The Greatest Day: My New York City Marathon Recap

Date: November 5, 2013 at 7:41 am- by Ali- Comment(s): 164

I spent the week leading up to the New York City Marathon thinking about many of my “worst case scenarios” for race day.

Ignore the fact that I hadn’t totally “properly trained” by most peoples’ standards — I did enough long runs and got enough miles in, but there was nothing that even slightly resembled speed work, hill training or anything other than “junk miles with tons of bathroom stops.” I was actually OK with that, and my concerns were never about whether I could finish the run.

My concerns were also, somehow, not pertaining to the fact that I had no pace plan, no fueling plan for race morning or during the race, and zero expectations for how this race would go.

My concerns were all 100% Crohn’s disease-related. Naturally.

In my worst case scenario visions, I was keeling over before even setting foot on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge at the start line or, even worse, squatting in front of 50,000 fellow runners on the Verrazano.

I took proper precautions: I ran with a handheld water bottle at the suggestion of a friend “who’s been there,” carried my own little stash of toilet paper and mentally prepared myself for a lot of stops and a little humiliation.

My nightmare situations were all graphic, embarrassing and terrifying for me.

And come race day, not a single one of them came true.

Running this year’s New York City Marathon was a truly magical experience for me.

Running happy-ish. Kind of.

Wheeeeeee!

If you’re here for the short version, here’s what you may want to know:

  • I made it to the start line and, 3 hours 58 minutes 42 seconds later, made it to the finish line.
  • I made three bathroom stops, all in the first half (at miles 8, 11 and 12). They were necessary but not tragic.
  • I smiled every single step of the way. I also sang for a few steps, laughed for at least a dozen steps and teared up only two or three times.

If you’re able to stick around for a bit, there’s always more to the story. So here’s a bit more about my very special Sunday…

I spent Saturday doing the usual pre-race prep. I watched lots of “inspirational marathon videos,” only got off the couch to get more food, and Brian made me my favorite Marathon Meal with his one good arm (his left arm is in a cast and a sling, awww).

Marathon Pasta! Mara-Thasta? I guess that doesn't work.

Marathon Pasta! Mara-Thasta? I guess that doesn’t work.

I didn’t sleep well at all Saturday night because I had all those “nightmare scenarios” dancing around in my head. But I woke up feeling finely rested and excited.

It was a beautiful morning to run a marathon.

Rise and SO MUCH SHINE!!!

Rise and SO MUCH SHINE!!!

The always-dramatic newscasters kept going on about the wind and the cold, but that never concerned or bothered me. As I got ready, I focused all my energy on staying positive, breathing and keeping a happy mindset.

I took a 7 AM ferry with Baker, Abbe and everyone they know…

With Abbe at the ferry terminal. There is a Dairy Queen on the Staten Island side and it was OPEN. I did not get a Blizzard. I did scream that I wanted one.

With Abbe at the ferry terminal. There is a Dairy Queen on the Staten Island side and it was OPEN. I did not get a Blizzard. I did scream that I wanted one.

…and made it to the start village a little after 8 AM. I was a little concerned about all the logistics required in getting to the start line. I don’t love crowds and I envisioned too-many-people-here-induced panic attacks. But everything went super smoothly, nothing was over-crowded and I didn’t have to sit around waiting on Staten Island forever.  It all went perfectly well.

The views from the ferry are pretty and tourists get so excited about Lady Libs. But so do I.

The views from the ferry are pretty and tourists get so excited about Lady Libs. But so do I.

I found Kelly and Betsy in my start corral.

Sometimes, in a sea of 50,000 people and just as many porta-potties, you find familiar faces.

Sometimes, in a sea of 50,000 people and just as many porta-potties, you find familiar faces.

I ate half a salt bagel at home and a peanut butter Clif Bar in the corral, and soon we were moving up, stripping down and getting ready to run.

Where were the Dunkin Donuts hats? I want one. I did not get one. I only had a giraffe hat.

Where were the Dunkin Donuts hats? I want one. I did not get one. I only had a giraffe hat.

So then “New York, New York” started playing, and we all took off. I was on the lower level of the bridge, which I was fine with. Troll-style. I didn’t notice the incline, didn’t notice the wind and just took in the incredible views to my left. All the runners just seemed so happy and so grateful, and it set a wonderful tone for the entire day.

That bridge, when you're standing in its shadow, just seems MASSIVE.

That bridge, when you’re standing in its shadow, just seems MASSIVE.

Eventually the bridge goes down which, again, I didn’t really notice (though according to my watch — which I ended up wearing for fear of going out too fast and not knowing it — I dropped an 8:19 second mile).

After the Verrazano, you wind into Brooklyn, and from my vantage point I could see the blue and orange waves coming off the bridge, led by the elite men. The race was major sensory overload from start to finish. There was always something to see and something to distract you from the fact that you’re running a marathon.

Around mile three, there were also a lot of people peeing on the side of the road. I liked that.

By mile four, you’re into Brooklyn and oh my god, Brooklyn!

Running through Brooklyn was the most insane party. The crowds are so excited and so loud and they love you. There were bands on every block, people out on their roofs and balconies and lots of little kids who just wanted a high five from a runner.

I noticed some rolling hills at some point in Brooklyn, but it was nothing that took extra energy from me. I was wearing mittens that covered my watch on purpose, because I didn’t want to focus on it, but every now and then I’d glance down and I’d mostly see 8:50-somethings, and that seemed good to me.

By mile six, my stomach felt like it needed to be emptied. I didn’t end up stopping until around mile 8, and it was frustrating having to wait for an open bathroom, but I just watched runners go by, smiled at them and didn’t let myself get frustrated by the loss in time.

During that first stop, I realized just how amazing it was to be kind of unprepared and entirely un-pressured (definitely not a word). The bathroom stops didn’t matter! I could stop all day, and it would be OK! I wasn’t gunning for a goal time and time lost wasn’t lost, it was just time spent not running.

Once I got in and out of the bathroom, I popped back onto the road and cruised. I saw my Team Challenge friend Betsy and she bellowed my name, which was a fun surprise.

Brooklyn is really cute, by the way. I should go there more.

Around mile nine I had a snack — a few Honey Stinger Chews. Fruit Smoothie flavor. I tell myself they’re “basically Starbursts.”

People always say the first 10 miles of a marathon should feel easy, and they did. I don’t even remember seeing the mile 10 marker. I remember getting to mile 11, because I needed to stop again, and then at mile 12 I stopped for the third and final time. This one cost me the most time because there was only one porta-potty, and the person in there before me seemed to be in rougher shape than I was.

I remember climbing the Pulaski Bridge at the halfway point. I still felt awesome, and the incline wasn’t bad.

People had warned me that Queens was “boring,” but I didn’t think that was the case. You make a lot of turns in Queens, so that keeps things interesting, plus there were still decent crowds out making things fun. At this point, I could see the Queensboro Bridge up ahead, and knew that was where things might take a turn.

Some of my worst case scenario situations also involved the QB.

Again, none of them came true.

As soon as I got onto the bridge, I put my headphones in. I didn’t want to notice the quiet or hear other runners breathing. I could hear the cars above, which was a little eerie, because I didn’t want them to fall on me. I listened to exactly one and a half songs before I turned the music off and ran down the bridge toward my borough. I’m sure my pace slowed here — my watch got spastic, said I was running a 14-minute pace and stayed at mile 15.5 for longer than I think it should have — but again, I didn’t notice the incline. I just kept feeling happy and looking around and basking in the energy from the runners around me.

I was so excited to get to First Avenue in Manhattan. I knew I’d have spectators out along the way, I knew the stretch would be downhill for a good while and I knew that people-watching would distract me from counting the street numbers all the way to the Bronx.

Things got really fun here. As you’ve surely read by now, or you’ve seen, the spectators in Manhattan are at least five people deep on each side. I stuck to the west side of the street, since that’s where I knew my people would be. I started seeing familiar faces at 89th Street — my old corner! Perfect.

Bum shot by Tara.

Bum shot by Tara.

Then I saw Brian right where he said he’d be, at 95th Street, going crazy with his arm in a sling and a cowbell in his bum hand, taking pictures with his left and screaming at me.

OMG YAYYYYY RUNNING! MARATHON!!!

OMG YAYYYYY RUNNING! MARATHON!!!

A little while later I saw Sara and Gregg, and then I saw Kristan, who made me get a little weepy. I was so happy I still felt good when I was Kristan. (The other tears came a bit at the start and then on First Avenue when a mom saw her husband and kids and stopped to hug them and the kids seemed so proud and in awe of their kickass mom. Precious.)

I expected to hate the later section of First Avenue. I didn’t, though. I was so in the zone and before long I was in the Bronx.

Coach Cane would say "Stop waving. Save your energy. A smile and nod will suffice."

Coach Cane would say “Stop waving. Save your energy. A smile and nod will suffice.”

I ate a few more Honey Stinger Chews around mile 19. Champion marathon snacking right there.

I missed the 20-mile marker, and now that I realize how many mile markers I missed I’m starting to wonder, did I actually even run this race? I was oblivious to a lot of important signs, I think.

Finally, the home stretch. I very vividly remember winding back into Manhattan and not loving the bridge that takes you there. It wasn’t steep or long, I just remember thinking “I don’t particularly love this bridge.”

Then it was over, and then I was in Harlem.

Harlem was filled with cute kids who play awesome drums and love life.

At this point, I knew I was going to finish, and I knew my stomach was going to be OK. I punched all of the “Punch here for power!” signs and high fived the guy who yelled “Nice bum, where ya from?!” I also loved responding, “I’m from New York!” (Sorry, mom.)

Again, I expected to hate the Fifth Avenue incline you hear so much about, but I didn’t. My legs started to feel a little tired here, but I was running comfortably and was afraid to push the pace too soon.

I saw Brian again at 95th and Fifth, just before I took that oh-so-familiar turn into Central Park at my beloved Engineers’ Gate. I tossed my stupid SpiBelt to him (I hate that thing; why do I wear it?), shouted some nonsense and told myself I was free to kick it anytime.

Brian, if you really loved me, you would have jumped in and high fived me with your broken hand.

Brian, if you really loved me, you would have jumped in and high fived me with your broken hand.

Central Park was tough. I stopped looking at the crowds and focused on getting myself to the finish line.

I covered my watch, pumped my arms and smiled like a fool the entire way.

I loved seeing Erica, right where she said she’d be, and adored flying down Cat Hill, where Lindsay and her Central Park Track Club teammates were going nuts.

Photo by Erica Sara.

Photo by Erica Sara. Thighs by Velveeta.

I don’t really remember exiting the park, but I remember Central Park South feeling endless. Columbus Circle looked so far away. So I tried to get there faster.

I wound into the park — the marathon broadcast coverage busted me checking my watch, naturally — and tried to pass people leading up to the finish.

FAME! I'm gonna run foreverrrrr!

FAME! I’m gonna run foreverrrrr!

They moved the finish line back, right? I swear, that thing was further away than it ever seemed.

I found an open window right through the middle of the finish line, looked up, smiled and I was done.

Finisher!

Finisher!

I got medal-ed, heat sheet-ed and, eventually, poncho-ed.

Medals!

Medals!

Heat sheets!

Heat sheets!

Brian met me with sweatpants and Oreos, and I came home to a fabulously festive apartment.

Brian, what was your plan if I didn't finish? Just pop the balloons real quick?

Brian, what was your plan if I didn’t finish? Just pop the balloons real quick?

Three bathroom stops. 26.2 miles. A sub-4:00 finish time.

I don’t know how it happened, either.

By the numbers, if you’re into that sort of thing:

Really, best pace? OoooooK.

Really, best pace? OoooooK.

Can you tell where the bathroom stops were?!

Can you tell where the bathroom stops were?!

Not counting the stops and the screwy QB, my first mile was my slowest and my last mile was my fastest. I read somewhere that that's how you're supposed to do it.

Not counting the stops and the screwy QB, my first mile was my slowest and my last mile was my fastest. I read somewhere that that’s how you’re supposed to do it.

The New York City Marathon is something special, and even though I just managed to ramble on about nothing for a very long time (still with me?), I truly believe it’s something you need to experience in order to really experience it. The videos, the blogs, the recaps…they don’t do this race enough justice. The fans, the support, the camaraderie — it’s absolute magic.

I don’t think I’ll run this race again. It was so perfect to me, even with the stopping, and I don’t want anything to change this amazing image I have of the race.

Aw, you want to climb on a bench after the marathon? That's cute. Have fun getting down. Idiot.

Aw, you want to climb on a bench after the marathon? That’s cute. Have fun getting down. Idiot.

It was a good day for New York, it was a good day for runners and it was the day I have needed and wanted all year.

From the bottom of my very happy heart, thank you for the love not just on Sunday, but all year getting to this point. It has not been easy, and I know things aren’t going to be easy going forward. Obviously. But the encouragement from loved ones and from total strangers has been tremendous.

That's a wrap... (Get it? Aluminum wrap... heat sheet wrap... No?)

That’s a wrap… (Get it? Aluminum wrap… heat sheet wrap… No?)

New York, I love you. Forever and ever.

164 Responses to "The Greatest Day: My New York City Marathon Recap"

so happy for you! you make even me, a non-runner, want to go run!

DO IT! Running is magical. Sometimes.

What a love-filled recap! So happy for your NYC Marathon experience and love the pics <3

I am SO happy for you!!! I have been reading your blog ever since I came across it after the NYC marathon cancelled and I ran Manchester, NH instead. (Thanks Google!) The NYC marathon was truly an experience of a lifetime and more than lived up to the hype!

Congratulations, Ali. 🙂 you are amazing. x

Yay! Congratulations, I’m so happy for you!

Also mad impressed, because even under the best of circumstances I couldn’t run a sub-4 marathon (maybe that’s because i’ve never run more than 8 miles? whatever) 🙂

So don’t say “I couldn’t,” say “I haven’t YET!”

Congratulations Ali! So happy you made it to the race and rocked it!

CONGRATSSSSS AGAIN!!!!!! So glad you didn’t make me wait until Wednesday to read this, like you said might happen. YAY MARATHON!!!!!!! YAY PANCAKES!!!!!!

Okay, let’s eat more pizza now. Love you.

So, so happy for you, Ali! You had the perfect attitude throughout the race, and I love how much you are smiling in all of your photos. What an awesome day 🙂 Biggest congrats!

PS. I hope whomever is the future owner of the giraffe hat loves it as much as you did.

I wonder where that giraffe is right now. I hope it’s being well-worn and loved.

This post is absolutely incredible!!!! So many readers, myself included, have been rooting for you, hoping for you, praying for you all year, and we’re all so freaking pumped for you! CONGRATULATIONS!!!

Wooo, sooo happy for you Ali!! And you got a great time, even with the bathroom stops! (My first pre-Crohn’s HALF marathon was over three hours, never mind a FULL marathon!!!!!) 😀 Will hopefully attempt my first post-Crohn’s diagnosis half marathon in May, but your post has totally convinced me that I need to get my ass on a plane to the US and do the NYC Marathon one day, flare up or no flare up…!!! Well done Ali…keep floating on that amazing finishing line feeling! xxx

Hooray! Huge congratulations, Ali. I also had a great race and was looking for you, but you were WAY ahead. It’s been a delight following your journey, and I’m so in awe of your drive to finish. You were right–this one was YOURS. Hold on to that feeling.

Ali, you are such an inspiration to SO MANY people! I’m so happy you had an amazing NYC marathon experience…no one deserved that more than you! Way to go!!

This makes me sooo incredibly happy. Totally teared up reading this. I am so glad for you. You are an incredible person and runner!

I’m so happy for you! that gutsy determination has it’s rewards 🙂

loved reading this. loved screaming for you on sunday. love it ALL! now let’s have a date and eat brian’s meatballs and anthony’s banana bread.

I’m so happy that the race worked out well for you. You deserved a great race! You look so happy and glowing. Congrats on a great performance. 🙂

Oh man I just got all weepy reading this. Marathoning is such an amazing thing, and how you felt about this year’s NYC is how I feel about the 2014 Boston. I think once I actually finish it, I won’t want to change anything or forget anything by running more Bostons. You got me all sorts of giddy thinking about running. CONGRATULATIONS GIRL. You rule.

Renee Tidwell says: November 5, 2013 at 8:58 am

I don’t personally know you, but I’ve been following your blog for a couple of years now. I am supposed to be doing my second ever half marathon in December. Due to a surgery and injury, I haven’t put the miles in that I needed.

You are so inspiring to me and it is a huge encouragement! If I have to walk, I know I can finish that race!!

Thank you for sharing and always being so open and honest!

Love the attitude, Renee! Take good care of yourself and have fun out there. Good luck!!

Love the recap! You rocked the race and a true inspiration for runners! Congrats!!

What is amazing is how other than the bathroom stops, this race seemed to be really easy for you at such a fast pace. I’m so excited for your next HEALTHY marathon! I am SO impressed with how well you did and so happy for you that you had such an amazing, perfect, fun day. Congrats!

Congratulations! I’m so happy you were able to run on Sunday and have such a fantastic experience!

Congratulations Ali! You so deserved this kind of marathon after what you’ve been through! I’m so glad it went so great for you! Awesome, awesome, awesome 🙂

YAAAAAAAY!!! This race report made me ridiculously happy.

So happy for you! And you make me want to move to NYC!

THIS!!! This was the post I was looking forward to. SO VERY HAPPY FOR YOU!!!!

Damn you, Ali! Sitting at my desk with goose bumps, a few tears, and that knot in my throat when I experience something truly incredible. Amazing, amazing, amazing are you! Congratulations on an amazing race!

Yay! You looked like such a champ at Mile 22 – CONGRATULATIONS on a fantastic race! I can’t wait to do it next year!!

I was so happy to see you! That was the only water station I stopped at and it was so great seeing a familiar face! YOU looked so happy!

Congratulations. To be honest, I’m a little jealous that you were so much faster than I was, and I trained all year, when you seem not to have trained at all. But that’s okay. I’ll get it next time.

Long time reader, first time commenter- de-lurking to say, Congrats Ali! What a wonderful victory for you! There’s something special about overcoming adversity to accomplish an important goal. Enjoy!

Congratulations!!!

Fabulous recap Ali. So happy for you! I love how happy you look in all the photos.

CONGRATS!! I’ve been reading your blog for a while and am so happy you were able to run this race the way you wanted! As a New Yorker who no longer lives in the US…your recap made me miss the place even more! Awesome job with the run.

Congrats. Knew you could and would!!

I’m so glad you had the race you wanted and deserved! You are such an inspiration. Keep rocking it, lady!! 🙂

Congratulations, Ali! Simply incredible.

WOW! Awesome. I love the marathon, too, and am proud of my recaps, but now I feel like I need to go back and add A LOT!! I am in awe of your mile 25! And your positive attitude. I am so happy for you that you were able to make a comeback after such a tough year. BRAVO!!! You are an inspiration!

PS. My long but relatively puny recap is up on my site 😉

two things…

1 – congrats!
2 – i was voluncheering at mile 12, and i felt so bad for all the people who were waiting for that one porta-potty cause there was a whole line of them just past the water tables 🙁 sorry you got stuck in that line as well and sorry i missed you passing by or i would have cheered for you!

YES, I know! As soon as I got out and started running again I was like “Seriously? An entire row of potties, just a few feet further? Damnit, Ali!” Sad I missed you, but hope you had fun out there!

ALI I’M SO HAPPY FOR YOU!!!!!!!!!!! That is all 🙂

Yay, Ali! So happy for you! 🙂

So so happy for you! I was thinking about you during the race and hoping that it was going well. Hooray!

OMG, Ali!!! Congrats times a million! You are so inspiring, strong, and your attitude is amazing! So happy for you 🙂

Congratulations an a super fantastic, amazingly wonderful race day! Your smile in your pictures is infectious, I feel happy just seeing how happy you were on Sunday. I’m so glad you had such a great experience.

This WAS your race! Congratulations, Ali! I’m so glad you didn’t have the race you had nightmares about and had a best case scenario race! You continue to amaze me and your happiness in this post is contagious!

Congratulations!! You are such an inspiration! I watched for you (I was on First Ave) and now that I see pics of what you were wearing, I definitely saw you run by smiling!

Fantastic! I am so so happy for you!

Amazing, Ali! Freakin’ incredible! You are truly inspirational.

CONGRATS ALI! I loved reading this recap…it makes me want to run NY!

Congrats!!! You did it!!! So happy you got to fulfill your dream! Very impressed!

CONGRATULATIONS! What am amazing accomplishment! You are a true inspiration, way to go!

I AM SO HAPPY FOR YOU!!!

You deserve this marathon and I am happy for what a wonderful experience it was.

Congratulations!!!

Congratulations! I teared up reading this– I’m so happy for you!

Just one word for you…..yippeee!!!!!

Congrats Ali! You totally deserved this race

So I had all these things to yell at you when you passed such as “Wagon Wheel!” “You’re hot as shit!” and “You look like a graceful giraffe.” But instead I just freaked out and rang my cowbells while screaming.

You are my favorite and I love you and knew you could do this all along! I’m so glad that this was such an amazing day for you. If you can run a marathon in 3:58 on little training, you can do anything.

All I heard was “ALI! ADHIOFJEIAGKHD!!!!!!” and I loved it.

So happy for you. After the year you’ve had, you totally deserved to have such an awesome race. Such a huge victory for you, I hope you revel in it for a long time!

So sad I didn’t get to see/finally MEET you while you were here! Next time pleeeeease?!

Yes! Assuming I have lottery luck, I will be there for the NYC Half.

Amazing! Congrats on such an incredible race!

Congratulations! Sounds like an awesome way to end a not-so-awesome year!

Congratulations, Ali! What an awesome, awesome way to finish out the year. You deserve this!

Hurray! 🙂
I kept checking my RSS reader to see how it went for you. Congratulations to your good race!

Holy crap – you did AMAZING!! I am so thrilled for you! SO THRILLED. and think this was the perfect way to run this race too. don’t change a thing 🙂

You are so inspiring. I almost cried reading this post. I feel like a stalker but I really just want to give you a big sweaty hug!!! You are such a rockstar!!

YAY!!!! I’ve been waiting for this post– and proceeded to get goosebumps and weepy while I read it. Congratulations on finishing all 26.2 of those miles– you deserved every step 😀 you did it girl!!

AHHHH I JUST SCREECHED IN THE LIBRARY! I am so beyond happy for you Ali! I have been following your blog for a while now and I am so happy that after this very trying year you were able to have a great race. Hang on to that runner’s high, you’re awesome! 🙂

So very excited for you! So glad you were able to have such a great race after such a rough year!

SO MUCH AWESOME HERE. I can’t even begin to explain how you, a complete stranger, has made my day, my week, my month. I am so happy for you, proud of you, and so on.
You look fantastic running and WAY TO FRIGGIN GO!

Congrats! I was tracking you and cheering you on from Chicago! I’m so glad you had a great day.

Stacy Dylan says: November 5, 2013 at 2:13 pm

This is one of the most inspirational stories about Crohn’s disease and triumph. Thanks for sharing. I ran the NY marathon 2 years ago and was so missing it on Sunday here where I live in Los Angeles. Congrats and I hope your recovery is going well.

Ok…crying over here! What an awesome race recap! I am so happy for you and can only imagine how much this race meant to you. 2013 has been a horrible year for me and my Crohn’s as well and although I’m working back, it’s taken a toll on me emotionally. I am now fighting to get my fitness back and this post might be just what I needed. To know that despite everything you’ve been through this year you were able to persevere and not only finish, but finish sub-4 is amazing. YOU are amazing! Please keep sharing your journey because I love being inspired by you. Thank you for sharing your story.

Congrats Ali!!

All of this is just fabulous. Hope this means things are on an upswing for you, Ali! Congrats!

There’s a decimal point balloon! I think that’s my favorite picture in this recap.

Seriously – congrats! It sounds like you had a blast.

You are so inspiring! (and a very good writer)
Congratulations!

YOU DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I teared up reading this entry!!! I’m so happy for you:)

So glad to hear you had a great run! And I love the decorations you got to come home to. He’s a keeper!

Agreed 😉

Seriously amazing, I am so very happy for you. I was tracking you online (that sounds so stalkerish) and was gutted when I had to go into church and turn my phone off…and so happy to come out and find out you’d done it! Congratulations! And BEST OUTFIT EVER!

So now when you turn around in the elevator and say, “I bet you’re all wondering why I’ve gathered you here today . . .” you can finish with, “let me tell you a little story about how I kicked 2013 NYC marathon butt . . . !”

Congrats & well done!

So impressive! I would love to be able to do that kind of run. Heading down for a weekend Disney Run. Should be so much fun but not nearly as tough. Great Job!!!
Linda
gameday dresses

congrats, Ali! loved reading your recap. wish I’d been there to cheer in person!

Congratulations, a huge well done, you totally deserve it x

I am beyondddddddddddddd happy for you! LOVE this recap and love that you were able to run. I have some other friends who ran NYC this wkend and they also said it was amazing.. if i ever do a marathon, that’ll be the one.

CONGRATS!!! I am so glad that you got to run this race, it’s truly the best. ALSO, the fact that you detailed the Dairy Queen existence has truly changed my life. Reeses Peanut Butter Cup Blizzard anyone?!?!

THAT’S MY FAVORITE BLIZZARD!

Congrats on a great race! P.S. I read article quoting you on a small little website called runnersworld.com. :). Great article, glad you liked your poncho!

AMAZING! I kept checking your site to see if you made it (thank you, twitter)… SO incredibly happy for you- you make this IBD girl thankful for my runs too. Congratulations on it all- making it through this year and finishing the NYC Marathon! YAY!

YAY!!!!! I was SO pumped to read this today…YOU ROCK!!!!

YES YES YES YES YES!!!! I tracked you online on Sunday and I assumed things were going well based on your times. I’m so glad that the race was so good for you, and that you enjoyed it. You definitely deserved it 🙂

What a fantastic recap! SO SO HAPPY FOR YOU! You’re amazing!

Awesome! Awesome! Awesome!

And a quote on RW! (the best, by the way…totally wear the poncho to work. Who wouldn’t?!) Congrats on an awesome day!

Congrats! I’m so glad you had a great race! You totally deserved it!!

Your happiness shows in every picture! Congratulations!

It was so amazing reading yur marathon recap, Ali! A big CONGRATS to you! I hope this is the first step (well, actually since we are talking about the marathon it would be thousands of steps! 😉 ) to better health and a better year ahead. May I also extend an invitation to you to now conquer the Chicago Marathon in 2014- we’d love to have you here! 🙂 And I also have one question for you: where did you get those awesome leg warmers? I’d love to run in a pair some day! 🙂 congrats again!!!

Thanks! And Chicago, I’ll think about it 😉 As for the legwarmers: American Apparel!

Congratulations! I’m loving all of this report…so good!

But this sentence: ” I was oblivious to a lot of important signs, I think.” I beg to differ. You missed the UNimportant signs, because you were so focused on the really important signs (and stuff).

Incidentally? I hate my spibelt too. I want to give it away, but no one will take it. I suppose that should tell me something….

Ohhhhhh I like the way you think/read!

Margie311 says: November 5, 2013 at 9:17 pm

You are amazing!! This is hands down one of the best race recaps I’ve read in a while. It looks like you had a blast and you have a thousand reasons to be proud!

Congratulations!

After everything you’ve been through, you so deserve this!! Awesome job, girl! 😀

congrats! I’ve been reading for awhile but never commented – awesome race recap too!

Congrats on an absoluteky amazing marathon, Ali! I hope this is the first step (or, since we are talking about the marathon, the first thousand steps or so) towards better health and a better year ahead. And maybe next year can include conquering the Chicago Marathon- we’d love to have you here! I have only one question for you: where did you get those awesome leg warmers? I’m serious: I’d love to run in them someday, they look more fun than compression socks. Congrats again!

American Apparel!

Um, sorry if my post is duplicated. Whenever I try to post it says, ” your comment awaiting moderation” . I tried twice. So, I do not know how many times my comment will show up, if at all. Ha!

So happy for you Ali! Great job and great recap! Can you post about your race outfit? Are those compression socks or legwarmers? The bright colors looked awesome!

They’re legwarmers, from American Apparel! The tank and shorts are Lululemon, and the orange arm-warmers were the official ING NYCM ones. (I got them at JackRabbit Sports.)

I’m in Brooklyn Ali, and had the most amazing time on Sunday watching on Lafayette St. I wasn’t really expecting to recognize anyone – but I saw you. It was the huge smile on your face, completely unmissable. You looked so happy and string, it was great to see – and really moving, to be honest.

Bravo!

Yay!! Thanks for cheering! Brooklyn was AWESOME!

So many cheers, YAHOOOOOOs, and puppy kisses are in order! Congrats on your great race and perfect day!

Am so happy for you Ali!

Fantastic recap!!! Congrats on a great race, and a great time. Love the festive apartment with the 26.2 balloons!

I love this! I’m so glad you were able to run it and that it went so well for you. It is total magic out there.

You make me want to run New York! 😀

Ahhh Ali I am SO happy for you! After the year you had, you deserved this race. Congrats and well done!

I couldn’t have summarized it better myself, Ali! I’m so thrilled that everything came together for you on Sunday and you had a great race. I also ran on Sunday (my first marathon) and had an amazing experience.

PS – I also noticed my family is in the background of Erica’s photo!!

Ha! That’s too funny!

What an awesome recap. Congratulations! You are so very inspiring!!

You owned this race. Congratulations!!!

You can have my Dunkin Donuts hat. It’s too small for my head.

YAY!!! congratulations 🙂 you are amazing.

I am comment #112–and had to scroll alllll the way down the page, but I still had to comment to say CONGRATS!!! I am so happy for you!! I was so happy tracking you and seeing you were ticking off the miles. And yes, definitely come to Brooklyn more.

Welp, I just teared up like a fool reading this at work – so happy for you!!! Congratulations, Ali! You’re amazing. You’ve definitely inspired me to lace back up again 🙂

Congratulations!!! I recently started reading your blog and you are such an inspiration. I ran Sunday as well and also PRed, but finished way after you 😉 I hope I can sub-4 one day! Keep up the awesome work!!

Crying. So happy for you!

OMG you are so amazing! Congratulations!

Pete and Maria says: November 7, 2013 at 8:28 am

Well done Ali. We love you! The Melbourne Marathon is still calling your name!

“Thighs by velveeta” made me laugh so hard. CONGRATS on your fantasmagical marathon!!

Congratulations, Ali! So happy to hear that you were able to accomplish your dream. You are a true inspiration!!

Such a wonderful and inspirational post. So happy it was so magical for you. Keep up the good work.

See, I knew Congratulations were in order, even before I read this post. I had faith in you the whole time. I’m so glad you got a win on this one.

WHERE do you get your awesome array of colors and styles LEGWARMERS? Or what brand are they? Please do share your secret!

Also, GREAT Race Recap! Loved reading all about it with the pictures! Congratulations, Miss Ali!

Amazing, and I am so jealous! I’m trying to get in for 2014, but who knows how that’ll work out.

And don’t think I didn’t notice that 7:36 last mile. You’re a beast! Great run.

Congrats!!! Your recap makes me want to run again. So happy reading about your marathon experience. xoxo

I have been reading your blog for over a year now! Your blog helped me get through my first marathon, now over a year ago. I continued reading and was with you through everything. After reading this, you are truly an inspiration to me. Congrats to you! That is an awesome pace and a great experience!!! I so glad you were able to run this race!

I know that this is a bit late… but CONGRATULATIONS!!! It was so inspiring to read about your experience.

Also, the balloon with the decimal point was really cute!

“I don’t run away from a challenge because I’m afraid. Instread, I run toward it because the only way to escape fear is to trample it beneath your feet.” — Nadia Comaneci

Great race post. I’ve been reading through your blog and you are a wonderful strong person and I can’t wait to read more.

Congrats Ali! That is so so great, and this post is awesome. I am very happy for you.

Hi! What’s a Honey Stinger Chew?

Thanks for the post, really enjoyed It 🙂

What a truly inspiring post! Certainly makes me want to participate in the NY marathon next time. Congratulations Ali! So glad none of your nightmare worst case scenarios eventuated!

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Wow, your pretty damn inspiring! I am the person who said I would never run more than 6 miles, and you just made me want to run a marathon (I am more of a swimmer..) . Thank god no one on here knows me and can hold me to that! 🙂 great job and congrats!

That is awesome and inspiring! I am running the Boston Marathon in April and I am very excited/scared/nervous. I hope I do as great as you!!!

Amazing Post! I like this site very much.Really your post is helped me greatly.Your creative written is reminded me.

Your post just brought tears and a smile to my face. I was lucky enough to get in for 2014 and am just so excited! Your journey through the race sounds like it was incredible – such a great read – thank you for sharing!

I know this is 10 months ago for you, but
liked the way you recounted the NYCM.

You motivated me for running my lon g run
tomorrow getting ready for 11/2/2014.

Keep that great smile….

I just stumbled onto this awesome post. It was just what i needed after my final “big” run; taper time to NYC. Now that i’ve read this, i can’t wait! Great pics. Great narrative. You’ve got good friends too. Thanks for sharing. And thanks for including all the splits too!