After nine months of training, I successfully finished my first full marathon in 3 hours and 32 minutes! This emotion filled journey was life changing and gave me a new perspective on running and the power of the human spirit. I started running at 9:50 AM in wave 1 corral D on the Verrazano Bridge in Staten Island. After all the opening remarks were given the song “New York, New York” by Frank Sinatra started playing as the runners began the race. My plan for the beginning of the race was to start slower to conserve my energy needed for later miles. After coming off the bridge, the first borough we entered into was Brooklyn which was my favorite part of the race in terms of the support and energy. The sidewalks were lined with crowds cheering us on with hands drawn out waiting to be high fived. I also found the most motivating posters and signs being held here.
After spending most of the first half of the race in Brooklyn, we came up on Long Island City and then Queens. Around Mile 15 I started feeling tired and kept honey packets in my running belt to eat when necessary. I was hesitant to grab the gel packets offered through NYRR since I’m sensitive to caffeine. The honey gave me the extra boost needed in a more natural way. Going up the Queensboro Plaza Bridge was difficult since this part was mostly uphill. Once we got off the bridge into Manhattan, the course slightly leveled out and I felt strong going up First Avenue. Harlem was the most difficult part of the race once I hit mile 21 since I started feeling tightness and pain in my thighs and knees. At mile 23, I saw my boyfriend and best friend in the crowd which gave me the motivation needed to finish my race strong.
The last stretch to the finish seemed like a lifetime, however, I pushed through and made it in my goal time of under 3 hours and 40 minutes. Overall, I felt that my endurance was strong and consistent throughout the race. I also carb loaded all week leading up to the marathon and felt the food sustained me through those long miles. In addition to the honey packets, I also had half a banana during the race which helped provide the extra fuel to power me through. The conditions were rainy with a temperate around 64 degrees which was comfortable for me. My next goal is to run the Boston marathon in spring of 2019. I’m planning on applying once the registration opens up so wish me luck!