Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Start Spreading The News! My NYC Marathon Review!

Hi Everyone!

It's been a couple weeks, sorry for the delay.

I can't say enough about this race, it was simply amazing!

Background: last year was my first marathon in Philly. I was scheduled to do Philly once again this year. Thinking I'd do Philly one more time before I venture outside of my area. Well, the lottery came up. Only a 15% chance of getting in on your first try. I follow people that have tried multiple times with no success. No way I'll get in on my first try, might as well throw my name in the hat, after multiple attempts you are eventually guaranteed a spot down the road. The week they announced it, I was on vacation, a mini spending spree, last thing I expected was a $300 charge. Well, guess what?! Time to start making plans!

Expo: Held at the Jacob J. Kavits Convention Center. Went to the expo at approx 1 pm on Saturday, Nov 3rd. The bib and shirt pickup process was very efficient. Only a handful of people ahead of me.
Once bib and shirt pickup was complete, you are shuffled through the New Balance area. All of the official marathon clothing is by New Balance. Area was packed! Started to look at a few items, but the crowds were backing up. After the New Balance area, before entering the rest of the expo, there's a couple cardboard cutouts to take pics.
Entering the remainder of the expo. It was a mob scene! Wanted to check out a few of the stands, but the isles were a bit crazy. Did see some of my favorite brands were there, Aftershokz and Oofos. There were all sorts of clothing, shoe, nutrition, smoothie, energy gels/bars stands there as well. You could also grab a sip of beer from the Michelob Ultra stand.

After the expo, started to hydrate and was sure to carb load that evening. Went to bed early, but barely slept a wink.

Race day:

Scheduled race time of 10:40. Was scheduled to take the 8:00 am ferry from Whitehall to Staten Island. I arrived at the ferry at 7:30. May have been able to get on that ferry if I was a min sooner and prepared to rush. Got on the 7:45 ferry. Glad I did. There was ample space on the ferry. After the ferry, you are shuttled to the start area. The ferry may have had space, but the shuttle area was backed up from previous ferries.  On the ferry, I pretty much kept to myself, but met several nice people while waiting for the shuttle. Shuttle to the starting area. Security check point before entering. Plenty of security to feel safe. Walk through metal detectors, throwaway bags are checked. Signs there are 2,000 portable toilets up ahead if you need to make one last stop. There was also coffee, Gatorade, water, and bagels before you head to your corral. I left my hotel at 7, felt like I was only at the starting area for 15 minutes before go time.
Starting area: DJ and MC getting everyone amp'ed up. A brief intro. National anthem is performed before each wave. And then a cannon to start the race!

Not familiar with all of the boroughs, don't want to downplay one borough over another.
Image from tcsnycmarathon
Staten Island: You don't see much of Staten Island. We were shuttled through a small neighborhood from the ferry to the starting area. Verrazano Narrows Bridge: the race starts out on the bridge. It's the most elevation of the day, so they say. You just don't feel it yet due to fresh legs and the adrenaline. Starting out, it was packed, as to be expected. I started out near the median. Two things.. some people were hopping up on the median to take pics. Other thing, there was cop cars in my lane, wouldn't see them through the crowd until the last min and had to merge. Don't mind the security, just that I didn't see them until the last second. (I think they were also there to make sure no one was urinating off the bridge, apparently that used to be an issue).

Elevation map:
Image from tcsnycmarathon
Brooklyn: Coming of the bridge into Brooklyn, you start to feel the party! Over a million spectators across the city, you start to see that as soon as you come down that bridge! DJ's, bands, and fans welcome you!

Queens: crowd support was still amazing, rolling along the party.

My race: don't stray from your plan. Well, I definitely strayed a bit. Fresh legs and adrenaline, I was going with what felt good. Knew I would have to slow down at some point, but didn't. Wrong move Joe. After about mile 10, sore ankle, not sure if I kicked it, tripped or something, and then cramps set in. My left ankle was bothering me, and then my right foot was cramping (starting with toes). Started drinking everything I could. (also unlike my training, usually only do a few sips every 5 miles). Started to feel sick for a bit. Tried the walk a min, jog a mile method for a bit.

The crowds were so encouraging. As I head into the next big bridge (Queensboro Bridge), definitely had some doubts. But once through the bridge, fans were there to pick us back up.

Bronx: there's another bridge just before the Bronx (Willis ave Bridge). Made it through. The Bronx was so welcoming and they must know about that dreaded wall. Crowds cheering. "Welcome to the Bronx!" So many people handing out snacks, gels, glide, etc. Just before leaving the Bronx, I remember an older gentleman cheering us on and saying, now get outta here! Loved it. Harlem was just as welcoming.

Manhattan: a short bridge before heading in. Passed by a couple runners that were saying the hills weren't as bad as the Baltimore marathon two weeks ago. Remind me to not do that one. (I kid, hills are good for you, right?) The scenery starts to change a bit in Manhattan, bigger buildings, a few less people, but the party is still going. They know we're getting through the wall and offer plenty of encouragement. You start to see Central Park, but you still have about 5k to go. Central Park is packed with crowds. You see some of the park, but not much. Unfortunately, the crowd thins out a bit around mi 25. 25-26 is the cheer zone seats $, Right around mi 26, there is a turn to brief ramp, the side of the ramp has a curb. Almost didn't see that. Yikes!

26.2 miles, we made it! An MC is welcoming everyone, congratulating everyone. A few names/countries are announced.

Volunteers checking on everyone. Handed your medal. Shuffled along to get your cape and recovery bag. Fruit, granola bars, protein drink, Gatorade, water. No fancy pic here, I was beat!
After the finish line, seemed like a 2 mi walk to either the poncho or bag check area. The bag check people had to walk a bit further. After the poncho pickup, another mi walk to the family meetup area. Maybe exaggerating, but felt like walking to the end and back of the park took forever.

Security and volunteers: 53k participants and over a million spectators. The coordination and support from the security and volunteers was overwhelming. Would like to thank them for their support.

Portable toilets: would think there would be long lines for a race of this magnitude, nope, more than enough at the starting area and throughout.

Music: I always run with headphones on. The crowd support, DJ's and Band's, could barely hear my playlist without blasting it, which I chose not to so I could hear my surroundings. Not an issue, could still hear my pace as needed.

Poncho: if you elected the poncho option. (bag check or poncho). This thing definitely provides warmth and protection from the elements. We had excellent weather on race day, but this thing would come in handy if otherwise!
Overall: I strayed from my plan and suffered, affecting my pace as well, just glad to have completed it. Will not let my results dictate my opinion of the race. The race itself is simply amazing. So much positive energy. If you are going to do a marathon, this has to be on your list to do at some point.

Site and social:
Twitter: @nycmarathon

If you do any races, please remember to review them on ! Your opinions help other runners decide what races to run!  Follow me on BibRave: Joe G 

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