StyleLife: I’m a Marathoner!?
“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” Dr. Suess
Only now do I know what this means…it really is just the start.
It’s really happening!
My favorite? “Run to turn I can’t into I did.” And I did!
Everything laid out and ready to go. Who knew it took so much stuff to run a marathon?!
Sshhhhhh, be very very quiet. There’s a future marathoner sleeping in there!
Arriving at the start line in Staten Island Sunday morning and ready to do the dang thing. The excitement at the start line was like nothing I have ever felt at any race before. New York, New York and away we go!
Given everything I had read and heard, I was a little nervous about the Verrazano-Narrows bridge. I paced myself a little slower and stopped for a few pictures, but I didn’t even notice an incline.
Seeing husband for the first time at the 5K mark. Have I really already run a 5K?! That was fast!
Around mile 5, the urge to use the restroom hit and I tried to avoid it as long as possible but as soon as I saw a relatively short line at the porta-potty, I took advantage. No sense being in stomach pain for the rest of the race. I will say I thought it was ridiculous the shortage of porta-potties and the fact that runners and spectators had to share them. While the time ticked away waiting, I took the opportunity to stretch and eat a pack of sports beans.
High Fives at Mile 8 and still feeling good. Ran right by the husband without seeing him!
Around mile 12, the urge to go hit AGAIN and I knew I had to stop. So as I passed 13 mile mark I jumped in a long line for the bathroom. Stupid stomach. I should have expected it though, I had stomach issues the whole time I was training unfortunately.
Around mile 15 came the Queensboro Bridge aka Hell on Earth. I had heard rumors about this bridge. Not necessarily the incline, just the long length with no crowds and no support. I had no idea how much this would affect me. At some point on the bridge, I tweaked my right foot and it started feeling like DAGGERS in my arch with every step. I took a minute, pulled off and stretched it out and ate another pack of sports beans. Surely it was just a cramp that needed some fuel and stretching?!
Turns out, it wasn’t just a cramp. I don’t know if I hit the infamous wall, or I was just in so much pain I couldn’t stand it. I kept running at a slower pace and favored my left foot, but by mile 18 I was in tears. The next 2 miles were spent alternating walking and running and hoping that I would soon see my husband and he would have some aspercreme. He popped out around mile 19 and knew I wasn’t feeling good and didn’t have anything. He pretty much talked me into going into the medic tent to see if they could help and I spent the next 20 or so minutes having my foot iced, taking Tylenol and drinking water.
I was pretty (ok very) bummed about losing so much time in the medic tent, but if it weren’t for that stop I might not have made it. Not only did the combination of the ice and pain meds alleviate the stabbing in my foot, but one of the medics gave me some good advice (I think he could see the defeat in my face). It was going to hurt if I walked. It was going to hurt if I stopped. It was going to hurt if I ran. So I might as well run. This was the push I needed to push my mind past the pain and towards that finish line. I knew so many friends and family were out there supporting me and I had to finish it for myself and for them. So I bucked up and got back on the road.
The long time spent sitting in the medic tent caused my muscles (and me) to get cold, so it took another mile through the Bronx to get back into a stride. Once I hit Harlem (no pun intended), I started to feel better and get back in the groove. I was going to finish this, and I was going to finish strong.
Once we hit Central Park, I knew it was all downhill from there…only 5K to go! Any runner can run a 5k?! Piece of cake. Turns out it wasn’t downhill but many rolling hills. This is where I became so thankful for my training on the Charlotte streets. Many runners were moaning and groaning over the perceived hills, but I honestly didn’t even notice them!
Thumbs up for 25 miles! Almost there!!!
Crowds were still thick and loud as ever even 7 hours after the official 9:40 start!
FINISHED!!! Actual time was 5:50:28, with net Garmin time (minus pit stops) at around 5:20. Not the 4:30 to 5:00 I was going for, but I finished and that is what matters most. There’s always next time to meet my time goals Yes, I said next time!
Everyone who crosses that finish line is a winner.
Did I really just do that?! Best medal I have ever earned. Even better than winning the Halloween costume contest in the fourth grade and the first year I made the cheerleading squad in high school.
Never have I been so happy to receive a bag full of water and pretzels in my whole life. Best.pretzels.ever.
The walk from the finish line out of Central Park is deemed the walk of death. For a good reason. Thousands of runners trapped with no where to go.
After a miserable 1.5 mile walk backwards to meet the husband at the Lincoln Center (thanks to the inability to find an empty cab), we caught the subway and hightailed it back to our Times Square hotel. Then ordered an Italian feast and promptly destroyed it in the hotel bed. After all, we BOTH deserved it!
First, I have to say I am so thankful to have made it past that finish line with the support of all my friends, family, and blog readers. I couldn’t have done it without all the moral support! And my biggest supporter of all? My superman husband who came out ALL day and ran to about 6 different places along the course just to spot me running by and making sure I didn’t need anything. I fell in love with him all over again
This really was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. The crowds were so amazing and the spirit and energy throughout the whole event was contagious. I never knew that running 26.2 miles could literally (mostly) be so much fun. And I didn’t even need headphones?!
On that note, even though I said I would never run a marathon, this will definitely not be my last. Watch out Big Apple, I just might be back before you know it.
So you want to run a marathon? Here are a few words of advice from myself and a few marathoning friends who helped get me through the race:
Michelle from PinQue – Buy two pairs of shoes to train in. I have a strong feeling my shoes were worn out and led to my arch injury. Make sure the pair you are going to run the race in have at least 40 miles on them but not more than 200. Mine had WELL over that mileage.
Jen from Runners Trials – Apply bodyglide everywhere. Start slow and resist the urge to go out too fast because 26.2 miles is a long time. Hydrate early and often. The last few miles will probably suck, but remember they suck for everyone and you will get through it –
Emily from Daily Garnish – Take in every mile and ENJOY it! I have run marathons where I spent the whole time stressed about my pace, fuel, water, etc. and at the end I just felt exhausted and relieved it was over. When I ran in Charlotte, I relaxed and had fun, soaking in every mile, and finished feeling awesome and exhilarated.
Allison from Happy Tales – I’m not an expert by any means (I’ve only run 1 full!) but I do know that it’s helpful to stretch out your body/legs if you start to get achy/cramp up. Some people say that once you stop running it’s really hard to start back up, but I’ve never found that to be a problem for me (so take what I say with a grain of salt, as everything is very individualized!). Just do what is best for you…if you feel like stretching something out will allow you to finish the race in good form, then go for it! Don’t worry about your time (especially for a first race!). You want to make sure your first full is a good experience so taking simple steps to do that — like listening to your body, chattin’ up strangers during the run, taking in the scenery — can help make that possible.
Nate aka the former Blogstalker and fellow Charlotte friend – The one thing I didn’t expect was how much of a cluster it would be at the start and finish in the big city marathons. Took about 20 minutes for me to cross the start line at my first, and then the first mile or two was a traffic jam. Don’t worry about that though – clock doesn’t start until you cross the line, and plenty of miles to make up for the slow first couple. Also just expect it to take 20 minutes or so after you cross the finish line to walk through the chute.
Kelly from FoodieFresh – I’m hardly an expert but one thing that I did wring was over hydrating. When I did training runs I only drank water when I needed it, but during the marathon I tried to take water at every stop because I had read somewhere that I needed to do that. I was also sick the week before and felt like extra fluids might help. Instead this caused me to need to stop at about five port-a-potties. So I guess what I learned from this is don’t doing anything different during your marathon that you haven’t done during your training runs. Follow the same protocol.
Caitlin from Healthy Tipping Point – My best advice would be to start off slower than you think you should be.
For all you runners/marathoners out there, what is your best advice for a newbie marathoner?
What is your favorite marathon or race you have ever done?