There is nothing like the New York City Marathon. There was so much anticipation going into this race with all of my research running through the city that never sleeps. This is my documentation of the race for the 2019 year.
SUNDAY is race morning, I was up at 3:00 a.m. (*time change and I’m from the west coast so this feels like midnight). I met with Andrea from Wahoo Running for our bus ride at 4:30 a.m. and we headed out to the start village on Staten Island.
We waited and waited and waited until we were able to go into the corral at 9:10 a.m for our start time at 9:40. I’ve been up six hours now.
Cannons blast, Frank Sinatra is singing and we get going up the huge Verrannzanno Bridge and it is difficult to keep my cool as the NYPD helicopter is flying next to the bridge and the city skyline is in the distance. Everything is going according to the plan that was set by my coach, John Raneri. Dropped down and head into Brooklyn when the noise just gets louder and louder of the people cheering and bands playing. It is so overwhelming, it hits you that this is in fact happening “this is it, I am running the NYC marathon.”
Here’s the thing, it doesn’t ever get quiet…it gets louder and louder the further you get into the race. I can’t even fully describe in accurate words the experience of the sounds and energy that is coming from the crowds and fellow runners. It hits you in your chest, the enormity of what is happening.
It should be noted that the only time it is quiet is when you are running over a bridge. There are 5 bridges total and it adds up to nearly six miles of the race.
Somewhere in Brooklyn around mile 8 my hips start to lock up-took note and tried to maintain the 9:12 pace that I was running. PULASKI Bridge came at the halfway mark. where I tried to reevaluate where I was at and if I could surge. Honestly, I don’t remember a lot of Queens because the mental battle that was taking place had all of my attention.
This went through my head at first “You are not going to make John proud with these paces” followed by “Your friends will be disappointed you didn’t make your goal. You are not running the race you had envisioned. Your husband says you are not happy running.”
I get to the QUEENSBORO bridge (mile 16) and the pain in my hips has traveled to my quads, there is no way running this speed for another ten miles is going to work. This was the New York FREAKING marathon. It is a privilege to be here, this is amazing. It is not a day for speed but I’m going to make it the best run ever.
*NOTE: I stopped taking my splits at this point. I refused to look at my watch the rest of the way. This is pivotal, changing my attitude to a positive and grateful mindset made the tension melt away. Running even though it was painful, much more enjoyable. Coming down that bridge to an overwhelming loud road of the crowd was were I started running MY RACE. And from that point on I remember everything, the signs, the inspiration that overcame me seeing disabled runners and the people cheering. I soaked in and relished that moment in time.
Central Park was wall to wall people cheering. Running through it you feel like a football star running into the stadium. Having my name clearly printed on my bib made it easy for people to start screaming for me by name.
You round the corner and make it up the last hill that is lined with flags and I see that mile 26 sign, the journey is coming to an end. I made it. Crossing that finish line I was overcome with feelings of gratitude, John will be proud, my friends excited and content with how it all played out.
I was the best race I’ve ever ran, not the fastest, but one that shook me to the core, reminded me what I love doing this so much. After much reflection my self worth is not measure by the time on the clock. What has happened in training the last six months has been transformative. What I love most about the marathon is how it peels back the layers of myself, it becomes apparent what strengths I’ve gained and the parts of me that need more work.
Have you had a similar race experience? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.