Determination. Perseverance. Stubbornness. All words to describe how I made it to the finish line this year. This was one of the most painful and trying marathons I’ve experienced but all things considered I ended up with a sub 4 hour marathon! So what happened…
Pre race on Staten Island
Before the race, along with IR, we hung out in the blue village in our minion pajama pants. Had a full bagel and was well fed to run 26.2 miles. While my training wasn’t the best, I got my long runs in and a lot of quality miles. I was ready to nail this race and if the conditions were right, BQ. I was mentally prepared to run MY race and see what happened.
It was a bit warm but nothing terrible it seemed. I had my honey stingers and a plan to hit the streets of NYC!
Wave 2. Corral A with a slew of my dashing whippets teammates. My gameplan was to get into 8:15ish pace once into Brooklyn (the bridge was a wash because the slow mile going up was washed out by going down). I got right into a groove and was on my way. I listened to tunes to drown out the excitement going on around me and concentrate on my race. The miles started to peel off as I went through Brooklyn….passing Betsy at the 10K, my friend Natalie at around mile 8 and seeing Amy shortly after. Things were ticking along.
As I arrived into Queens (just passed the half) I started to feel a little pain in the side of my stomach. I just figured it to be a side stitch and put some pressure on it. I had already taken a packet of honey stingers and had been taken Gatorade diluted in water along the way. As I started up the Queensboro, the pain started to get more intense which I still played off and figured first avenue will give me the jolt I needed. As I crested the bridge, the pain kept getting worse but I continued to head towards First Ave. Surely the crowd will boost my morale!
As I arrived into Manhattan, I knew my A goal was history. I watched the 3:40 pacer roar past and out of sight. I decided I’d try and take a 10 second walk through the water stop and see if it got better. It was slightly better but I was still slowing when I started to run again. I had no idea what the issue was but I knew I could get to that finish line.
I knew reaching 96th street my friend Maura waited for me so I used that to continue “running.” After reaching her, I knew the TRD stand was about another 20 blocks away. My stomach felt horrible at this point. I had to take a walk break and made a deal that I could walk a minute through the water stop and then start up again.
As I headed towards the Bronx, I just tried to keep it together and knew it was about salvaging this 26.2 more than having a great race. I think that’s the toughest part of marathoning. At least in shorter races, it’s ok if it’s not your day because you can go back out in a week, two weeks, etc to give another go. It sucks when you know this feeling.
More misery. I watched the 3:45 pacer roar by sometime between Manhattan and the Bronx. More walk breaks. More misery. I used the knowledge of the DWRT cheer zone to try and up my spirits. I gave a good smile and high fives. I was so thankful to see them. I was not so happy about a little less than a 10k to go. At this point, the math started…could I salvage a sub 4?
I remember heading over the final bridge and seeing Last Damn Bridge. I smiled. Back in Manhattan, I had to take another walk break. It was starting to feel nauseauting to take any gu or liquid…when will this be over? I saw a coworker and thankfully was running at the time. Passed the Gotham City crew and I knew the daunting fifth avenue hill was upcoming. The sun had started to beat down and I just tried to concentrate on one foot in front of the other. I had to take another walk break and eventually I saw I was at 91st street. Finally, the park. Entering the park, I could see I was on track to break 4 hours as long as I didn’t take walk breaks. I kept telling myself “only about a half hour of misery….15 minutes…..finally CPW!” I honestly don’t remember much on CPS other than the finish was closer and I could hopefully feel human again. Entering the park I wasn’t excited. I wasn’t happy. I just wanted to be done running. I crossed the finish line and I had no emotion. 3:57:20.
I saw a teammate and she said “let’s go get a picture.” I started to feel really horrible and I think at this point my stomach knew it was done. I told my teammate “I’m sorry.” At this point, I began to dryheave and knew what the pain I felt for half the marathon was. Yep, you know what comes next. The medics were on me in seconds and my teammate stayed with me. I remember walking to the med tent and feeling pretty woozy. They gave me a few packets of salt and within minutes I started to feel a bit better. Color returned to my face. I didn’t feel great but a lot better than crossing the finish line.
I was bummed. That was one of the most miserable experiences in running I’ve ever had. That was my feeling on Sunday. As time has gone by and I realized what I ran through, I’m starting to see I literally ran my guts out. It takes a lot of stubbornness to continue and determination to not give up.
I think overall I need to figure out how to keep salt in my body. I stopped sweating a lot and should have seen that as a problem. It was pretty humid and it probably depleted me more than I thought. As I shared stories with teammates, I began to hear similar stories.
So that’s the marathon. I’m taking a break for another year or more. This was one of those defeating like experiences. I need some time to recover.