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!

NYRR Abbott Dash to the Finish 5K

The NYC Marathon, a marathon that has a week of funness leading up to it, plus a marathon Monday for post race celebrations. Part of the race week festivities involves the Abbott Dash to the Finish 5K the Saturday prior to Marathon Sunday. Since I was flying cross country, I wanted a shake out run to warm up and, let’s face it, the more races the better.

I got into NYC on Thursday night and made it to the hotel by 9 pm. One of things I hate about flying east is I lose an entire day. On Friday, I headed to the Expo to get my marathon and 5K (on top of meeting up some friends of mine from Bibrave). The 5K pick up was done throughout the week, Monday-Wednesday at the NYRR Store of 57th and then at the Expo Thursday and Friday. Anyone could pick up your 5K bib for you. At bib pick up, they assigned you a bib number when you checked in. You also got a Beanie over a shirt, which I was all for. I have way to many shirts than I know what to do with.

This year, the dash to the finish was the USATF 5K Championships, so the women and men started before the general race field. The race started at the United Nations, which is easily accessible by watching or the MTA. I found the F corral and got situated. The corrals were staggered in terms of starts (there was somewhere between 10,000-11,000 runners), which helped thin things out some. Once you started, you turned onto 42nd street and took it straight to 6th Ave. you enjoyed 6th AVe before heading into Central Park, where you have some hills, but that’s to be expected. The only portion that mirrored the finish of the Marathon was inside Central Park, so if you were using the race as a way to prep for the Marathon, keep that in mind. One water stop around mile 2.

Post race, they had bags of food and water that were handed out to runners, made life a little easier. You exited a short time later (and earlier than you do for the marathon). Keep in mind, no bag check at the start of the race or race day pick up for bibs!

Overall, had a good time at the race. I get it’s more of a fun type of race that’s timed, but too many people were stopping in the middle of the road for pictures or to walk instead of gettin over to the side. It was also a bit frustrating to have runners with guides going 5 people across and not keeping the pace. The amount of trying not to run into anyone got a little irritating. Overall though, a good race for anyone who’s in town. Register early though, as it sells out!

NYRR Join The Voices 5 Miler

This weekend was my first time back in NYC since our friend Hurricane Sandy decided to take over.  My last race out here was the Poland Spring Marathon Kick Off (and what turned out to be the only race that actually happened Marathon Week in NYC).  Don’t remember?  Go over here to read about that race and weekend. 

Anyways, I came in on Amtrak yesterday morning after finding $25 one way tickets through a deal last month.  After getting in around 10:45, I headed to downtown and the WTC area to the Club Quarters which had just reopened as of Wednesday due to Sandy (that’s a bummer for business right there).  After checking in, I hopped on the train to the Upper East Side and picked up my bib and shirt at NYRR.  Long sleeved is always nice and is a welcome change from the long sleeved shirts I normally get from them during the Emerald Nut Run on New Year’s Eve.  After finding an Irish Pub with some college football on and grabbing a bite to eat and window shopping, I headed to church and enjoyed the rest of the night.

This morning brought a 645 AM wake up call even though the race didn’t start until 8:30.  Needing to actually get to Central Park on the 1 train, the line wasn’t fully up and running yet and I needed to be sure to be on the 7:35 train.  Needless to say, my running tops I brought weren’t thick enough; I was wishing I had thrown in one of my thicker layered shirts, but what can you do.  Besides, running with 3 long sleeved shirts on is fun, right?  I brought some gloves with me and my new toy, my Garmin 410 (I bought it last week off for 1/2 off with free shipping and another $20 off courtesy of a coupon my mom emailed me.  Thanks mom!). More on my new friend shortly.  After getting to Central Park and wondering, I got in my corral and heard from a few people from NYRR, Cornell/Weill Hospital and Brain Cancer supporters/ survivors representing Voices Against Brain Cancer.  It’s a great organization so head over here.  VABC was started in memory of 24 year old Gary Lichtenstein shortly after he lost his battle with brain cancer in 2003 by his family and supports brain cancer awareness and research.

Shortly after 8:30, we got a double bull horn send off and off we went.  It was reverse of the Poland Spring 5 miler so we headed across the top of Central Park to the east side, down the east side of the park, around the Jackie O area and back up the west side of the park. About 1.25 miles in I stopped to go to the bathroom and lost a minute and didn’t even get in to go.  I gave up and started running again (after the race, I was wishing I hadn’t stopped).  I only picked up water at one of the water stops (which one, either at mile 2 or 3).  I was weaving between people for a good 30% of the race, which I hate doing.  My best advice to people is to know yourself and where to start in a race!  According to my Garmin, I ran in 46:28 with splits of: 9:27 (mile 1), 9:27 (mile 2), 9:05 (mile 3), 9:30 (mile 4) and 8:57 (mile 5).  According to the official results, I finished in 47:27 (thanks to the failed bathroom attempt, but what can you do).

I’m glad to see NYC getting back on it’s feet post Sandy.  There were chopped up and shredded up trees in Central Park, still some shops and restaurants closed down due to Sandy and that’s just on Manhattan.  Stores and organizations are still doing fundraisers and collections for Sandy Relief in other parts of the area that have been affected.  Here’s to hoping these guys get back on their feet sooner rather than later!

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 🙂




NYRR Bronx 10 Miler

Happy September!!  The Chicago Marathon is just under a month away and I’m hitting between 40-50 miles a week and I ran 188 miles last month, the highest I’ve run in a month. Ever.  This weekend I headed up to NYC for NYRR’s Bronx 10 miler.  Is this the first time this race has been done?  I have no idea.  Is it the first time I’ve done it? You bet.  I took the train out yesterday morning after a quick 4 mile run.  After checking into my hotel (got to love hotel reward points), I headed up to 89th and 5th to the NYRR office to pick up my race bib and shirt.  I then quickly found a sports bar that was playing the OSU-Central Florida game (we all know where my priorities stand!).  I hope the Horseshoe was loud enough for the UCF coach!  I ended up in SoHo and did some window shopping and stopped at Chobani’s flagship store.  After church and dinner, I did some walking around, but kept ducking in places due to bursts of rain.

This morning, I woke up around 6:15/6:30, got changed and headed to catch the train to Yankee Stadium, close to the start of the race.  I was glad that the 4 train is express because that saved a good 15 minutes.  We arrived to our stop at 7:40 and there happened to be a McDonald’s at the stop with a bathroom.  Any good runner knows that if there’s a short (in comparison to the porta potties) line, you go for it.  After waiting a good 10 minutes, going to the bathroom and washing up, I sprinted to the start because it was 7:54.  I got to the corrals as the National Anthem was being sung (and yes, there were ridiculous lines at the porta potties).  I could have gone a touch slower, as it took about 7:38 for me to get across the start.  This was a relatively flat course.  There were some small bunny hills and one slightly larger hill due to us going under an overpass.  I was keeping a pretty good pace, but I had to keep weaving between people the first mile or two.  My feeling is if you’re already walking, move far over to the side.  I kept doing quick math in my head at each mile, subtracting 7:38 ish from the clock time to get my time.  At mile 4, we turned, as we had been heading straight up until then.  We also ran by someone who was down for the count (dehydration possibly?).  There were already police and medical help there, thus my not stoping. We kept chugging along, hit mile 5 after another turn or 2 and then mile 6.  By the time we were done with are turns, we were heading back down our initial route.  I had to walk a few times as I was getting some pretty bad pain in my toes. I’m wondering if it was my shoes or what, but it wasn’t kosher at all!!  After we passed mile 9, we saw people coming our direction who had finished and were going back to their regularly scheduled lives (as I call it).  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw someone who had finished give part of her pretzels to an older guy who was in need of some salt.  He was struggling some and just needed something to get him to the end.  This is why I love runners!  She kept saying, no take it, you’re really almost done (and we were), but take it easy!  Sure enough, a few minutes we crossed the finish.

I finished in 1:37:32, pretty good since I haven’t done a 10 mile race since the Cherry Blossom Run earlier this year.  I always forget how good of a distance the 10 mile race is.  The nice thing is that you could get a discount at the Bronx Zoo if you showed your bib today after the race.  Definitely a good race, smooth as all of the NYRR races are and something to go back to in the future!  When I got back to Philly, I did another 3 miles to get a longer run in and to get insurance credit so I can get some cash back!

Sleepless In New York

So I realize I’m 3000 miles from Seattle, but I’ve been up for an hour.  I guess I’m preparing myself for the 5 hrs of sleep I’ll be lucky to get tonight going into marathon Sunday?? Oh well, such is life!  Yesterday was my travel day to NYC.  I’ve been in Kansas the past 6 weeks and flew out from the Kansas City Airport into NYC- Laguardia.  I love having a free ticket out here!  I was originally suppose  to leave at 630 pm, but I’m convinced there was some sort of divine intervention as I was done with work and such around noon.  I hopped on the phone with Delta to see if I could switch my flight to the 205 flight.  By some sort of higher power, there was a seat available and $50 later, I was on a flight that got me into NYC at 6 instead of 10:15 (Delta, take note, I’ve switched my free Southwest ticket back to KC for free twice….just saying).  The flight was pretty uneventful- no crying kids or people running up and down the aisle  and we got in on time.  I also got away with not having to check any bags.  When it comes to checking my running stuff, I’m kind of more than anal about keeping with me if at all possible.

I had a van shuttle set up to the Port Authority which is a block away from where I’m staying.  That part of my trip was an adventure to say the least.  It was taking 5 of us total to Manhattan, which is fine.  After waiting 20 minutes for it to show up, one of the workers kept looking for the 5th person even though all 5 of us were there.  Next time, she should look for the short person who so happens to be standing behind the driver (in case you didn’t know, that would be me).  After loading into the van, we attempted to make our way to downtown.  I’m convinced our driver was lost and crazy.  We went in the same circle getting on and off the highway twice and then headed on some street in Queens which took us parallel to what was essentially the 160s street wise of Manhattan. Really?  He then decided he was going to take some street that ran underneath the subway to the Queensburo Bridge.  That somehow took an hour. An HOUR! I realize NYC has traffic, as I’ve been here plenty of times and I’ve lived in my fair share of cities.  But I was questioning this driver.  He gave me a headache and I was to the point of being nauseous because of his driving.  I’m still convinced he had no idea what he was doing

Once we made it into the city, we were only suppose to stop at Penn Station and the Port Authority and maybe Grand Central Station.  He dropped someone off at the Marriot and completely bypassed Grand Central (the poor guy trying to get off at Grand Central had missed 3 trains home at that point and is suppose to take the CPA on Monday).  We ended up in Times Square and 3 of us asked to just be let off.  My hotel was close enough where a walk was more then appropriate.

I finally got to my hotel at 810, over an hour after leaving the airport.  When I was checking in, I thought they didn’t have enough rooms for a second, but soon enough, I was heading up to the biggest room I’ve ever head in NYC (I appreciate redeeming hotel reward points and $60).  I found some dinner near by (Shake Shack) and picked up some water and powerade at the Duane Reade by the hotel. I went to bed at 10 with some football on which is always a plus

I’m planning to do a shake out run, just to loosen up the legs. I’ll probably do it at the hotel in a bit and then go get my stuff at the expo, but there’s still time to decide 🙂

58481 what?

In the world of running, you know things are official when you get your bib number and your corral number.  Tuesday (yes, 7 weeks beforehand), the NYC Marathon uploaded confirmation information for runners.  Who is bib #58481?  This girl right here!!  For me, I’m in corral 58 with a 10:40 AM start time.  Because the NYC is so large, they have 60 corrals set up in 3 waves of start times (9:40 AM, 10:10 AM and 10:40 AM).  I’m semi regretting my 6:10 AM Staten Island Ferry to the start but we will see in due time if I can change that.

This past weekend, I was in Chicago for the Chicago Half Marathon and was able to meet some runners who will be running the NYC Marathon for Jack’s Fund.  So far, I’ve raised $810 through my donation page and have an additional $410 in the bank, putting me about halfway to my $2500 goal for the marathon.  YAY!!!  If you’ve donated, THANK YOU!!  I really appreciate it as does Jack’s Fund.  If not, you still have time!  No donation is too small as all will be going to a good cause and will be appreciated by me and my fellow runners and Jack’s Fund teammates.  As of now, I’ll just keep running, just keep running (remember Dori- Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming?). And Fundraising!

Race Spotlight- NYRR Emerald Nut Run

One of my favorite races I go back for every year is the New York Road Runners Emerald Nut Run.  Every year, the race kicks off the year (literally) in Central Park.  It’s a New Year’s Eve –> New Year’s Day Race that begins 12/31 around 10 or 11 with a concert and costume contest in Central Park.  Granted, I never go for the concert or the costume party, I’ve seen tetris characters, Fruit of the Loom fruits and some other wacky New Year’s costumes.  Generally, me (or we if my family ends up coming out), start heading to Central Park around 1115-1130 depending on how close we are to Central Park and the start.  When the race starts, it starts at midnight with fireworks…

NYE Fireworks Kicking off the Emerald Nut run

and people celebrating the New Year without being in Times Square with a few million of their closest friends.  Honestly, spending NYE with runners is the way to go!  The race itself is a 4 mile loop that wraps around Central Park, roughly 72–>103 (or 109), over to the west side and then back to the start.  At the 2 mile mark, there’s “Sparkling Champagne” (which is really juice, but that’s ok) and water.  I do remember one year running it where the water was frozen solid because it was so cold outside.  The bibs are super cool for the race and, as always, you get some goodies.  Long sleeved shirts, nut treats and some sort of gift.  This year, it was socks, but there have also been coffee mugs and other fun things.  Even before and after the race, they’re handing out foam hats with the year on them (I have at least 4, maybe 5 of them), food, and a straight up good time.

Hotels are expensive, but what do you expect for NYE in NYC.  It’s always a good time since we try and see a show or just enjoy NYC itself.  And for what it’s worth, it’s your fastest race of the year (even if it only lasts until Jan. 2nd).

IMO, I’d go running in NYC on NYE any year and is a race to do if you’re looking for a good time and a long weekend

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