Full NYCM Race Recap (3:17.23)

I’m extending on my previous post and giving a bit more in-depth coverage filled with pictures and more thoughts.  Since I ran for over three hours I have a lot more to say. 

Time to begin then.

We stayed in a hotel in Flushing, NY.  For me personally, I don’t do well with big cities (que social anxiety) and I like to have my own personal time.  It doesn’t even make sense of why I was dead set on NY being my first marathon because I hate big, crowded cities.   So I woke up at 3:50 took all the trains to the city (led by my train savvy brother).  We made it to the ferry around 5:30.  I waited for a while and ended up taking the 6 am ferry followed by waiting in the terminal, riding a bus and getting to my orange corral.  It was very organized and streamline.

Like I said before, I didn’t do my research on the NYCM course like I should have.  I knew it was a “hilly” and challenging course but I didn’t anticipate how hilly or challenging.  I ran this watchless.  My watch broke the day before the race completely then the new one I purchased wasn’t working correctly so I had no other choice.  I wish someone would have said “Hollie this is one of the harder marathon courses you can do”…but no one did. Honestly even if they did it was where my heart was dead set on this being my first marathon so I wouldn’t have taken their advice


Windy beautiful morning
Windy beautiful morning

Before the race I was utterly freezing.  I had disposable clothing, drank coffee and hot water but it didn’t seem to help.  The wind was piercing through my jacket.  Next time I plan to wear multiple layers because waiting around for 2 hours chilled me to the bone.   That was my first lesson learned.  The wind was my only nature complaint but you can’t control weather.

I talked to Adam and Susan at the start which made the time go by super quickly.  It didn’t feel like we were standing on the Verrazano Bridge for close to an hour.

The Actual Race: 


Once we started the cannon went off, I took into account what everyone told me.  Make the first mile your absolute slowest, don’t waste time and energy weaving through people.  So I didn’t waste energy and didn’t weave.  While the clock said I had done a 9 minute mile I later found out this was 7:10.  Thank you mom for buying the text tracking for my splits.

The first two miles were up and over the Verrazano bridge.  The helicopters were swirling by and I tried to get myself on TV.  I kept yelling Tyra I am America’s Next Top Model but for some reason they didn’t pick me out of a crowd.

After mile 2 I focused on getting to the 5k…then 4 miles.  I knew my brother and dad as well as the Oiselle team were going to be standing around 8 miles so it gave me my first point of interest to look forward too.  It was also when the other bib colors converged so it was one big mess.  I never saw my brother and dad but saw the Oiselle team.  Seeing them made me girl cry all emotionally.  From that point on, I continued to keep a certain mile or mark in my head to get too.  Once I hit that mark I would think of the next one.


After mile 8 I focused on making it to mile 10.  I like the number 10 and thinking in terms of double digit runs so it was the next step.  There were quite a few gradual mile long uphills that started to take their toll on my legs.  As with the half marathon 10-11 is my least favorite mile.  I can say it ranks in the least favorites here too.  I don’t know why but it felt neverending.

Mile 12 I focused on getting to 13 then 13.1. In my mind the second half would go by quicker than the first half.  That is how my training runs go and most races right?  Wrong the second half didn’t even start for me until mile 16.

Mile 13 was on a bridge and I started to think about my next gel at 14.  Then I saw Laura and Heather with sweet signs at 14.5 and that was cheerful, especially when we were going into the queensboro bridge.

I could write an entire post about the mile span on the Queensboro Bridge.  That single mile goes down as my least favorite mile ever ran in my entire running career.  (including miles in middle and high school gym class).

Mile 15 went over the Queensboro Bridge and I can say this is where the wheels started to fall apart.  My quads and inner thighs were on fire.  I thought to myself again, how the hell will I get through 11 more miles?  The first half of mile 15 was up the bridge.  It took so much out of me I don’t remember going down the second half.  Then I began to feel my quads.  It was the only thing that bothered me throughout the entire rest of the race.  By bothered me,I mean I mumbled every word under my breath about it the rest of the time.  I haven’t been doing any hill work after leaving Oswego so I felt and suffered through it.   I felt my quads with every single stride for the next 10.2 miles.

After rejoining the real world of NYC I focused on getting to mile 17.  The crowds were going wild and louder than anything I have ever experienced.  Around this point was when I first got a glimpse of Granato racing.  I tried to pull myself together,  seeing them lifted my spirits for the first time.  Between seeing them and Ashley (thank you for the awesome photos) I was able to be slightly less in pain mentally.

Hello friends.
Hello friends.

Mile 18 was a bit of a blur and once I got to 19 I concluded that I only had about an hour to go.  I saw my pace was starting to rise and people were passing me left and right.  I just wanted to finish.

At mile 20, I started my quest for the bathroom.  (I also took another gel around mile 20). Since I didn’t see a single girl using the restroom on the side of the bridge at the beginning I didn’t want to be that girl.  Dozens of males were just peeing on the side on the bridge but no females had.  (Keep in my mind we were lined up for the corral 45 minutes without a restroom before the race.) My quads had been burning for the last four miles and now I was physically exhausted too.  I contemplated stopping and walking but I knew I would never start running again.

So around mile 21 I found an open bathroom.  Lucky for me I was in and out in about 1 minute and I felt like the wall had been lifted for a mile. The rest of mile 21 felt decent from my brief break and my quads had temporarily stopped hurting.  I don’t regret stopping at the bathroom and honestly the time I lost I am positive I gained back because I felt a lot better afterwords.  Unless I become a sub 2 hour marathoner I think I will always need to stop and restroom because my bladder is tiny.

The rest of mile 21 went quickly since I was looking forward to the Oiselle water stop at mile 22.  After the water stop, my pace slowed again and I just felt like dog meat.  After this point, I only focused on one mile at a time.  Mile 22 was focused on getting to mile 23.  Mile 23 was focused on getting to 23.1 (5k left to go).

Mile 24 was when I saw the most amount of people (well most amount of people not hitting this wall and passing me) but most amount of people watching and cheering.  Seeing the whole #GranatoRacingteam made me smile to the power of 10,000 suns (both times!) as well as seeing Laura, Heather, my dad and brother did.  I tried to muster up the energy and wave and it was hard.  People told me I looked strong afterwords but I really didn’t feel that way.  My brother knew how hard I was riding the pain train though.  He was the only one who told me “Hollie I knew you were in some serious pain when I saw you”.  For everyone who told me you looked strong at mile 23…false.

This is 100% how I felt. There are quite a few beautiful photos like this.
This is 100% how I felt. There are quite a few beautiful photos like this.

The final two miles in Central Park were the hardest.  The hills weren’t over and it felt like the longest 15 minutes of my life.   I contemplated walking at least 15 times (once per minute).

After seeing the ½ mile to go and thinking it was the 26 mile marker…I cringed.  Then seeing the 26 mile marker and thinking it was the end…I also cringed.  The last 4 minutes of the race felt like the twilight zone.


Then I finally crossed the finish line and had absolutely no energy.  I didn’t pick it up, I didn’t smile for any race photos and I just zoned into the finish line.  I didn’t even wave to the finish line photos because I just wanted it to be done.  I ended up finishing 210th female overall and 10th in my age group.  A side note but the 100th US woman finished in 3:16.  So close!   A lot of people have said due to the 20 mile winds it was a slow marathon year.  I looked back at 2011 and the top 100 US woman finished in 3:10.  That is a huge difference!

When they handed me a medal, I smiled and took a few official race photos.

The next part was the hardest and most frustrating part of the entire day.  After the race we had to walk nearly 2 mile out of central park to get to the family reunion area.  The 2 mile walk took me close to an hour.  I was alone, had no cell phone and freezing.  It didn’t help that I was in rougher conditions then most people around me.  I was walking a lot slower then everyone else.  It got to the point where marathoners finishing 20 minutes after I did were walking by me.  I was asked a few times if I was okay because I was pale and I assured the volunteers that I was just cold and wanting my pants (which were with my brother and dad).

After meeting up with Matt, dad, Laura and Heather I chatted for a while and got some coffee and food.  I managed to eat 2 recovery powerbars and drink the recovery Gatorade right after the race.  I actually really like those power bars so I was happy they were giving them out in the recovery bags.


So that is the play by play of the entire race.  I enjoyed seeing everyone on the course and the cheering.  I have another 2000 word post of my thoughts regarding training as well.  For a brief heads up, I spent roughly 6 months focused on this race so I’ll have about a weeks worth of posts.

Questions for you:

Do you eat right after a race?

What is your least favorite mile marker?

For half marathons, it’s 11, and for the marathon, it was 15 (but I think that was course specific).

Zero Prostate Cancer 10k (40:25)

Tim and I decided to take a minivacation this past weekend.  Since we were getting out of town naturally I decided to google races in San Antonio.  10ks are hard to come by and the moment I saw there was a 10k I decided that was the race I wanted to do.

So with that we got to the race about 45 minutes beforehand.  We seemed to luck out with parking and our parking spot happened to be directly in front of the race start.  We signed up and did about 1 mile warm up.  We both felt like crap and we both sweated through our singlets.

Smile so we don't look like we are miserable.
Smile so we don’t look like we are miserable.

The race was started by a 1 minute countdown on the race clock and once the clock got to zero it started.  It was actually quite frightening to watch as the clock ticked down and that minute felt like one of the longest minutes of my life.

The race course itself was out and back and started on an immediate uphill followed by a very sharp turn and immediate downhill.   I started off in 5th place behind four males.  After half a mile, I secured a spot as second person overall (where I stayed the entire race).  The first mile I clocked at 5:44 and it didn’t feel good but didn’t feel awful either.   (edit: I can’t believe I said a 5:44 mile felt neutral but my breathing and stride did in fact feel good…but only for that mile).

Mile 2 I found myself alone.  I did not see another person (except for one volunteer) the entire mile.  I was starting to zone out and get frustrated with myself and with the lack of people around me.  I tried to push myself but it didn’t seem like it was happening (6:13).

By mile 3 my mood had gone really sour.  I knew if I could just make it halfway through the race, the last half wouldn’t be as bad.  I don’t really have a lot of thoughts about this mile I was just trying to motivate myself to get to the half way point.  Something about getting to the halfway point of any race is so satisfying and the next half of the race goes by mentally quicker (6:39)

The turnaround was a bit confusing.  It was a complete 180 degree turnaround but you had to go over the mat, go around a cone and then go back over the mat.  I was lucky because I was far up and running over the mat twice was not a problem for me but it probably wasn’t the greatest set up.

Mile 3-4 I was on my way back.  Since it was in an open park and there were people running and cycling (not in the race) the path had gotten crowded.  I am all for people exercising except I nearly got hit by a cyclist making a sharp turn.  I wasn’t exactly paying a lot of attention myself since I was in the zone and as he came around a turn, I was rounding the run in the opposite direction.  Oh well, we didn’t collide but it was a close call (mile 4: 6:46).

Mile 5 I was beat.  I was over the race and I could add some more whining but I will save you.  I don’t have a lot to say about this mile but it was spent weaving around other racers.  Since the course was out and back most of the other 10kers were going the other way.  The path was narrow and with about 700 racers it was a bit of a cluster.  I always think to myself, these miles that don’t feel good or are mentally challenging are the miles you will grow as a runner (6:42).

Mile 6 was the best mile because it was the slowest and I got to spend more time running it. I had past the cluster of people so I was alone again.  I couldn’t see anyone in either direction and when we started the final climb to the finish line I was dry heaving.  I had not done a speed workout or race in the last 3 weeks and the time I ran low 6 minute miles was my 8k over a month ago.  Since where I run in Texas is remotely flat and this was not…the elevation was also taking a toll. That being said I was tired and I was dying. (7:01).

Then all of a sudden after thinking I might have seen the light and dry heaving a few times I crossed the finish line and drank 4 waters.


Take aways from this race:

I can’t wait to race in weather that is not 85 degrees and hot humid.  I also can’t wait to do some faster running.  I never expected to PR and I knew this race would hurt.  I’m glad I did it thought and had a lot of fun (after it was over).  I think my training is getting back on track for the marathon.  If I do end up running the 10k this weekend, I hope to able to improve.  I don’t expect a PR but would like to be closer to 40 minutes, if not under it.

Questions for you:

Does the second half of a race, run or workout feel like it goes by quicker for you?

Do you think race courses should be closed?

I’ve raced on the VA Beach boardwalk and I know that wouldn’t be possible.  They close roads for a lot of races.  I’m honestly not sure of my opinion on this subject.  I think it would be safer to close race courses to racers only but at the same time I know that isn’t always possible.

Flying High

It’s no secret there are few brands that I would want a “sponsorship” or to represent.  Actually two running brands come to mind.  There is also always Wawa Gas Station Coffee but for some reason I don’t think they sponsor runners.   In the beginning of the summer Oiselle announced that they would be taking new birds to their flock.  Ever since falling in love with the brand a few months prior I was all over that.

(In fact I could very well have been the first person to apply). 

So after realizing I had roughly two months to do summer activities I let that simmer in the back of my mind.

So why Oiselle?

First, it’s no secret they do make some of the cutest running clothes.  Long sleeves with fingerholes, their runderwear doesn’t ride up my butt and the scarf that I own goes to work with me more then stilettos.  Oh and their sports bra (that strappy bra) is one of the few that I feel comfortable running in without my goods broadcasted.

No goods.

When I first started talking to Jen nearly 6 months ago (wow), I immediately knew how down to earth and great she was.  She asked one day if I wanted to run together not mentioning the fact that she was a 16:XX 5ker.  Just casually run while she is pregnant.  I was completely floored when I started asking her about races, PR’s ect. Every female I have come across from their race team is like that.  They are nice, modest and truly inspirational females and I wanted immediately to be apart of that.  I wanted to be apart of a community that had similar interests to me (running, life, ect) as well as a similar mantra.

When I was accepted yesterday I was completely thrilled that I will join such a great group of women and hopefully take my running to a new level.  In a period where I cannot tell you where I’ll be in the next few months (VA…Texas…who knows), I know that country wide I’ll be able to find some local birds. I cannot wait to represent Oiselle.

Fueledbymush today

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