So I’m a marathoner. Yesterday, I ran the NYC Marathon, my first-ever marathon. I am so sore and so very happy. It’s such a huge, overwhelming race. I can’t imagine how it must feel to someone coming to NYC for the very first time to run it. I knew where I was about 60% of the time and still felt totally lost and small in the giant scheme of this 55,000-person experience.

post race NYC

Here’s how the day went down.

Pre-Race
I woke up at 5:30am.  I went to bed at 8:30pm the night before (and gained an hour due to daylight savings time). So despite the early wake up, I was well rested. I ate a RX Bar and packed some Chia Health Warrior bars for the commute. I got dressed and Matt and I met our friend Jon in a cab near our house. We got to South Ferry Station around 6:50am. We technically signed up for the 6:45am ferry time, but there is literally no way to check ferry assignments at the station. It’s basically a tool for people management but it is not enforced at all. Not even attempted. Think of it as a polite, light suggestion.

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Most training plans include a tapering period 2-3 weeks before a marathon. This means you run less, and slow the eff down in fitness and ideally in life. The theory is the work is done, your strength and endurance are built and it’s too late to try to work on speed. Now it’s time to relax and get/be healthy. The goal is straightforward: Show up to the marathon well-rested and eager to run.

I’ve heard the taper can make you go crazy. Some dub the moody response some runners have “Taper Tantrums.” I figured I’d have some issues here, but it’s not what I predicted. I expected to feel the desire to run more than I was permitted to and to feel frustrated and nervous about the lack of mileage, but au contraire. All I want to do is sit on the couch, forget running, take some naps and eat pretzel croissants from City Bakery. (I’m averaging three a week. Too much?)

wedding photo

I would like to interrupt this complaining with a gratuitous wedding photo!

I ran 4 miles yesterday at a 10-minute per mile pace (on the slow side for me) and it was a workout, not a casual jaunt in the park. Everything feels HARD.  I’m still sore from the 21 mile run. Which was like, 10 days ago. So I’d say things are going only OKAY. I feel DONE.

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Saturday, I ran 21.6 miles. That’s the longest I’ve ever run in my life and the longest I will run until the November 5 (you know, during the NYC marathon). For the first time this training cycle, I ran with a group.

I love the idea of joining a running group/club/team but in practice, I wasn’t sure if it would work for me. I’ve had mixed results with group runs.  With other people around, I get in my head about keeping a certain pace and I end up going slower than I otherwise would just to make sure I can maintain.

There is a very popular training run in NYC where you hit three or four bridges: the Queensboro, the Pulaski, the Brooklyn and/or the Manhattan. The Queensboro (aka 59th Street Bridge) and the Pulaski are in the NYC marathon. I knew at some point during marathon training I wanted to do this run but I was a little intimidated by all of the street running. I was concerned I’d get lost or spend too much time waiting at lights and mostly, I had better, traffic-free options in Central Park and the West Side Highway.

three bridges run nyc

Three Bridges Run in NYC

Anyway, I saw that a running team called the NY Flyers was hosting a 20-mile “three bridge run” on Saturday, October 14. That’s three weeks before the marathon and a popular time to get your last 20 (or 20+) mile run in before you taper. For $20, non-NY Flyer members could join and receive the aid of pacers as well three hydration and nutrition stations along the route. I signed up.  I’m ever grateful they let non-members into this group run.

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My training plan lists week 12 as a recovery week. That means the weekend long run was “only” 12 miles. I signed up for the Hamptons Half because I figured 13.1 was close enough to 12 and using the water stations that a race provides would be good practice. The race is something of a tradition in my little group of friends. Here’s a recap of the race in 2014 and this is a recap of when I ran the Hamptons 5K in 2015 post-ankle injury. (I skipped it in 2016 to participate in Dare to Bare.)

After running 15 miles and 16 miles the last two weekends, I think it’s safe to say I took for granted how tough a half marathon can be. While I didn’t race the distance, 13 miles is still freaking far.

This half marathon course (and full marathon course) runs through Southampton and we had a warm, sunshine-filled, blue sky day, which for runners, can be terrible. I prefer a little cloud cover, maybe a nice chill in the air? Light rain would be agreeable, too. This sport can bring out the vampire in you.

Hamptons half course map

Hamptons course map

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Good morning. I conquered a 16-mile run last weekend.  (The new longest run of my life.) Regular readers know, this is my first time training for a marathon. I knew the mental part of training would be hard, but I don’t think it’s possible to truly grapple with it until you’re in it.  The physical challenge is easy enough to predict. Of course running for hours is grueling. Running for 20 minutes teaches you that. But the mind stuff? That gets exponentially tougher with increased time/distance. (You know, for me at least.)

It was so easy to write down the distances to create a training plan. Super easy – fun even – to add them to my Google calendar and to map out routes on Strava. But the night before I was slated to run 16 miles, I was in a state of disbelief. My 15-mile run was TOUGH even though it was entirely flat. The idea that I was going to run 16-miles in the Berkshires with no bathrooms and tons of hills seemed, quite frankly, preposterous.

berkshire running

running from MA to NY (and back)

On Saturday, the morning of the run, I woke up with no desire to get out the door. But I did, of course, get out the door. I committed to running the first miles at a very slow pace and that was very necessary since the first 3+ miles were straight up hill. I stopped a ton those first 3 miles.

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