island, there were busses shuttling runners to the start.  I did take advantage of the indoor bathrooms at the Ferry stop before hoping on one of the buses.  We were jammed on with some people standing in the aisles while other people who got on first were lucky enough to get seats

Once we got to Fort Wadsworth, we were drilled by security to see our bibs.  No bib means you were turned away. That would have

Me in front; Back (L->R): Jen Marston (In white; Jack Marston's Daughter), Jason and Clair (In pink)

been a shame!! I would have cried right there if I would have forgotten my bib.  The start was like a village of runners. People had sleeping bags, tents and blow up floatation devices for pools.   There was a religious services tent and I went over.  It was multi religious where we said a few prayers and some people gave some testimonials and then at the end, communion was given out to those who wished to receive it.  I was smart enough to bring my phone charger with me to top off my iPhone and was able to plug in my phone and have a 100% charge on it for the start. Another I would have cried moment if I would be without music.  But more so the phone part of things to contact people on course.  There were announcements the entire time I was in the Start area going on in different languages (French, Spanish, Italian, Dutch I think) and that was fun to hear.  There was an entertainment area with music and where we could watch the start of the pro women’s and wave 1 start.  The way NYC Marathon works its start is that there are 3 waves that start at 9:40, 10:10 and 10:40.  In each wave, there are 3 color groups (Blue, Orange and Green).  When the groups line up on the Verranzo Bridge in Statan Island, the Blue and Orange groups start on top of the bridge and the Green group starts on the lower level of the bridge.  While waiting for my corral to be let into the start, I ran into some other Jack’s Fund Runners and we walked to the start together when we were allowed in.  We were all getting anxious just because we had been waiting around for 3 hours. We were told we were the most rowdy of the groups from the announcer.  A few minutes before we started, a NYC Firefighter sang God Bless America, to which we all joined in.

At 10:45 we were off!!  It was so cool to see runners from different countries with their shirts on.  I saw people from Sweden, France, Italy, Mexico, Columbia, Denmark, Spain, South Africa, England, Australia and on and on.  It was awesome!!  The first 1.5 miles or 2, was on the bridge from Statan Island to Brooklyn.  Since I was in the Green Corral of wave 3, I was on the lower level of the bridge.  All you could hear were the feet of runners hitting asphalt.  When we came out of the bridge, we hit some highway with people cheering from overpasses which was SWEET!  We actually didn’t connect with the Orange and Blue groups until mile 3.  When we met up with them we were hit with a bunch of fans and spectators.  Fan and spectators mean energy, music and signs.  It was really a motivating thing to come up on and exciting to hear them.  The high that they gave me kept me going and not noticing any of the slight inclines the first 5 miles.  There were some people who were handing out tissues and paper towels.  That was useful for the runny noses (sorry mom, I forgot to bring my own) that I often experience during my runs.  There were kids asking for high 5s and if you don’t have the heart give them high 5s, you’re insane!!  Any kid offering them, I took initially, but there were times where I was in a zone and just kept going.  There were people in front of their churches cheering and choirs singing in front of their churches which was awesome.  At one point before mile 7 or 8, there was a sign that said “you are 38.4% done”- I appreciated that it didn’t say you’re almost done.  We crossed into Queens briefly via the Pulaski Bridge and then took a turn for Manhattan around mile 14.5 via the 59th street bridge. That’s another bridge I hated because of it’s slow incline.  We hit mile 15 while in the bridge and when we came out, we were closing in on mile 16.  The best sign in the bridge said “Does it make it easier that there’s only 10 miles left?” When I came out, I ran along the right side of the fans to get them pumped up and got a load of high 5s.  That was fun!!!  I was feeling ok, but my legs were starting to burn.  At mile 17, I met up with a friend of mine who was holding a powerade for me I had left with her Saturday.  It was soooo needed since I hate Gatorade or at least the gatorade which is usually provided at races.  At mile 17, I was 3 hrs into the race and I was thinking as long as I can hit 5 miles in the next hour, I can PR.  We then went up 1st Ave to the Wills Ave bridge (which also decided to have some hills and incline, which was horrible) and into the Bronx for a few miles.  I would lose track of which mile I was on every once and awhile but somehow, I managed 5 miles between hrs 3 and 4.  We got back into manhattan with 4 miles left.  I at least knew that there were 20 city blocks to 1 mile so I used that to figure out where I was in some cases.  Heading up 5th ave, there were some more hills. Or slight inclines- whatever you want to call them.  5th Ave and Central Park were filled with people!!! And by filled, I mean elbow to elbow and 3-4 people deep.  It kept you going even when your quads hurt and you’re cursing under your breath.  I made it into Central Park and there was 2.2 ish miles left.  Knowing that the home stretch was near was encouraging, but at the same time, knowing there was still more hills to come made me think “What have I gotten myself in to?!?!”  I was struggling because I couldn’t find someone to focus on who I wanted to pass. I was able to get with the 4:50 pace group and that kept me going to my under 5 hr goal.  Once I saw them, I just didn’t care what the time was, as long as it was under 5 hrs.

I crossed the finish officially in 4:52:46.  I set a new PR from Chicago last year by 12 minutes.  It took awhile to get out of the chute. As I walked through, I was given my medal and a cape to keep me warm.  The volunteers handed me a bag of food and water and I slowly made my way to get my bag I checked at the start.  There was starting and stopping going on and I was trying to just stay standing at that point.  I could feel myself wanting to sit down, but I had to convince myself to keep moving.  It took about 30-45 minutes to get out onto the street.  I was trying to get a cab, but that effort failed miserably.  I ended up walking about 1.5 miles to the hotel to get my bags and went and showered at a friends house before taking the train to Philly.  My friend and I were laughing at my sorry attempt to put my shoes on after the race.  That and my plan to eat whatever I want for the next week. I was exhausted last night and got a good night sleep and am only feeling yesterday’s race in my quads.

I loved this race.  Honestly, it beats the Chicago Marathon.  It really is an awesome environment to run in.  Although the little inclines would be fine on any given 4 mile run, when you’re 20 miles into a race, they’re worse than normal!  I can cross off the “run in a nationally televised race” and “get published in the NYTimes” off my bucket list :-). And say I’ve finished the NYC Marathon!



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