In the weeks since the New York City Marathon I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my feeling on the whole experience. Yes, it’s THE NEW YORK CITY MARATHON, the largest marathon in the WORLD, and I am incredibly fortunate to have been able to run it, but as many of you know, I was on a bit of an emotional roller coaster leading up to the race.
Now that I’ve had some time to write my recap and process the entire experience, I wanted to share some of my thoughts.
I’ve split it up into two different sections – Personal Lessons and Thoughts on the New York City Marathon. Hopefully if you’re ever thinking about running the New York City Marathon (or any marathon!) some of this will help you!
I Have Amazing Family & Friends
From everyone that donated to my fundraising for North Shore Animal League to run this race, to the family & friends who came out and stood for hours in the cold and wind to support me while I ran, and ESPECIALLY Daniel and Patrick who I ran with (almost) the entire 26.2 miles that day, I couldn’t have done this without all of you, and for that I’m very thankful!
Don’t Register for a Race You’re Not Genuinely Excited For
I registered for the New York City Marathon because I felt like as someone who runs marathons, I “had to” run New York. I am not someone who loves New York. I was born and raised right outside of New York City and honestly couldn’t wait to move away (if I’m being honest, New York City overwhelms the heck out of me!).
While I was excited to be fundraising for an amazing cause, I never quite got excited about running this race, and therefore I had a hard time really getting into my training and spent a lot of time stressing about it. The marathon distance is a lot to commit to if you’re not excited about the actual race.
I’m Capable of More Than I Think
This seems to be a reoccurring theme for me. I hate to admit it, but when it comes to training, I’m a bit lazy. I get in all of my runs, but I don’t really do any speed work, and I don’t push myself out of my comfort zone often (this needs to change!).
I didn’t expect to PR in New York. My training was average at best (got in all my runs, but certainly didn’t go above and beyond), and I mentioned several times to people that New York wasn’t really a “PR type of course” with the many (many!) bridges and 50,000 people (and then add in 30+mph winds and all PR thoughts were out the window!).
Well, not only did I completely unexpectedly PR by over 7 minutes, but I did it pretty much running on empty for the last few miles (see my recap!).
It makes me wonder what I could have run if I a) trained hard, b) fueled better, c) was running a flat course, and d) wasn’t battling crazy wind…
Thoughts on the New York City Marathon
The Course & Scenery
First of all, the spectator support during this race is incredible, I certainly won’t deny that, and I did enjoy the race overall more than I expected. However, and I certainly know I am in the minority when I say this, the course really didn’t do anything for me.
It is very cool that you run through all 5 boroughs, but you really don’t run by any landmarks or interesting sites – the only landmark I remember seeing is the Statue of Liberty and that was on the ferry ride to the start!
Other than that, I could have been running through any random city streets (again, I don’t know the city very well, so it could just be me!), I really preferred the Marine Corps Marathon where you run by numerous DC Landmarks along the way, I felt like there was always something to look at!
SO many logistics to worry about with this race! The several hour journey to the start. Sitting at the start in the cold. Bag check or no bag check? Meeting family & friends after the race in crazy Central Park. Finding my friends if I lose them…
I’ll admit that I was certainly more stressed than I needed to be about a lot of these little details in the weeks leading up to the race, but I don’t do particularly well with the unknown and it was really bothering me that I didn’t know much about how the whole day was going to go. Luckily a few friends really helped out and answered a ton of my questions, but the whole thing was still sort of overwhelming for me!
Bridges, Bridges, and More Bridges
And then MORE bridges! And if you weren’t ON a bridge, then you were running on slightly inclined streets that LED TO ANOTHER BRIDGE!
If you’re going to run this race TRAIN ON HILLS! (Or bridges, or parking ramps, or mountains, whatever you have in your area that’s NOT flat!) In hindsight, I managed the hills/ bridges better than I feel like I should have given my lack of hill training, but they really started to take their toll in that second half.
Despite all the stressing leading up to the race, I really did enjoy it more than I expected and I’m glad I did it, but I certainly didn’t get that “THIS IS THE BEST DAY OF MY LIFE” feeling that so many people talk about when they talk about running the New York City Marathon (that was much more my first Disney marathon! And everyone after!)
I’m not sure if there will be another NYCM in my future or not. I’m leaning towards “not” since I didn’t love it and there are so many other great races to do out there, but there’s a small part of me that’s curious as to what I could have run that course in if I was better trained, better fueled and less windblown, so I won’t say “never” quite yet.
The two biggest things I’ve taken away from this race are that I’m really eager to find a spring marathon to really train well for so I can see what I’m capable of, and that not every race is for every person and that’s ok!