When you visualize the perfect race day, you see temps perhaps around the 40’s/50’s and clear skies. Well, the race Gods answered our prayers, and the day of the NYC Marathon was perfect. With temps in the upper 30’s, low 40’s at the start, and a high around the low 50’s, you couldn’t have asked for better marathon conditions.
3:30 AM– I set my first alarm for 3:15, but finally got up at my 3:30 alarm. My worst fear was oversleeping, since the week before the race I had a dream that I missed the buses to Staten Island and then got upset that I missed the race. So at 3:30, I was up, then began my traditional pre-race ritual. Breakfast was a whole wheat bagel with cream cheese, and a little bit of coffee. Then, I hopped in the shower. In my bedroom, my race day outfit was all lined out, along with my fuel belt and bib number. My fuel belt was packed with five GU gels, a packet of salt tablets, my portable battery, and ear buds (which I ended up not using at all because the crowds were more fun to listen to). After I got all dressed up, I threw my fuel belt in my start village bag, along with my body glide and a pair of gloves, then pinned my number to the front of my shirt. After a couple of gear re-checks, I was off to the Meadowlands Stadium to meet with the other runners.
5:30am-My sister was nice enough to give me a ride to Meadowlands Stadium, where some runners had chosen the buses there as their transportation to Staten Island. I got out of the car then quickly hopped in line. The temperature was quite chilly, so I was glad I wore a fleece and a pair of sweatpants this year, as in previous years, I tried toughing it out. After the next set of buses pulled up, we boarded, then shortly after, we were on our way to Fort Wadsworth.
As we approached Staten Island, I could see the Verrazano Bridge on the horizon. The traffic was horrific, as we sat waiting, trying to get to the Fort Wadsworth exit. (The bridge was closing down for the race so vehicles had no choice but to exit) Once we finally made it, it was time to get off the buses. After a security check, I made my way to my designated start village.
Fort Wadsworth 7:00am
After sitting in traffic for so long, most of us made our way to the first set of porta potties we saw. After, I made my way to my green start village, and grabbed another bagel, and a cup of coffee. I would be here for a few hours, so I took in a bit more fuel before the race (breakfast 2 if you will). I wandered around a bit, taking in the atmosphere and the beautiful view that was the Verrazano bridge on a beautiful sunrise. The Eyewitness News crew happened to be stationed in my start village, so I walked over there where I saw Lee Goldberg and Amy Freeze going live. I managed to meet Amy, and got a picture with her. I also tried jumping in the live segment, so if any friends/family were watching, you may have seen my face. After some live broadcast fun, and talking with other runners, I sat down in the same area and continued eating my bagel and sipping my coffee, which was cooling down at this point.
After a while, I got in line again for the porta potty, which at this point was getting longer. As I stood in line, the wave one runners set off over the bridge, while wave two was preparing to enter their corrals. By the time I left the bathroom line, wave two was ready to be off. I found another spot to sit for a bit before getting back in the bathroom line one last time before my corrals opened. After that, I removed by sweatpants and fleece jacket that had kept me so nice and warm throughout the staging area, and threw them in the donation bins. I applied my body glide, secured my fuel belt, then discarded my start village bag. It was now time to enter my corral.
10:45am– We were fifteen minutes from the start of the race, as wave four runners gathered together in their respective corrals. We slowly made our final walk to the foot of the Verrazano, as music blasted, getting us pumped for our 26.2 mile journey. One of the runners sang the National Anthem, then quickly jumped back in with the rest of us to get ready to run. By this time, I was full of pure joy and excitement. Believe it or not, there was not a single nervous bone in my body. I kept thinking to myself, this was my third NYC Marathon, and I am exactly where I want to be. After the “On Your Mark” command, the cannon went off, and it was go time!
11:06am– I was marked crossing the start at 11:06. From here on out, anyone who tracked me on the marathon app would know exactly where I was at all times (Bathroom stops would also be adjusted accordingly). As I set off over the bridge, I got to meet one of my favorite runners, Latoya Snell! We took a quick photo and then I continued on. I was so excited though! I was running the lower level this year, but I managed to snap a quick picture of the gorgeous Manhattan view over on my left hand side. Before we knew it, we were at mile 1. Then, it was downhill off the bridge into Brooklyn. One borough down, four to go.
Staten Island was the shortest of the five boroughs, Brooklyn is the longest. Half of the race is in Brooklyn, and once we got to 4th avenue, it was a straight shot right through to mile 8. The music and the crowds were a warm welcoming off the Verrazano. I made a pit stop around mile 5 to use the porta potty, which at this point was ungodly disgusting. After then, I powered through the next few miles. Once we reached the halfway point, it was time for bridge number two, the Pulaski. Two boroughs down, three to go. Enter, Queens.
You aren’t in Queens for very long, as you make your way from the halfway point, to the dreaded Queensboro Bridge. At mile 14, you turn and head up the bridge where at this point, you’ll start to feel the race. There are no spectators, all is fairly quiet, as some runners pull over to the side to stretch, or walk a bit. I was still feeling ok at this point, but my legs of course started feeling the first effects of the mileage and the hills. I gathered my thoughts, and even knew I was still quite a distance from the finish line, I was still halfway home. I took advantage of the downhill on the bridge and ran at a slow pace, then picked it up ever so slightly at mile 16, where finally I had reached Manhattan.
This part of the race is where the roof comes off. First Avenue is a party! Cue the adrenaline rush. I knew I was going to need it from here on out. By miles 17-18, the leg pain started settling in just a tad more as I slowly advanced. I felt blisters beginning to form in my feet and prayed it didn’t get any worse, but unfortunately it did. Miles 19 and 20 were sheer pain. When I reached the Willis Avenue Bridge, I had to walk it. And to think there was still one more bridge!
For the final 10k of the race, I just kept pushing through. The Willis Avenue bridge connecting Manhattan to the Bronx had given my legs another beating. There’s a reason why they call mile 20 the second half of the race, this is the toughest part not only physically, but mentally as well. I continued along on my now completely blistered feet, and pushed over the final bridge, the Madison Avenue Bridge.
Manhattan Part 2, Central Park & The Finish Line
At this point in the race, despite the discomfort I had been feeling for the past couple of miles, I started feeling exhilerted for the finish line. Though I was still roughly a 5k out, I was home free. The remaining spectators were amazing, giving us that final boost we needed through central park. At mile 25, I could hear the finish line! After re-entering the park and passing the mile 26 marker, it was time to bring it home. The lights grew brighter as I approached the spectacular finish line. The announcer said my name as I got closer, and then I crossed that historical finish line. I had completed my 4th marathon. I shed a few tears and then received my medal. After, an official race photographer grabbed me and took my photo near a NYC Marathon backdrop. Further down, I got my recovery bag. which consisted of an apple, a bag of pretzels, Gatorade, a protein shake, and a small sample of Biofreeze cream. It was still a bit further until I reached the post race poncho area, which I was so grateful to receive at this point since I was cold. After the post race routine, I exited the park and set a course for home.
Hard to believe this was my 3rd New York City Marathon. It is just such an incredible race, and I look forward to it every year. It’s really hard to put into words how amazing this race is, except to say this; It Will Move You
Congratulations to all who ran the 2019 NYC Marathon! Until Next Year…