Thursday, January 12, 2017

New York City Marathon 2016 Recap

The New York City Marathon was on my bucket list the past couple of years. To gain entrance into the marathon, I either had to time qualify (probably never going to happen for me) or get selected through the lottery. After 4 years of applying, I finally won the lottery for the 2016 NYC Marathon! Only about 15% of applicants are chosen in the lottery each year.  I was excited to finally run the 5 boroughs of NYC! Two of my running buddies, Tara and Carly, were also lottery accepted to the 2016 NYC Marathon.

After months of training, I was on my way to NYC with my friend Carly (Mike and I were just in NYC 3 weeks earlier so he stayed home with our boys and pets). We got to the city on Thursday so we had plenty of time to visit the expo and sight see before the marathon on Sunday, November 6. Even though we were supposed to take it easy on the days leading up to the marathon, we walked over 26.2 miles in those 3 days. It was NYC, how could we not?!

New York City Marathon
Me and Carly at the expo

Conquering Central Park
The NYC marathon was a late start race and our corral was not scheduled until 10:15 am. The marathon provided free transportation to the start line on Staten Island. Carly and I chose to take the 7:30 am Staten Island Ferry so we wouldn't have to wait around in the cold for too long before the race began. The ferry ride was flawless. I stayed inside so I didn't get sea sick and Carly got to see the Statue of Liberty on the way.  Unfortunately, the bus ride from the ferry to the start line took much longer than predicted and I started to feel the stress of race morning. Once in the start village, we scrambled to find our friend Tara, get in the correct corral and use a porta-potty. We ended up at the back of our corral but no big deal.
New York City Marathon
Me, Carly and Tara with the Verrazano Bridge in the background
 If you've read my other race recaps, you know I usually have some race goal even if I tell myself I don't. People told me NYC was not a marathon to PR because of all the bridges/hills and I should just enjoy the atmosphere. I was good with that and told myself I would run comfortably with a goal of under 5 hours (my marathon PR was in Chicago at 4:34 where I hoped for under 4:30).

New York City Marathon

The weather was perfect in the mid 50s for our 10:20 am start. We started on the bottom of the Verrazano Bridge where it was windy and very cold without the sunshine. That bridge was almost a mile and a half long (let's keep a bridge tally - bridge #1)!  One borough down with four to go...on to Brooklyn. I spent the next 11+ miles running through the hilly streets of Brooklyn. The people there were amazing, lining the streets and cheering on the runners. I loved that the race had large water stops at every mile. Those water stops helped the miles fly by because every time I saw another water stop, I couldn't believe I'd finished another mile!

After Brooklyn and 13 miles done, we popped into Queens for about a 1.5 miles (bridge #2). People there were happy to see us runners and glad we had finally left Brooklyn. Next, we traversed the Queensboro Bridge (bridge #3). This mile long bridge was by far the worst of the bunch for me. It felt like a never-ending uphill climb. I admit that I walked some of that bridge. At one point, I felt like it peaked and leveled out so I started running again but nope I was still climbing. UGH! It didn't help that I was on that bridge for mile 15 when I usually hit my wall at mile 16.

Once off the dreadful Queensboro Bridge, I was in Manhattan on 1st Ave where the energy was crazy! I remember a gentle but uphill climb somewhere in those 3.5 miles on 1st Ave. I tried to run comfortable and not watch my pace during this race but those uphills made comfort impractical. The course moved us through Manhattan into the Bronx (bridge #4) for a mile and then back to Manhattan's 5th Ave (bridge #5).

21 miles done and 5th Ave felt like another never-ending uphill climb that wasn't steep but steady...for miles and miles. Ok, maybe 1.5 - 2 miles....I'm from flat Florida where it is hard to train miles of steady inclines. We have bridges in Clearwater but they're short and steep. Let's take a look at the course's elevation below. Do you see what my last 30 minutes of the marathon were like?!

For mile 23, I ran next to Central Park but at this point, my focus was straight ahead and not on the sights around me. At mile 24, we turned into Central Park, not getting the down from the mountain we just scaled. At some point along 5th Ave, I realized I might actually PR but those inclines were a bitch so I still stopped for water with only 2 miles left to go. My awesome cousin was waiting near mile 25 in Central Park.

New York City Marathon

With 1 mile left to go, I knew I would PR but didn't think I'd get under 4:30 (my ultimate marathon goal). I kept trucking along and even stepped in a mud puddle to get around someone slower. I was shuffling at the end because my quads were on fire/numb/dead to me and I was running uphill again! I was so ready to be done! I did PR, wahoo!! But missed my under 4:30 by 2 seconds. I didn't know I was that close at the finish. Aaahh!

New York City Marathon

Age Place: 1221/3422
Gender Place: 7820/21457
Overall Place: 25073/51388
5K: 31:56
10K: 1:02:59
15K: 1:34:34
13.1: 2:12:51
Avg Pace: 10:18
Finish Time: 4:30:01  Really!! 1 second over!
New York City Marathon