NYC Marathon 2014 | Race Recap

The whole week leading up to Sunday November 2nd felt like it crawled by so slowly. I had a million things on my to-do list between marathon prep, getting the girls ready for Halloween, and of course WORK. The expo opened on Thursday at the Javits Center, but I didn’t have time to get over there on the first day. I waited until Friday around 2pm, and there were absolutely no lines to get bibs. It sounded like earlier in the day on Friday the lines were pretty insane, but mid-afternoon on Friday was easy-breezy. If you go on Friday, you’ll avoid a lot of crowds as out-of-towners mostly arrive to NYC on Saturday. Grabbed my bib, snapped a pic, and headed out for trick or treating with my kids!

ready to run!

ready to run!

Saturday afternoon: Team MR8 had a team dinner at Carmine’s in Times Square. There is a whole separate post on that. I ate pasta with vegetables, chicken, lots of garlic bread and a canolli. We ate on the earlier side, so by 7:00pm, I was hungry again and had Gino’s Pizza. If there was any night to have two dinners, it would probably be the night before 26.2! I laid out my “flat runner” to make sure I wasn’t missing anything, and tried to get to bed at a decent time.

do I have everything?

do I have everything?

Sunday Morning: Astrid met me at my house at 5:15am. We got on the 5:45am train from Manhasset, which got us into Penn Station a little past 6:30am. The 2 train was packed with marathoners, all more looking like hobos than runners at this point. If you are reading this (and there are probably like 5 of you) and you’ve never run a marathon before, let me fill you in on what happens before you run. If you are running in the fall or winter, its pretty cold outside, and there is a lot of standing around and waiting. Runners wear a “throw-away outfit” that they’ll be comfortable standing around in, but one that they don’t mind completely discarding before the race. For me on the morning of November 2nd, that included sweatpants bought from a dollar store, high knee socks that were at least three years old, a sweatshirt I got for free, a Zara winter coat that I was going to donate to GoodWill, a winter hat that had seen better days, and (perhaps the best part) was my Snuggy. People loved the Snuggy. I loved the Snuggy. It has a zippered bottom so I didn’t have to fuss with it too much every time I used the bathroom that day. Brilliant. I had a hard time parting with it, but alas, it was destined to hit the ground in Staten Island.

this is what 6am on the Staten Island Ferry looks like

this is what 6am on the Staten Island Ferry looks like

When we got to Staten Island, we were herded through the ferry terminal, and out on the sidewalk to get in line for the buses that were going to take us to Fort Wadsworth where the starting village was awaiting. I was in the green starting village and in corral D, but finding this wasn’t that easy. In fact, I really only had about 10 minutes of actual downtime before they were calling my wave. In a matter of minutes, I transformed into an actual runner, rather than a completely crazy looking person in a Snuggy. I was down to my long sleeve shirt layer, headband, sunglasses but I kept my hooded sweatshirt on just to combat some of the wind on the Verzanno Bridge. They moved my wave through the corrals, and up onto the starting line at the base of the bridge. I was actually pretty surprised at how easy that part was, but I wouldn’t say the Fort Wadsworth was super organized; that was stressful. And once I parted ways with Astrid, I really didn’t like being alone. It was pretty quiet in my head.

hello, I'm cold

hello, I’m cold

The music started, the famous NEW YORK, NEW YORK was blaring over the speakers, we were off! I crossed the starting line and I was running the NYC Marathon.

The bridge was windy. Really windy. It sounded like people’s bibs were going to rip off from their shirts entirely, and hats were flying all around. I actually saw two people running back the way we had come (don’t run backwards in a marathon. Ever. Like, ever) to chase down various articles of clothing that were blowing around. I was running fast, too. Too fast. Like super-excited-everything-feels-too-easy kind of fast. The view from the bridge was pretty incredible. I teared up a little as I looked over at downtown Manhattan, thinking that in just a few hours (or five…spoiler alert!) I would be a finisher of the NYC Marathon. Emotions, people! They are real. There were barges in the water, and choppers hovering on each side of the bridge. I was on the lower level but I swear I could hear the footprints and whoops and hollers of the folks on the top level as well. People were pumped up.

When you come off the bridge into Brooklyn, you go down and around a highway exit, and then you’re in a pretty residential neighborhood. This must have been around the three-mile mark, because I saw someone holding a sign that said “only 23 miles to go”. Don’t ever make signs like these.

Brooklyn was amazing. I can’t even really put into words (and trust me, this race recap is 3 weeks late; I’ve been TRYING) how much I loved running the first 13.1 miles of this race through Brooklyn. It was everything. The crowds are literally standing on top of one another, almost at times in the way of runners in the street. There was a band on every corner. Every church had a choir on the steps, and the sound was upbeat. My steps were quick too, I was pacing way too fast for me in this type of race. At one point I turned my phone off of Airplane Mode and opened the NYC Marathon app, and I was pacing to finish in 4:15. I was averaging around 9:15/9:30 miles at this point, but I felt GOOD. I knew I should slow down, but my legs just wouldn’t listen. I was all sorts of pumped up when I saw my AdRoll friends at mile 11.

MarathonRoll!

MarathonRoll!

I hit the halfway point in Brooklyn still feeling really strong, and pacing for about a 4:30 finish. Not bad for half-way! As I made my way to the Queensboro Bridge, I started thinking about where I would find KJ and my brother-in-law on First Avenue. I texted him to get his exact location, and waiting for the text to come back occupied my mind on the slow climb of the bridge. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be, after I had built up the quietness of it all in my head for so many weeks. One of my favorite memories is actually looking to my right and seeing the Roosevelt Island Tram gliding past the bridge. The passengers inside were waving at us and holding signs. It was one small moment in the day that I haven’t forgotten about.

I no longer have this pony tail

I no longer have this pony tail

Coming off the bridge and onto First Avenue lived up to expectations completely; it was LOUD! The sun was in my eyes (even with my sunglasses on), so I had to stay completely to the left of the street even though the crowds were on the right side. I checked my phone to get KJ’s whereabouts, and from 59th Street all the way to 80th, I just stayed to the left and tried to get to him as fast as I could. I spotted him and Matty in front of Bar Coastal, and made a pit stop with my fam. KJ had carried some GuChomps with him, and opened them for me and I ate one. Bad idea. All of a sudden, I couldn’t really swallow any of my food and I felt nauseous. It was only mile 18, and it was a little “early” to be feeling like this. I left them with promises of “I’ll go as fast as I can!” and pressed on up First Avenue. The crowds thinned a little as I crossed into the Bronx at Mile 20, and I still felt like something wasn’t quite right. Then again, it was mile 20 of a marathon, so nothing was quite right. I walked a little around mile 21, and tried to drink two cups of water before I let myself “run” again. I turned off my Garmin watch so I wouldn’t get discouraged by the paces that were flashing. I told myself to just have fun and enjoy it, and to forget about the clock. I picked it up through Harlem to Mile 23. Confession: I had to walk a lot of Mile 23. Like more than I would have liked. It had started to get chilly, and I grabbed a pair of gloves off the ground (I had chucked mine in the warmth of Brooklyn about 13 miles ago), and I even accepted a warmth cape from a medical tent around mile 24. My teeth wouldn’t stop chattering!

At mile 24.5ish I gave myself one last pep talk. I thought about Martin, and Team MR8, and all the money that I had raised. As we entered Central Park, I was running. I made it up the backside of Cat Hill and down the wonderful-oh-so-wonderful downhill by the bottom of the park. I smiled, and gave high-fives, and tried to make the most of (what I knew was) my last mile of my last marathon. There was a moment in Central Park where a girl in a red shirt darted out in front of me, almost cutting me off (if I was running at any sort of speed). I almost said, hey watch out, but then I saw her shirt. On the back, she had taped her name: Lulu. My Lulu was at home waiting for me to finish this damn marathon, and I laughed thinking that this was SUCH an appropriate sign to see at that moment. I knew I was close.  The finish line was in my sights, and I could see the clock; I was SO CLOSE to breaking 5 hours!

thank you very much

thank you very much

Official Time: 5:02, a new marathon PR for me. I wanted to (finally) break 5 hours, but it just wasn’t in the cards for me. Pretty close though!

This is where things get bad: the finish line SUCKS at the NYC Marathon. I can totally see why some people who love to run marathons, don’t love to run big city marathons. We had to walk easily another half a mile to get to the fuel stations and get our warm ponchos, and I was FREEZING. I started crying (super emo day!) and a nice man next to me asked me if I was crying because it was my first marathon. I said, “no, it’s my last and I just want to find my husband.” What a mess!

We wound out of the park, and I walked a few blocks to 72nd Street, where KJ and Matt were waiting for me. They claim that I looked better than half the people hobbling and limping around them, but I think they were just being nice. But either way, I appreciated the compliment.

Finished! Now beer me

Finished! Now beer me

I finished! We headed down to Brother Jimmys for some beers and fries (my biggest craving!) and I was already proud of myself for being able to drink a beer. After Boston, I couldn’t drink anything until the next day. So this was a win.

Corona + marathon bling

Corona + marathon bling

So yes, I am retired from the 26.2 distance! I have now run Chicago, Boston and NYC, and raised a pretty decent amount of money for three incredible charities. When they decide to change the distance to a more manageable 20 miles, let me know. I’ll sign up for that.

Team MR8 Team Dinner | Pre-NYC Marathon

I’ve never run a marathon NOT as part of a charity team. When I ran Chicago in 2006, I ran as an Honored Teammate for Team In Training and raised over $6,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, 6 months after my last chemotherapy treatment. This past April for the Boston Marathon, I represented the amazing Pediatric Hem-Onc department at Mass General Hospital and raised a combined $12,000 along with my sister. When I received the phone call this past July that my application had been accepted to be part of Team MR8 for the 2014 NYC Marathon, I was so proud that I could represent the amazingly strong Martin family, and raise money in honor of such a true “Boston” kid.

Bronx 10 Miler for a Boston kid

Bronx 10 Miler for a Boston kid

Between July and November, TeamMR8 mostly stayed in touch over Facebook, and weekly emails from our charity team leader, Susan. Susan’s Friday emails were a highlight of my week; she covered training tips, fundraising successes, and made sure we all had our eyes on the prize- we were running for TeamMR8. In August, I received a whole box of TeamMR8 gear and a personal note from Debbie and Bill, Martin’s parents. I proudly rocked my MR8 gear during my training races, and keep a photo of Martin in my planner, to remind me why I was again asking my friends and family to donate, and why I was putting in the time and miles to train each week.

all geared up for TeamMR8

all geared up for TeamMR8

The day before the marathon, the whole team got together for a carb-loading pre-race meal at Carmine’s in Times Square. It was my first time meeting any team members, even though we felt like old friends since we had emailed so much over the course of the past few months. The dinner was perfect – enough food to keep us all fueled up, and so many smiling faces. At the conclusion of dinner, Bill Martin spoke to the whole team. It was one of the most motivating pep talks I’ve ever received (and I’ve been privy to MANY a pre-game speech). Bill kept thanking us for being part of the team, and raising almost $90,000 for TeamMR8. He spoke about the various programs that the Martin Richard’s Charitable Foundation is able to participate in because of these funds. Perhaps the biggest program at the moment is through the Dorcester YMCA, which was started to allow kids with any type of physical or mental handicap the opportunity to participate in a variety of sports. With the funds that TeamMR8 raises, the foundation is able to roll this program out to YMCA’s and communities across the US to give more children the opportunity to play sports, and be part of their community. It is something that Martin would be so proud of.

me and my date for the team pasta dinner

me and my date for the team pasta dinner

Needless to say, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house when Bill was finished speaking. I thought about Martin when they played New York, New York as I crossed the start line. I thought about Martin when I saw the kids dancing in front of a band on Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn. I thought of Martin when I wanted to stop running at Mile 20. I thought of him almost exclusively for the last mile, with tears in my eyes, feeling a true mix of pride and relief. Like I said at the beginning, I’ve never NOT run for a charity team, but I couldn’t imagine running a race like this with any other purpose.

TeamMR8 NYC Marathon Team 2014

TeamMR8 NYC Marathon Team 2014

NYC Marathon Lululemon Giveaway | Team MR8 Fundraising

Lululemon released a limited-edition NYC Marathon collection that you can only buy in NYC stores starting today. This line is expected to completely sell-out! I stood in line for over an hour today, and snagged this gorgeous #BeenThereRunThat sweatshirt featuring the NYC skyline and it could be YOURS! I am running 26.2 miles on Sunday for the amazing Team MR8 in honor of Martin Richards, the 8 year old boy who was killed in the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013. 

front + back

front + back

Every donation starting today of $26.20 will be entered in a raffle to win this exclusive sweatshirt than any Lulu addict will LOVE! The winner can choose a size 8 or size 6. 

To win? Click here, donate $26.20, and receive an email confirmation from me, and you’re in. 

The winner will be announced on Saturday morning, and the sweatshirt will be shipped out early next week (as soon as my legs are recovered enough to walk to the post office). 

Thanks so much for your support, and GOOD LUCK! May the #LuluBeWithYou, and GO #TEAMMR8

Race Recap | BAA Half Marathon

Ever since I finished the Boston Marathon this year, I was excited to run another BAA.org race. This year, the BAA Half boasted a crowd of 8,000 runners, and covered 13.1 miles of the Emerald Necklace park starting in Franklin Park. Since Roo just moved into the sickest apartment ever in Dorchester, we had a sleepover there the night before, complete with the best. dinner. ever.

all ready for 13.1!

all ready for 13.1!

We woke up at 6am, and munched on bagels, pb and bananas. We opted to drive to Bayside Expo Center and take the shuttle buses from there, which was only about 5 minutes away. There was absolutely no parking available at Franklin Park, but they did offer two different shuttle options. We got on our shuttle at about 7:30, and made it up to Franklin Park just before 8:00am. It was chilly, and I totally wished I had more than just one layer of throw-away shirt, but the weather report said it was supposed to get to 60 degrees, so I didn’t want to overdress. Ah, #runnerprobz.

waiting in line

waiting in line

We got in line around the 10:00 min mile marker, and tried to take our minds off the chill. Training for Boston in the SNOW was colder than this, so we sucked it up. At 8:30, the starting gun went off, and off we went. Not! The starting line corrals had a really tight turn, and it was almost like tip-toeing up to the start line. It took us about 22 minutes to get to the start, and it was slow goings for the first half a mile for sure. I stuck to the sides and tried to stay with a nice even pace of about 9:50/10:00 while my body warmed up. Roo and I fist bumped and picked a spot to meet after the race.

starting line crowd!

starting line crowd!

I absolutely loved the first uphill which was across the William Casey overpass. There were amazing views of Boston, and we were up higher than the trees. It was a climb for sure, but it didn’t bother me too much and I even got the courage to take off my long sleeve and drop it on the side. The weather was warming up!

Around mile 4, I felt a tap on my shoulder and it was my work friend/client, Jess! We have done Flywheel together a couple times and I should have known she would be running today. It was about the time that I saw her that we took a turn back towards the start line. I’ve never been in a race that had such tight 180 degree turns. You really had to watch your step so you wouldn’t get trampled from behind or from the front. I picked it up for miles 5-9 and felt really good, really strong. I was probably hitting just under a 9 minute mile. At mile 6, I decided to go for my Gu Chomps. I always (always, always) open the bag up before I start running, but for some reason I totally forgot. I tried to rip into the bag while running, and I couldn’t get it open. My hands were sweaty, and this thing WAS NOT opening. I was expending too much energy and getting frustrated, so I just pocketed the Gu Chomps and welcomed the PowerGels that they were handing out at mile 7. I got vanilla and it was actually really delicious. Thanks for handing those out! I totally needed something, and I’ll never not open my GuChomps in advance again. Jeesh.

So they weren’t joking when they said this course has rolling hills. Its all either up hill or down hill all the time. Like the whole time. And the last 3 miles especially, weren’t even on concrete the whole time. It was like a 10 mile road race with a 3 mile trail race to finish up. I felt good the whole time, and I knew coming into the final 800 meters that was I close to the two hour mark. I knew I wasn’t going to be close to my half marathon PR from NYC, but this wasn’t a course to PR on at all. Not even close. I was PSYCHED to be close to 2:00, and finished with an official time of 2:03. I got my awesome BAA medal, and meandered through the bagels, bananas and PowerBar line. I was hungry, but I didn’t want to eat too quickly so I just had a quarter of a bagel and waited to get a text from Roo. She finished at 2:25 and we met up at the family meeting area.

yeeeeeehaw, all done!

yeeeeeehaw, all done!

sisters + 13.1

sisters + 13.1

I will definitely keep this on my race calendar for 2015, as it was well-run, and the shirts were AWESOME. It was a lot of ppl and course was tight and hilly, but I absolutely love the half marathon distance so much. See ya next year, Franklin Park!

Race Recap | NYRR Bronx 10 Miler

Let it be known that its never a wise idea to sign up for a race the day after arriving home from a week long beach vacation. However, if you HAVE to do it, this was one great race to tackle on a beautiful, warm day in September. Since I was away the week prior to the race, I didn’t have time to get my bib or shirt ahead of time. Astrid (my CrossFit bestie turned NYC Marathon training partner) was kind enough to do the driving, and I took the LIRR to Douglaston where she picked me up (6:30am, woof!). We got to the Bronx by 7:00, and within 15 minutes we had picked up our bibs and shirts, checked our bags, and used the bathrooms. NYRR, I gotta hand it to you, this was THE most organized race (apart from a marathon distance). Huge props for making 10,000 runners really happy with a smooth check-in system.

As I was pinning on my bib to my brand new, bright yellow Team MR8 shirt, a man approached me and gave me a huge high-five. “TeamMR8! I love you guys!” Turns out he is in charge of the charity programs that get bibs for the New York City Marathon, and he had personally been involved in the decision to get TeamMR8 representation this year. I felt so grateful, and it made me even more proud to be part of such an amazing organization. We CAN make TeamMR8 bigger than ever this year!

Astrid and me, ready to run!

Astrid and me, ready to run!

Astrid and I  had been discussing our game plan all morning. We wanted to pretend like these are the first 10 miles of the marathon. Don’t go out fast. Don’t even try to PR. Go annoyingly slow for the first few miles, and then just go into cruise control for the remainder. Our plan was to feel like we had some gas in the tank at the end, and run a controlled race. The problem is, its actually HARD to go annoyingly slow, especially if other runners are passing you (we are so competitive)! We managed to make it work though, and our first four miles were 9:41/9:29/9:21/9:12. Ehhh. Not even CLOSE to annoyingly slow. Try, “well under my marathon goal pace.” Still, we felt good, and I felt like I could maintain that pace for the rest of the run.

At mile 5, we got to the top of the out-and-back route and had some quick turns through a little green park. We clearly picked it up there, and mile 5 was 8:58. At mile 6, I lost Astrid in the crowd. One of these days I’ll actually stick with her the entire race! I had a tri-berry Gu (which tastes exactly like my favorite ice cream flavor) and chugged some water to wash it down.

My last few miles were 9:05/9:28/9:14/9:07/9:18. I was surprised that I stayed in the same range even in miles 8-10, as they were a slight (but long) incline. When I was tired, especially in the final mile, I thought a lot about Martin Richard, and why I was running. I pretended he was running right alongside me, and I picked up my pace. I am sure that on November 2nd (and every run in-between), I will be channeling Martin’s positive outlook, boundless energy, and happiness. Martin was truly Boston Strong.

My official time was 1:33, which was a 2+ minute PR since my last 10 miler, only a month ago. Not bad for a little 10 miler after a vacation, after all!

Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 8.52.36 PM

 

NYC Marathon Training | Week 5

I am on Week 7 of the 17 week CrossFit Endurance War Horse Marathon Training plan, and here is what my week looked like:

Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 12.09.05 PM

 

 

 

Monday – Rest because I did the Brooklyn 10 Miler the day before.

Tuesday – Interval workout: 1 minute ladder: 1 min on, 1 off, 50 sec on, 50 off . . . down to 10 sec on 10 sec off, back up to 1 minute. This was pretty rough, especially building back up to the 1 minute on. When I was “on” I tried to stay 7:30/8:00 min mile pace, and then “off” was more like 9:45/10:00 min mile pace and I attempted to recover my breathing.

Wednesday – Rest

Thursday – CrossFit516 partner WOD with Kim and Astrid. 1.5 miles of running, a lot of box jumps, and wall balls to cap it off.

Friday – Track workout: 16 Rounds of: 20 sec on, 10 sec off. I used the same pacing from Tuesday, and it felt pretty good. It was about 3 miles of running, with 1 mile warm up and 1 mile cool down.

have I mentioned how much I love these sneakers?

have I mentioned how much I love these sneakers?

Saturday – 7 mile “long” run, even though the training plan called for a 5k time trial. I had just ran (and PR’d) my 5K a few weeks back, so I am going to use that time to set some tempo runs this week. 10:00 min/mile pace.

Port Washington, NY

Port Washington, NY

Sunday – Rest

Mileage: About 15 miles between all the temp and speed work this week.

NYC Marathon Training | Week 4

Can’t believe I have one more week of “real” training under my belt. I’m following the CrossFit WarHorse/CrossFit Endurance Marathon Training Plan pretty much exactly, with the exception of the long run on the weekend. I do tend to make it a little bit longer than CFE calls for in some weeks. Here is how last week shaped up:

MondayCrossFit516 WOD -
For time, 3 Rounds of:
400 m run
15 Deadlifts (185/125)

At the 15 min mark do:

For time:
21 Toes to bar
21 Burpees
50 Double unders
15 Toes to bar
15 Burpees
40 Double unders
9 Toes to bar
9 Burpees
30 Double unders

The 400’s and deadlifts were my kind of workout, and the second half of the workout was just rough. I substituted singles for DUs, but did 3 times the amount of them to make up for it.

Tuesday – CFE Track Workout: 3 Rounds of (200, 400,  600).

CFE: Week 6 Plan

CFE: Week 6 Plan

Wednesday – REST

13 minutes of hell

13 minutes of hell

Thursday – CFE Interval Workout: Death by 10 meters. Do a 10 meter run on minute 1. On minute two, do two 10 meter sprints. Minute three, three sprints. I made it up to 13 minutes before I was DONE!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FridayCrossFit516 WOD: “Open workout 14.4″

AMRAP in 14 min of:
60 Calorie row
50 Toes to bar
40 Wall balls (20/15)
30 Cleans (135/95)
20 Muscle-ups

I only made it through 10 cleans! Woof! Reminder of why I don’t sign up to do the Open in the winter.

Saturday – REST (and beach!)

Sunday – My CFE plan called for a 60 minute Tempo run @75%, but instead, I did the Battle of Brooklyn 10 Miler + 2 Extra Training Miles (and beach again!) for a total of 12 miles.

Totals: Around 15 or 16 running miles, including two CFE WODS, and two CrossFit516 WODS.