Ever since moving to New York 6 years ago I’ve wanted to run the NYC marathon. I had run one in DC in 2003 and thought that I would probably run another when the right time came and after 2 failed lottery attempts and then 9+1 that right time became this year.
The first mile was pretty slow, I felt very stuck behind the pack, but I was able to get up to my pace in miles 2-3. By the time I got to Sunset Park I was holding my goal pace with a 2 minute cushion. Miles 1-7 zipped by. I barely noticed that I was running and then I would get to the next mile marker. I liked all the Brooklyn families out cheering. I think Brooklyn takes the cake for number of kids offering high fives. My cheering group met me around BAM and I was pumped to get into the meat of the race.
The next section was pretty steady for me. It was a little odd going between the great crowds in Fort Green and then to the silence in South Williamsburg and then back to crowds in hipsterville. I passed the 4:00 pace group and was hoping that I’d be able to hold on and break that time. I felt alright through Queens and then came the 59th St Bridge. People had warned me about how hard it was. I didn’t so much mind the lack of crowds, but it felt like it was uphill the entire way. I did appreciate the signs marking mile 16 and our welcome to Manhattan.
I felt like the marathon really started on the Queensboro Bridge. It was the hardest section for me and then it didn’t get a whole lot easier. The First Ave crowds were nice and I picked up a little time I had lost on the bridge, but by the time I got to East Harlem I could tell I was slowing down. My cushion decreased from 2 minutes to less than a minute. By the time I got to the Bronx, I had lost time and it seemed like my chances for breaking 4 hours were quickly vanishing.
Once I got back to Manhattan it felt like all I could do to just hang on and get through the rest of the race. I had the very strange sensation of not being out of breath, but also not being able to move my legs and faster. I finished in 4:06 flat and tried not to be too disappointed that I hadn’t broken 4 hours, especially since my time was an 8 minute PR.
Then came the death march to the baggage. Ugh. I was annoyed that they kept saying “almost there.” We’re marathon runners, we know distances, just tell us how far it is to go. We couldn’t see the trucks, we knew we weren’t almost there.
Overall, a pretty successful race. I wish I could have held on to my pace during the second half, but that has not really motivated me to try to do it again. My plan is to stick with half marathons or other shorter races for the foreseeable future.
Many thanks to SBRC for all the motivation, company on long runs, and general moral support!