In celebration of #ingnycm I am reliving my #nwm 26.2:) Enjoy! P.S. This is a long one…
Amazing photo by Phil
Whoa, I cannot believe it has taken me two weeks to sit down and write this recap. Running a marathon will do that to you:) Various factors contributed to the delay: starting my next master’s class, a major project at work, and family visiting. However, the biggest reason is that this race took a lot out of me, it was such an extreme and difficult test of mental, physical, and emotional strength. But blogging is not just for the pretty stuff, so here it goes…
Race day started out incredibly early (which was not great since Saturday morning I work up at 2am to fly into San Francisco) when I woke up around 3:30am. Thankfully, I was so exhausted the night before that I actually slept about 7 hours. And if you have ever ran a race before you know that was a miraculous feat.
We made it into the city with no traffic and plenty of time to find Kirsi and get into our corral. It was quite a cold morning, thankfully my mom and aunt had made a quick trip to Target the night before to buy a warm pair of socks and gloves. With some handy scissor work the socks became arm warmers and I was set.
Here’s a photo of my DIY arm warmers (a pair of black socks with the toes cut off = best idea ever) and my Tiffany’s Blue tutu.
This photo is one intersection of the runners, multiply that by about 20 and you can get a feel for how many people filled the streets.
Yay, I found Kirsi! Phil took some great photos of us and the start area (photos above) before we set off into the sea of 30,000 people.
The Start – For having 30,000 runners the start went incredibly smooth. Kirsi and I were at the back of the second to last starting group and we crossed the line 31 minutes after the gun went off.
The first 5k flew by, Kirsi and I ran the first mile and a half together and went our separate ways just as we came to Pier 1 (after looking at our race photos we were actually right next to each other at the 10k mark but had no idea, crazy!). I was trying to keep my pace around 10:42. With so many people at the start at the it was extremely hard to get into a rhythm.
Before I knew it 6 miles had come and gone. This was the start of the hills and where my whole race plan started to fade away. As the hills came I was more focused on my overall pace and sticking to 10:42 miles that I neglected to conserve and take it easy over the hills.
More hills! Still feeling in control, like I was running my race. That would end soon:)
This was the moment I realized I had made some big race mistakes early on. I had worked too hard on the hills and quickly realized that it was a huge possibility that I may bonk in the second half. Enter, negative thoughts. Seriously, I honestly to myself “you have nothing left.” I rarely have negative thoughts while training, usually I am able to push myself though pretty much anything. But for some reason the negativity came fooling in.
Praise the Lord my family found me around mile 14! I had just seen two Walla Walla friends before the halfway mark and I was overjoyed when I saw my parents, grandparents, and aunt & uncle cheering me on. I was still struggling to find a good pace but they gave me much needed energy.
Hello, Wall. The 16th miler maker is at a terrible location. It is the finish line for the 13.1ers and the start of a 10 mile out and back for the marathoners. Seriously, this is not a race course catered to marathoners.
As I checked my watch and pace chart I realized there was no way I could make up the time to reach my original goal, so it was time for plan b, finish under 5 hours. In a very symbolic gesture I torn off my pace chart and threw it on the ground. I also opened but a full pack of Shot Bloks and inhaled them!
Not only was it time for pacing plan b, but it was also time for iPod plan b. Sorry Mrs. Rowling but I had to rely on a different Harry to keep me going today, Harry Styles. Yes, if it was not for a handful of One Direction songs on repeat for the final 10 miles, I am not sure I could have finished the race.
As mentioned the final ten miles is out and back and miles 19-22 were probably the worst of it (seriously look at those times…ahhh). This part of the course is a long and uneventful highway. So desperately I just wanted to reach the turn around point because I knew I would be rejuvenated once the final stretch began. Just when I would think the turn around was close, it wasn’t and the course kept going on. Talk about a huge mental obstacle!
Just as I was heading up the final hill, I spotted Lori. I had already been on the brink of tears and an emotional breakdown for the past 7ish miles, so as soon as I saw her face I knew I could not stop. Not only would I not be able to start running again but I would also lose any composure I was holding on to.
Mile 24 was were things started looking up. My family found me again, my mom started to run with me but I was way tooooo emotional. They gave me the final kick I needed! Only 2.2 miles to go. With some quick mental calculations, I realized I would finish in under 5 hours and I was instantly re-energized!
She looks like a natural! I see a Disney Princess Half in our future….what do you think , momma????
Sidebar: My family is amazing!!! My parents and grandparents flew out from Texas and my aunt and uncle drove down from Northern California to cheer me on and share this amazing experience with me!
As soon as I saw the Tiffany’s Blue finish line, I locked my eyes on it and did not look at anything else! With
my music One Direction blaring in my ears (later Kirsi told me she and Phil were yelling out my name) I sprinted, yes sprinted, hands raised in victory and crossed the line.
I ran the final mile almost 30 seconds faster. I know it reads 11:16 but I sure felt like I was Usain Bolt!
So not impressed with the marathon photos. Seriously, I run 26.2 miles just for this photo and the camera doesn’t have a wide angle lens! Nike, please fix this for future races!
Just in case you were wondering if the other camera guy got a decent shot, he didn’t:( Thankfully, Phil captured some great moments after I crossed the line.
To get an idea of how packed the course was for the first half, here’s a photo of the half marathoners (and some super fast marathoners) finish. Kirsi is at the top, just under the “e.”
Everything after the Red Carpet Finish
As soon as I crossed the finish line I all the emotions I had been battling the final 10 miles spilled over. I stopped on the red carpet for a few moments to calm myself down but I lost it again once I found Kirsi and Phil.
All composure lost!
A look at the reality of how intense running a marathon is, as Kirsi comforts me through a mild emotional breakdown!
Breakdown over, now on the reality of how much joy and pride finishing a marathon can bring!
Some firemen in tuxes with a silver tray of little blue boxes!!!
I know I already posted this photo but I had to share it again. I cannot believe Phil was able to capture this incredible moment! I love it!
Finisher Shirts & necklace!
I loooove that it says 26.2 nice and big on the front! And the necklace is so stinking cute! I proudly wear it everyday to school:)
The Finisher Boutique
I heard navigation through the finishing area was crazy for the half marathon finishers but since so few people ran the full it was pretty much empty by the time I came through. With no desire to be on my feet any longer than need be, I zipped through the little store and bought the long sleeve finisher dri-fit top. I did not hesitate to drop the $45, telling myself I deserved it (yes, Nike knows what they are doing!).
There were a few other tents, food, race results, freshen up area, and massages, for the runners to experience but as I stood at the edge of the Finisher Boutique with the next tent about 25 feet away, my body decided nothing was worth being on my feet any longer. It would be awesome if Nike just put all the free stuff in a big Tiffany’s bag for the 26.2ers. I think we deserve it after running that far!
The Race Course & My Final Thoughts
- I finish in under 5 hours
- I ran the whole race, no walking breaks this time around
- I PRed on a much more difficult course
- Overall, I was very well prepared mentally and physically, especially in comparison to my first full
- The weather was perfect! I was worried about it being warmer than BC so I was incredibly happy that it was overcast and foggy the whole morning.
- I missed my target time by almost 30 minutes
- I know I can run a marathon in my target time because my 20 miler was 3:31…
- I ran a positive split, which I rarely ever do!
As, I read over my recap I find it hard to adequately describe the marathon experience. You put everything into running 26.2 miles for 4+ months and you lay it all on the line come race day. The pride and joy in conquering some few attempt to complete is indescribable. All I can say is let the countdown for the next one commence!