Race day! The day I spent months dreaming about and preparing for. All my clothes and gear were laid out, so it was just a matter of waking up and throwing everything on.

But first, coffee. I grabbed some and a bagel for breakfast before heading to my bus stop with my boyfriend, sister, and brother-in-law. I was to catch the bus at the NY Public Library at 7:00, but I didn’t actually get on the bus and start going until about 7:15. I savored every second of that cozy bus ride because I knew it would be chilly at the starting village until my wave started at 11:00.

Just look at these insane bathroom lines! Not lying when I saw I waited an hour in line…but at least I had some nice ladies to talk to the whole time. I’ll never forget them! One of them was running her 40th marathon, while the other was running her first.

The Verrazano Narrows Bridge looking beautiful again that gorgeous blue sky. Perfect running weather!

As soon as we got out of the bathroom lines, it was nearly time to head to our corrals.


After standing there for nearly another twenty or so minutes, they finally let us on the bridge at the starting line! My nerves were starting to set in, but I felt positive and definitely excited.

Off we went! The first two miles carrying us over the highest peak of the race, the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, with some gorgeous views of Manhattan to the north-west. I got a cramp coming off the bridge when my speed picked up, but I wasn’t about to stop so early on, so I slowed my pace up a bit, regulated my breathing and took a sip of HotShot I received for free from the expo. That spicy stuff had my lips burning and chapped by the end of the race…but it worked stopping my cramps.

Every single mile, I would tell myself, “Okay, you made it this many miles without stopping. Now, try to make it to this next miles without stopping.” And it worked too, all the way up until mile 17 after seeing my family when I came off the Queensboro bridge into Manhattan. After that, I started slowing down to a walk at the fueling stations to better intake water or Gatorade, and I also had to walk up the next two bridges. Man, were they killer. I was fresh on the first bridge, but the Queensboro bridge at mile 15 was a B. I made it through that one somehow unscathed, but with a new hatred of bridges. Up First Avenue we went, all the way up into the Bronx, coming back down alongside Central Park and then into the park itself for the last leg of the race. By this point, my right knee was killing me, but the crowds were just incredibly motivating. I kept on.
When I came out of Central Park, onto W 59th Street and I heard “Empire State of Mind” playing, my mood and pace was uplifted and I knew I had enough energy left to make it the last half mile to the finish feeling strong. I saw my family again right after mile 26 with only .2 left to go. I gave them quick hugs and finished alongside countless others coming in at the same time. My emotions were running high just as I stopped running after crossing and was handed my much-earned medal and when I had the aluminum-foil heat warmer wrapped around me. It was a feeling like no other.
I became increasingly grumpy afterwards though as I waddled my way out Central Park with the large crowd of other tired runners around me. My feet hurt. Hell, my whole body hurt and we had to walk so much farther to  get out of the park, get our ponchos, and be reunited with our families. I just wanted to sit and rest, but I kept walking to find my family. 

The march of the ponchos, as I like to call it.

The rest of the evening was spent resting and eating. Just the way it should be! We would be leaving early in the morning, so there was a little bittersweet packing involved as well.

This marathon though. It will always hold a special place in my heart. It seemed easier than my first marathon, which I guess is natural, because you will have an idea on how to train differently after your first marathon. I think it was more than just that though. The crowds were relentlessly motivating every step of the way; I don’t think I remember a single section of the race that wasn’t crowded with cheering spectators or fellow runners. The atmosphere made the race go by quicker than expected for me, even though my time was 4:37:04 — a 12 minute PR. Time flies when you’re having fun and that day was without a doubt a blast. I also feel like I walked/stopped more in my first marathon, where with this one, I kept telling myself to keep going, with less walking than before.

When asked if I will do another marathon, the answer is that I’m unsure as of right now, but we’ll see. For now, I’ll just enjoy my ongoing high from finishing this incredibly large marathon. I am so thankful I had the opportunity to run it, that I was lucky enough to get my name pulled from the lottery. It doesn’t happen on the first try for some people. Hard to believe it’s already been a week!

The best Medal Monday ever.

Until next time, New York,
Meg

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