“This Isn’t Steamtown”: My New York City Marathon 2014 Recap

Date: November 5, 2014 at 3:01 pm- by Ali- Comment(s): 68

After last year’s nearly perfect New York City Marathon, I said I didn’t need to run the race again. Despite being mid-Crohn’s flare and having to make three ugly bathroom stops along the way, I paced myself beautifully and enjoyed every step of the 26.2-mile trek from Staten Island to Central Park. I finally got to run my hometown marathon, and it was so much more than I ever could have dreamed it would be. So then it was out of my system. I was satisfied. Content. Fulfilled.

I love medals. I do. I know it's cheesy. But I like them.

I love medals. I do. I know it’s corny. But I like them.

Then I started working for a running company, and I found out I would be able to run the race again this year if I was up for it. (I still had to pay for my entry. Apparently companies don’t just throw $266 at you to run a race and yes that’s what this marathon costs.)

I wavered for a few days, but ultimately I knew what I wanted to do.

I wanted to be a part of it. I wanted to be back on those streets, running without fear of bathroom breaks or urgent stops.

That finish line! Oh baby she's cute!

That finish line! Oh baby she’s cute!

The New York City Marathon would be my Steamtown victory lap. I’d PR at Steamtown, and then cruise around the five New York City boroughs feeling happy and basking in my big running season glory.

Except we know how that went. There wasn’t much awesomeness coming out of my legs or my brain during the Steamtown Marathon. There was no PR, no huge victory. There was a heck of a celebration, because all marathon finishes deserve one, no? But it wasn’t the race I had hoped for, it wasn’t the performance I had trained for, and it wasn’t my day.

Maybe New York City could be my day?

SNEAK PEEK AT HOW THIS RECAP ENDS.

SNEAK PEEK AT HOW THIS RECAP ENDS.

With the exception of my weekend at the Runner’s World Festival, I spent the three weeks following the Steamtown Marathon recovering in a major way. I didn’t run much and basically taper-recovered. I took as many rest days as I did run days, and I felt decent in the days leading up to the NYC Marathon.

I did some cool stuff, too. I got to pretend I was a model for a Zelle/Runner’s World segment on FOX 5 about dressing warm for winter running, and the co-host, Greg Kelly told me I wouldn’t win the marathon, and told me not to carb-load too much because then I might “carb-unload.” Just a normal day.

HAHAHAHA GREG KELLY SAID I'M GOING TO SHIT MY PANTS HAHAHAHA. #crohns

HAHAHAHA GREG KELLY SAID I’M GOING TO SHIT MY PANTS HAHAHAHA. #crohns

Not. Actually. Funny. Jerk.

Not. Actually. Funny. Jerk.

I went to the marathon expo on Thursday in my usual speedy fashion — get bib, take picture with bib, say hi to one person, get out ASAP and don’t return to the Javits Center for at least another year.

This shot is mandatory, I think, if you are running a race. GET BIB, HOLD UP BIB, SMILE SO BIG YOUR CHEEKS ARE SORE FOR A MONTH. Check!

This shot is mandatory, I think, if you are running a race. GET BIB, HOLD UP BIB, SMILE SO BIG YOUR CHEEKS ARE SORE FOR A MONTH. Check!

Friday was spent running in a tiger suit through Central Park and to a November Project workout at Lincoln Center (I jogged two miles there and skipped the workout part of the workout, opting instead to man a “free high five” station)…

Mostly normal. (It was Halloween, by the way. I again use this as a chance to remind you that this tiger suit only cost $24.99. Really strong investment.)

Mostly normal. (It was Halloween, by the way. I again use this as a chance to remind you that this tiger suit only cost $24.99. Really strong investment.)

…doing some light manual labor at work (running company = so many marathon events)…

Hanging backdrops, sorting marathon bags, wearing a beanie.

Hanging backdrops, sorting marathon bags, wearing a beanie.

…and attending the Runner’s World New York City Marathon party with some cute familiar faces.

I basically got to spend every day last week with Emily. It was amazing.

I basically got to spend every day last week with Emily. It was amazing.

And Saturday was spent entirely on the couch with a few Pitch Perfect dance breaks and some quality FaceTiming with my favorite kids.

Ohhhh, thanks, Abigail! Her handwriting is already so nice. Could I BE any more proud?

Ohhhh, thanks, Abigail! Her handwriting is already so nice. Could I BE any more proud?

By Saturday night, I started to get nervous. Brian was at a wedding out on Long Island, and I called him and freaked out a little about the predicted wind, about “what if I’m not recovered?” and just general silly pre-race nonsense. After we hung up, he sent me one sentence, and it became my mantra for the race:

Everything I needed to hear.

Everything I needed to hear.

Then it was Sunday.

Marathon Day.

Yeah, Brian did wake up at 5 AM to take this photo willingly. Solid dude.

Yeah, Brian did wake up at 5 AM to take this photo willingly. Solid dude.

I woke up to an email from New York Road Runners alerting us about the high winds, blah blah blah. I wasn’t too worried, because it’s just wind and I can’t control it. At least it wasn’t raining or snowing or sleeting or Crohnsing from the sky, right?

So I suited up and stepped out…

…and got just about knocked over waiting for a cab.

Seriously. The wind was so intense.

I was happy to be on VIP bus to the start line, and joyfully freaked out when I got to the bus location and saw all my November Project friends waiting there. I was so happy to have familiar faces with me on the way to the start, and taking the bus is way better than the ferry.

NP on the fancy bus! It had a bathroom!

NP on the fancy bus! It had a bathroom!

We got to drive over the Verrazano Bridge and right up to our VIP tent at the start.

Driving over, running back.

Driving over, running back.

And then we waited. We snuggled under blankets, ate our breakfasts, and I took some Imodium.

Thanks for the VIP treatment, Coach!

Thanks for the VIP treatment, Coach!

Steve! (This photo is foreshadowing. Wait for it.)

Steve! (This photo is foreshadowing. Wait for it.)

We had our own row of Porta Potties and some baller security. VIP, man. Livin’ so large.

I realize these guys were supposed to make me feel MORE safe, but this kind of protection actually did the opposite, because then I was all, "WHAT MIGHT BE LURKING IN THOSE PORTA POTTIES YOU ARE GUARDING???"

I realize these guys were supposed to make me feel MORE safe, but this kind of protection actually did the opposite, because then I was all, “WHAT MIGHT BE LURKING IN THOSE PORTA POTTIES YOU ARE GUARDING???”

November Project representing in a major way!

November Project representing in a major way!

Soon it was time to get into my corral — orange corral E, first wave. And I made two friends! Alison (and she goes by Ali, same spelling, and we both went to Quinnipiac) and Jenna, who has really nice eyes. Having company made the time pass nicely, and then we were scooting forward onto the bridge. It was go time.

It was also really windy. It wasn’t too bad in the corral, but once we got onto the bridge, it was downright blustery. Most people weren’t taking off their throwaway clothes, and I kept my hoodie, hat, arm warmers, and gloves on for as long as possible.

There was a National Anthem, a cannon blast, and then…no “New York, New York?!” I watched the television coverage and it came on for the later waves, but they didn’t play it for my wave and I was so so sad. That’s one of the best parts of the race!

No matter: The race had begun.

This view! It's really incredible.

This view! It’s really incredible.

My plan was to try and run an 8:45 pace. I actually don’t/didn’t know where exactly that would put my final time. I did hope to PR, or come in just under 3:50 (my PR is 3:51:20), and figured 8:45s would get me there. I also hoped not to have to make any bathroom stops. (Spoiler: No bathroom stops!!!)

The wind on the Verrazano was so crazy — just as blustery as it had been reported. I had to hold my koala hat on my head as I ran, and people were crisscrossing themselves and running all over the place. It was comical, really. I figured the wind would be worst on the bridge, and once we got up and over, it would be smooth sailing.

Maybe not. But the bridge was so fun! So fun, in fact, that I ran down it a touch too quickly. Oh well. I couldn’t hold back: I was running the New York City Marathon!

I knew I would have spectators all along the way, so my main goals were to be happy when I saw them, and to stay in a positive mental state. The anti-Steamtown, essentially.

I AM RUNNING THE NEW YORK CITY MARATHON AND I CAN'T REFRAIN FROM GOING OUT TOO FAST OR TYPING IN OBNOXIOUS ALL CAPS ALL THE TIME.

I AM RUNNING THE NEW YORK CITY MARATHON AND I CAN’T REFRAIN FROM GOING OUT TOO FAST OR TYPING IN OBNOXIOUS ALL CAPS ALL THE TIME.

My legs felt springy and nice as I descended the bridge, and as we wove into Brooklyn, I was pumped because Brooklyn is my favorite borough during the marathon. It’s a nonstop party and the spectators cheer for everyone. (In the past two years I’ve found that the spectators on First Avenue in Manhattan are looking for their runners and don’t necessarily scream for the masses because they’re so focused.)

My friend and coworker, Karen, passed me around the mile six mark, which was awesome, because she was on her way to a BQ! “You shouldn’t be anywhere near me!” I told her. “Go get your BQ!” And she did. In those conditions.

I loved the area near the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), and that’s where I believe I saw Leticia and Brittany screaming like happy crazy girls. This is one of the best places on the course because the spectators are five rows deep and there’s a killer band and a big screen TV (maybe? did I dream that?). I took my first gel around here, too (Hammer Gel, chocolate).

Then, I approached mile 8.5, which is where I saw all my JackRabbits at their cheer station! I felt great — the opposite of how I felt when I saw them during Steamtown.

GUYS, DO YOU SEE ME, I'M RUNNING?!

GUYS, DO YOU SEE ME, I’M RUNNING?!

I powered forward, trying to take it all in and not focus too much on my watch.

At mile 12, I passed the porta-potty I remember so clearly from last year. It was my third and final bathroom stop, and I was in there for a while. This year, I ran right past it without a thought of actually needing it. That felt incredible.

At the halfway point, we ran up whichever bridge that is (Willis Avenue?) and I hated it just like I disliked it last year. It was just annoying enough to slow me a bit, but it didn’t last too long.

All month, I’ve been excited for mile 14 of the marathon. That’s where my November Project friends were manning a massive water station, and I knew it would be insane.

And it was. I got the biggest boost when I saw the sea of neon NP hats. I remember throwing my hands up in the air and feeling the happiest I’ve felt in, I don’t know, years? Pretty cool. Pretty special.

Flying through the NP tunnel. Ridiculously fun.

Flying through the NP tunnel. Ridiculously fun.

I took a second Hammer Gel, got my headphones geared up, and then we were onto the Queensboro Bridge. This is where things can get tough. And for me, this is where things started to hurt.

I slowed down bigtime heading up the bridge, which I was OK with, figuring I’d make up for it on the other side and up First Avenue. And just as it started to ache a bit, I saw a familiar figure up ahead: Matt Powers.

My most amazing Matt Powers. The guy who pushes me during every single NP workout. Out of 50,000 runners, I saw him. He had jumped in after mile 14 to run a mile or so with his friend, and then he ran next to me for a few steps. He said a few wonderful things and then sent me on my way. It was everything I didn’t even know I needed at that moment, and I got myself over the bridge feeling ready to conquer the long straightaway ahead.

On the Queensboro descent, though, I didn’t feel amazing. My legs started to feel a little heavy, a little marathon-y.

And I couldn’t really pick up my pace on First Avenue like I had hoped. Those miles felt hard, though they did pass fairly quickly. The crowds are great, if a bit overwhelming, but I was working hard to maintain a 9-minute-mile-ish pace.

Don't be fooled by that hyper smile. I was slowing down.

Don’t be fooled by that hyper smile. I was slowing down.

Meanwhile, my face was the saltiest it’s ever been. I looked like a soft pretzel.

At mile 18, I saw my two favorite people: Brian and my BFF Michael, together, cheering, with a sign (plus Brian’s mom and sister and Michael’s mom and baby). Seeing all of them together was incredible. I think I was able to kick it a bit here, and I cheesily felt really overcome with love and support. Lucky me.

I SEE PEOPLE I KNOW!!!

I SEE PEOPLE I KNOW!!!

The Bronx was more quiet than I remember, but I recall looking up and seeing a giant TV screen showing the race coverage, and seeing that Kara Goucher had run a 2:37. I didn’t know what her goal time was, but I knew it wasn’t a 2:37. I had slowed considerably by this point, and seeing that made me feel better. It was a tough day. The wind was taking a lot out of me — it was a swirling wind on First Avenue, and it was blowing water cups all around the runners’ feet!

KBYE.

KBYE.

As I exited the Bronx and returned to my home borough, I knew a PR was slipping away from me. It was surprisingly OK, though. My legs were tired and my knees started to hurt (running is bad for your knees, pshhhhhh). I was doing my best to stay positive and repeated “This is not Steamtown” over and over and over. I took my third and final gel and got chocolate mess all over my cheeks. Damn wind.

The bridges are the only quiet parts of the race. I don't like them. They are also hilly.

The bridges are the only quiet parts of the race. I don’t like them. They are also hilly.

Right around mile 21, something magical happened: My friend Steve, another dear November Project friend, came running up beside me. Steve just ran a ballsy 3:03 (or was it 3:02?) at the Wineglass Marathon the weekend before Steamtown, and I definitely didn’t expect to see him near me. So when he approached, I half-smiled, told him I was hurting, and encouraged him to go on.

“What hurts?” Steve asked, and I said, “My legs.” He responded: “Well, you’re running a marathon.” That was all I needed to hear. I had been ready to start taking walk breaks at this point, but Steve kept me running. I tried hard to get him to run his own race, but he was selfless and determined to stay with me. “We started this together, we’ll finish it together.”

And we did.

This is Steve. He's hamming it up for the camera and I am just trying to stay upright.

This is Steve. He’s hamming it up for the camera and I am just trying to stay upright.

We crawled down Fifth Avenue, eventually getting a little boost from Brian, Michael, & Co. around mile 23.5. I faked a smile for them, and then gave a mental nod to Bernie as we entered Central Park.

I'm running out of clever captions.

I’m running out of clever captions.

Last year, Central Park was where I pushed it. This year, Central Park was where I said, “Just get to that line without walking. You’ve got this.” There were times when I doubted whether I was even moving forward, but Steve and I marched on together in silence, with him on my left the whole time because I am a control freak in that way and don’t like having people on my right ever.

We didn’t pass many people, though we did see Brogan Graham, co-founder of NP, with his wife before exiting Central Park. I gave him a pat on the arm, he said, “Yeah NP,” and then we were through the 25th mile marker.

Just like last year, Central Park South felt never-ending and I swear that street is uphill, is it not?

Oh just casually climbing a [flat] MOUNTAIN en route to the finish line. Someone come flatten this city before next year.

Oh just casually climbing a [flat] MOUNTAIN en route to the finish line. Someone come flatten this city before next year.

We saw yet another awesome NP-er, Chris Mosier, screaming for us, and then we were at the real final stretch. We re-entered the park and the finish line was in sight.

You know what's cute? Putting a finish line on the top of a tiny MOUNTAIN.

You know what’s cute? Putting a finish line on the top of a tiny MOUNTAIN.

I had no kick left in me, and I watched my PR time pass on my watch. I knew I would still come in under four hours, though, and fresh off another marathon, half-marathon, 10K, and 5K, I was daaaaaang happy about that.

I am happy to be able to honestly report that I was not at all discouraged about not PRing. Kind of shocking for me, I know.

I am happy to be able to honestly report that I was not at all discouraged about not PRing. Kind of shocking for me, I know.

Steve and I may have only passed two people in the final 200 meters, but we got ourselves to the line, and we did it together. I am so eternally grateful for his help, his selflessness, and his unrelenting good spirit. Without him, that sub-4:00 may not have happened.

The photographer thought he was just some guy trying to creep into my photo. But I was like "NO ACTUALLY LADY WE ARE TOGETHER WE'RE BEST FRIENDS WE RUN MARATHONS TOGETHER WE ARE THE SAME PACE."

The photographer thought he was just some guy trying to creep into my photo. But I was like “NO ACTUALLY LADY WE ARE TOGETHER WE’RE BEST FRIENDS WE RUN MARATHONS TOGETHER WE ARE THE SAME PACE.” After my explanation, she was less confused.

So while I may not have PR’d or hit my sub-3:50 goal, I crossed the line in 3:53:56 with an exhausted smile.

At the end of the day, Brian was right: It really wasn’t Steamtown.

STEVE, ARE YOU WITH ME??? STAY ON MY LEFT.

STEVE, ARE YOU WITH ME??? STAY ON MY LEFT.

I experienced no cramping.

I made no bathroom stops.

I never had a hyper-negative attitude, even when my legs felt like they may have been filled with lead and the “cool breeze” was moving me sideways.

I wasn’t nauseated at any point.

I had no fueling problems. I took in all three of my gels and walked through lots of water stops to make sure I actually swallowed the water instead of just spaz-splashing it all over my face and moving on. (I was unbelievably salt-faced, though. Help?)

I had no leg pain.

And I made no excuses.

Catch me if you can! Which, you probably can. Because I wasn't going very fast at this point.

Catch me if you can! Which, you probably can. Because I wasn’t going very fast at this point.

In a way, it was like Steamtown: After getting heat sheeted, medal-ed, and poncho-ed, I took a really long, hot shower, put on sweatpants, and drank wine.

PRETTY SURE THIS IS A GOLD MEDAL. #olympics

PRETTY SURE THIS IS A GOLD MEDAL. #olympics

It’s now Wednesday after the race. I’ve used my mango soap four times.

A final italicized note of love and appreciation: The New York City Marathon course can be tough. The hills can hurt, even though they’re not really that bad, and the crawl along Fifth Avenue can feel like a death march. But the people. My god, the people. The people make this race what it is. It’s the most special parade in all the world, and it feels so incredible to have been a part of it again this year. I am so deeply grateful for the spectators, volunteers, and fellow good-spirited runners who make this race what it is year after year. Thank you for the love, the support, the motivating Instagram likes, and the sideline cheers.

Be happier, Ali, really. You seem pissed.

Be happier, Ali, really. You seem pissed.

New York, I love you. Forever and ever.

68 Responses to "“This Isn’t Steamtown”: My New York City Marathon 2014 Recap"

So glad to hear that this race was better for you! Sounds like a great experience 🙂

Congrats!! This sounds like a fantastic experience– I was out watching and experienced the wind first-hand. Great job!!

Congrats! You totally rocked it but more importantly, you totally enjoyed it ; )

Lynn Carlson says: November 5, 2014 at 3:58 pm

HA! Greg Kelly is always on The Soup for saying ridiculous things… wth?!

Congrats girl! I have so been looking forward to this recap! You rock and are constantly and inspiration!

My only sadness while reading this is knowing that November Project is not in Seattle and they are not taking new cities on… le sigh.

-Lynnie

New follower 🙂 Congrats on an awesome race! I really loved your recap and your pictures are great. I just ran Chicago and will be running Memphis in Dec – 8 weeks between the two – and I’ve recently been doubting whether that really was such a good plan, but reading this made me feel so much better about running back-to-back marathons! I also loved reading this because I am hoping to run NYC next year.

I had never done more than one marathon a year, so I definitely didn’t really know what I was doing. But I took those weeks in between races pretty easy, took my volume down a ton, and made sure I was as recovered as possible for New York City. GOOD LUCK in Memphis! So exciting!!

I LOVED reading this recap and you look SO happy. The marathon is such a beast because somedays its your day and somedays its not. I can’t put in the effort to run 2 close together so it’s hard to work so long and train and then run and things that never went wrong, go wrong. I really want to run NYC one day-just for the people and the city 🙂

Yayyyy! I’ve been waiting for your recap! I’m glad it went well! I would love to run NYC one day. You always have the best recaps!

Congratulations! I was waiting for your recap. It’s not a PR but who cares? You look so happy on the photos. You enjoyed your race and it was a revenge from all you went through. Your recap made me smile. I hope being able to run NYC Marathon one day as this city has a special place in my heart too. Let’s hope I’ll be lucky with the lottery.
But, until then, I will have to cross the finish line of my first marathon, this Saturday, in Santa Barbara. I am scared. I am nervous. I am getting emotional just thinking about it. I really hope I’ll enjoy the experience.

Hope you are recovering well with cheese, wine, cookies… whatever you want 🙂

Gahhhhh so exciting! I hope the marathon was amazing! Report back!!

Contras girl! You rocked it!!!

Hi! Congrats on a great race! Just started following your blog, loved the recap! I ran my first marathon on the same day, it was an unbelievable experience!

Love it — marathon twinsies! Congratulations!!!

Love this!!!! Had hoped to see you out there but I was in wave 3 blue. What a tough day, I saw my sub 4 slip away – 1st Ave was really hard with the crazy winds and 5th just plain hurt! All in all an amazing day though, one giant party with incredible crowd and volunteer support! So glad you got through it with a huge smile all the way and no bathroom stops and that the mango soap is getting lots of well-deserved use 🙂

Super tough day. Congratulations to you as well for powering through!

Only 3 gels for a full marathon? Wow, I usually take 3 gels in just a half!! Anyways congrats!! Come run Chicago next year!!!!

I would do the whole thing on an empty stomach if I thought I wouldn’t bonk hard. But yeah, I am not a big fueling-on-the-run person. Still figuring out exactly what works best for me, but I felt great running on three gels (about one an hour). And OK SEE YOU IN CHICAGO MAYBE!

So MANY HAPPY FEELINGS RIGHT NOW. You’re a BAMF this year just like you were last year even with shitty Crohns! (Um, no, pun not intended.)

I was feeling all bleh and lazy about my post-work run……..annnnnnd then I read this and now I’m like YEAH ALRIGHT CAN’T WAIT TO RUN.

That was your intention right? You were thinking of me when you wrote this? Yeah. That’s what I thought.

YES I WAS THINKING OF YOU WHEN I WROTE THIS. <3

I had the pleasure of working the marathon for 14 hours straight, placed directly on central park south between 7th and 8th avenue. At around hour 10 of work I looked east and said to my coworkers “it’s really mean that they make the runners finish on a hill”. no one else could see that CPS is a hill but I assure you. IT IS. especially 25 miles in to a run. congratulations!

THANK YOU for working the marathon! The staff and volunteers make it such a special experience for the runners. (And thanks for sympathizing about that hill. What a beast.)

Congratulations!! You are a true inspiration!

I really hope your Greg Kelly segment ends up on the Soup 🙂

Congrats on the marathon!!

Haha that was my greatest fear.

This post is amazing…I can’t tell you how long I’ve been reading this blog, but this post makes me smile for you. Congrats on such an amazing run!!!!

That’s so nice. Thank you!!

Loved seeing you in Queens! SUPER strong race despite the elements….probably a 3:40 without the wind to fight against! Mango soap rocks. Keep on sudsing up, you earned it!

I LOVED seeing you! Such awesome energy — thank you!!

Congrats on running a really solid race! I can’t even imagine trying to run 26.2 after running so many miles (and racing!) in the weeks before.

This is great! You should post some suggestions on your favorite running gear! LOVE LOVE LOVE the leg warmers!

Yes!!! Congratulations! I’ve been waiting to hear how it went. Love this post. I hate NYC sometimes, but the Marathon makes me love it again. And totally agree about the hills at the finish. Last year I was dying at those hills. You’re thinking, when is it gonna end? But the finish is so sweet. Congrats again, Ali.

Jocelyn rizzo says: November 5, 2014 at 9:56 pm

I’m so glad this one was better than steamtown for you! Congrats on yet another 26.2! Keep it up!

Yes!! This is amazing and you are amazing. Loved reading this. Congrats on a great race!!

Cheryl Acevedo says: November 5, 2014 at 10:54 pm

Congratulations Ali!! I loved this post..I’ll probably read it a few more times!!

Congrats! Yours is the first recap that has made me want to run the NYC marathon! It’s exhausting running and fighting the wind for any amount of time, let alone a full marathon! Congrats again on an awesome race!

Yay Ali. I’m glad the NYC Marathon was magical for you once again. It’s just the best. You are my inspiration.

It sounds like a great race for you. I’ve always wanted to run the NYC marathon, but this just made me want to run it more. Someday, someday…

Bart (Netherlands) says: November 6, 2014 at 12:29 am

Great recap of a great race. So inspiring! New York City should pay you for spreading so much love for your city 🙂 I guess after Berlin last year and Chicago this year it’s really time to start thinking about running the NYC boroughs next year (or so). Keep your stories coming, greatings from oversea!

Fantastic Ali!

I love this, and can I be honest and tell you I actually got choked up reading about Steve jumping in and running the final miles with you? And I don’t even know Steve (or you for that matter haha). Big congrats!!!

p.s. I just entered my name in the NYRR sweepstakes for next year… I swore I’d never do a marathon, but for NYC, I would…

YOU SHOULD MEET STEVE. He’s the best. And yessssssssssss I hope you get in the lottery!!!

Congrats! I loathe running in the wind, I’ll take every other weather over running in the wind. I’m shocked you only use 3 gels for an entire marathon, I used 5 during Chicago last month…not to mention some candy handed out along the way. Regarding the salt…you need more salt! I use Margarita shot blocks, 1 before the marathon starts and then 2 at the mid-way point. The taste took a bit to get used to but I definitely feel they helped since I didn’t salt-sweat at all during the marathon this time. I’m sure working at a running store you can test out plenty of salty gel options. 🙂

Congrats!!! You have such a great support system!! Be very grateful for that! Its hard to find people that selflessly support one another!!!!

I love this recap! Bummed I didn’t get to spot you along the course… we will just have to get together soon! (Please?!) The biggest takeaway I got here is that you need people to run on your left. I hate to admit it, but I do too. Are we doomed to never be running buddies? 🙁

Congrats on your marathon finish, and for all the happiness along the way! I am a salty faced runner, I take a Hammer electrolyte before and usually midway through a race/long run. Bad things happen when I forget.

Amanda Buchholtz says: November 6, 2014 at 10:57 am

Congrats Ali! I was the crazy girl at the finish line from SC who recognized you! Great race and it was so nice meeting you!!

Congratulations, Ali!!! So, so excited to read this recap. I didn’t run it this year, which felt bittersweet after loving every second last year, but cheering for so many smiling faces like yours makes this what it is: the best marathon everrrrr. You should be so proud of yourself – two marathons in a month is bada$$!!! Congrats again! xo

Colette M. says: November 6, 2014 at 2:12 pm

Congrats on your race. I’m new to running (at age 37) so it’s fun and inspirational to see what runners do to train for and run races. And… you’re pretty funny too!

Also… Salty sweat, who knew! http://www.runnersworld.com/nutrition-runners/are-you-salty-sweater

Eat more salty foods – doesn’t sound like a terrible problem… 🙂

Your recaps (and photo captions) are always the best. Can we please run NYC together someday? You know, if I can stay uninjured long enough to actually properly train for one. This may happen in about 10 years. 😉

Yes we can run it together some day. Take care of yourself. Let’s make it happen.

LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE everything about this post. You are awesome. Congrats on having this awesome experience after Steamtown. I stopped chasing PRs out of necessity a few years ago – just can’t run as fast as when I was in my early 30s! And it is a huge relief!

I do have to say that we had a bit of a different experience. I was also in the first wave. I thought the Verrazano was TERRIFYING. I flew way to fast to get the heck off of it. I thought the Queensboro was surprisingly OK. I stopped in the porties just before the half to go to the bathroom and also to “collect myself.” I spent an extra 30 seconds trying to get myself in check. Crazy – right? I had a great run up 1st and was sorely disappointed when I realized that the Bronx was windy, too! NNW – got it! I agree that 5th Ave is brutal (though I fared slightly better than last year) and CPS goes on about 10 miles!

The crowds were amazing as always and I was so excited. (My full report is on my blog if you are interested. It’s an opus with lots less fun pics than yours!)

Congrats on an amazing race! I’ve been a sporadic reader of your blog for the past few years. I was recently diagnosed with Crohn’s, and while nowhere near what you went through in your last flare, I was pretty much down for the count from January – June. Obviously, this was the year I FINALLY got into the NYC Marathon. But, my body had other plans for me (like the bathroom) and I had to make the extremely difficult decision to defer to 2015… because I mean let’s be honest who can run a marathon when they can’t even get off the floor.

I have made a miraculous recovery and have been back in my workout game since the summer. I have even getting my butt up to the UES for some NP workouts! Marathon Sunday got me extremely excited to finally be healthy enough to run NYC in 2015. I am just curious as to how you tailor your fueling for long runs and marathons so that you don’t upset your stomach during the run? What kinds of gels/blocks etc have worked for you and which haven’t?

(Sorry I basically wrote my own blog just to get to that question!)

Fueling is so super personal, and it’s taken me a little while to figure out what works for me. Hammer Gels are a consistency I like — sort of Nutella-ish! And they taste decent. I also ingest them slowly, over the course of about a mile, so it’s not a major shock to my system to take it all in at once. I also prefer chocolate-flavored gels over fruity stuff. No surprise there.

Love your recap, especially the pictures – you look so happy!

Amazing run!!!

I got to the race start just as Wave 1 went and noticed no “New York, New York” either – but yes, it was on for my wave (3).

I’m glad you had no bathroom stops – I think I did that for you 😉 I think I had 4 bathroom stops this time? I still had tons of fun!

Great recap! I love hearing other peoples experiences. There was so much to see there that every single person saw and experienced something completely different.

SO AWESOME! When I woke up last weekend my two first thoughts were 1) I’m a selfish biatch but I am SO happy I chose MCM> NYCM this year because hell no to those conditions 2) All those running the NYCM are effin badass and I am so impressed.

Sounds like this race was amazing for you. Everyone I know who ran it this year had nothing bad to say about the actual marathon (only the weather) despite the winds which means it really must be incredible. I think it might be a goal race of mine next year.

I have DEFINITELY not done two marathons in a month. I don’t even know how I’d begin to approach that, but I would love to do it. I also really want to run a spring marathon but I have to go to a bunch of weddings this spring and running a marathon may prove difficult. Alas, maybe it’s going to have to wait, but I think next year i may be the city! Your recap has definitely swayed me.

Congrats! I’m incredibly impressed by your resiliency. Amazing finish time. You rocked it!

I’m so glad you had a good race — you are a rockstar! And I’m super impressed that you ran the bulk of it in a tank and shorts — I was totally bundled like it was the North Pole! I completely agree about the people of NYC — the crowds really kept me going and made the race worth running

Awesome race! Congrats on your finish!!!!!

Absolutely loved reading this story and seeing how far you’ve come despite the many challenges being thrown your way. I love reading your fun and creative writing 🙂 Thank you! And congratulations!

Congrats on the great race!!! And props to running in shorts & a tank! I was spectating that day and it was so windy and cold! You’re a champ. I’m so envious that you got to run this incredible marathon, it’s #1 on my list! Hopefully next year the lottery is kinder to me 🙂

I ran it for the first time this year and it was amazing. I can’t BELIEVE these crowds and their awesome support. It was my fifth marathon and it flew by. The wind didn’t even bother me. ~in all fairness I am not a sub-four runner by ANY means. But I ran my best marathon in those conditions. I credit the crowd.

Congratulations. I am so jealous because the NYC Marathon has been on my dream list since I was a boy. It looks like an absolute blast! I am in training for my local half marathon and my resolve was flagging, but after reading this I now believe that I can do it – thanks!

Congratulations!! I was so happy for you reading this recap your enthusiasm is contagious! Almost enough to make me try to run a full next – almost. Very importantly – WHERE did you get those yellow (and the Steamtown pink) legwarmers?!

i love your blog will you look at mine and let me know what you think

It’s such a silly little coincidence, but I’ve been reading your blog for a long time and cheering you on the entire way and one of my managers at my job goes to November Project…and randomly knows you. And sometimes at work, I sit and talk about your blog to her and tell her what an inspiration I find you to be and she told me about how happy she was to be cheering all her friends on at the marathon and I just had to share 🙂

Thanks for writing this! This was my first NYC Marathon, and I can definitely call it a life event. I could read people’s race recaps all day, but yours is especially fun. Great job on your non-PR but happy anyway time!!! (I PR’d, but didn’t hit my sub-5 goal, but can totally relate to how it’s all totally OK because I ran NYC.). Wishing there was a NO group closer (I’m in a suburb of DC) – sounds like a fun group! Congrats again, and I look forward to more of your blog!
My own recap: savingupdaylight.blogspot.com/201/11/nyc-marathon-recap.html?spref=fb