2016 NYC Marathon Race Recap

I did it.

I still can’t believe it, but I did it.

3:58:40

3:58:40

I had prepared for this race for such a long time and was just so ready for it; I honestly was not nervous at all. I had never felt so calm at the start line for a race as I did at this one–the biggest marathon in the country and up to this point, the marathon with the highest expectations. The goal was to finish under four hours.

I hoped to reach the halfway point in under 2 and try and keep the halves as close as I could time wise. I knew the second half was “harder” but I was intent on giving it my best.

First half–1:57
Second half–2:01

Really, I couldn’t have asked for better. Considering the second half had the infamous Queensboro Bridge and the hills of Central Park, I am ridiculously happy with those half splits.

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Miles 1-6

I knew the first mile was going to be all uphill and I knew that it was going to be cold and windy. It was all of those things. I started off slowly and with no rush or concern for passing people. The first mile beeped right as I passed the marker at 9:49. I knew I’d be picking it up and I did as the second mile alert came in in at 8:26–except it came a ways before I reached the mile marker. I was little bummed to see that already my watch was not matching the course. But luckily, I had a 4 hour pace bracelet that at the last minute, my friend had given me before we started.  So I didn’t panic and instead told myself to just use the elapsed time to keep track. 

On I went. I wasn’t obsessing at my watch, only occasionally looking down to make sure I wasn’t going too fast. I took in the crowds–it was exactly as advertised. There were soooo many people on both sides screaming, cheering, dancing, laughing. You really couldn’t help but smile yourself. The best was seeing people find their runner and squeal with joy. Oh my god, I loved that so much.

I reached the 10k mark with so much happiness. I felt good, I felt strong.

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But I knew I still had a long ways to go.

Miles 6-15

I knew my friend Elle (A Fast Paced Life) would be at mile 8-9ish so I started to to look around for her when I approached the end of mile 7. The next three miles were a blur trying to find her and I was sad I didn’t, but I just pressed on.

With the exception of the first mile, miles 2-10 were all between 8:26-8:47. My watch kept beeping before the mile marks so I never really knew what the pace was exactly for each mile but I just kept glancing down at the pace bracelet and making sure I was under whatever it said for each mile.

I just concentrated on running by feel, and I truly felt great. Every now and then I’d do a body check and everything would pass. My breathing was fantastic. I was seriously in disbelief with how great things were going. I’d never felt this way at this point in a marathon, lol!

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Miles 15-20

Up to mile 15, I had been running unplugged, but I had my little I-pod in case I needed some musical inspiration. When I approached Queensboro Bridge, I decided that was the time.

There are no spectators on the bridge and I knew that this was going to be a rough incline, so I put my earphones in and put my head down. I marched on completely oblivious to my surroundings. Even though my mile split for 16 was 10:09, I passed so many people.

When I made the turn onto First Ave, I unplugged so I could relish the cheer from the crowd. I had heard so many things about the “sound boom” runners get coming out of the bridge and boy did I welcome it.

However, at around mile 19 I started to feel a little ball grow where where my ankle meets my foot. A cramp! I re-plugged and kept going. I knew that if I could just make myself keep going, it would either go away or I’d forget about it. One could hope, right?

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Miles 20-24

Oh my gosh, these miles were tough. My breathing was absolutely perfect. There was no huffing or puffing or struggling on my part. But the cramps….oh, the cramps!!! My quads, my hamstrings, my calves, my toes–everything hurt and I was dying.

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But you know what? I didn’t panic. I didn’t stress. And most importantly, I didn’t stop. I would ask myself how I felt, and I honestly felt fine–my breathing was good and my body didn’t feel tired or sluggish. It was just the cramps.

So I isolated them. I set them apart from the rest of my body and pretended they didn’t exist. I was in such a zone, so completely immersed in the moment. I was in the middle of Central Park at this point but I couldn’t see or hear a thing. I was *in* the race.

The cramps would come and go, but I kept on running.

Miles 25–Finish

I was still cramping pretty badly but at this point, I knew I had my sub 4 marathon and I was so ridiculously happy.

I kept thinking about my husband and my kids and my brother and sister and all the people who mean so much to me and all the people who donated to my charity. I don’t think I’d ever been so happy during a race in my entire life.

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I looked down at my watch to make sure I wasn’t crazy, but I’d done it!! I crossed the finish line in under 4 hours!

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I was absolutely giddy. And as soon as I stopped, the cramps dissipated and I looked and felt like I could’ve kept going.

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I wanted to jump, I wanted to scream with joy!! I wanted to hug everyone. I wanted to kiss the final race photographer and the woman who put the race sheet around me. I wanted to find my husband and tell him that I had just finished the race of my life…

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It was a long walk to the family meet-up where I knew my husband was waiting. I saw him before he saw me and my heart swelled. I was so happy that finally, finally, I was coming to him with good news.

His eyes locked mine, a nervous look as he searched for an answer…Choking back tears of joy, I whispered:

I did it.

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************There’s so much more I have to say about this race and I’ll be doing so in the next couple of days/weeks, but first–oh my goodness guys, thank you SO much for your words of encouragement and love on here and Instagram. Many of you have been with me on this long, long journey and really, you have no idea what your support means to me. I will never forget it. ❤ , helly

 

 

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Good-bye Desert, Hello Big Apple!!!

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Welp, it’s my last day here in the desert. My NYC training buddies and I went for an early run before we get on our flights to the big apple and boy, it was quite the send off. It was cold, windy, and rainy!! In Arizona!! We all laughed and said that the desert was just helping us acclimate jaja!!! Although, I really hope it’s not windy in NYC. I can do cold and rain; I can’t do wind.

Anyway, Week 18, my final week of training looked like this. I’m gonna keep it short and sweet because yeah, these were short boring runs…I don’t mind if choose to scroll on 😉

Monday, October 31st–4.4 Easy Miles @10:00 avg. pace

Easy miles as I knew it would be a busy Halloween day 😀

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Tuesday, November 1st–Rest Day

It was an unexpected rest day but I wrapped up October with 184 total miles. I never hit the 200 mark this training cycle–Oh wells, maybe next time

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Wednesday, November 2nd3.1 Easy Miles @9:20 avg. pace

I ran a virtual 5k for Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead). It was a short, peaceful run and I thought of my aunt ❤

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Thursday, November 3rd3 Easy Miles @9:43 avg. pace

Easy, very breezy miles…

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I’ll do a shake-out run on Saturday before the race, but this is it. The last week of training. I seriously cannot believe the big day is so close. I totally feel like Katrina when she said that part of her taper crazies is saying she doesn’t want to do it anymore. That’s how I’ve felt, lol! I don’t wanna!!! But then I do because I know how hard I’ve worked for this day. I want to see how I run; I want to see what my training brings. I know ultimately that whatever happens, I’m already so proud of myself. I know that may sound narcissistic but it’s true. I’ve proven to myself that I can do hard things. This was the toughest training plan I’ve ever used and I made it all the way–now I just need to trust in it and trust myself.

I’ve shared my goals with you–I’ve been transparent with my times and paces. But honestly, my goal is to finish. I know what it’s like not to and let me tell you, it sucks. So my “A” goal is that: FINISH. My training goal was 3:50 and if I can get that (or really, a sub 4), I will be the happiest girl in the universe. My “C” goal is to PR (which right now is 4:44). I feel like I’m strong and capable of getting a PR so if I can pull that off, I will have thought of the race as a success.

If I don’t PR, I seriously might hang my running shoes. #dramaqueen

Welp, that’s about it on my end. I’ll be posting on my Instagram and Facebook so if you want instantaneous (or almost) updates, you can follow me on one or both. Thank you all so much for your support. Really, you all have no idea. Many times I’ve wondered if I should keep this blog; I’m no one special. I’m just a girl from Arizona who likes to run. But your comments, advice, encouragement has been huge in my development as a runner. I would not be where I’m at without you. Thank you ❤

–Motivational quotes: Do you have a fave?

 

 

Hanson’s/NYC Marathon Training: Week 15

Taper taper bo baper, fee fie fo faper….taaaappeeer!!!!

Even though Hanson’s doesn’t have a real taper, I still have to celebrate finishing my last long run of the cycle!! 😀

<3 her.

Marathon Goal– 3:50
Marathon Pace/Tempo Runs– 8:45
Strength Runs–8:35

Easy Runs–9:40-10:40
Long Runs–9:30

Last week, I said I wanted to focus on making my easy runs easy since I knew Week 15 was a peak week. Happy to report that I did pretty good!

Monday, October 10th–5 Easy Miles, 10:30 average pace

See that? ^^ 10:30 average pace! It wasn’t too hard running slower as I was beat. I ran in the evening and it was 95 degrees out.

Tuesday, October 11–9 miles: 1 mile WU,  3x2miles @8:35 target pace (w/800R), 1 mile CD

My goal was to not run the 2 miles sets any faster than I needed to. I’ve been doing these strength runs a lot faster than needed and I really want to..I guess not work harder than I need, lol! I programmed the workout on my watch and it would yell at me when I was going too fast. Even though I’ve gotten better about consistency with my paces, I wanted them to not be consistently fast jaja!

1st set–8:34 average
2nd set–8:27 average
3rd set–8:34 average

Yay!

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Wednesday, October 12th–GLORIOUS REST DAY

This was also “Skip Starbucks” day and I’m happy to report that my overall total for The Jimmy V Foundation for Cancer Research fundraiser is $3,200!!! 😀 To those who donated to this important cause (and I had many blogger buddies contribute)–THANK YOU!!! ❤

Thursday, October 13th–1 mile WU, 10 miles Tempo @8:45 target pace, 1 mile CD

I was very nervous about this run. It was the first (of three) of my long tempo runs and also the longest mid-week run I’ve ever done. You can tell something was up because it was a tale of two halves. The first half was too fast (like usual) and the second half was just right (where I told myself to get it together). I wish they were reverse so I could have had negative split halves but all is well. I was very happy with getting through it and still feeling good at the end.

First 5...

First 5… (at mile 6 I said, “Whoa Helly!!”

...last 5

…last 5

Friday, October 14th–5.5 Easy Miles @9:33 avg. pace

I know, I know…9:33 isn’t an easy pace. I headed over to the hills to meet up with some friends and honestly, I just kinda got caught up with chatting. It made me feel pretty good though, that I was talking while running up and down hills.

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It was a super early run (4:00 a.m. wake up, 30 minute drive, 5:oo a.m. start) and it being the second of back-to-back early runs, I was beat when I got home. I started to feel a little tickle in my throat and just not well. I tried not to think about it too much and took some Nyquil before bed that night.

Saturday, October 15th–6.5 Easy Miles @10:32 avg pace

It was easier to run slower as I was still not feeling good. Luckily, I didn’t have to do this at crazy o’clock so I was able to get some rest. My kids had a race that morning, thankfully not too early, and I got to just wake up at our normal time.

My daughter smiled and laughed her way to 2nd place

<3

and my son finished in style jumping to the finish line

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Sunday, October 16th–16 Miles at Long Run Pace, 9:30 (actual, 9:14 avg pace)

Having felt sick all weekend, I was not looking forward to this run. I slept horribly, waking up with chills (but sweating), and coughing throughout the night. I planned on starting at 5 a.m. to get 6 miles in and then meeting up to finish off 10 with a friend and my MRTT group. But, I couldn’t wake up. I just felt so tired that when my alarm went off at 4:30, I just couldn’t. I ended up starting at 5:40, getting 2 miles in, and then doing 12 with my buddy at 6 a.m.

Despite feeling horrible (I was sweating but cold), when I started running it seemed like my body/legs just knew what to do. I was hitting my paces and some (a lot) even faster but still consistent. My friend and I talked the entire way so the entire run was conversation pace; I didn’t feel like I worked for any of these miles.

I was SO happy with this run. It was the confidence booster I needed finishing of my highest mileage week ever and beginning the end of this training cycle. 🙂

Splits:

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And that’s a wrap on peak week! Total Mileage: 54 miles It was a tough back end but all the training leading up to allowed me to finish strong even though I wasn’t feeling 100%. I’m very happy with how this week went and even though I’m starting to really get nervous about the big day, I’m also really excited 😀

Oh, and super congrats to Katrina on smashing her marathon this weekend with a massive PR!!! You go girl!!! So freaking inspiring!!! ❤

–How do you mentally prepare yourself for race day? (As they say, the hay is in the barn and now I just have to run smart these last few weeks and believe in my training–tips on how to do that?)

–Did you race (or track anyone) this weekend?

–Do other people’s successes motivate you? It sure does for me!! I had so much fun following Katrina and seeing her Instagram celebration post!