NYC Marathon 2017′ – Race Recap & More

Fourth time’s a charm. Well that is not exactly how the saying goes, but sometimes that’s exactly how it works out! That is exactly how I describe my 4th TCS NYC Marathon (13th marathon) on November 5th! I went into this race completely different than I’ve gone into my prior marathons & mentally – I think it was just what I needed! In April, I ran my 5th BQ IN 3:35:38!

 

I promised myself if BQ’d in April that my fall marathon would not be about running a specific pace but instead enjoying every moment with no goals! I promised myself, I wouldn’t put that pressure on myself but instead just take it all in! In July, my hubby and I took a trip to Bermuda for our 10th anniversary.

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Although, I was running 5 days a week; maintaining a good base – I didn’t yet start training or even have a plan in place. I did a lot of running through the summer in the summer heat; enjoying early morning miles just chatting with friends or logging miles by myself before relaxing on the beach for the day. In Bermuda I continued with my normal running and strength training. When we returned, I felt refreshed and was officially ready to be in “training mode.” Only I still didn’t have a solid plan written out for myself. I visited the track 1x a week,. I did my long runs very early on Saturday morning – many miles logged with my running buddies Jennifer, Steph and Jeff on the trails

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or along the beach.

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I kept my weekday runs easy paced and I even raced a bit through the summer! September rolled around; still no plan in place but I was increasing my mileage each week with a combination of recovery weeks. My focus this time around was to have fun with the full and focus on a fast half! On September 17th, a couple of days after my 37th birthday, I ran the Newport Liberty Half.

 

Another unseasonably warm, humid day – I wasn’t quite sure how things would go but I ran safe & finished strong. I finished in 1:44:24! It was my fastest half in 5 years! I quickly wondered what could have been in ideal temps but was very proud! Even got to enjoy this awesome morning with my family including my my sister in law; Jess and some friends (Laura and Mary)Β  who ran as well!

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Picture above with the inspiring Laura and Mary!

I continued doing exactly what I had with still no written plan in place. October rolled around and on 10/15 I took another go at racing the half distance! Yet, another unseasonably warm/humid day. I had hopes of going sub 1:40, but with the warmer temps I wasn’t sure how this would go! My hubby did the 5k so I cheered and waited to see him cross the finish line before it was time for me to start my race! I saw him coming, yelled his name, snapped some pics & watched him cross the finish line of his 6th 5k!!

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I quickly lined up to start my race and stood with the 1:40 pacer! I introduced myself and we were off! I felt good, some miles quicker than others but I was sticking with them. Around mile 8, the pace was quick and I decided I better slow down a bit to save some energy & not overheat. I felt strong! I heard “top 10 female!”

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I thought to myself – no way!! I pushed, although it was warm, I knew I could do this!!

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The whole time, I repeated to myself “I’ve got this!” Finally the finish line was in sight! I flew through in full sprint crossing the finish line in 1:42:59 in the top 10 females and 2nd in my age group!

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This was my fastest half marathon since 2012!

 

A huge confidence booster of a race; I continued training just as I had been with no set plan written out. Race week arrived! My sister in law Jess was running her 1st marathon so I planned to drive us both into the city to the expo! So much excitement! We both worked a half day then headed in to the expo.

 

We picked up our bibs before meeting up with running buddies & Instagram friends we had yet to meet in person!

 

It was so awesome to finally meet Tiffanie and Jill!!

 

And to see Jennifer & Vivian!

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We took lots of pics, did lots of shopping before heading home to rest up for Sundays race!

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I had my outfit all ready for race morning; of course!

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Sunday morning , hubby and I woke up at 3am to get ready & head over to Jess & Mike’s house! I drove us to the Meadowlands where we took a bus over to Staten Island! Upon arrival we found our corrals; I hung out in the orange corral with Jess & ate my breakfast before heading over to my corral.

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While walking walking over to my corral, I ran into my inspiring friend Sashea who was running her 1st marathon since having her little girl last fall!! We met in 2013′ & have very similar running journey’s! She is so sweet! Of course we took a pic then gave each other good luck hugs & headed to our corrals!
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I arrived to my corral with about an hour until go time!! I took a seat on the ground as I waited for Wave 2 (my wave) to be called to line up. I had been texting Lindsay; a long time IG friend in hope of finally meeting her! I told her where I was sitting and within minutes she found me! Lindsay was one of my 1st followers when I started my page 5 years ago! I was so excited to finally meet her!! We took a selfie, chatted for a bit and wished one another good luck!
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I sat and waited and out of nowhere saw my friend and running buddy Steph!
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She, myself, Jennifer and Jeff logged many miles together training for this race! I was so excited to see her! We took a pic, chatted for a bit – deciding we would run together! Within minutes our wave (wave 2) was called to line up! We headed over to line up. The excitement was building and adrenaline pumping! We moved closer to the bridge and it started to rain a little. I didn’t mind one bit because the temps were perfect, the wind was calm and I was about to conquer my 13th marathon (4th NYC)! Within minutes, we were off! I remembered not to let the adrenaline get me on the bridge (I’ve definitely failed to do that in the past). This time was different; the crowds on the bridge didn’t allow for us to take off. It was so jam packed that many of us were tripping over one another. We kept the pace easy over the Verrazano (in the 9:20’s) just saving it all for the next 25.2 miles to come! The first mile actually ended up being our slowest mile of the race by about 1 minute, but crowds are definitely to be expected when running NYC! I hear it all the time & I say it all the time; NYC is not a PR race – it is a race all about pure enjoyment, the experience & taking it all in & that was my goal that day! As Steph & I ran we smiled, we gave high fives, we chatted (just as we did on our morning long runs) & we had a blast!
I felt amazing, energy level was fantastic, fueling with 1 gel every 5 miles with water & Gatorade at every station and salt as needed! Steph and I ran together until about mile 22 when I looked back & didn’t see her. I kept looking and didn’t see her. I thought, I must have lost her in the crowd. I realized that the next 4.2 miles would just be me and the streets of NYC! I still felt great! As I ran I saw Cynthia, I saw Janet who took this pic:
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I heard complete strangers cheering my name! This is what I love so much about NYC; the support, the energy – it truly is incredible! As I ran, I thought a lot about how far I’ve come, I thought a lot about my past marathons, I thought about my sister in law running her 1st marathon, I thought a lot about my sister & truly believed that she was right there running beside me & saying “Go Mer Go!” As I ran mile 23; I remembered the struggle I’ve had conquering that mile in past years & I wasn’t sure how it would go. As I ran up that incline, I repeated to myself “I am strong” “I’ve got this!” I made it to the top; entered Central Park & thought to myself, wow! I’ve never felt that strong tackling that hill. At first I was shocked, I didn’t do any hill training, my running routes are mostly flat, I asked myself ” how did I just conquer that incline that has always almost left me in tears so strong this time?”
My only answer was lots of speed work leading up to the race & just plain trusting the process! I ran the final miles of the race; not wanting the race to end. For the first time in my 4 NYC Marathon’s I didn’t struggle in the final miles. Before I knew it, I was entering the park with the finish line just a short distance away. Although I didn’t all out race that day; I wanted to sprint through the finish line so I picked up the pace; finish line in sight and gave it everything I had! I crossed the finish line with a smile on my face & a tear in my eye! I looked down at my watch and quickly realized that I finished just 19 seconds short of a BQ in 3:40:19.
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I had no goal to BQ in NYC and had no idea coming so close was even a possibility. Yes, when I saw that for a moment I wished that I had all out raced that day, but I quickly reminded myself that not all races are about a BQ or about running a PR. They are about so much more! I crossed the finish line that day with over a 15 minute NYC Marathon and ran one of my strongest marathons to date!
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After the race; I immediately called my parents & my hubby to let them know how I did!
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After picking up my baggage; I ran into Steph! I was so excited to see her & so glad everything was ok! She finished just minutes after me and again BQ’d!! I was so happy for her!!
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I found my hubby and brother in law in the family meeting area and we headed over to Columbus Circle to go wait at the finish line to see my sister in law Jess finish her 1st marathon.

 

It started to get really cold, windy and rainy as we cheered for the runners! It was so exciting being there in the final mile of the marathon watching all of the faces of determination as the runners came by! We kept our eye out for Jess as we received updates on the live tracker knowing that she would be coming soon! Then, there she was!! I quickly turned my camera to video and did a live streaming video on IG so that others could see! She saw us, gave us hugs as she cried tears of happiness and I screamed so loud cheering I almost lost my voice! I was so excited for her! I know that one thing that was top on her bucket list was running her 1st marathon in NYC and here she was less than one mile away from that becoming a reality! Such an unforgettable moment! We quickly rushed over to meet Jess at the family meeting area where we took lots of pics!

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After the race, we headed to a restaurant to grab a bite to eat with our hubby’s and share a celebratory glass of wine!!

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After completing my 13th marathon that day; I took 5 full days off and slowly returned back to running maintaining a base.

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I’ve enjoyed running and racing with running buddies/friends (below with Jennifer & Steph at the Jingle Bell 5.3 mile Run ).

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Last week, while on Christmas vacation I began training for the 2018′ Boston Marathon! I kicked off Boston training with a trail run with Jennifer and Jeff who with also be in Boston in April along with Stephanie and me!

I have yet to write out a solid training plan other than my long runs; I am thinking that the way that I trained for NYC is the best option for me. I took it day by day; getting in every required run, getting my long runs done bright and early but never stressing or feeling overwhelmed. In the end; I enjoyed every single training run; developed some wonderful friendships and ran aΒ  race that I was content with! That is what running is all about isn’t it?

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Do you go into every single race with a goal time? Have you ever gone into a race with the goal to simply enjoy every single moment?

Do you write out a solid plan for every race? Does this approach work better for you as well?

Do you do most of your training with friends or on your own? Which do you prefer?

I am excited to share my journey to marathon # 14 – Boston 18′ with you all!

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Thank you for reading my recap & as always thank you again for following along on my journey!

Mere Β  @meretherunner14

 

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