Marathon On My Mind

Date: October 22, 2012 at 8:48 am- by Ali- Comment(s): 44

Here’s a fun fact: Up until last week, I really wasn’t excited about running the New York City Marathon.

In fact, I wrote my “10 Reasons I’m Excited To Run The New York City Marathon” post last week in part to psych myself up.

And it worked.

Oh my God, it worked.

Because since last Tuesday, running this marathon is the only thing I can think about.

I guess I’m warmed up then…

Why the lack of excitement for so long? Well, I guess that’s a little obvious. I’m not sure I ever truly, fully believed I’d make it to the start line of this thing. Thanks to that Crohn’s flare-up, my training got off to a terrible start. Even when I could get the miles in, they were repeatedly interrupted by bathroom stops. Then, eight weeks before I was set to toe the NYCM start line in Staten Island, I was admitted to the hospital.

In the days following my hospital stay, I immediately started to feel better.

I’d been there before, though.

I’d been sick, I’d been given drugs, I’d felt better — only to find myself sick again a few days, weeks or months later.

So I never really wanted to get excited about the marathon.

Time after time this year, I’ve set lofty goals for myself, only to let my health get in the way. I’ve given up on goals, I’ve missed out on things I so desperately wanted to do, and I gradually learned to be OK with it.

I remind myself all the time now that many opportunities are not, in fact, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. If you miss out on something once, you just have to put yourself in a position where it can happen again. That doesn’t seem so impossible — especially when it comes to marathon running. I’m pretty sure these races are sticking around for a while.

Brian thinks I have “too much stuff,” but what he doesn’t understand is that I NEED 12 pairs of running shoes, all in rotation at the same time.

I made the most of the eight training weeks I got.

My speedwork wasn’t as speedy as I would have liked, and I never really got around to doing much (uh, any) hill training. But I loved every long run. I definitely loved every bathroom stop-free run.

And now, I love knowing that — barring any life-altering physical drama — I’m going to actually make it to the start of the New York City Marathon. And I’m quite confident I’ll make it through the five boroughs and across the finish line as well.

Why yes, yes I WILL finish strong. Thank you for the suggestion, chalk.

I’m one week into my taper period and I don’t have any crazy stories so far. The “I slept through my alarm and showed up late to the race and also I was naked and wearing heels” nightmares haven’t started yet, and my body seems to be responding well to my majorly scaled-down exercise schedule.

Saturday’s 14-miler went well. It’s weird to think 14 miles is “basically nothing,” but by the end of that run I really did feel like I didn’t do a whole lot.

Oh wait, I did do a whole lot.

A whole lot of stupid-grinning.

The marathon route signs are finally up in Central Park and along 1st and 5th Avenues. As soon as I turned into the park on Saturday and saw those signs, I couldn’t get that goofy grin off my face. So I went with it, and just smiled my way around the park for the next two hours.

Is that the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen? Answer: YES IT IS.

Sunday was a perfect fall day in NYC. Cool in the shade, warm in the sun, and I finally stepped on my first crunchy leaf of the season.

I would like to just live in Central Park. I’ll sleep under the trees and spend my days walking around and people-watching. Though I guess the NYPD would refer to me as “homeless,” and that’s not quite what I’m going for.

The colors are changing and being in a bad mood just seems like an awful way to spend a day like that.

You know who loves fall? Tyler loves fall. He also, apparently, loves eating his fleece hand. What a nut.

Brian asked what I wanted to do for the day, and I completely unselfishly responded: “I want to go to Central Park and walk the marathon route.”

Why wouldn’t he want to do that?

He obliged, because he’s nice, and I forced him to take 12,000 photos by every single sign that so much as mentioned the marathon.


Let me translate that for you: “See you here on Nov 4.” It’s written in the park in the exact spot where the finish line will be.


Hell yeah, West Drive is closed. GOTTA BUILD THE MARATHON.

Walking that 2–3 mile stretch of the route in reverse didn’t quite have the same effect as running it in the correct direction, but I was excited enough that I didn’t care.

I don’t know what the weather will be like on November 4. I’m not one who obsessively checks the weather for Race Day once it’s in the 10-day forecast because I know I’m going to run the thing — and do it optimistically — regardless of the conditions.

Instead of freaking out about every possible drop of rain or tweak in my legs, knees or back, I’m embracing the taper. I’m not sneaking in extra workouts. I’m trying to get more sleep. I’ll get Remicade on Thursday to ensure my system is good to go and ready to run. And I’m watching a lot of NYCM videos on YouTube.

And, of course, in an effort to stay relaxed and stress-free in the final days leading up to the race, I’m starting the excessive “Things To Do Before NYCM” list now.

Just a couple little things to get done. NBD.

That first thing on the list?

It was the first thing to get checked off last night.

Brian and I booked a much-needed post-marathon getaway to Mexico. The plan is to run the marathon, go back to work for a few days and then skip town for a while. Facebook, Twitter and email are not invited to Mexico.

It’s been too long since we’ve taken a trip that didn’t revolve around someone’s wedding, a baby shower or a bike or running race. We won’t be bringing our bikes and I didn’t even check to see what the area has to offer for running options. I did, however, make sure the place has a swim-up bar. I think my priorities for this trip are exactly in order.

Meanwhile, I’m excited to run the New York City Marathon.

So excited, in fact, that I ordered a little something special.

Freshly delivered mango soap. Super ripe.

You know.

Just in case it goes well.

WHO ELSE IS EXCITED?! Marine Corps? NYC? Philly? CIM? Woo!

44 Responses to "Marathon On My Mind"

I’m so excited too!!!!! Thanks for helping me get (and stay) pumped up!!

It’s my first marathon, and I too have been plagued by injuries and issues. I was supposed to run in 2011 and was side-lined due to an ankle stress-fracture and tendonitis. So I hear you about the difficulty in getting excited. Nervousness will do that to you.

But now, this is happening. I’m sure you agree with me that at the point? I will CRAWL the race if I have to.

Have a relaxing taper, and good luck!!!

AliOnTheRun says: October 22, 2012 at 8:02 pm

So exciting! This is your year — good luck!

I’ve become insanely jealous of everyone running NYCM. I remember all this excitement from last year so clearly and I am just really sad not to be a part of it again. I wonder what this means for next year…. anyway, great job on booking a vacation and also I don’t know if 14 miles will EVER feel like nothing to me, so you are impressive. I am one of those obsessive race weather checkers because I need to obsessively plan out outfit options depending on different weather conditions. I get anxiety when I am too hot and also when I am too cold, so, yeah.

I’m not running those anytime soon, but I bet the excitement of all the spectators is going to be awesome for you-especially after how quiet Hamptons was. Wells, except for your personal entourage. Good luck. You will do great!

Looks like you had a wonderful weekend! I can’t get over your damn handwriting I seriously want to write like you. I am so excited for the marathon even though I am not running it. I will be at 80th handing out sponges though 🙂 and I will defiantly look for you!

I am in desperate need of a vacation I keep trying to get my boyfriend to take some damn days off so we can go somewhere!

woo! (for you – no races for me). But, why are you returning your bike?

AliOnTheRun says: October 22, 2012 at 9:13 am

Not my bike! Never! I still have to return the bike I was borrowing from Coach Cane. Oops.

Thank you Ali, I couldn’t have written a better post…you have completely described my training to NYC. Crohns flare up, tough “thinner” training for speed and hills. Ran Chicago a couple of weeks ago and it was a struggle.
I too have tried to not think about NYC too much as I don’t want to be disappointed knowing I have not been 100% for 2012.
I am focusing on finishing and a great quote my boss said to me…” your goal is to get to the start line and cross the finish line” I will be at the start line and look forward to crossing the finish line and then moving forward.

I’m running Philly as my first marathon, and last week was the first time I actually got excited. Up until then I was convinced that I wouldn’t be able to finish. I’m in the last week of my training before the taper and super excited to see what November 18th holds for me!

Good Luck!!

hey kristen! i’m running philly as my first marathon too! good luck 🙂

I can’t believe it’s finally almost here. I’m not running NYC, but several friends are. I feel like they have been training of eons, though I imagine they feel worse.

I got so excited about the bleachers and the flags up in Central Park too! I convinced a few of my bilingual friends to volunteer as interpreters with me at the finish line so I’m looking forward to Nov 4th too – if you want to say hi, pretend you’re Italian and need an interpreter! 😉 Looking forward to seeing all of you cross the finish line strong!!

You have the nicest handwriting. You could moonlight as a 3rd grade teacher.

Seriously! 🙂

I “third” that!!!!

I’m so excited for you!!!! You must be beside yourself, I know I would be. And yes, your hand-writing is spectacular but interestingly not joined up. No idea what that says about you 🙂 I’m more interested in those purple trousers, they’re fabulous. Where did you get them please??

AliOnTheRun says: October 22, 2012 at 8:04 pm

The baggy pants? Lululemon! Fantastic for traveling.

ooooh mexican vacay, very nice. just think of your upcoming margarita binge at mile 24. or don’t. that might mess you up. excited to cheer for you!!

i vote that you definitely think about margaritas on the beach circa miles 20-26. salt on the rim = electrolytes! hehe. i have the best advice.

So excited for you! and also to second Dori, extremely jealous of every person running. I always said I wouldn’t do a full marathon and have changed my tune (running ING Miami in January!) so now am dripping with jealousy. Sigh. I am excited to be a spectator though! and volunteering for the Dash to the Finish the day before – cannot wait!

Your excitement has gotten me all excited! (Way to be contagious. Stay off the subway, please.)

My inaugural marathon (Marine Corps) is only five days away. Eek. Wish me luck and I’ll see you on Nov. 4 from the sidelines, mimosa in hand. 🙂

AliOnTheRun says: October 22, 2012 at 8:04 pm

Five days!!! GOOD LUCK!!!

I’m really excited for you! (and selfishly excited for the recap!) I hope I can accomplish 26.2 miles one day!

Wow, your handwriting should be turned into a font-so uniform and neat!

FREAKING OUT about Marine Corps Marathon in 6 days, thanks for asking. Will not be able to resist further weather stalking, since my boss just dropped into our conversation that he’ll donate to my fundraiser and oh-by-the-way, I hope the weather forecast improves.

You do have fabulous penmanship. Ever been a teacher?

Brian is awesomely supportive of your running, as you are of his biking. So cute!

AliOnTheRun says: October 22, 2012 at 8:05 pm

Channel that freakout into excitement! Have fun, race hard, finish strong and CRUSH IT!

I’m so excited for you!!! And slightly in my own post-marathon depression from the Chicago Marathon. So I will live through your marathon experience!!

Name ...Emily says: October 22, 2012 at 1:45 pm

I’m also funning the Marine Corps this weekend- and it’ll be my first. Keep the inspiration coming!!!

I’m excited! The finish line for the NYCM should be going up this week and they’re probably moving Fred before the weekend, too. That’s when the energy level really gets amped up.
I had a weird dream already — it was about missing my bus, but it was all jumbled because I was already in Fort Wadsworth. Crazy REM sleep. 🙂
I like mango (to eat), but I’m not sure about mango soap. I kind of like my soap frill free. However, I may have to try some of that mango soap you love so much.

Love your psyched-up self!!!!

Little Tyler is such a cute little guy!!!

Ditto to the above–your handwriting is perfect! I can’t wait to watch the NYCM! I’ll be cheering from Williamsburg!

NYCM is the only thing on my mind and on my lips. Rick is so sick of hearing about it that he’s counting down the hours from now until around 2:30p.m. on November 4th!

AliOnTheRun says: October 22, 2012 at 8:06 pm

If Rick can’t take it anymore, I’m just a few blocks away and I can talk about/obsess over this stuff for days. DAYS!

Yay for the first crunchy leaf!
I’m excited and I’m not even running the marathon! Or any marathon as a matter of fact…
Central park looks beautiful in the fall!

The last part of this post made me tear up, because I just finished my first marathon, and couldn’t get it up enough to shower that night. If I had awesome smelling body wash, it might have helped.


I think I’m finally getting excited about NYCM now that I figured out my race outfit last night! Oh, and receivng my number on Friday helped too (I’m coming over from the UK with a tour operator, so we got our numbers later than the general release)!

So glad you’re feeling better and in good shape to run! I love this time of year because it brings back so many good memories of the one and only time I trained for and ran the NYCM. Best thing I’ve ever done! Enjoy the taper.

Looks like you got a whole lot or organizing to do. Almost like you’re living in an episode of Hoarders and somehow I think not. Yeah for excited marathon running Ali.

And now I am also excited… even if I am far away from Central Park and NYC… sadly 🙁
Also, I am so nostalgic now because last year I was still in NYC and saw all the signs in Central Park before the marathon. I wasn’t running it but it was ssooo exciting anyways ! I can totally understand you are “living marathon” now 🙂

You are going to LOVE it! I got so excited/emotional [in a good way] at all the banners, too, but nothing compared to hearing NY NY on the bridge, having people cheer out my name and crossing that finish line.

I’ll be cheering at mi 22, so if your feeling like you need an energy boost around then turn your tunes down and listen for a crazy stranger [except for that one time I creepily said hi on the bridle path…] cheering you on!


I am excited!! I am running Philly and it is my first marathon ever!! Freaking out a little because my IT band has been acting up but hopefully with lots of ice and rolling I’ll be good to go, good luck on NYCM!!!! You will do awesome!

Holy crap, your handwriting is unreal.

I’m not running NYCM, but I’m so excited to cheerlead from the sidelines!

Congratulations on your PR! You are truly an inspiration — especially to those of us who run and have Crohn’s.