Warning: This post is
a little very long. Here’s a little background information to get it started. My training leading up to the NYC Marathon was pretty solid (minus an unfortunate Philly 1/2 marathon in September), leaving me feeling prepared, confident, and ready to kick asphalt! I was hitting my goal marathon pace in my workouts and long runs and I was feeling good until…after I finished my last CPTC tempo before the marathon (10/24). I got a weird pain on the side of my calf that I had never had before. I made sure to stretch and ice it as soon as I got home. I ran an easy 3.5 miles Friday, the last 10 miles of the marathon as my last long run on Saturday, and ended my week with a rest day on Sunday. Going into marathon week I was feeling better, but still having pain. I took Monday as a complete rest day, ran 7 miles on Tuesday and visited my amazing PT Krista at Evolution Physical Therapy, which made me feel better, but I still wasn’t feeling 100%. I had planned to run Wednesday and take off Thursday & Friday, but Krista advised me to rest Wednesday, run Thursday, and rest Friday, so I did as I was told. My calf felt much better during my run on Thursday, giving me hope that it would be gone by the time Sunday rolled around!
Thursday evening I went to the expo with my friend Grace to pick up our bibs and check out the goodies. I actually didn’t buy very much, just a new Sparkly Soul headband and two packs of Nuun, which came with a free water bottle! Sweet!
I left the expo feeling excited and nervous at how soon the marathon was approaching. It would be here before we knew it! Friday night I had a TERRIBLE pre-race nightmare in which my alarm didn’t go off until 6:00am, but my bus was leaving at 6:00am so I spent the whole dream trying to figure out how to get to the start in Staten Island. I woke up not knowing whether I ever made it to the start (thankfully this did not happen on race day). In no time Saturday evening rolled around and it was time to prepare for the big day! The idea that I would be running a marathon tomorrow felt so surreal, but I would be so I laid out my outfit and everything I would need to get me through the race.
I got in bed a little later than I wanted to (10:30pm) and as expected had trouble sleeping. Before I knew it my alarm went off (I set 4 alarms just in case!) at 4:30am and I got out of bed to get ready. I met some of my teammates at 5:45 am to get on the bus that would take us to Staten Island. It still didn’t feel like I would be running a marathon in a few hours! As we drove to Staten Island, we could see the wind blowing a flag pretty rapidly in the distance giving us the feeling that this wind would be no joke. When we arrived at Fort Wadsworth it began to sink in that this was indeed going to happen! I immediately needed to use the bathroom then went to the local competitive area to sit and wait with some teammates. I had on a few layers, but I was still freezing as we sat there for over 2 hours waiting to start. We were ushered to our coral around 9:00am and the excitement was building. Luckily I was still surrounded by a bunch of my teammates, which helped to keep me somewhat calm. Before we knew it, the gun went off and it was go time! It felt so surreal to be running over the Verrazano Bridge! I started the race with my CPTC teammates Sari, Marisa, & Kristen, but Marisa & Kristen got ahead of us before we reached the first mile. Sari and I had a plan-we would run the first 10 miles or so around 7:45 pace and drop from there. We both felt better than we expected despite the brutal winds and we had to keep making ourselves slow down. Our miles ranged from 7:38-7:45 for the first half.
I couldn’t believe how fast the miles were going by and all of a sudden we were running over the Queensboro bridge! This was the first point in the race where it started to feel a little hard. The wind was bad and it just felt never-ending, but I kept powering through. Mile 15 dropped to 7:53, but I told myself not to stress about it. As I got closer to the end of the bridge, I could hear the cheers from first avenue getting closer and closer and it rejuvenated me! Mile 16 dropped back down to 7:39, Sari and I were still running shoulder to shoulder, and I was about to see my sister and some friends, making me feel pumped!
Pretty awesome that Sari and I ran 16 plus miles of the marathon together!
As we began running up 1st avenue, Sari and I started to separate. She had friends on the west side of the street while my friends were on the east side. I could see her getting ahead of me so I tried to catch her, but I just couldn’t. I was still feeling pretty good though and seeing my friends helped a lot (Thanks to everyone who cheered. You guys rock!). Now we were in the Bronx and before I knew it we were running over the Willis Avenue Bridge, around Marcus Garvey Park, and “down” 5th avenue, my
favorite least favorite part.
Photo Credit: Sue Pearsall
Each step became a little harder than the previous step, but I kept fighting. Mile 21 was the first mile that I was not on goal pace (minus mile 15), but I wouldn’t let myself freak out. I took a deep breath, repeated my mantras and kept on trekking along 5th avenue.
I was so close, yet still so far from the finish. I ran past the enthusiastic cheers of the CPTC “wall of orange” at 92nd and fifth (thank you), then entered the park at engineers gate. I was almost at mile 24! Once again the mile split was slow, but instead of giving up, which I have been known to do on occasion, I kept fighting to stay in the game. “You can do this! You’re strong!” I repeated over and over again. I saw some more friends, teammates, and my bomf crew before I exited the park, which helped me pick the pace back up. Shortly after I turned west onto 59th street I saw my family for the second time and a little farther up the road I saw my friends Alli and Dave, giving me just the motivation I needed to finish strong. I made my way around Columbus Circle and into Central Park. As I came across the 26th mile, my heart was pounding out of my chest. At this point I realized that I wasn’t going to break 3:20 or even 3:22, but I kept fighting for a PR. 800 meters to go… 200 meters to go…you got this Dani I chanted. So I sprinted with everything I had left and threw myself across the finish line. I managed to get my pace back down to goal pace (or close enough) during that last stretch, but unfortunately I didn’t get the PR.
I crossed the finish line in a time of 3:25:50, my second fastest marathon time, and my fastest marathon time since NYC 2009! So yes, I was a little disappointed that I didn’t accomplish the goals I had set out to accomplish, BUT I gave it my all, ran with heart and in the words of Coach Tony, “ran with dignity” and for that I am very proud!
I met up with some teammates near the finish line and we slowly made our way out of the park. Since I had no baggage I was able to leave the park at 77th street, but it seriously felt like I would never make it out. My legs and hips ached, but I eventually made it out, got my poncho, and met up with my amazing family!
Thanks for the sign sissy!
As I hobbled home with my family I couldn’t help but feel extremely grateful to be a part of the 2013 NYCM! It was my 6th time running this race, but it never gets old! There truly is no other marathon like it and I look forward to being a part of it for many more years to come!
Did you run the NYCM this year? If so, how’d it go?! Leave your comments below!