2010 ING NYC Marathon

CARONAE
21F NY USA 04:19:42 09:55

Today’s Happy Note: Almost everything about today was/is happy.  One of the most happy days of my life!

Today was one of those rare days of pure happiness.  I am so grateful that I have the ability to run and move. That I have access to one of the best marathon’s in the world.  I am proud of myself for the way I pushed throughout the race, but especially in the final miles.  Despite the fact that I had done two ultramarathons prior to this (one of 33 miles, one of 34 miles) I never really felt like a true marathoner.  Now I feel like I have proved myself.  And on a tough course no less!   I haven’t felt this sort of pride in myself in a long time.  For today, it does not matter what I look like or how much I weigh.  It doesn’t matter what color my hair is or what my GPA is or my LSAT score.  It doesn’t matter if I am the most popular girl or the geek.  It doesn’t matter if I suck at science or am no compassionate enough.  What matters is my endurance: my ability to persevere.  The fact that I am a marathoner.  A New York Marathoner.

I left my room a few minutes before 5 am this morning and did not get back until 3:30.  The funny thing is, I didn’t start running until 10:10 — because so many people run NYC, and the start area is so awkward (but let’s face it, they have to fit poor Staten Island in somewhere), you have to get there hours and hours ahead of time.  My bus pulled in around 6:45, which meant three+ hours of chilly standing around.  I got a free fleece hat from Dunkin’ Donuts, but I tossed it on the bridge anyways.  I didn’t know anyone in my “color” start village (green), except Ashley, but we never found each other!  I met up with Ada and some other runners from my school in the orange area.  This is the only picture I have from the whole day!  Race photos aren’t up yet and I did not want to carry my camera.  I promise lots of pictures soon!

Photo credit goes to a random runner next to us who took the picture.  I am second from the left (and yes, I know I look ridiculous) and Ada is on the far right.

We waited around, had hot chocolate and gatorade and power bars.  There was so much free food and I am a poor college student — I definitely snuck some extras into my bag.

Around 8:50, I dropped off my stuff at baggage check — they use hundreds of UPS trucks, with real UPS employees! Then there was more waiting, and at 9:30 we headed to the corrals.  I was having that weird hybrid nervous-excited feeling.  I went to the bathroom no less than 8 times between 6:45-9:45.  No joke.  I was just so nervous that I would have to go during the race, and I did not want to stop!

Since I have done mile-by-mile timelines in the past, and found those useful in terms of ordering and processing my post-race thoughts, I am doing another today.  Enjoy!

  • Mile 1: On the lower level of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.  Boring.  But I am so excited that the nervous energy makes up for the monotony.  Too bad I wasn’t on the upper level.
  • Mile 2: This isn’t so bad.  I thought I was running eight minute miles (which would be way too fast), but apparently my calculations were off?  Yay, the bridge is ending!
  • Mile 3: Entering Brooklyn.  First water/gatorade stop.  Lots of people running, not a lot of spectators yet.  Goodbye warm, fleecy hat.
  • Mile 4: This is fun, but 22 more miles of it?  I’m bored.  How is it that I don’t get bored on long runs, or regular everyday runs, but I’m bored at mile 4 of one of the most exciting marathons in the world?  Hopefully the scenery picks up soon.
  • Mile 5: Fourth Avenue!  There is a woman in a full-out ghoul costume next to me.  Sweet.  I hope I’m not last.
  • Mile 6: I also hope I didn’t go out to fast.  I calculated my 10k as 55:00.  It ended up being about 60 flat.  I have no idea why my calculations were so off.  I need a watch.  Look!  There is my boss and her cute baby.  Yay!
  • Mile 7: I’m over halfway to the half-marathon mark.  Crap, that means I’m like, a quarter of the way overall.
  • Mile 8: Nervously checking my 4:20 pace band.  I picked up this one on a whim, even though my goal was really more like 4:30.  I’m six or seven minutes ahead of schedule.
  • Mile 9: Only four miles to the half!  I feel pretty great up to this point — like I’m flying.  Unfortunately, the tendons behind my left knee start hurting a lot here and don’t let up for the rest of the race.  I keep repeating to myself “compartmentalize the pain.”  It kinda worked.
  • Mile 10: Hmmm, ten miles done.  That’s nice.  It means I only have 16 more miles of fast (for me) running.  WAIT WHAT?  I have 16 more miles of this?  Oh well, at least the spectators are enthusiastic.  It was really fun noticing the subtle differences between spectators in the different burrows.  Queens and Brooklyn were doing some serious smack-talking of one another.  Almost forget to eat my first gu.
  • Mile 11: I see a sign that says “In our minds, you’re all Kenyans”.  Makes me feel better.
  • Mile 12: Running through a nice main street in Brooklyn and then this weird industrial area up to the Pulaski Bridge.  It’s sort of eerie/creepy.  I want my mommy back.  I wonder if all these police officers are being paid overtime.  That would be a lot of money for the NYPD.  So probably not.
  • Mile 13: I am basically at the half!  Hallelujah!  I think I can do another half, although probably not quite so fast.  Damn these stupid uphill bridges.
  • Mile 14: At least there’s a nice downhill!  Queens, I will admit, was a bit boring.  I did hear one spectator say “you guys all look amazingly attractive right now!” which made me laugh.
  • Mile 15: Screw you Queensboro bridge.  You suck.  You’re all dark and there aren’t even any good views.  And your downhill is too steep to be helpful; it just makes my quads hurt.  Screw you.
  • Mile 16: Manhattan!  Three boroughs down, two to go!  Not feeling so hot at this point.  Excited to see Joanne on First Avenue though (she was there but I didn’t see her :().
  • Mile 17: Blast, why can’t Manhattan be flat like Brooklyn?  the hills on First (and later Fifth) Avenues are subtle but killer.  Also, I was convinced that I had missed the 17 mile marker and was near 18 when I saw it.  That was not nice.  Stupid Poland Spring false advertising for the energy gel zone.
  • Mile 18: Gu!  Hooray.  I have swallowed so much gatorade and water and gu at this point that the prospect of any more is mildly (okay, maybe severely) disgusting, but I am in desperate need of an energy burst.  I accidentally grab a strawberry banana, which makes the idea of consuming it even worse.  I hold onto it until mile 20, when I am desperate.
  • Mile 19: Just get to 20, then you can take a walk break.  You’re doing really well!  If you pick it up and run under 4:30 you can use mom’s credit card to get a massage later this week.
  • Mile 20: Hello, Bronx.  I honestly have no idea if the Bronx portion was nice or not because I was just thinking about getting one foot in front of the other.  It seemed okay, although it had too many turns that slowed me down.  I passed the Chilean miner, who started walking at this point.  Poor guy.  He finished though!
  • Mile 21: Keep it up and you can have a walk break at 22!  Does anyone else lie to themselves to get themselves to go faster?  Is that weird?  I am so weird.  Oh my gosh, I bet every spectator thinks I am the weirdest looking runner on this course.
  • Mile 22: I’m counting blocks at this point.  If I go five blocks without counting, I give myself a little mental reward.  You are awesome.  You are a warrior.  You are an ultramarathoner.  You WILL finish this.  You have not come 22 miles to stop and walk or slow down.
  • Mile 23: Central Park.  I can handle this.  I know these paths like the back of my hand.  Fifth Avenue is really rowdy, which is nice, except for the parts where the crowd narrowed down the runway, resulting in a tunnel only about ten feet wide to run in.  Seriously, NYPD.  It”s called crowd control.
  • Mile 24: Pace is really slowing down.  Ugh.  10:30, roughly.  But I know that I made enough of a deficit at the beginning that I can still be under 4:30.  But then I misread a clock and thought I had only 27 minutes to do the next 3.2 miles, and I was devastated because I knew that wasn’t going to happen.
  • Mile 25: I realize my timing mistake and figure out that if I really push, I can break 4:20 too!  The hill at 72nd on the East side of CP (both down and up) is evil.  Pure evil.  I hate how that panther statue is totally glaring at me.
  • Mile 26: I start counting slowly at this point to keep myself focused and distracted at the same time — it is a technique that really works.  Okay, so maybe I’m a numbers geek, but still.  I got up to 300 very slowly and then started “sprinting” (i.e, running a 9 minute mile pace).
  • Finish (Mile 26.2): You are so f-ing close!  Do not slow down at the end — you’ll regret it!  Go go go!  I break out into a giant smile and fly over the finish line.
As you might be able to see at the top of this post, my overall time was 4:19:42, which is a 9:55 minute per mile pace.  Seriously???  I just ran less than 10 minutes per mile for 26 miles.  Go me!  I was 216/570 in my age and gender division, which means I was in the top 40%!  Overall, I was 21,758/44,829 — in the top half!  Among women, I was 5474 out of an unknown number.
Happy Caronae. 🙂
I think that’s enough for now. 🙂  More shall come tomorrow, I promise!
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Birthday/Marathon Weekend

Today’s Happy Note: Cake with friends.  That’s what birthdays are all about.  I had a large slice of Cookies n’ Cream from Make My Cake with six of my closest friends and USB.

I will admit, I am nervous for the marathon.  Scared, excited, panicky.  But I know I can do this.  I have trained so hard for this.  So what if it takes me five hours.  I am ready.

Yoga and abs for fifteen minutes on Thursday, three and a half easy miles yesterday, and two miles today.  My legs felt nice and light today.  Let’s hope they stay that way!

Okay, got that off my chest.  Now let’s have some fun!

Expo!

Best brunch ever.  I treated myself to it this morning (I turned 21 today): scrambled eggs and a wheat waffle with maple syrup, bananas, peanut butter, and bacon.  Seriously, an amazing combo.

A wee little spot of bad news.  I found out the results of my blood tests yesterday — I had a lot of tests done.  One major problem: I’m a bit anemic.  Nowhere near enough iron in my blood, and my cells are shrinking.  Uck.  It will take months to build my iron stores back up.  I am taking iron pills now, so hopefully I’ll feel less weak and tired during the race.  Eek!

Mom.

And me.  At the finish line.  That I will hopefully cross tomorrow.

And there was cake.

With friends.

In a few hours I will be up, heading South to Staten Island.  One of the biggest days of my life.  And I’m terribly nervous — more nervous than  I thought I would be, actually.  Hopefully I’ll be able to manage it.  I’ve come a long way since being in the hospital in July and running 12 minute miles in August!

If you’re running, good luck!  If you’re spectating, I can’t wait to see you!  I will probably have my name in tape on my shirt.

Goodnight friends!

Middle of The Week Blues

Today’s Happy Note: Free food.  Seriously, what is better in this world than free food?  Okay, I will admit that I am kind of a free food snob — I won’t eat anything that looks suspicious, greasy, etc.   But still.  There are a lot of options.  Today alone I garnered a piece of pineapple cake, hors d’oeuvres, and a fudgy brownie.  I am a free food expert.

Ooof.  I am suffering from those middle-of-the-week blues.  I can’t seem to get in gear.  My brain feels foggy.  My body feels tired.  For some odd reason (warning: sarcasm ahead), I have no interest in wading through 800+ pages of Ibn Khaldun…

But enough of my complaining!  When I am feeling down or overwhelmed, I remember how many good things I have going for me. Here are a few:

  • I have a pantry and a fridge stocked with delicious, wholesome foods.   Right now I am loving TJs sesame honey cashews, frozen blueberries, and fresh mozzarella (not all together though!).
  • I got an A on the first paper of the semester that I have gotten back.  I never get A’s on papers, so I was super thrilled about this.
  • My laundry is clean.
  • Lovely fall weather.
  • I am going to be running a very exciting marathon in less than two weeks.  I have two legs that do amazing things!
  • I have kind, sweet friends and a loving, thoughtful boyfriend.
  • I have an awesome, if a little bit crazy, family.  My mama might be coming to visit me for my birthday/marathon weekend (I turn 21 on Saturday November 6th and run the ING NYC Marathon on Sunday November 7th)!
  • I’m resilient!
  • I write well.  I’m working on an essay right now about the color red.  The entire thing consists of different ways of saying “red”.
  • I have a lovely long weekend to look forward to, full of baking and friends and USB and five whole days of no school.
Much better. 🙂
Marathon Training: Yesterday as a rest/cross training day, as Mondays always are.  I was too antsy to rest, so I did Level 1 of the 30 Day shred in the evening followed by 10 minutes of kettlebell swings and yoga.  Easy peasy 30 minute workout.  I love reminding myself that sometimes, it is so not necessary to spend hours working out.  Today I did 7.5 miles: 2 warm-up, 4 Tempo, 1.5 cool-down. The Tempo part went really well, and I felt like I was flying.  Afterwards I felt dead though.  The cool-down was pretty much a joke.  I looked like a dying animal staggering home.  Meh.
It’s taper, and weird things happen during tapers, so I’m not going to worry about it.
Food time!
I have been craving a ton of snacky food lately — I’d rather have a handful of nuts or yogurt with pumpkin and blueberries than real meals.  Sometimes I wonder if I should try eating less frequent, bigger meals, instead of constantly being snacky all day.  But at the same time, I like being snacky: it means I get to eat a wider variety of delicious things more frequently!
Hmmm,  decisions, decisions.
I don’t really plan on doing any fooling around with my diet until after the marathon, so I have a week or two to think things over.  I’m seeing endocrine soon (FINALLY) and can’t wait. I don’t like being poked and having tests done and whatnot, but it will be worth it to figure out what’s going on!
I know I promised a post about the way I eat last week.  Stay tuned, I promise it’s coming this week!
Oh, and the jeans I mentioned the other day.  I figured I should share (by the way, I am morally opposed to mirror pictures and would never take one outside of the context of trying to show you guys what something looks like when no one else is around to take the picture.  I hope you will forgive me):
They’re super comfy and make me feel confident.  A winning purchase, in my book.
Anything you want to complain about?  Middle of the week got you down? Let me hear it!
What do you have going for you?  How do you make yourself feel better when you’re feeling blah?

NYC Marathon Announcement

Today’s Happy Note: Lots of fun social time this weekend with two of my best friends.  Long meals, walks and talks, hugs. Friends never fail to improve my mood and happiness.

So.  Beautiful friends.  I have some very big (and exciting) news.  If you follow me on twitter or we’re facebook friends you probably already know.  But I’m so excited about it that I’m going to go ahead and make a big, dramatic announcement all over again.

I got into the 2010 ING NYC Marathon!

This is the marathon of marathons — the marathon that all marathoners dream of running.  Everyone dreams of running New York.  I’ve wanted to run it since fall of 2007, when I was a college freshman and got to see it in person. The fall weather, the juxtaposition of the boroughs, the bridges, the camarederie.  I said to myself, that very day, that I would run New York some day.  And now I am.

Let me explain: I did not get  in through the traditional lottery (which is pretty hard to get in through) nor did I do the NYRR 9+1 program.  My school’s running club gets a certain number of guaranteed entries; I originally thought I would get one, because I have done two ultras and will be a senior, so it’s my last opportunity, but by the time June rolled around and I hadn’t heard back from the club, I assumed all hope was lost.  I was pretty devastated, but thought I might try the 9+1 program next year.  But, the other day, lo and behold, I got an email from the club president saying I had a spot!

I have exactly fourteen weeks to train.  Many marathon plans are longer than this, so I will have to use my time very wisely.  I plan on putting special focus on speed work (mile repeats, tempo runs, hills) and long runs.  I have been working on creating my training plan this weekend.  I did yoga Friday night, 6 miles on Saturday (this is a “long” run for me — I am still building back up my running speed and endurance), and weights + a 6 mile walk today.

I am sure you’re going to be hearing about my training (the highs, the lows, the meltdowns, the eating, etc.) a LOT until November 7th.  You have been warned. Fun fact: the marathon is actually the day after I turn 21!

I know I need to build up my mileage slowly but I also need to get up there; July has been pretty quiet in terms of running.  I know I’ll be okay starting between 20-25 miles per week because I have been higher than this level consistently for a few years.  I would like to peak between 50-55 miles.

Many people who are relatively healthy gain weight while marathon training.  I am going to have to be extremely careful.  I need to remember that “I ran 8 miles today!  And I ran 8 miles yesterday too!” doesn’t mean I can mindlessly, endlessly snack.  I think I’ll be okay as long as I genuinely listen to my body.

Training for a marathon is probably not something that people on blood thinners (and with a history of PEs) do very often, but it is okay. The only danger would be if I fell really hard and/or hit my head — I will bleed internally or externally very quickly.  I am clumsy and trip all the time while running, but have never had a serious fall; I don’t see one happening now.

Time for me to go chop veggies for the week and fold clothes!

I promise there will be pretty pictures and stories tomorrow.  For now, I’m tired just thinking about training!

1. Have you ever run a marathon?  What was it like?

2. Have you ever run the NYC marathon?

3. Anyone running NYC this year?

4. Don’t worry non-runners, I have a question for you too!  What activity makes you feel the most free and happy and clear-headed?