Saturday, November 14, 2009

nyc marathon: mo' running, mo' problems

the final installment. yes, the end is near.

miles 15-16 (8:15, 8:44) - up and down the queensboro bridge.

my mile 15 split was slow mostly due to stopping to yell at the fam but no big deal, they get worse from here. the random cramping checked out, and in it's place came non-functioning throat. i tried to continue my water/gatorade rotation, but i struggled to actually swallow the fluids. i'd get frustrated and toss the cup without getting much down. i semi-successfully took a third gu before the bridge (i think a vanilla orange roctane). i know it wasn't the gu or fluids themselves causing the throat issues/gag reflex; i'm hoping it was just because of whatever random-issue i have (had?) going on.

i hit the queensboro bridge and the runners seemed to be even more crowded. i didn't notice the other "hills" of the course, but this one was definitely noticeable. with all the runners around, you couldn't tell where the climb ended. a few people were stopping and walking without moving out of the way so that slowed me down some. before i reached the crest of the bridge the 3:30 pace group caught up to me. it's leader was announcing "almost there" and such, and i wondered how i had gotten in front of them. the descent came, and i took advantage of it/tried to make up time for a slow climb. garmin must have been a little 'off' (from being on the lower deck of the bridge?) as it told me i was running 9:40+ pace on a generous downhill. oh well.

mile 16 ticked away - welcome to manhattan; only 10 miles to go. after a quiet mile on the bridge, there was suddenly a wall of people cheering and lining the race course as i descended onto the city streets. it was an awesome boost. i looped under the bridge and onto a wide first avenue, where the runners finally seemed to thin out a little.

miles 17-20 (8:03, 7:25, 8:01, 8:30) - room to run, boost in the bronx.

these miles weren't that eventful for me. first ave was wide so for the first time in the race i had space to run and access the water stops. i did see a sign somewhere in here that said "(some girl's name) what's wrong with golf?". true that, i thought to myself.

i continued warding off the nausea by tuning out the crowds, but i was still having a hard time with fluids. it could've been worse so i didn't dwell on it much; i was still getting a few sips down. my body was tired; it was getting tough to maintain pace, my legs were tiring and i was slipping. the people working the poland spring station were handing out cold sponges around mile 17 and although it wasn't hot i grabbed one anyway. i know i squeezed it over my head but i can't remember what else i did with it - maybe wiped my neck? i also took another gu in mile 19 - either vanilla orange roctane or vanilla bean (from rick).

the journey down first ave seemed long, but eventually there was a ghetto bridge to the bronx. for those of you wanting more details on the pavement - i remember this bridge had a good amount of potholes. as i crossed into the bronx i realized "plan b" was slipping away. a friend of mine works for the nypd in south bronx so i was trying to keep an eye out for him as i ran through, but i never saw him. the crowds were thin here, but you could still feel the support of the community from those that did come out. shortly after mile marker 20 a radio station had a sound system set up and had just started playing jay z's "empire state of mind". the timing could not have been better. unfortunately the boost to my legs didn't last long once i was out of hearing range.

miles 21-23 (8:22, 8:21, 8:02) - where is the freakin' park.

i'm not one to pour over course maps or elevation charts, so i basically had no idea where i was throughout the whole race. i was tired, thirsty and wondered where the stupid park was. finally, i could see trees. the crowds were energetic, supportive and growing thicker the closer i got to the park. i think i took another gu (vanilla bean from rick!) around mile 22, figuring a little boost couldn't hurt. i only got about half of it down thanks to my throat malfunction.

at the mile 23 station i grabbed some water and took a sip. then i threw up. i stuck my hand out like i was going to catch it and then realized what i was doing. i put my hand down as i decided it didn't need to be caught. this was pretty much the highlight of my day.

miles 24-26.2 (8:49, 8:20, 8:18) - hey, i didn't die.

finally in the park. i was so glad to be almost done i didn't even notice the "uphills" until i got to enjoy the little downhill after. there were a couple of small rollers, nothing too long or steep. the road was curvy, but then the course spit back out onto central park south where the crowd was nuts. my parents and j were saw me around 25.2; i didn't even have to stop and yell at them. there was a sign at 1/2 mile to go and i picked it up. or well, i tried to. at the 1/4 mile to go sign i went into my kick.

unfortunately i would not get to celebrate this marathon with my fun, fast, kick finish. my calves seized. i don't know if they were cramping, but they felt like they were going to tear from the bone. (not a good feeling, in case you were wondering.) i pulled back from my favorite sprint and coasted in to the finish. i decided i'd rather be able to walk than have muscles detached from the bone. i know i was making a pained face because of the "about to tear off" feeling, so when i saw the ny times had put up "faces at the finish" i had to check immediately to make sure i wasn't one of them (thank goodness i am not).

miles 26.3-30 - or so it felt.

after crossing the finish line, being "medaled", food-bagged and heat-sheeted, i hobbled over to the side to lean on a fence. my calves were tight, my left foot hurt like the dickens, my legs ached (not like that was a surprise) and i didn't want to shuffle through the finishing area - i was aching. i knew it wasn't a good idea, but i sat down anyway. i chatted a bit with the guys sitting near me and peaked into the food bag. an apple, a bagel, some almonds - all things i am allergic too, nice. wasn't hungry anyway so it wasn't a big deal. i gave my apple to a guy who had just dropped his and eventually got back up to hobble and find my ups truck. my legs were obviously stiff, but loosened up as i walked. the top of my left foot was hurting really bad. i hoped it was just sore from the run and racing shoes. finally i began to see the ups trucks. oh good, the first one is for bib numbers in the 65,000's and i only have to walk all the way down to the 8,000 truck. comforting. i saw more foreigners (i assumed) freely changing into their warmer clothes, but thankfully did not get a full tour like mr. italy. i saw one guy half-changed being toted away on a stretcher, yikes. after quite a bit of walking i eventually found my beloved ups truck. i told the two ups workers they should've fought for a better parking spot closer to the finish. the lady told me to make sure i take the subway back to the hotel (i ended up walking back from 85th to 39th, for the record).

i headed towards the park exit to find my parents, j, and aunt/uncle/cousins who had come down from ct to watch the race. the nausea, which had so graciously stayed out of the spotlight thus far, decided it was time to shine. i'm just glad it held off for 26.2 miles even if i did miss out on all the sights and sounds.

i had a few struggles in this race, and since i've never had them before i am inclined to chalk it up to whatever i was fighting in the month leading up to race day. well, the calf pain i might attribute to the hard pr running effort or maybe my racing flats since i only wore them on one training run a week prior to the race. the shoes were broken in, but maybe my legs were spoiled from the extra cushion and support of my regular training shoes. my left foot was sore the day after the race, but feels fine now so i'm sure it was just flared tendons/overuse.

all in all, it was a solid 6+ minute pr in great weather and less-than perfect health. so far i've hacked off 30 minutes from my first marathon back in 2006 and i'm not finished yet :o)


  1. great race report... I could really relate! People always talk about enjoying the atmosphere at races but whenever I have my "race face" on I never seem to have the ability to pay attention to anything but where my next step is going to take me.

    I'm really impressed with your effort because it sounds like you ran under less than optimal circumstances and were really suffering but you never fell too far off pace! I hope my endurance is that good after a few more years of training.

  2. Ha, almost thought I was the first to comment.

    That's great that the nausea held off. Those splits are great!! I'm trying to imagine when in the future I could hit splits like that in a half-marathon.

    I'm very impressed too. I just think about all that hard work and all those miles you put into training for this are one fit lady. One fit and determined lady.

    Loved reading about the race. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Great race report! I understand the calf pain...I hope you get over your sickness soon and get back to feeling better!

  4. Rest, rest, rest! Great job, it was nice to hear how you finished and I loved the finish line faces site! So sorry about your aches and pains, you'll be back before you know it!

  5. +1 to Roctane. That's what I like.

    Good job not catching your vomit. I always end up filling my hand and the rest just spills over anyway. (Never in a race though.)

    Faces at the finish?!? Could those be any funnier/worse/unflattering?

    I think the pain was probably from the racing flats but I'm glad you seem to have come through it without any lasting injuries.

    Way to go!

  6. The nausea sounds terrible. I hope it's gone for good! Great race and congrats on the PR!

  7. Riveting report!! Congrats on the great time!

  8. you did amazing, especially considering all your circumstances leading up to and during the race. just imagine what you will do when you are feeling "on" instead of "off". congrats girl - you did great and keep chipping that time off that marathon!!

  9. So you weren't feeling 100%, puked, and had wicked pain, yet ran a PR? Not to mention "only" beat me by 66 minutes! Great job, and it's nice to see someone like you who did all the training have it pay off so well. I hope you're feeling better, and I know the Vanilla Bean GU Gels I gave you were the main reason for your PR! You are my running idol, Lindsay. I can't wait to watch you run Boston. I'm glad we were able to meet also.

  10. Girl, you are unstoppable! I can't believe all that was working against you . . . and yet, you STILL ran a really incredible PR effort! Not to mention, NYCM isn't the easiest course ever. I so admire how tough you are. You should be SERIOUSLY proud of yourself! I know I'm proud of you!! Thanks for sharing the details with us! I loved reading all parts of your race report!

    Also, I have no doubt in my mind that you will continue chipping away at that marathon time!! Keep at it, girl. I, for one, am really excited to see just how fast you can get at these things :)

  11. That is the most detailed report I have ever read. Congrats again on an amazing time. I am interested to learn more about your racing flats and why you chose them.. I have been tempted to try a pair..but for shorter races.

  12. I think you should have named your report mo' running, mo' awesome!

    Lindsay, what a great job! Man, oh, man. I loved reading your report and was just impressed, as always, by your running!

  13. Great race report and amazing job!! I think cushy shoes probably would help more than flats over marathon distance, I only wear my flats up to 10 miles, but I'm not fast like you!

  14. Wow Lindsay what a race report for NYCM!!!

    I just want to say you are AWESOME and congrats on an awesome race and time!!!!

  15. I hope you know I'm coming to you for when I start my marathon training next year!
    Nice job and getting it done, especially not feeling well. I had that "calf being ripped from the bone" feeling at the end of my 1/2, so I hear ya completely on that one!

  16. I'm there with Marathonman on this one. You had all kinds of adversity, tweaks, and niggles, and you still manage a 6 minute PR. Wow. I don't want to be in your way when you're healthy!

    WTG on a great race in less than ideal conditions lindsay! Now - get some rest and get well!

  17. Damn, way to stick with it and PR with all that nausea. At 100% you'll be a force. And I'm in awe of you walking that far afterward. I walked to the 79th street subway and took the 1 to Columbus Circle before finding a bus to go most of the rest of the way and was happy I walked three additional blocks after that ;p !

    Also, so with you in being glad NOT to be in that gallery. The brightroom people all over the park certainly got a lot of BAD BAD pics as is. Who looks good in a high def shot after a marathon?

    I also find I can't do racing flats over 13 miles because my calves cramp. Not sure if you're worn flats on hilly marathon courses before, but I wonder if the extra beating might have made stuff

  18. Nice report! How awesome are you!! Aches and pains and nausea and you still rocked it! Great job!

  19. is it wrong that the thing about almost puking into your hand and then realizing it was a bad idea kind of made me laugh? totally shows how your mind semi-shuts down during a marathon haha

    seriously though, way to tough it out and run an awesome time on a less-than-perfect day. you're awesome!

  20. oh yeah, so that's totally lame that you haven't heard anything from BAA yet! when i signed up for boston, i got an email that they had gotten my entry and were in the process of verifying it right away. a couple days later i got an email saying they verified it [this was like a week or 2 ago], and then i got the postcard this past week.

    i wonder if it takes longer for them to verify things from bigger marathons? but it can't be THAT hard, right? i bet they're just being slow because they probably got a ton of entries in the past couple of weeks. so hopefully you'll hear something soon!

  21. Here's to a marathon run with heart. Well done, Lindsay. Your courage and determination under adverse circumstances are a joy to behold. And your stubbornness is one more reason we're two peas in a pod . . . never mind I'm so far behind you on the course!

  22. I've had the can't swallow gagging thing on some long runs this year. I'd go so far as to say I even have trouble breathing out of my mouth when I have that feeling. In every case, it's been a lack of proper fueling before the long run where it happened. I'm willing to bet that you didn't fuel as well as you have in previous marathons because of the nausea the week before. The serious calf cramp at the end would go along with this theory.

    If you want, I'll share Richie's pre/during race fueling scheme with you. He was running 3:15-3:20 and experiencing leg cramps in the final 10K of marathons. Since working his new scheme, he's run a 3:06 and a 3:01 without any leg cramps. I'm probably going to try it before my marathon in February.

    Even though things didn't go quite as you had hoped, you should still be very proud of yourself. A 6 minute PR at that time is fantastic under any conditions and even more so under such tough circumstances.

  23. Very awesome job, Lindsay! I got introduced to that about-to-hurl feeling this weekend, & it sucks. Glad you checked your hand & put it down instead of catching your throw up. Ew.

    I dunno how anyone maintains pace during one of these things, especially YOUR speedy pace.


  24. Great race report. So proud of you; you really stuck with it when your body was yelling at you!

  25. Congrats again on an awesome race and report! 30 min PR from your first marathon is awesome! Hope you continue feeling better!!

  26. Thank you for detailing everything!!! I loved your race reports - LOVED THEM!

    You are super awesome - it's a fantastic PR, and more to come!

    (I saw Jay-Z in concert last Tuesday - was so freaking awesome... love him!

    oh, and i laughed out loud at the part about not needing to catch the vomit)

  27. congrats again! that was a great race report. you really pushed through some tough stuff. and i'm glad to hear that nytimes didn't catch you upchucking,altough it looks like they caught other runners in some less than attractive circumstances! way to go girl!

  28. Great report. I heard a great thing during the week. You can train for a race but the race you run may not be the one you trained for, maybe that's what happened here, the ducks weren't quite in a row...this time!

  29. Wow! What a report; I can't imagine running a marathon much less running one when not feeling well! I commend you on your will to stick with it and finish (and yes, I'm also one who laughed at your initial reaction to catch the vomit!) The elite runners always make it look so easy yet it is when I read about the non-professional runners that I realize how hard it really is!I salute all of the runners out there!

  30. I can totally relate to the vomit! In fact, I did the same thing the first time it happened to me in a race...and I was like "whoa, what am I doing!!!"

    Great report altogether. I find it tough to remember what I was thinking at certain points throughout a race as well, pieces of it always run right together. You did a nice job of re-telling...and congrats on getting through what was obviously a less than ideal race. Awesome! :)

  31. I love all the details! Thanks for bringing us along for the ride. ;) You had some major obstacles and pushed through for a massive PR... congratulations, girl! I am so proud of you.

  32. Congratulations - on the race report as much as the actual marathon! A certain amount of suffering is pretty much mandatory over 26.2 miles.

  33. And the finale!!!

    Girl you are impressive! Still kicking butt while dealing with all that. So proud of you and the recap was well worth the wait. Congrats on the PR!!!

    You only wore your shoes one other time before the race?!??! OMG!

  34. Wow Lindsay, you really rocked this race! Congratulations on a very solid effort and an amazing PR. Glad to hear that the nausea held off during the race. I hope you are feeling better from that now!

    Excellent job! I'd love to run day!

  35. Congrats on a great race. I've really enjoyed reading all of the recaps!

  36. Love the report and all the details.
    I have no doubt your next PR is around the corner. Enjoy the down time, but not too much. Take a little time off and start getting those base miles back.

  37. WOO! What a story, Lindsay! You still got a PR after all the awful things that happened during the race??? You are crazy hardcore, girl! :) You kept going despite not feeling inspiration. I hope that your nausea issues subside very soon, because that sucks. :(

    Congrats on running the NYC marathon! You rock!

  38. What an INCREDIBLE effort!!! I'm amazed how well you could run despite fighting nausea, cramps, a malfunctioning throat and whatever else I may have missed. You really held things together well and I know that NYCM course is not easy to begin with.

    CONGRATS on your hard earned PR, Lindsay!!!!!

  39. Linday, you did great. I can only imagine running with the nausea and with worries about dizziness and feeling bad. I have NO DOUBT that you will be getting more and more PRs not only in the marathon, but also in other distances.
    OK, and I have to say something about the food bag. I can't believe you got apples and almonds (the bagel I understand). How about chips or pretzels, something salty? Boston gave us chips and power recovery bars, which I was excited to it. Who wants to eat an apple after a marathon? Jeeezzzzzzzzzz!

  40. Still finished. And a PR. GREAT JOB. Sometimes that's the biggest battle :) Hope everything feels better. Food allergies are no fun.

  41. Bravo on the PR! Love your race day tales ... you've even reminded me about bits of my own NYC experience that I had forgotten.

    p.s. I did the same thing with the Finish Faces. I think I am incapable of taking a decent race photo and did not want to grace their hall of horrors.

  42. I'm sure you already know that your version of "all the wheels fell off" is what many other runners would consider a lifelong goal time — nice job running through the nasties! As for the throat malfunction, I suffered the same affliction during my pukey 26.2 on Oct. 25. That's actually how the puking started — gels worked out OK for me, but when I tried to take in Sports Beans and/or water, they either wouldn't go down, or came right back up. Sorry you suffered something similar.

    But with results like that on a bad day, I can't wait to see what you do with your next good day!

  43. L-
    It's been fantastic to read your blog for a year now - thru ups & downs you've run a long way. I'm sure over time the thoughts of all those training & race-day issues will fade. Then you'll be left to savor the awesomeness of a NEW YORK, NEW YORK new PR!

    Enjoy the moment. Like old blue eyes sings it, right now you're "top of the heap."

    BTW, ur PR is now like 48 mins better than mine. I'll be looking to close that distance next year. Whatcha gonna do?

  44. You... are... AMAZING!

    And this was my favorite: "decided it didn't need to be caught"
    Truly an LOL moment!

  45. Awesome report. Congrats on the PR

  46. What a great example of not giving up when the running gets hard!!! You are strong!

  47. Awesome report and a race well-run! You are such a strong runner, and more importantly, one tough cookie.

  48. holy CRAPOLA. you threw up???? gosh that is so scary. what about dehydration and all that. my goodness.. you are a major "trooper" as my dad would say (he called us that whenever he took out a splinter when we were little, lol).

    i love the gu roctanes, those are my gels of choice.

    and gosh i love your report!!! so detailed!!! my boyf's brothers live in queens and one of them is a runner and he was JUST telling me about the queensboro bridge and how it is hellishly hilly.

  49. I am so happy for you that your blog has so many readers now - I remember when you first left one for me, and you mentioned how many blogs you read through, I was completely stunned. Now you have like a gazillion readers!

    By the way, love your "for those people who want more details on the potholes" comment. How did you walk that far afterward? If I would have sat down, I would have been down for the count, believe me.

    Oh, and by the way, enjoy the guilt-free little running you're doing right now, it's all I've been doing now since September. Part of me feels guilty ,the other part, not so much.