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TCS NYC Marathon: Believe the Hype

“I’m really glad I did this today. But I’m good. 45 minutes to get out of the park in the freezing cold? Not doing this again!”

After the NYC Marathon ended, I made my way over to the volunteers handing out medals and got mine, and then got a mylar blanket. Then I managed to get through the crowds to the finisher’s bag of food and water. There was no wait by the finisher photos so I had one taken. And then as I continued in the freezing cold wind with just the mylar blanket covering me, too cold to even use my phone to try and get in touch with my husband, I heard a voice I know well behind me.

I turn around and my good friend Ellen was right there behind me, on the phone!

MY ELLEN! What are the chances?

MY ELLEN! What are the chances?

We snapped a photo, kept on freezing, I moaned and whined because my hip hurt and I was so, so, so cold. When would we get the warm cape we were promised when we chose the ‘No Baggage’ option? When would we leave the park? I thought we had a quicker exit because we didn’t have baggage. Why was this taking so long??!

Poor Ellen had to listen to me whine – not even words, just sounds – for the entire trip out of the park. But I am so glad I ran into her because she made that part bearable, and even fun.

We slowly made our way through the park. A few years later, we reached the exit.

But the struggle was not over! We still had to walk a few MORE blocks to get our warm hooded capes. Words cannot describe the feeling of having that warm insulated hood placed over my head!

I am keeping this cape forever.

I am keeping this cape forever.

 

I got on the phone with Andy and he told me where he was, and when Ellen and I departed I was basically dragging my right leg behind me as I walked down a long avenue to find him. My hip hurt and the hood fell off and I couldn’t get it back on and did I mention that it was cold?

Eventually I saw my boys (poor Larry was shivering all day!) and found out we had to walk a few MORE blocks to get to the car. Torture. It was pure torture. I was glad I did this race, I said, but never again.

Cute boys. Cold boys. Great seats.

Cute boys. Cold boys. Great seats.

I went to sleep. I woke up, I went to work. And I thought about the NYC Marathon. Rather, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. For days, for weeks, this race consumed my thoughts.

Because everything they say about the NYC Marathon? Greatest marathon in the world, one big block party, a race like no other, all that? It is all true.

I really thought I’d run the race, get the experience and be done. But no other race – aside from perhaps my first marathon – stuck with me like this. It haunted me, in the most incredible way.

Waiting in the cold before the start didn’t seem so bad. That long and painful exit after? Suddenly seemed worth it in the big picture.

And sure, I ran this race with an injury and spent the last 7 or so miles in a bit of agony, praying for the race to be over – and still, it was beyond anything I can imagine.

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“I’ll never do this race again” turned into “How can I NOT do this race again?!”

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More on my entire experience in my official TCS New York City Marathon recap. Coming soon. Promise.

 

 

My 2014 NYC Marathon Goal

Somehow, lots and lots of time has passed since I first started marathon training back in May because it’s now NYC Marathon weekend!

I was already registered for the Bellingham Bay Marathon when the opportunity to run the NYC Marathon for American Cancer Society’s Team DetermiNation popped up. I had no interest in running a second marathon this year, but I couldn’t resist. It would be a chance to really experience a marathon that I didn’t get to enjoy because I was so sick the last time I ran it. And more importantly, it would be a way to remember my Aunt Dale, who died from kidney cancer more than two years ago – and who always supported my running.

On Saturday night, I am attending my charity team’s pasta dinner. We were encouraged to send photos of who we were running for, along with a story about why.  These photos and stories will be shared at the dinner, so we can all be reminded of why we worked so hard to raise over $1 million (AMAZING!) this year for the American Cancer Society.

Here’s what I submitted (I apologize for spacing issues – copy/paste trouble, no time to work on it, have to get to work!):

I am running for my Aunt Dale (far right in photo, I am on the left). She who died two years ago from kidney cancer.
Me, my grandma and my Aunt Dale

Me, my grandma and my Aunt Dale

Throughout her six years fighting cancer, my aunt‘s positivity is what sticks with me. There were times that the trial she was on was working — one even bought her a few more years — and times she felt so completely sick. But she always had hope. She always was positive.

A memory that stays with me is from one morning, about a year before she died, when I was heading home after my workout class. It was around 7:30 am, and I was a few blocks into my walk. You might imagine my surprise when I see, coming towards me on First Avenue, my Aunt Dale with her husband, my Uncle Steve – who lived in New Jersey!

While they were in my neighborhood for a cancer-related appointment during a very difficult time, running into my aunt like that was such an amazing surprise. I always think – what are the chances? Seeing her brightened my day and I hope that despite the reason she was in the city, I helped brighten hers as well.

Aunt Dale always cheered on my running, and her positivity motivates and inspires me in everything I do. I am grateful to the generous donations I received in her name. Aunt Dale would have loved this! I am honored to run this race for her.

I also wrote about the upcoming NYC Marathon for the Oiselle blog, part of a roundup of Oiselle team members who are running. By the way, in a group email about the race, the team coordinator saidDori and Kara G. are our second timers!”

Kara G? That is elite runner Kara Goucher. Just lumped in there with me. NBD.We all had three questions to answer in the roundup. Here’s what I said:Goal?To have the best time! I already ran my goal race this season, so I want to put 100% of my energy into just enjoying this experience. I’m even going Garmin-less! This particular race also has special meaning for me; I raised over $4,200 for the American Cancer Society in memory of my Aunt Dale who died from kidney cancer in 2012, and I will wear a ribbon with her name attached to my shirt while I run. She was a huge supporter of my interest in running and would have loved to watch me on this course.How many times have you raced NYC?
This is my second time participating in the NYC Marathon, but hopefully it will be my first time finishing it! I got sick at mile 9 last time and remember very little until I left the race at mile 18. I can’t wait to get the real NYC Marathon experience!

Favorite workout in this training cycle?
I remember one workout especially well so it must have been my favorite! It was 2 x 2 miles with a 5 minute active recovery in between, along with a 2 mile warm-up and 2 mile cool-down. I felt so strong during the 2 x 2 miles and even though it was tough, I stayed right on pace with my goal time. I ran the second half faster than the first and felt especially accomplished after.


Ah yes, the goal talk. I wanted to touch on that for a minute.

As you might know, I did not achieve my goal in Bellingham in September. A few people have hinted to me on Twitter that they think I’m going to try to run a sub-4 marathon at NYCM. And I’m sure many of you don’t believe me, but trust me when I say – I AM NOT TRYING TO ATTAIN MY FORMER GOAL AT THIS RACE.

There was a time right after Bellingham that I definitely thought about that idea. That I thought, even though Coach Abby told me not to, “well maaaaaaaaybe if I happen to start fast with the excitement, the adrenaline will keep me going!”

Yeah, no.

Not only would it be dumb timing-wise, but it would also likely ruin my day, destroy my fun and prevent me from finishing. My right hip flexor hasn’t recovered from that day. I resumed training after, and it started out OK, but after a very long run it was clear my hips weren’t doing well. I had an amazing sports massage, I rested, I heated. This seems to have resolved any trouble in my left hip flexor, but not my right.

I tried running again last weekend after a couple weeks off and my right hip hurt. I haven’t run since. I don’t want to make it worse.

My goal is to have a REALLY fun time at the marathon, and to finish.

I don’t want to do anything to destroy my chances at finishing, and I don’t want to painfully, miserably slog through. I want my smiles to be real, not put on for photographers. I raised a lot of money (THANK YOU for your generosity!) to honor my aunt, and being dumb and dropping out isn’t exactly an honor.

If I start too fast or try to achieve any sort of time goal, I won’t finish. I know this. As much as I am hoping my hip cooperates and the adrenaline suppresses any pain, I do expect it to hurt. I just don’t want to do anything on my end that will make it worse. I don’t want to beat myself up after for running too fast and ruining the day for myself. 

I’m not wearing my Garmin. I don’t care about my time. I just want to enjoy the course, take in the cheers, see for real why everyone loves this marathon so fucking much. I want to cross the finish line, where my husband will be watching from the bleachers, and feel ecstatic to have finally done it.

The last time I ran NYCM – right before things got bad.

One more thing – go ahead and track me if you like, my number is 35418. Somehow, I managed to randomly get a meaningful number!

35 – my husband Andy’s favorite number. He uses it for EVERYTHING. His email, his Twitter, his Instagram. Everything.

418 – Andy’s birthday.

WHAT ARE THE CHANCES? WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

My mom and friends will be around mile 15 on the Queens side, and Andy will be at the finish line bleachers. I know I’ll see Danielle and Coach Abby along the course. And lots and lots of awesome strangers! Everyone will get to see me in my royal blue ACS Team DetermiNation singlet, with a ribbon attached with my aunt’s name on it.

This race has meaning.

Will you be cheering? Tell me where so I can try and look out for you! 

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