Donut Dash 5K

6

There were two 5Ks in town this weekend to choose from, and after about five seconds of internal debate, I chose the much smaller one that offered doughnuts at the end.  That was kind of easy.

4

This race started and ended at a brewery in downtown Shreveport, with doughnuts at each water stop as well as at the end. For beer drinkers, a free pint of beer was also offered at the brewery for each runner post-race.

My goal for this race was to beat my Firecracker 5K time of 29:07. It was much hotter for this race than the 4th of July!

Hunter and I started off together, but he hasn’t really been running lately, so I kind of left him in my dust in the third mile 😉 There were several rolling hills on this course, which made it quite the challenge. I also regretted wearing a shirt that was 50% cotton. That was a rookie mistake!

1

My chip time was 28:30, 37 seconds faster than Firecracker. I was 2nd in my age group, and the 1st place person in my age group was only 11 seconds faster than me. There were 120 participants, and I finished 41st.

5

Hunter finished in 29:09, so I took a picture of him (in the red) approaching the finish line. He told me he totally could have passed me, but he would have then collapsed and died. :p

3

After the race, everyone was able to go into the brewery for some A/C and refreshments. Hunter took this hilarious/gross photo of me eating a doughnut:

2

After the race, I ran home and showered, had some coffee and a green smoothie, then headed to the cat rescue I volunteer at every weekend. I was there until about 4:30 and was extremely exhausted by the time the day was done. Sleep came easy last night!

I have some races in August and the fall on my radar, but all are 10Ks or longer, so I might be done with 5Ks for the foreseeable future. We’ll see.

Lessons Learned From My First 50K

I found this post in my drafts, from way back in May 2015, shortly after I ran the Brazos Bend 50K. I don’t know why I never published it, but I decided to go ahead and do so now!

IMG_1280

1) Put Vaseline everywhere…. OK, so I could and maybe should have learned this lesson already, but after getting drenched with rain during the 50K, I chafed in a lot of new places, specifically my back from the hem of my sports bra. Also my lower back from the waistband of my shorts, although that has happened before. I have started coating my toes in Vaseline before putting on my socks, but I now realize I need to do this in other places where my clothes are a little tighter and would be rubbing my skin more closely. Even if it doesn’t rain, sweating a lot will create the same results.

2) My Garmin doesn’t last long enough for an ultramarathon – The battery life of the Garmin Forerunner 10 is 5 hours, and mine actually lasted 5 hours and 57 minutes before dying for good. By the time this happened, it was actually OK with me, because I really didn’t care about my pace or time anymore, and since the course was a loop, I already pretty much knew about how much longer I had to go. But in the future, if I ever want to do a 50-miler or 100K – and maybe I would consider doing one next winter/spring – I might want to get a more expensive model with a much longer battery life.

3) If you can run a marathon, you can pretty much run a 50K – Yes, reaching 26 miles and still having to do 5 more is no joke and can take awhile, depending on the state of your body. But if you can make it to the finish of a marathon and not be pretty much dying, you can do five more miles and finish a 50K. Even if you have to walk the rest of the way, it is completely doable and just requires a lot of mental fortitude.

4) My stomach can handle some things out of the norm – I drank ginger ale and Coke and ate pickles during this race, which all were different things I hadn’t tried in races or during runs before. Good thing they worked out fine! I still wasn’t brave enough to try many of the other food items at the aid stations, like PB&J sandwiches or candy or chips, but I was definitely glad I was able to take in something other than gels.

Firecracker 5K race recap

I had no right to put any real ambition on this race, considering 1) my “training” has been pretty minimal and 2) the number of people who participate in this race make the course pretty congested for the first mile, which always slows down my times. But even so, I had a goal: to beat 29:59, which was my time in my most recent 5K in May. I had just sneaked in under 30 minutes in that one, and I wanted to do even better in this typically hotter, hillier, more crowded race.

I was fortunate to have Monday off of work, so I lounged around in the morning, drinking coffee and watching TV. I finally got out and went to the running store to pick up our race packets. I love this shade of blue:

FIRECRACKER 5K

Then I went to Target and couldn’t resist getting this really cute little number from the Champion section:

CHAMPION BRA

I like to buy things I don’t need!

After all that, I went “running” on the river path, and I actually ran for the most part, even used my Garmin for the first time in a long time! I ran most of 3 miles and then walked another mile for four miles total. I didn’t want to tire my legs too much the day before the 5K.

I saw this leaf on my run; I don’t know why I sometimes notice random things like this, but I wondered why the leaf had so many holes – eaten by a caterpillar? (“The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle came to mind!)

leaf

The race began today at 8 a.m., so we headed out at 7:20. Although I like to get going super early (too early), my husband is not the same at all, so this was the best I could do! We’ve never had issues getting there or parking in the past (it starts at a mall, so definitely not a problem), so I wasn’t too worried.

before

The race is not chip-timed and the starting area is kind of a free-for-all, a mix of runners and walkers. If you don’t get in the very front, you’re kind of screwed. I started my Garmin when we got to the starting line about a minute after the fireworks went off to signal the beginning of the race, and I immediately expected to abandon my goal because of how many walkers I had to weave around for the first mile. Once we were finally able to really run, I found myself going too fast in an attempt to make up for lost time.

The weather was great for this race, very overcast and in the low ’80s. It was very humid, though, so I did sweat a lot. The spectators for this race always provide sprinklers for the runners to go through, and some were even squirting us with waterguns. Some little kids were throwing tiny water balloons at people, too. So I was quite drenched by the end!

At mile 2 I saw I just needed to get done in under 10 minutes and I’d make my goal, so I really sped it up. I got a terrible side stitch for the last half-mile, but I crossed the finish line well before my goal time. I also beat my husband 🙂

finish time

After the race, we staggered through the finish area, got some water and watermelon and a popsicle.

people

It was way too crowded and I was craving breakfast food, so we left and headed to a nearby restaurant for some eggs and bacon!

I was really happy to do so much better than my goal despite the very slow start. The weather really contributed to that being possible as well. I hope to improve again in the next 5K I do on July 15, but we will have to see how hot it is!

Halfway through 2017

IMG_0556

ON WALKING

Back when I was in high school, I was, like most teenage girls, pretty self-conscious about my appearance. I decided I wanted to get in better shape and lose some weight, so I started walking. I would put one of my favorite CDs into my Discman, wear a pair of those non-earbud headphones with the foam covers, and just walk around my neighborhood, thinking about school and church and whatever else was going on in my life at the time. While running has encompassed the bulk of my physical activity over the past seven years, it all started for me more than 15 years ago with the simple act of walking.

In 2010, as I became a runner and started building up my endurance, I admittedly started to look down on the idea of just walking. Because walking isn’t as much of a challenge and walking isn’t as hard. Now, it’s still a blessing to be able to do it and it’s still something I am grateful to do. But it’s really not debatable that walking isn’t as difficult as running. If I had to take a walking break during a run, I felt bad about it. This was a mentality I built up all by myself – walking was “less than,” and I didn’t want to resort to it.

IMG_0062

Many times in my running life, going for a run has felt like a chore, something to get through, something I needed to check off my list in a training plan, something I dreaded and made excuses to get out of. For a long time I felt that if I didn’t run at least 3 miles, it was a waste of time to even go out and do anything. So, I got burned out, numerous times, and over the past year and a half, I’ve really struggled to run consistently.

At some point, I found myself falling back on walking. Because in the times I didn’t want to run, I knew I still needed to do SOMETHING. And I’ve rediscovered there is just something so enjoyable to me about simply walking and listening to music or podcasts, and I always end up running some as well. I was wrong to look down on walking over the past several years.

This is not to say I don’t want to get back to running consistently, running with goals, training for long distances, but I also don’t want to get back to the type of mentality that didn’t allow myself a walking break, didn’t allow myself to relax. Because I think that mentality is what contributed to me getting so burned out on running in the first place.


RACES SO FAR

We’ve done a handful of races this first half of the year, all just for fun. Somehow, I’ve gotten faster in each one even as it’s gotten hotter.

JanuaryRun Like an Animal 5K/32:54

run like an animal

MarchPie Run 5K/31:38

PRLmoKf

MayMudbug Madness 5K/29:59

2016 running

So I went over a year without blogging. That was unexpected.

I didn’t stop running in 2016. But it wasn’t consistent, or inspiring enough to blog about. By May I wasn’t even inspired to post my runs on Daily Mile anymore, which I had been doing faithfully since 2011. It’s weird not to have a final number for miles run in the past year.

So yeah, it was a down year, similar to 2013. I guess it’s bound to happen every now and then. Coincidentally, both 2013 and 2016 were years of big change for me, moving and finding a new job and just not being settled. I hope 2017 will be a more stable and settled year, as much as anyone can plan for that.

I did do several races in 2016 – that is an addiction I will never quite shake! A brief recap, for posterity:

Februrary 2016: Pie Run 10K

This is one of my favorite races, and I’ve done it three times now. Once you cross the finish line, you get a cup of coffee and a piece of the best pie in town.

pie-run

March 2016: Pancake Run 5K

So apparently offering food is a surefire way to get me to race. This run was along the river in downtown Shreveport. I didn’t end up getting the pancakes afterward though, I just went straight home. Not sure why, but I am kicking myself for that.

pancake-run

April 2016: Cypress Half Marathon

I could not get over the irony that I was doing a church-hosted race, and my bib number was 666. I was so self-conscious about this during the race, too! I heard someone that was spectating point it out as I ran by, and I felt embarrassed even though I had no control over what crazy number I got. Yikes!

This was the only half marathon I did during the year. I hope to do at least two in 2017, if not more.

cypress-half-marathon

July 2016: Firecracker 5K

Surprisingly, this was only the second time I’ve done a 4th of July race. I bought this sweet Nike shirt that was being sold in conjunction with the Olympics just to wear during this race. I love it.

firecracker-5k

September 2016: Saints 5K

I was excited to be able to go down and do the Saints 5K in New Orleans again. This was the first time we’d done it since its first year in 2012. Things were improved in that there were shirts cut differently for both men and women (my 2012 race shirt is unwearable for me because of the sizing), but since we didn’t pick up our packets until race morning, they were out of my husband’s size. He got a large and it was too big, so he just gave it to my dad. But I got my shirt, so yay! They also gave out medals to finishers, which wasn’t the case in 2012.

saints-5k

October 2016: Spooky Sprint

This was a very casual. $5 race done by the local running store. It was 2 miles basically from the store through a nearby neighborhood and back. No official timing, no bibs, no fanfare. They did provide water. We also got a T-shirt that looked like this:

unnamed

December 2016: Downtown Christmas Run

This was the second year in a row we were able to do this Tuesday night run. It’s through downtown Shreveport, with all of the Christmas decorations and lights up to enjoy. I really like this one.

img_1608

So that’s it! If I had to say what race goals I have this year, they’re not lofty. As I said, at least two half marathons hopefully. If I am in a position to train for a winter marathon, that would have to be decided by this summer. There is a 5K at the end of this month I’m interested in. I’m just playing it by ear, but I do feel I have rediscovered my love of running in recent months, whereas I had been pretty apathetic for awhile.

I did six miles in the rain on New Year’s Eve, and it made me feel hopeful for the upcoming year.

run

Race Recap: Turkey Trot & Downtown Christmas Run

The past month has been filled with packing, cleaning and moving, as we left DeRidder and are now settled in Shreveport-Bossier. It was a move I was very happy to make, but it came with the typical stress that moving entails and we are still not completely done with the transitions – I still have to find a job here, and we will hopefully buy a house within the next year. But my husband is enjoying his new job and we are really happy to be here.

While I was still in our old place trying to get ready for the move, there wasn’t much time for running, but since we got here, I have a lot of free time and have been running a lot more frequently. This has included two holiday-themed 5Ks, one on Thanksgiving and one last night through the Christmas lights downtown. That is one super great thing about living here in a much bigger city than before –  a waaaaay more active running community and more frequent races.

Turkey Trot

IMG_0161

This is a very popular race on Thanksgiving Day that attracts regular runners as well as walkers and families looking to do something active before their big meals.

IMG_0172

We did this race last year and it took us out on a dirt trail along the Red River, but the river flooded last summer and I’m guessing it messed up that trail, because this year the course kept us on the asphalt path that I always run on along the river.

IMG_0180

Thanksgiving here was not cold whatsoever, and it was also a little rainy that morning. During the race a heavy mist began hitting us, but it felt nice. I’d much rather run in warm rain than cold rain!

IMG_0187

The total distance was about 3.45 miles, which we did in under a 10-minute pace. The race was not chip timed.

Downtown Christmas Run

FullSizeRender(1)

I had never done this race before, because it’s apparently always on a weeknight and this is the first December we have lived here and been here during the week.

FullSizeRender(2)

The race is three loops around downtown Shreveport, where there are numerous Christmas lights decorating the streets. It begins and ends in front of the courthouse, which is also decorated in green and red. It was a big race, though not nearly as large as the Turkey Trot, and the first mile was rather slow due to having to weave around all the people. Each of our miles were a minute faster than the previous, beginning with a 10:42 mile for Mile 1 and finishing with an 8:36 mile for Mile 3!

IMG_0326

Our final time for the 5K was 29:40.

Both of these races were just for fun, but I was pretty happy with how we did in both of them. Looking forward to more races and more running!

2015 Log Jammer Half Marathon Race Recap

I have done dumber things than run a half marathon one week after running a marathon (like run a marathon one week after running another marathon), so signing up for the Log Jammer Half Marathon scheduled for Nov. 8 wasn’t too crazy, even though the NYC Marathon was Nov. 1.

I ran this race last year and the weather was cold (high 30s) and rainy. It was intimidating to go into, but I felt awesome when I finished. This year’s race weather was forecast to be much better – mid-50s and sunny.

I went into the race without a goal in mind, since it was so soon off the marathon, but I did want to run the whole thing. Ever since my knee injury in May, I’ve become a big walk-break-taker. I took breaks during all my long runs and during NYC, but I want to work my way up to not having to do that. So that was my big deal – no walking breaks.

I picked up my packet Saturday, which was actually a very rainy and cold day, reminiscent of last year’s race day. Thankfully by Sunday morning the rain had cleared and the sunny forecast proved to be true. The race had what seemed like a lot more participants than last year as a result.

Start/Finish Line Area

I like the course for the most part  – starts downtown, proceeds 7 miles in the nearby neigborhoods, 2 miles down a highway that takes us to the levee path, then 4.5 miles along the Red River back towards downtown.

I am moving to Shreveport very soon, so this is going to be my new permanent stomping grounds. I took note of how pretty the fall foliage is right now and how much I really like the area. I am excited that we will be living there.

My legs felt pretty tired throughout the whole race, but I also felt kind of strong. I made sure to keep my breathing tempered and not go too fast. There are several little hills around Shreveport, so I just ran them slowly. I kept a pretty even pace throughout the whole race, just under 11 minute miles, and the only times I walked was when I got Gatorade at the water stops and took a few steps to safely consume my drink.

On the levee path by the river I felt myself faltering, but I kept up my running and passed several people over the last couple of miles. The temps stayed in the high 50s I think, but because of the sun I was sweating pretty good by the end. I crossed the finish line at 2:22:50, which was about 11 seconds slower than the Barksdale AFB Half Marathon I did Sept. 19.

According to the race results, I ran 1:11:19 for the first half and 1:11:30 for the second. My splits were almost exactly even last year too! I don’t know what it is about this course, but I managed somehow the past two years to basically run the same time each half. My time last year was much better though – 2:07:something.

Now that NYC is over, I’m not sure what my goals are and my races will be. Moving throws a big wrench into any long-term planning as well – I know we’ll likely do the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day like we did last year, but that’s the only thing that I’m sort of sure of.

What Makes a Marathoner

FullSizeRender (3)

I am super late to the party in commenting on Competitor’s interview with Steve Jones, where he said:

“I don’t believe that starting and finishing a marathon makes you a marathoner. I don’t believe that. If you’re racing it to go as fast as you can, that’s completely different than being part of an event and just wanting to get from point A to point B.”

This got quite a bit of negative attention, because while he tries to phrase everything he says pretty delicately, it still gives across the message that if you don’t run fast, if you’re not in it to win, you’re not a real marathoner.

From what I can tell, Jones’ biggest issue is that he feels running marathons growing in popularity has hurt the competitiveness of the sport. He says:

I really believe, if you go back to my era, you had well-established marathons in the UK and you’d get 200 runners. But they were all runners who were running hard and running fast times. Now you’re lucky to get that many in a half marathon. The rest of the people just want to be part of the event. I think it’s great in many ways, but the competitive sport hasn’t grown.

I guess I kind of see what he’s saying, and I don’t think he is dissing slower runners who try their hardest but still only pull out 4+-hour marathons (although, according to Deadspin, a quote that was cut from the interview was Jones saying that’s not “running.”) But frankly, if the worst part of slower runners like me doing a marathon means it adds nothing to the competition, well, I can live with that. I can sleep at night. I am a very competitive person, but I am not naturally talented or fast at running, so the competition for me will always be with myself. I think it goes without saying that many people who complete marathons are doing something they never thought they could do. And/or they raise money for charity. Or they are in the middle of a weight loss journey and wanted to run a marathon to have something that would motivate them to run and train for it. Etcetera. A lot of noble and important things that have nothing to do with the “sport.”

So basically, I don’t think what he said was that insulting, but if the worst thing about marathons becoming “events” that draw all types of people is that it doesn’t add to the competition or the sport, then frankly…

sorrynot
from jezebel.com

Someone saying you are not really running or you are not a marathoner if you don’t run the race in a certain amount of time or with a particular set of goals doesn’t make that statement true. And it doesn’t take away from what you get out of the race yourself. I can see where people who don’t train for the race or don’t respect the distance and are just participating in an event – maybe it’s true they don’t get as much out of the experience as someone who relentlessly trained and breaks 3 hours. But that same person who broke 3 hours may just be getting the same amount of accomplishment as the person who trained relentlessly and is happy with a sub-5 time.

I actually think this was the more controversial statement in his interview:

Yes, it’s still running 26.2 miles and they’re running 2:03-2:04-2:05, which is significantly faster than I used to run, but you don’t see that competitive element anymore. It’s almost like a gang race, almost like they’re ganging up on everyone in the race to get the right outcome. As long as a Kenyan or an Ethiopian wins, they don’t really care about anybody else. It would be nice to be a little more selective—who you accept entry from or invite to your races—to have the right mix of core international racing element.

2015 TCS NYC Marathon Race Recap – Part 2: The Race!

IMG_3049

This is really, really long, so let’s get started!

I didn’t feel nervous at all the night before the marathon – I felt excited and yet surprisingly calm. I slept really well, only waking up twice and pretty easily falling back to sleep each time. Daylight Savings Time ended the day of the race, so we got an extra hour to sleep.

I woke up at 6 a.m., giving myself an hour to get ready and do everything I needed to do before leaving the hotel at 7. It took me a grand total of 20 minutes to get ready, and then all I had to do was basically sit and wait. I was looking at Twitter and Instagram updates, seeing posts from people who had already gotten on the ferry or a bus headed to the start. That for some reason made me nervous, I guess just in anticipation and the feeling of people out there doing already what I needed to go do. At 7 I made my husband wake up to take a quick picture of me, then headed out the door.

IMG_2875

Our hotel was about a half-mile from the Whitehall Terminal where the Staten Island Ferry departed, so I walked there in a short amount of time. I was glad I had left so early, despite my assigned ferry time not being until 8 a.m., when I saw the huge hordes of people just waiting outside the terminal to get inside. I waited with the masses, was greeted by a girl from Louisiana who had noticed my Saints running shirt, and then eventually got to shuffle inside with everyone else.

There was a lot of security for this race, just about everywhere you went. At the ferry terminal there were police and bomb-detecting dogs everywhere. We packed in like sardines and after about 20-30 minutes, I was able to get on a ferry, just before 8 a.m. It felt like a long wait at the time, but it went by pretty fast.

IMG_2899

The ferry ride was lovely, especially since it wasn’t too cold, just chilly and breezy. At first I sat down inside, but as we got going, I decided to hang out on the back deck and watch the Manhattan skyline get smaller as we sped away. I thought a bit about the marathon, what my goals were – I didn’t have too many. I wanted to conserve energy – during a couple of my long runs earlier in October, I had gotten out of breath really early, which I wanted to avoid. I decided I would walk up the bridges and uphill climbs, try to run everywhere else.

Once the ferry docked, it was a little bit of a wait to get off – there was a lot of waiting for everything marathon-related because of the number of people involved. We exited the terminal and walked a short distance to line up for buses. Waited some more again until I could get on a bus, and then the bus took us to the start villages. For some reason, the bus trip took about 45 minutes. We were stopping and starting a lot, idling in traffic or waiting for police to let us through – not sure if it was supposed to take that long, but it did. We finally pulled up to the start area at about 9:20, so it ultimately took over 2 hours for me to get to the start from my hotel in lower Manhattan.

IMG_2915

The start village was just like I envisioned thanks to race recaps I had read and pictures I had seen – people everywhere. I was a little concerned at first about making sure I was in the right area and corral, but there were people everywhere giving directions. There were three different start villages based on the color of your bib – I was blue, and someone pointed at me as I walked up and said, “Blue turns right!” So I did.

I found my corral, D, and set up shop right by the entrance. They were about to close that corral for Wave 2 and I was in Wave 4, so I had made it with plenty of time to spare. I set out an old RnR marathon space blanket on the ground to sit on, pulled out my bagel with PB that I had prepared at the hotel, and ate while I read the magazines and newspaper I brought.

Everyone was given a clear, plastic bag at the expo that was supposed to be the only bag you were allowed to bring to the start village (but I saw some people with solid bags and whatnot. Hmmm.) Other stuff I brought in the bag included my Spi Belt, gels, phone and armband, iPod and headphones, Garmin, a travel size tube of sunblock, Tylenol, band-aids, etc. I also wore some throwaway sweatpants, which were nice because it was chilly, and I was never cold.

IMG_2924
In the corral

The start village had booths set up with Gatorade, water, bagels, coffee and tons of Porta-Potties. When it got to where people were crowding around my corral waiting to be let in for Wave 4, I kind of maneuvered my way up to the front because I hadn’t made time to go to the restroom. There were tons of bathrooms in the corrals, so as soon as they let us in, I made a beeline to one. When I came out, there was a line of about 5 people waiting for mine, so I was glad I did that!

We didn’t have to wait too long in the corral, or maybe the time just went by quickly. We heard the gun go off for Wave 3, and then we started being herded from our corral to where the start line actually was. Catching glimpses of the Verrazzano Bridge excited me, and the race announcer over the loudspeaker did a great job at getting us pumped up. He said the Wave 4 cheer was the loudest of the day, and I said, “That’s because we’ve been waiting the longest!” Our start time was 11 a.m.

IMG_2950

“The Star-Spangled Banner” singer performed the national anthem and then hopped into the group to run the marathon, which I thought was awesome. Then they started playing “New York, New York,” which made me tear up! I was finally doing it!

As the race got started, I knew pretty much immediately I had dressed way too warm. I was wearing a long-sleeved but thin Nike running shirt and black running capris with shorts over them. Within the first mile I was already sweating! We headed up the bridge, and proceeded to run the next 2 miles on the bridge. I was so glad I was in one of the groups that got to run on top of the bridge. I think those with a green bib had to run on the lower level.

IMG_2959

I didn’t study the course too much, I had just seen all the bridges we had to run over and heard that the Queensboro Bridge was the worst. I knew we were going to hit Manhattan for a little while and then leave and then come back. So I didn’t realize that Brooklyn makes up like more than a 1/3 of the whole race.

We were in Staten Island for a second at the beginning, then we were in Brooklyn for about 11 miles after we got off the bridge. I wasn’t struggling per se in the beginning, but I was warm and just focusing on not pushing too hard. I feel like I have heard people say that this race isn’t really hilly and isn’t tough, but to me, maybe because I have the perspective of a person who lives in flat Louisiana, this was pretty hilly! Not steep hills at all, but a lot of rolling hills and subtle uphill climbs.

IMG_2964

There were a lot of funny signs along the course, the spectators were great and encouraging, and I enjoyed seeing runners recognize their friends and family who were spectating and go run to hug them. I was feeling kind of sluggish, and I drew a lot of motivation or inspiration from other people’s shirts around me.

Many people were running for charity or causes or in honor of someone who had died or was sick, so if I was ever feeling kind of low, I would inevitably see one of those shirts and remember that there was something bigger than this and more important, and that I was doing something many people can’t. I also saw a shirt near the beginning that said “Run the race with patience,” and that stuck with me. My race might be slow and long, but I just needed to be patient.

IMG_2974

I also immediately corrected myself any time a bad attitude popped up and reminded myself how special this opportunity was and how I needed to savor the whole experience.

I really liked Brooklyn, but I was also ready to leave Brooklyn and get somewhere new by the time it finally ended. I had to stop and wait for a Porta-Potty at mile 12, which really aggravated me, but I wasn’t going to be able to enjoy the race if I didn’t stop. So I probably lost about 5 minutes there.

IMG_2967

374415_211156063_Medium
I bit the bullet and purchased a digital package that included all my race photos – something I would only do for a race this special!

We approached another bridge at the half marathon mark, but it was a short and relatively harmless bridge with a nice view at the crest. We entered Queens and it also felt like we weren’t there for very long – I guess ultimately it was maybe 1-2 miles? Because soon enough, we were going up the Queensboro Bridge. It seemed like everyone around me, including myself, just walked up this bridge. It definitely wasn’t going to do me any good to try to run it, so I just tried to walk swiftly. This bridge also had a great view, so I stopped to take a few pictures.

IMG_2996

We disembarked the bridge, and I stopped at a Porta Potty that had no wait again, then headed onto First Avenue for our first stretch in Manhattan. This was about miles 16-18 or so, and I was starting to struggle mentally with having a good attitude. I don’t know what my problem was besides just physically feeling uncomfortable and being too hot. It was a mental battle to stay positive at times.

374415_211047770_XLarge

IMG_3009

We got on another bridge to enter the Bronx, and again, it felt like that borough went by really quickly. Before I knew it, we were on the last bridge taking us back to Manhattan at mile 21. I texted my husband, who had said he would watch for me between miles 22-24, to find out where he was. It turned out he wasn’t too far, about a quarter-mile before the mile 22 marker, so I started watching for him.

IMG_3060

I was very happy to spot him, and I ran up to him and talked to him for a minute, got him to take some pictures. He told me the Saints were winning their game against the NY Giants, which made me very happy. I had hoped to be heckled by some Giants fans on the course thanks to my Saints shirt, but they must have all been watching the game. I said goodbye to Hunter and got started back on the course – the next time I would see him would be when I was done!

374415_211489232_XLarge

For the next 4.5 miles, I simply focused on running when I could and walking any time I started to feel out of breath. We entered Central Park and there were numerous inclines that we had to tackle along the way. As the finish got closer, I started actually slowing down more to savor the final miles. There were huge signs to mark Mile 24, 25 and 26, and before I knew it, I could see the finish line ahead. It was already starting to get dark because of the time change and because of how long it took me to finish. Although there were numerous pictures taken of me on the course looking unhappy, I crossed the finish with a big smile. My final time was indeed the slowest of my 8 marathons, but I didn’t care – 5:30:23.

IMG_3028

374415_211021506_XLarge

374415_212180399_XLarge

It’s true what everyone says about having to walk forever after crossing the finish line. I got my medal and recovery bag that had water, Gatorade, a protein shake, Power Bar, and pretzels inside, then followed everyone along as we had to walk to the eventual split where people who checked bags would go one way, and people like me who opted instead to get a post-race poncho would go another.

374415_212022023_XLarge

We walked and walked and walked. Got our ponchos, then kept walking. I was meeting Hunter at Letter C in the family reunion area, and family reunion started at Z and went in reverse alphabetical order so I had to walk by numerous letters to find him. Just meet your family at Z!

IMG_3030

After I found Hunter, we had to walk a bit to the Subway, then change trains like 3 times to get back to our hotel. So while it was great to be so close to the ferry in the morning, the trip back to the hotel was lonnnnggg.

IMG_3040 (2)

Overall thoughts about this race – it’s the biggest marathon in the world and it is so well-organized, high quality and truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I was so fortunate to get in this race via lottery and I will never forget the day. I love NYC and hope that maybe one day I will get to run the marathon there once again.

2015 TCS NYC Marathon Race Recap – Part 1: Getting to the race

FullSizeRender (1)
The glorious email I received on March 3.

My training cycle for this race was rough. Right about the time I started training, I got a promotion at work that significantly increased my workload and quickly began draining me of my energy each day.

Then in July, around that same time, I had a spot removed from my hairline that turned out to be basal cell carcinoma. I had to return to the dermatologist in September to have more cells removed, and both times, I took a week off running due to needing to let the area heal (aka, not get sweaty and gross, which it inevitably would when I ran in the Louisiana heat).

Regardless, I still got in several long runs, including a 20-miler two weeks before the NYC Marathon. My goal going in to the race was simply to enjoy it. Enjoy every mile, enjoy running a race I had dreamed about running for a long time, enjoy the culmination of eight months of planning. I got accepted to the race in March, booked plane tickets in May, booked our hotel in September. It felt like it would never arrive, and then finally, we were flying to New York.

We got to the city the Friday before the race, taking the airport express from Newark into Manhattan. We got dropped off at Port Authority, took the subway down to our hotel, which was pretty much a stone’s throw from the 9/11 memorial, checked in, then hopped back on the subway to go to the expo.

IMG_2692

When we walked into the convention center and saw all the signage for the marathon, I got SO EXCITED. It finally felt real that I was going to do this race! I had to wait exactly 0 seconds to go up and get my bib – there was no one in line! This was awesome!

IMG_2695

Then… I got to the Asics apparel section where official merchandise was located. I picked out a long-sleeved pullover, a hat and a pint glass, all adorned with the NYC Marathon logo, then got in line. FORTY-FIVE minutes later, I got to check out with my stuff. I seriously waited in line that long. It was craziness. I don’t even want to imagine how bad the expo was on Saturday for merchandise lines.

IMG_2706

After waiting so long to check out, I was tired and a little over the expo. I also bought some PowerBar gels, then we left and got lunch at a little Italian cafe nearby. I got tortellini, which was really good. That night, we went to see “Matilda” on Broadway and ate a really late dinner at a cafe near our hotel.

IMG_2729

On Saturday morning, we went to the 9/11 museum, which was really sad. I was definitely enthralled with all of the artifacts and information, but it was just so tough to take in, especially since the museum is right where everything actually happened.

IMG_2757

After about 2 hours walking around the museum, we got lunch at a food court in Brookfield Place near Battery Park. We both got noodle bowls from a place called Num Pang. The food court had a really nice view of the water. After we were done eating, we got some cupcakes and coffee from Sprinkles Cupcakes.

I have to say, I really didn’t heed any warnings about walking too much before a marathon. We walked A LOT – but I did wear compression sleeves under my jeans.

IMG_2730

That afternoon we went to the West Village area and walked around Bleecker Street, Washington Square Park and NYU area. We got ice cream, found the exterior of where Carrie Bradshaw supposedly lived and saw tons of police getting ready for a Halloween parade. Since we just visited NYC in May 2014, we had done all the big touristy stuff back then like the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, etc., so our plans weren’t as jam-packed as they would have been otherwise.

IMG_2801 IMG_2822 IMG_2831

IMG_2799

IMG_2841

That night, we found a neat little place in Little Italy called Piacere for dinner – I had orecchiette with sausage and broccoli as my main dinner, plus a small piece of pizza from my husband’s meal. We got awesome scallops and mushrooms as an appetizer, plus they gave us free bread. I definitely felt carbed up after that. We then got some rice pudding from a place called Rice to Riches – that’s all it is – different kinds of rice pudding – and it was SO GOOD. We got a cheesecake flavor and had strawberry topping mixed in.

IMG_2859

The observatory of One World Trade Center, which was right by our hotel, was lit up in different colors for the marathon the night before the race. I took a photo before heading up to our room for the night at 8 p.m.

IMG_2857 IMG_2861

I got all my race morning stuff together, made my marathon playlist, and read NYC Marathon race recaps and looked at people’s posts on Instagram that had the tag #tcsnycmarathon (Everyone was posting their race outfits!)

Finally, I made myself try to go to sleep, despite my excitement.

Part 2: Race Day