Everyone has their own opinion (heres mine) of the ING New York City Marathon. If you have ran it, chances are we share both similar opinions but also differ in other parts. Here are brief tips that I have created:
It’s not an easy marathon course. If this course was not the most spectated race course, it would be the most miserable. To prepare you should run every bridge you can find. Twice. The bridges aren’t what took their tolls on my body but the gradual uphills. It may seem like running through the boroughs is your break. After all there are thousands of people lined the street and it seems flat. In reality most of that stretch are long gradual uphills.
Don’t worry about being on pace the first mile. It is uphill and crowded. It is completely unnecessary to make it 1.1 miles because of weaving. It will thin out. As everyone told me make it your slowest mile…Since my marathon was pretty regressive that didn’t happen. I didn’t weave though and didn’t take it out hard.
Be prepared for the Queensboro Bridge. Mile 15 will hurt. Coming down into mile 16 is the most exciting part besides finishing the race. The people at mile 16 know how painful that bridge is and the roar of the crowds is beat by none.
They don’t check your ferry time slot. I signed up for the 5:45 ferry and took the 6. As long as you have your race number, board whichever you would like. That being said, the later ones became far more crowded. I had my own row on the 6 am ferry.
If your friends or family is coming to watch let them know what side of the road you are running. If you are running on the right and they are standing on the left…you don’t see them.
My best advice is have your friends and family stand somewhere around mile 8 and then again in Central Park. Nothing beat the moment I saw my friends and family in Central Park. (except when I could finally sit down after the race roughly 4 hours later).
Be prepared for the two mile walk out of Central Park. I did not check a bag and if I do the race, I probably won’t if I have someone with me. I would rather get out of there as soon as possible versus standing in line. Granted I was in rougher shape than most, I still recommend not checking a bag.
The alphabetical family reunion places are perfect. Despite the amount of people, I easily located my family. It goes backwords from Z-A. Since we met at H it was a much longer walk for me but I had no problems finding my family and friends. I would probably tell them to meet at Z next time.
Here is a lump of things I was not expecting for my first marathon either. I love reading other people’s race recaps but for anyone thinking of running a marathon here you go.
When I carb loaded I held 9 pounds of water weight. I felt bloated on the race day. You should feel like this.
You probably will have to stop to pee or use the restroom. Don’t worry about that extra minute because you will probably make it up.
Your quads will burn. I never expected my quads to burn as much as they did.
I never felt enlightened or that the marathon distance was the way to be. I never had a running high and I didn’t immediately finish and think to myself…my I want to sign up for 5 more marathons. You don’t have to finish loving the marathon.
You must fuel. I can 100% say if I did not take Gatorade at close to every mile and did not take 3 gels I would not have finished. (This is coming from someone who took 1 gel on a 20 mile run and no Gatorade). In fact next time I might take more.
**Incase you wondered, yes I would do the marathon again.
Questions for you:
Did you or have you run NYC? Do you have any advice?
What did you learn the hard way from your first marathon?
Before I began the process of carbohydrate depletion and loading I wrote a post about it. I promised I would write my thoughts and review but thinking about it I don’t have a lot to compare it too. I’ve only run one marathon and during that marathon I still hit a wall and hit it hard. That being said I will still review my thoughts. I left my diet and nutrition to simmer for a week because I wanted a little bit more time to recover and think about it. Though I cannot really say my diet this week is anything to blog about…
Carbohydrate depletion (Sunday-Tuesday).
From Sunday through Tuesday, I focused on having minimal carbohydrates. I wasn’t strict about it but instead of having pancakes for breakfast, I opted for eggs. Instead of having a sandwich for lunch I opted for a protein rich salad. I made little choices. I didn’t severely limit my carbohydrates and I didn’t limit my calorie intake at all I opted to chose protein and fat rich food versus carbohydrate rich food.
Wednesday was a normal day for me as I transitioned into carbohydrate loading.
Carbohydrate loading Thursday-Saturday.
This was about the complete opposite. I consumed no salads and minimal vegetables. Since I am not a fan of pasta I lived off of a lot of diner pancakes while traveling and a lot of rice and bread at home. I didn’t find it too difficult but I did notice with just having more carbohydrates and less fat and protein I was a lot more hungry all the time. I have a feeling with my drop of exercise, I overate but I was hungry and I would rather not be hungry at the starting line.
During the process thoughts:
Since we were traveling and the diner pancakes were good (ha), I didn’t find carbohydrate loading as hard as I thought it would. For someone who prefers a 1 pound steak versus a big bowl of pasta I thought that would be my biggest struggle. When I was carbohydrate loading I was constantly hungry and thirsty. I held about 5 additional pounds of water weight. (If you don’t hold water weight you aren’t doing it right).
I will say holding that additional water weight made me a little bit nervous but I knew it was for solid preparation.
I felt like I had a lot of energy but I did not feel like I had an amazing energy boost. The combination of being up at 3:50 and the race not starting until 9:40 made for a long morning already. I consumed pancakes at 4:00am and also a bagel at 7:30am. (I had roughly 800 calories before the start). Then I had a gel at mile 8, 14 and 20. (I had Gatorade at mile markers not directly before the mile I had a gel).
Would I try it again?
To be completely honest, I’m not entirely sure. I am comparing oranges to apples but I have run my fastest half marathons on not carbohydrate loading and eating normally. My dinner before any of my half marathon PRs has been a salmon salad from various restaurants (each time I know has had about 600-700 calories. I like my dressing. I have a more indepth list that will qualify it for a good prerace salad then qualifying gas station coffee). That isn’t to say I don’t consume a lot of carbohydrates (or cut calories) but I do have a lot more protein normally. Another point of interest was that my body was not used to eating that many carbohydrates. Due to a rare medical condition that my body fails to absorb sugars correctly, this probably came as a shock. Since the primary factor keeping me at a normal blood glucose level is lifestyle choices (IE diet and exercise) I should have known that it wouldn’t work as well but I tried. It was a lesson I would rather learn on my first marathon then 10th. When I did change my diet to 80% carbohydrates, looking back I know my body didn’t absorb it all. It honestly was a bit upsetting because for the last year I have felt normal (it hasn’t really effected much training so it’s unnecessary to talk about) but this was a reality check.
Next marathon, I think I will try something different. I am going to eat closer to my normal meals until closer to the marathon (2 days before) and then eat a lot more carbohydrate rich food and see how my body reacts. I thought my glycogen stores were full during the race but looking back I’m not entirely sure. I think now I was completely depleted of energy at mile 20. While that could have been a combination of a late start, no speed work, my body not used to running that quickly for 2 hours but it also was probably from a not having my storage completely full.
After looking back at nutrition I will be making a lot more changes before my next marathon. I’m hoping to find a marathon that does not require a lot of travel or that I could stay at a friends or my family (not really possible my family since I don’t want to do the Shamrock full or the Norfolk Freedom full…) house to prepare food that I know will work better for me. I think finding a marathon closer to home where I don’t have to be up and awake 6 hours prior and provide me a easier race logistic wise.
The next few posts are going to be dedicated to the marathon. I could possibly spend 2 weeks talking about various aspects of my training but I don’t want to bore you too much. I won’t be doing “an expo recap”, a “race recap parts 1-26.35 (because Garmins are more accurate then the NYC course itself) or traveling” ect. Type of posts. I trained for this race for close to half a year so I do have a lot to say.
Here are just some of the posts I’m working on but feel free to let me know if you have any other questions or posts you are interested in (or any you don’t want to hear about).
The full marathon recap (2000 words but there are photos!) Training lessons (below) Physical marathon lesson thoughts Taper Review The Carbohydrate depletion and load review Advice for running New York City How I’m recovering and future marathon plans
I learned a lot about my first marathon via training and physically running the race. These are lessons I think I could only learn by experiencing them for myself. I did a lot of things I don’t regret but I also made a lot of poor decisions. I didn’t make poor decisions because I meant too, I made them because I didn’t know what the proper thing to do was or what would work for me.
First my training as a whole:
I thought I had moderately good training for the full. I got the most important thing in: the long runs. I did 4, 20 mile runs and 1 half marathon and then added 7 more to make it 20+. So I did 5 long runs beforehand. I got the mileage in despite traveling and moving.
What I didn’t do were workouts that resembled the pace I wanted. In the most critical time of my training was when I lacked the most crucial part (speed). I think my legs had forgotten what pace I wanted to hold for the marathon. For my first marathon that was fine and a lesson learned. I wanted to use this race as a learning experience.
Here are positives I liked about my training:
I ran averaged about 70 miles weekly with a rest day. It gave me confidence and also gave my body a day to recover. I truly think resting and having easier mileage is what has kept me injury free.
My only speed workouts were races and it made running by myself or with others enjoyable.
I was never stressed about marathon training. Yes, I wanted to a 3:10 but at the same time I wanted to enjoy the process of training for my first marathon and enjoy myself. I had an umbrella goal because I was going in and not knowing what to except.
Here are things I think that hindered my training and that I will change for my next marathon (which won’t be Boston but I do plan to run many more):
First I won’t be moving or traveling. I can honestly say after I moved, the last 2 months my training were not exactly what I wanted. I enjoy living outside of running and training though so I don’t regret anything.
I didn’t do speed workouts that resembled my marathon pace. Looking back I wish I had done more speed workouts or races leading up to the marathon. I would have liked to do a couple more half marathons, 10ks, 5ks or anything really. The half marathon I had my eyes on in Texas happened to be the week my knee was feeling off so I didn’t do it. Multiple race options didn’t exist in Del Rio (unless I wanted to drive 3+ hours every weekend) but I have those options in New Jersey.
I gained weight. I gained about 5 extra pounds in the last month which I don’t really relate to marathon training but moving in with a significant other, enjoying life…ect. I’m not worried about it but it was just a note of interest. I’m not saying I have an interest in losing that weight but when you are used to running at a certain weight and all of a sudden you gain 5 pounds it’s a point of interest.
I didn’t do core work or weight training like I wanted. When life fell by the wayside, I don’t regret it but I know I should have done more of that.
The thing about training is that you also must exist outside of working out. Something I often discuss outside of blogging is I want to be known as Hollie. I don’t want to be known as Hollie and all she does is work out/run. I think it’s very important to realize that even though I didn’t dedicate 100% of my focus to this training cycle, I had a very enjoyable time both with running and in the outside world. I am dedicated and got my miles in but there were several occasions that I skipped the gym/lifting weights or a second run in order to relax or hang out with friends.
It all worked out though and I learned a lot that I never would have learned without exper it for myself and training how I did.
Questions for you:
What have you learned from your current or last training cycle?
Tell me something that you do outside of reading blogs, working out, cooking of baking.
They say when you finish your first marathon you are hungry for another. You want to look at every aspect of your training and what to improve on and what to chop out. I enjoyed the marathon distance but it hasn’t consumed me to the point that I only want to do marathons now forever. I was going to add this to the end of my race recap but the post was so long and I figured it would be easier to space it out. After giving my objective thoughts about the race I thought I would talk about various aspects of the race and my personal thoughts. I learned a lot of lessons from the race that I would never learn without running it.
First people can tell you this 100 times but you have truly experience it for yourself. The marathon is not two half marathons. The difficulty of the race is equal to five half marathons. For me, I can break the race up as the first 15 miles and then the last 11.2. Most people say it is a 20 miler and 10k pain train but I boarded the 10k early at mile 15.
The course itself would be one of the most hated and grueling courses if there were not so many people cheering and supporting you. What I didn’t know prior (because I didn’t do my research) is that people don’t come to NY looking for a fast time. What people don’t realize is that it has a lot of bridges but when running in the neighborhood boroughs, the road is still a gradual incline. Since the course is point to point, it doesn’t mean what goes up must come down.
I don’t think I took the race out to fast at all. My plan was to run the first half in 1:35 and then see where the second half of the race went. I knew it was very unlikely that I would be negative splitting my first marathon. I would rather finish happy and strong versus dying. That was my original goal but you know by now I still finished dying. Finishing your first marathon not about to peel over is an overzealous goal.
I think I had two phases of bonking. First, when my quads began to tire and cramp at mile 15. I was mentally still capable of running the same pace and I didn’t start to die too much. After talking to several people they tell me due to the elevation of the NYCM course your quads will be sore. Since it was so hilly it was working quads. (Before the race I was sure my calves were going to be the most sore).
My second phase of bonking was when my glycogen was completely gone from my system around mile 18-19. I could have probably eaten a dozen krispy cream donuts and it would not have been enough sugar for my blood stream. I think that comes from an effort of 7:15 pace for 2 hours.
Incase you wondered what I ate and drank during the race: a gel at mile 8, 14 and 20. I took Gatorade at every mile except for 7,8 13, 14 19 and 20. I took water at those stops so I didn’t mix Gatorade and gel. I believe I read on Janae’s blog to take fluid at every stop so that is how I decided to do that. I think it worked out really well. I think my fueling was fantastic for me and I think my bonk came from not running enough speed workouts.
Positives of the race:
I finished my first marathon. I trained for a marathon and I finished it.
I ran a smart race. I was 210th woman overall and 10th in my age group. I am pretty proud of that!
I liked my fueling.
I still plan to run my next full conservatively. My next goal will be a 3:10 and I will still plan to take it out in 1:35 and hope I have more energy.
What I’ll change next time:
I’ll look for a flatter and less challenging marathon course. Does that make me sound lazy? I don’t know but I think on a better day (less wind) I am fully capable of running a faster time.
Final New York thoughts:
I liked the race and I like the distance. I am not 100% hooked that I need to do marathons and only marathons. I do plan to do another marathon but I plan to work more on a half again right now (after I have recovered).
Will I do NYCM again? Yes, most certainly. You cannot beat the crowds and cheering.
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
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.
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.
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 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).
After signing up for the New York City Marathon 6 months ago, I had no clue where life would take me. I just knew come November 3rd I would be running my guts out. Little did I know that I would move from NY to VA to Tx and be enroute to NJ all in that time frame. It’s funny because I’m constantly asked if I’m more stressed with the amount of moving I’ve done…and I’m not. I’m the least stressed I’ve been in years.
Would I have not signed up for the race had I known that?
No. I still would because I live life on the edge.
As you know on Sunday I am running my first marathon. For some people a marathon isn’t a big deal but for me it is. After all the training and life turmoil I have gone through, I’m happy to make it to the starting line injury free (knock on wood since I’m scheduling this post for Friday…). Since my cyst and cortisone shot just over a year ago I have manged to stay injury free. The only two exceptions were when a cyclist hit me and when my knee bothered me (which lasted three days with rest…). I have learned a lot about myself and training in the last year to manage this. When I signed up for NYCM in May, I didn’t truly believe I would make it to the starting line without any injury or niggles. I have learned when running is and isn’t worth it. Why push the pace or run now when I can save it for the marathon and be well rested?
My goal for my first marathon has always been to finish injury free. I don’t know how I’ll feel after that 20 mile point and I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself. There will always be other races, other marathons that I can says yes 3:10 is a perfect goal. Or yes X:XX is a great concrete goal. Right now my goal is to finish and in my dreams being close to 3:10.
With a morning wake up 5 hours before the race as well as standing in the cold, the hidden hills and not so hidden bridges as well as the crowd (1000 people in the same corral!) I can only imagine what will happen. I can guarantee I will give it my best shot and go from there.
Finishing your first marathon is a great accomplishment and should never be taking lightly. As dad told me once (while training for one of his Shamrock Fulls), You should always enjoy the process and training cycle as more then the actual race. You put so much time and life into that training that you have to enjoy it. Your race is a single morning. If you can walk away from the race you are fine.
So that has always been my goal.
I would also like to take a second to thank everyone that has supported me (in real life and blogging).
First my parents and family. My dad drove all the way up to NY with me to watch and my brother came from school to watch and support me. Also my dad for taking about 100 pictures when I say “it’s for the blog”. I have asked my dad for advice along the way and I know I can always count on him for real advice. Though my mom doesn’t run she supports me and my training. I am truly lucky that I have a strong backbone of support from my family.
Tim, of course, for running a large amount of my later miles with me and supporting me. I was very lucky that most of my 20 milers he either ran with me or rode his bike alongside of me. That made them go by so much quicker but also pushed me to do what I needed to do throughout the run. He put up with my whining, complaining, several girl cry runs and several near attacks by dogs. I also get extremely angry while running sometimes and things escalate quickly…in my mind (as to why I’ll probably never join a running group.). For those who don’t know Tim drove back to East with me two weeks early so I didn’t have to alone, flew back to Texas and is now driving back again. He is doing the same two drives I did…in the matter of two weeks.
Next, for everyone that helped and gave me advice. There are far too many people to mention but I found myself constantly asking for advice from people I truly admire and that inspire me. Jen, Kris L, Jason, Kevin, Andrew H., Shannon, Kailey and Mollie are a few people that come to mind. Seriously thank you for putting up with my 100 questions and thank you for just being you…ie inspirational and awesome.
Tim’s family has always been so supportive of my running. They are always asking how I’m doing, supporting me and it’s so nice to be so close with them too.
Oiselle for being a great backbone of support. The Bird really is the word. I can honestly say the company, the people and everything about them is genuine and so supportive.
Next are Hampton Roads runners who I have grown so close with as well as dailymile friends supporting me. I try to give up dailymile but I’m too invested in your training and each of your journeys to do that.
Finally I would like to thank some of my closest friends and without you guys I would be a mess in real life and running life. I know this is sappy but I never thought I would make it to the starting line of a marathon without the support of you guys. Laura A., Laura S., Heather, Theresa and Marie thank you for your constant support. Though Anna is in China, she routinely checks up on me and I cannot wait to see you next summer!
I know I missed a lot of people but seriously I could not have made it to the starting line of my dream race without each and every person in my life.
I am truly blessed (proper blogging technique) and happy. All that is left to do is pick up my number, relax and make it to the finish line as happy as I am right now. If it’s a 3:10 I’m happy. If it’s a 4:10 I’m happy. As long as I make it through my dream race happy and injury free my goal of finishing my first marathon will be accomplished. Sappy LOLZ out.
A lot of people don’t care for taper. I’m not a lot of people. I think the combination of not liking to rest, questioning was your training good enough and having so much free time can get to your head. For me personally I really enjoy tapering and letting my body relax. When I tapered for swimming I would constantly remind myself of all the things I did throughout training to get to this point.
During this training cycle I remind myself of the four 20+ miler runs I did. I also remind myself of the 7 miler I ran directly after the Rock and Roll VA Beach in 80+ degree heat, the 16 miler I ran at goal pace and the pretty consistent miles I put in. I remind myself daily that I have put in the miles and this is my time to rest and relax. No amount of training I do right now is going to better prepare me for the race besides…not cramming in miles. I am cutting my miles by 20% each week and adding a little more speed.
This is my time to rest and recover. My time to do other things and focus on other things…like blog writing (kidding). Actually this is my time to focus on other things like hanging out with friends and family and also honing in on my nutrition. (a post I’ll probably do at another point). While running is a huge deal of my life, it does not define me. I want to say when I’m not training I have other things going on in my life.
So my general opinion is that I enjoy taper. Though I have never fully tapered for a running race I have tapered for plenty of swimming championships. You must trust your training and trust yourself that you are ready for this race. I have had both great and poor tapers for swimming. Some tapers I have swam my best times of the season or my life. Some tapers I have swam personal worsts and I think the last 2 weeks before any race or meet are the most important. The delicate balance of being too rested and stiff versus not enough rest and stiff is hard and the threshold is different for everyone.
So yes the last two weeks can truly make or break your race by not listening to your taper.
I trust myself. I am ready. I trust my taper and my training. I trust my body to carry my across the finish line of New York City. If that is a 3:10 great. If that is a 4:10 great because I finished. I truly stand by my comment that finishing a marathon in itself is a great feat and for someone to complain about finishing their first marathon is ridiculous. The marathon humbles even the best and most prepared runner.