Waiting for the buses to head to the start of New York Marathon

TCS New York Marathon 2017 – Race Recap

So, it’s now time to recap the New York Marathon day, Sunday 5th November 2017! If you haven’t yet my read my lead up to the New York Marathon day, you can here.

I had opted for the Staten Island Ferry transportation and for anyone who has a place next year, I would highly recommend the ferry. A word of warning; the email comes through asking you to opt for your transportation before you even know what time you are starting the race. NYRR know what they are doing, so they only offer you transportation that will ensure that you get to the start on time. I didn’t know this at the time, and had to turn to Twitter to find this out!

I had agreed to walk to meet Elaine on the morning of the marathon, so we could get the subway together. It was one of the BEST decisions I made. I had never met Elaine in person, but the legend that is Neil had set up a WhatsApp group from Instagram, so we had all been chatting in the lead up to the New York Marathon. Having someone to share the build-up with and to navigate the subway was awesome. Completely by chance when we were on the subway we met up with Abbie, who was also part of our WhatsApp group,  so the three of us shared the journey to the start together.

Waiting for the buses to head to the start of New York Marathon

So, I have to just say for the ‘city that never sleeps’, trying to get a cup of tea at 5:30 am on my walk down to Elaine, wasn’t so easy! Starbucks doesn’t open until 6 am!!! Luckily for me, the coffee shop was open at the Staten Island Ferry Terminal! So British, but I do love my sweet cup of tea before a run.

Queuing to get on the ferry was packed, but the atmosphere was buzzing and the butterflies were going. I was so excited that I was soon going to pass the Statue of Liberty, and get to the start of the New York City Marathon.

Person standing in front of the statue of liberty.

There was a little bit of a wait once we were off the ferry, as there were lots of people and we all had to get on to buses. Once we were on the bus, we had about a 20-minute journey to get to the start of the New York Marathon. Going through security was pretty quick and efficient, which was lucky as I was in desperate need of a wee (maybe TMI!). I was worrying, as race starts are renowned for having huge queues. Well not here. I was amazed by how many toilets there were, and how little the queues were if any at all. I have NEVER been to a race like this, it was amazing!

There were three different coloured starts, but I never actually made it to my coloured pen, as we met up with some of our instafamily and sat chilling soaking up the atmosphere. When the first cannon went off, the whole area erupted with whoops and cheers, excitedly knowing it wouldn’t be too long before we all got to start the New York Marathon.

Through the amazing Run Mummy Run community, I had agreed to meet up with a lady called Rosie, as we were the same corral and start time. We had hoped to run a similar pace too, so 30 minutes prior to the start of our race, I headed to find Rosie. It was pretty easy to find each other, considering we had no idea what each other looked like and there were lots of people around. The start area for the New York Marathon is a huge area, so even with the thousands of people, it never felt too crowded.

The start was so emotive and exciting. The American National Anthem was sung and then as the cannon goes off, they play New York, New York. You can’t but help feel a little giddy and I will now love this song FOREVER.

I started on the lower part of the bridge, which was fine. It was a really misty and drizzly day, so the views were not all that spectacular, but had the weather been clear, we would have been able to see the views of New York City too. The first mile is uphill as you go across the Verazzano Bridge, but the incline wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. My only concern was my watch didn’t seem to be registering pace that well and I really didn’t want to get too carried away and run the first mile too quickly.

Three of us running together did mean, that we all kept each other in check and pulled ourselves back when we got too excited. It’s a very quiet start, unlike London, as you don’t really see any spectators until around mile 3 when you run through a housing area. Fourth Avenue is the longest straightest road. Runners were running on both sides of the road, and the central reservation was lined with the NYPD cheering everyone on and some giving high fives. It was such a party atmosphere – the Americans know how to cheer!

I separated from Rosie around mile 5, as she had been unwell prior to the race and wanted to slow down and see her family. I was feeling quite comfortable with the pace, although my legs did feel heavy.

Around mile 10, I heard the shout of ‘Rula’ which was bizarre as I had Ruth written on my top and I had heard this plenty of times, but ‘Rula’ meant it was someone who knew me. I turned to see one of my teammates from my basketball days. Flo, was in NYC for the weekend, and through thousands of people, she had managed to spot me! The buzz I got from seeing someone I knew was special.

There were sections around mile 11 that were very quiet. There were people watching, just not cheering so loudly. I remember going through halfway thinking this is Tower Bridge, as that’s where you would be in London. I was concerned because my legs felt heavy and quads ached from the start, but I just kept putting one foot in front of the other.

I had been warned about the Queensboro bridge, and I thought that it was at mile 16, so I was a little surprised at 15 when it went quiet and the incline just kept on coming! This bridge did feel like forever, and at times on the way up I thought, should I walk, but it just didn’t happen. My legs just kept ticking over. The quiet is eery, as there are no spectators on the bridge, but as you near the end, you can hear the crowd noise and it just hits you as you turn on to First Avenue. The noise, the signs, the support are phenomenal. First Avenue is another long straight road, although this one has the added bonus of including inclines too.

I took my first walk break at 17 miles. I didn’t really want too, but the drinks were being given out in cups and having tried to take on water for the first 17 miles, by literally throwing it at my face, I decided to walk the water station at mile 17, so I  could actually take down some water.

Heading into the Bronx was exciting. The signs and chants were hilarious. ‘Welcome to the Bronx, where we only let motherf#*cking badasses in, so come on in,’ said in a deep American accent was particularly amusing. The chant of ‘Last Damn Bridge’, was also highly amusing as we tackled yet another incline. The Bronx seemed to fly by, and before I knew it, I was in Harlem on Fifth Avenue.

My open-top bus tour the previous day had come along this route, so I was well aware that there was another incline to tackle around mile 23 and I was starting to feel tired. I kept running as much as I could, and I knew that the turn into Central Park was not too far ahead, but somehow I found myself walking. I probably walked for 1 minute, and then thought, you’ve worked too damn hard to be walking, so off I went again. The electronic display boards were on show as you turn into Central Park. I kept my eye on them, as I knew friends had sent me some cheer cards. I didn’t manage to see any of them, but it was a nice focus.

I had run in Central Park the previous day, and I knew that it was undulating too, so I decided to just run as fast as I could when I could and walk if I needed too. I knew my speed had increased, but I had 2 miles left and I was on for a PB.

One of the inclines did bring me to a walk again, but the crowd was immense and the cheers and shouts definitely got me going again. I didn’t actually realise that the route took me on the road outside my hotel, and as I approached, I could see my husband. I high-fived him as I went past, and the boost that gave me was much needed. The last turn back into Central Park, had a stage and music blaring out, I just thought this is the final push. The road was lined with all the nation’s flags, and I just kept pushing and pushing.

As I crossed the line, Peter Ciaccia NYRR President, Events and Race organiser of the marathon high-fived me and said well done. I felt kind of star-struck as I follow him on Instagram and I had been watching all the photos and videos in the lead up to the marathon. Now, here he was congratulating ME. The same man who had a few hours earlier congratulated both the Men’s and Women’s winners!

I am naturally an emotional person and had always imagined that when I crossed the finish line of the marathon I would cry. I was so totally shocked when this didn’t happen in London, so I never expected it in NYC. But it happens when you least expect it and I put my head in my hands, desperately trying to fight back the tears.

I got out my phone to distract myself and the messages on there made me well up again. I was exhausted, elated, relieved, and sad that it was all over. I was pretty shocked that I had managed to tick off one of my life goals. My dad popped into my head. Oh, how I wished he had been there, or just still alive for me to tell him all about it! MND sucks!

After finishing, you collect your medal and a heat blanket. Then there is a quiet walk to collect your poncho. It was very quiet, and I desperately looked around for some to talk too, but it just didn’t happen.

New York Marathon Ponchos

When the poncho was collected I put my hood up, and it was so quiet. I was in my own little space, reading all my messages. It never fails to overwhelm me how amazing the running community is. I had so many well wishes on Social Media.

I would have thought that having a hotel so close to the course would be easy to get back too, but there were lots of roadblocks and one way systems in place, with a huge volume of people trying to move around. I left Central Park at 3:16 pm and my hotel was probably less than half a mile, but after all the diversions, I didn’t get back to my hotel until 5:30ish.

That night we headed to a local Irish Bar to eat. So many people were sat there wearing their medal. I had visions of drinking and celebrating, but the reality was, after I had eaten my food and drank my shandy, I was shattered! So we headed back to the hotel!

New York Marathon Medal 2017

The next day, I had planned to go to ground zero, but when I woke up I felt an emotional wreck. I watched clips of the race on TV and cried. I read Shalane Flanagan’s post on Instagram and cried. I just could believe that something I had been planning for so long and thought about for even longer was all over.

After tearing up for about the 4th time before 8 am, we decided that ground zero might not be a good choice. One of the benefits of the time difference was that we were always up so early. On Marathon Monday this was a huge bonus.

We headed to the Pavilion in Central Park early, as I knew that it would be busy. In the pavilion, they sell all the finishers gear. The queue was mahoosive when we arrived at 8:50 am, and my husband was already to turn around and go back to the hotel until I noticed that the queue was actually for engraving your medal and not just going into the pavilion! I hadn’t actually made it to the pavilion, so I was excited to find my name on the wall!

I’ve said it before, and I will say it again, New Balance know how to make kit and I wanted to purchase it all! I restrained myself and just bought a New York Marathon finishers t-shirt. Obviously, now I’m home, I wish I had bought it all!

We headed to an American diner for breakfast, and that’s where I spotted my name in the NY Times.

Everyone who ran the marathon under 5 hours had their name printed in the New York Times, just another little touch, that makes this marathon so special!

The day after a marathon lots of people rest, not me. I was in New York for such a short amount of time, so I ended up walking 10 miles! But it was all worth it, for this picture!

New York Marathon Medal 2017

This adventure was everything that I wanted it to be and more. If you are a runner and you ever have the chance to run a marathon, do it. And if you have the chance to run the New York Marathon, definitely do it!!

NYC Marathon Medal 2017

TCS New York City Marathon 2017 – Part 1

When something is so epic, writing a blog post about it, is SO hard. I will never be able to do this race justice! This race report is also written in parts, so I am going to show the different sections, so hopefully the time frame makes sense! If you want to read about my training for the New York Marathon 2017, please click here.

Part 1

So, I am currently sitting waiting for the arrival of my family and friends, to start the final celebration of my 40th birthday, and oh boy what a birthday it has been!

For many years, when anyone spoke about me approaching my 40th birthday, I always told them that I was going to run the TCS New York Marathon for my birthday. I have never been to New York, and the marathon date is always so close to my actual birthday, it seemed it would be rude not too. What a way to celebrate life beginning at 40, than to visit the city that never sleeps (that isn’t actually true!) and run another one of the World Marathon Majors. Some people, mostly non-runners thought I was made, but it just seemed perfect to me.

As 2017 got closer and closer, I decided I needed to make this dream a plan. On January 1st 2017, I contact 2:09 events, and then had the shock of how much the whole adventure would cost. At this point, I wondered if my NYC dream, would be just that, a dream that never materialised.

When the lottery/draw (ballot) opened for the marathon, I decided to enter it, just in case. I remember saying to my husband that I would leave it to fate. If I got a place, then it was meant to be, if I didn’t, I would have to have a big think as to whether I would go with a tour company. To be honest, I think I had pretty much made up my mind, I was running, it was more how I was going to find the money to afford it!

Then on the 3rd of March, I got the email that said I was in!!!!

When the £300 (ish) was taken out of my bank, I knew there was no going back.

I had decided  at Christmas to buy a tin money-box – one that I couldn’t open without a can opener – and then added £1 for every mile that I ran.

I had originally planned to open it just before going to NYC, but then the new pound coin was issued, and I wouldn’t be able to use the old ones after October. So, when I booked my flights in April, I opened the money-box, to put the money towards my flight. Surprisingly, I had managed to save £350 and that was exactly what I needed for the flight! I booked my hotel through booking.com, and not knowing NYC choosing a hotel was difficult. The choice was huge and the range in prices were huge. I ended thinking it’s a birthday treat, so went VERY expensive and stayed at Park Lane, which was directly opposite Central Park.

Part 2

Lets get on to the weekend and the race. I flew on the Friday morning from London Heathrow Airport, with Delta. Ideally I would have loved to go out a few days earlier, but teaching means you can’t have time off, and when you school are as kind as mine, it all has to be unpaid leave! Lucky to get the time off, but loosing pay makes the trip even more expensive, so I had to do the quickest turn around possible.

We arrived at JFK around mid afternoon, and it was SO warm! We navigated our way to the hotel, the subway was easy to use and it was relatively cheap. By the time we got to the hotel, checked in, it was time to get the United Airlines Parade of Nations. I didn’t know what this was, but I had been chatting to people via Instagram, and they were in it, so I rushed out to see it. Luckily, being in a hotel 2 minutes walk from Central Park, meant we just made it in time.

The atmosphere was crazy and so exciting, and after the parade NYRR put on the most spectacular firework display over Central Park. I had planned to go to the expo on the Friday evening, but by the time the fireworks finished and we got something to eat, we decided to head there Saturday morning.

On the Saturday Morning, I was awake early (time difference joy!) but I was quite glad of this, as it meant I could go for a shake out run in Central Park early, before heading to the expo. Running in Central Park should be on every runners bucket list. There were SO many runners out, the skyline was amazing, and I got so emotional on that run.

I joined with a Japanese man running, and I asked if he was there for the marathon. He said that he was only there for one day, but if he lived in New York, he would run the Central Park every day. There is just something special about the park, I felt like I was running through a film set, and the buzz around the place was indescribable.

My only wish that morning, was that I was with people. I thought about my friends from my run club. I wished I had been able to share that run with them. They would have felt that magic too!

We got the subway over to the expo. Knowing that the Saturday was likely to be crazy busy, we got to the expo at 9am, and there was NO ONE in my line to collect my race number! WOW. It was simple, show my idea, and receive my number and good luck wishes from the guy handing me my number. From there, we had to go pick up our free runners top, and they had the genius idea to have samples to try on, so you knew exactly what size to collect. Nothing worse than having race shirts that are too small or big – I know I have lots!

Ok, warning coming, New Balance are the new kit sponsor for Virgin London Marathon, and they were for TCS New York Marathon too! They know how to produce kit, that you just can’t say no too! I don’t know if this really was the case, or just that I was away and spending money on holiday is different, but I wanted it all! It’ll be interesting to see what the London Marathon kit at the expo will be like.

I obviously didn’t want to do lots of walking for the rest of the day, so we hopped on an open top bus, and toured some of the sights on New York.

I feel like this post is going on and on, so I am going to sign off now, get this one live on the blog, and start on my actual race report!

So, to be continued…..

New York Marathon Training – Week 11, 12, 13 and 14

Can you tell by the title that training really ramped up! I have been training, working, training, working and in-between all of this trying to sleep a little and pack up my house! It is no excuse, but something had to give and unfortunately it was this blog.

But I have a spare 5 minutes (surrounded by boxes!) so I wanted to document what training has taken place!

Week 11

Monday

Wednesday

I gained company for my tempo runs and I have really started to enjoy them! Tough, but great feeling when finished!

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What do you do when you've had a long hard day at work and you are tired? Go for a 9 mile tempo run, obviously. . The joys of marathon training!! I am so lucky to have great club mates who ran with me tonight, sorting the route and pacing me. I know I would have struggled to make it out tonight, and def wouldn't have stuck to that pace without them! #loverunning #teamies . . . . . . . #tcsnewyorkmarathon #nycmarathon #NewYorkMarathon #marathontraining #temporun #run #runner #running #runnerslife #instarunners #igrunners #runnersofinstagram #runnersofig #runclub #runhappy #RunnersRepost #runningcommunity #marathontalk #thisgirlcan #thisgirlruns #worlderunners #runningandfunning #runmummyrun #ukrunchat #fitblogsuk #runnr

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Thursday

Saturday

I hadn’t fuelled well the previous day, so this run was tougher than I would have liked! Had amazing support from my club though, and that certainly made this possible!

Week 12

Monday

Never miss a Monday!

Wednesday

I really wish this happened on a Tuesday, as I so want to call it #tempotuesday, but Wednesday does not have quite the same ring!

Sunday

Week 13

Monday

Wednesday

Thursday

Sunday

Whoooppeeee Taper time!!!

Week 14

Monday

Wednesday

Thursday

Sunday

 

So there you have it! I have been putting in the hard work, and we are now less than 2 weeks away! Hopefully in that 2 weeks, I will actually move home, but still get in some rest, so that I am raring to go on the 5th November!

 

 

 

 

 

 

New York Marathon Training – Week 9 & Week 10

Life has been hectic, but training must go on. I have missed sessions, but I’ve done as much as I can, and that’s all I can do!

Week 9

Monday

3.1 miles at run club consisting of hills, 400m, 800m and steps! Can you believe no picture as I left my phone at work!

Wednesday

Thursday

Sunday

Week 10

Wednesday

Thursday

Sunday

You can tell that my runs are now getting to the business end of training, as my photographs are pretty poor. No action shots as I can’t stop to take them, and during the run i’m concentrating too much to remember – this must be a good sign right?

Only 6 weeks to go, and it’s about this time that I wish I had completed every session, stretched more, completed more strength work…. The usual. Ballot results from London will be happening in a week or so; maybe if I get a place, I’ll actually do all of the above! Or maybe I’ll blog about wishing I had done it AGAIN!

Anyone else repeat the same mistakes over and over?

 

New York Marathon Training – Week 7 & Week 8

Marathon training is hard! If it wasn’t, everyone would be doing it. To make things tougher for me, I have been ill, I have started a new job, I am in the process of moving house, and this week my mother-in-law passed away. I can handle all of this, and training, but I am writing it down here, to remind myself to stop beating myself when life gets in the way of training.

I have missed a few sessions, and I missed last weeks training post, so here goes:

Week 7

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[TEMPO] I am not a fan of the tempo run!! Is anyone?? I dread Wednesday's as I know my plan says Tempo run at 9:15 pace 😱 . I'm sure if I ran with a friend, running this pace, I would be able to keep up with them and squeeze out the odd response in a conversation (mainly lead by them! 😃) . But put me on my own, with 5 miles of tempo running, and I constantly tell myself I can't do it, and have to stop to give myself a talking too! . But, it's done, its more miles banked and tomorrow I will be stronger! #loverunning 🗽🇺🇸. . . . . . . . . . #tcsnycmarathon #NewYorkMarathon #nycmarathon #marathontraining #run #runner #running #runnerslife #runslikeagirl #runningcommunity #womensrunning #runmummyrun #ukrunchat #runnersofinstagram #instarunners #igrunners #runnersofig #RunnersRepost #runhappy #runstagram #runspiration #worlderunners

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Another weekend, another long run, preparing for @nycmarathon With only 9 weeks to go, this is getting real! . Decided to run @northamptonhalf with additional miles to clock this weeks miles. So much more enjoyable running with people and especially running with @kteeea – she is truly awesome company! . Felt quite strong in parts of this run, but now getting to the tough end of marathon training, so time to dig deep #loverunning . . . . . . . #northamptonhalfmarathon #tcsnycmarathon #marathontraining #run #runner #running #thisgirlcan #thisgirlruns #instarunners #runnersofinstagram #runnerslife #runnersofig #runnerscommunity #RunnersRepost #nycmarathon #NewYorkMarathon #LongTrainingRun #longrun #igrunners #runnersofig #runningcommunity #runmummyrun #ukrunchat #runhappy #halfmarathon #teammnd #runmnd #getouttorun #movedme

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Week 8

I really enjoyed my long run this week, I felt strong for the first time this marathon cycle. Getting back in to a routine with work will help with training, and I am trying to make sure that I eat and drink when working. Sounds silly, but school are so hectic, it is easy to miss lunch time and then not be fuelled for club sessions.

So, half way point, NYC Marathon is in 8 weeks, the runs get long and this is the tough end of the training, but it’s fine, I’ve got this! (I hope :-))

My concerns now are turning to my marathon outfit! (Yes, I know SO girly!) I will be wearing my Team MND vest, but I fancy some running capris that either have some link to England/Great Britain or blue and orange. I’ve searched and searched but haven’t found anything, so if anyone has any suggestions/links, please leave a comment below.

New York Marathon Training – Week 6

Finally, I am feeling a bit more like myself, and even though I didn’t manage too many hard sessions this week, I did manage to bank the miles and complete 4 sessions.

Monday

Wednesday

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Early morning miles along #Brighton beach this morning. . Should be #Tempo Wednesday, but try's no to keeping the effort level relaxed and just bank the miles this week. . Didn't look at watch as didn't want to worry about pace. Breathing all good, legs felt heavy and stiff still. Wanted to say quit for most of the first 3 miles, then it appeared that my legs warmed up and enjoyed the final 3 miles. #loverunning . . . #run #runner #running #runnerslife #runhappy #instarunners #runnersofinstagram #igrunners #runnersofig #runstagram #runslikeagirl #thisgirlcan #thisgirlruns #marathontraining #NewYorkMarathon #tcsnycmarathon #nycmarathon #runmummyrun #ukrunchat #runningcommunity

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Thursday

Sunday

My long run this week was quite strange. I almost feel like I have lost a bit of my mental toughness. I spent the first three miles telling myself that I wouldn’t be able to complete the run and that I was too weak. As I tried to block the negativity, I realised that it was all in my head, as my legs actually felt fine and I wasn’t even really out of breath! Ridiculous how your mind can make or break your runs. I really need to find some mental strategies/toughness for the next 10 weeks!

If anyone has any tips for mental toughness, please post below and let me know.