Date/Time: Sunday 2nd November 2014
Location: New York
Distance: 26.2 miles
So I had always hoped for a “Marathon Miracle”. I had taken the expression #YOLO on board and randomly booked my flights to New York so why not see if I could try and get a spot in one of the (in my mind) greatest road marathons in the world as I was going to be there for it! Well the day before the New York City Marathon my spot was confirmed and I was about to set off and run my second ever marathon!
I would usually do a full race recap but if I am completely honest the whole thing is still a little bit of a blur and I am still in shock that I actually did it so instead I thought I would share with you what I learnt during my second marathon…
Remember this is what you do
When my space was confirmed I spoke to my parents to ask if I could really do this. My first and only other marathon I took extremely seriously, followed my training plan to the letter, looked at what I was eating, stopping drinking, got super stressed/nervous etc etc etc. The only other person I spoke to about whether or not it was a stupid decision to run this last minute marathon was my roomie in New York, a fellow runner and someone I trust to say it like it is. His response “I will not be impressed if you run the marathon, you should be able to run this distance, you train, you run, this should not be difficult for you”. Now this was quite hard to hear, I know what he was trying to say but to me a marathon is, and always will be, a HUGE DEAL. However, he was right. Week in, week out I am always training. I LOVE to run, whether it be with my crew, by myself, to work, on the track, I adore running, there is something about it that just gives me a super goofy smile. I am also loving my strength training, my muscles are growing and I doing my best to feed them to help make my body grow from strength to strength. Yes 26.2 miles is a lot further than I have ran in a long time but I train hard, so in theory I should be able to do this…right?
Just another weekend run
The night before the marathon instead of hyper ventilating, checking my kit 101 times I just reminded myself this is just another weekend run. Every single weekend I run with friends, granted sometimes it is just a 5km parkrun but it’s a run just the same, and well this was a weekend and I was going to be running with friends … nearly 50,000 other friends. During the marathon I just reminded myself this is what I look forward to and do every weekend, I run and at the end there will be food … and a marathon means there will be all sorts of food. Plus I am in NEW YORK, the food will be insane!
Never think of it as 26.2 miles
This marathon has a marker every single mile, great to know where you are but extremely tempting to count down from 26 miles! DONT! During my last marathon I started by counting down “parkruns”. A marathon is roughly 8 parkruns, nice, fun parkruns. Once you get to 8 miles it’s just two more of those and a bit. By mile 16 you have 10 miles to go and you can definitely start counting down. There were a few times during the run that I got a little overwhelmed about what I was doing, I was actually attempting to run 26.2 without “official” training what was I thinking, and then I would remind myself to think of it in short sections and just keep going.
Let the crowds help you
The crowds for the New York City Marathon are just amazing, and I mean AMAZING! I honestly don’t know if I would have got round the course if it wasn’t for the incredible people of New York cheering like they were. I know a lot of people listen to music whilst they are running and I definitely had my headphones with me just in case but during the full 26.2 miles I instead took in the sights and sounds around me, never actually using my music. There was no way I was going to give up with all that support surrounding me, I imagine that is what London feels like, it’s just incredible to see so many people and have them wishing you well every step you take, just incredible!
When I crossed the finish line of the New York City Marathon believe me I was just as in shock as everyone of my gorgeous friends when they saw my finishing line picture! But I did it, I actually did it and I am extremely (shocked) pleased to say that I was fine the next day. Now I am not saying that marathons should not be taken seriously, they definitely should, it is an extremely long distance and not one to be tried off the cuff. But this race for me was never going to be about time, in fact I didn’t even have my watch, this was about taking part in something amazing, exploring a new city and doing something I love to do every single weekend. Now my next planned marathon is in Barcelona and I plan to follow a training plan and try my best to achieve a quicker time but for me the New York City Marathon was an absolutely incredible, once in a life time experience and taught me that the body really is an incredible thing!