2018 TCS NYC Marathon - 3:43:12

#marathon  #running  #nyc marathon  #nyrr  #race  #race recap  #recap  #nyc 

FINALLY! Finally, I got to run the NYC Marathon, the largest marathon in the world and my home race. I can’t believe it took this long, but I was 0/5 with the lottery before eventually taking advantage of NYRR’s 9+1 guaranteed entry. With 9+1, you run nine NYRR races and volunteer for one in a single calendar year. After doing this, you are given a guaranteed entry for the following year.

The odd thing, though, is NYC Marathon was never really a race I was dying to do. I wanted to do it, sure, but mostly it was because I wanted to be able to check it off the list and I want to run all six Abbott World Marathon Majors. I know it’s a tough course and it’s a ridiculously long day and that just was never appealing to me.

Without making you read to the bottom of this recap, I’ll give you a little spoiler… I loved it!


My training was a bit of a cram-session, unfortunately. After Boston to Big Sur and Revel Rockies Marathon, my body was pretty much beat for most of the summer. Through July and most of August, I really didn’t do a lot of running and the running I did do felt terrible. My mileage was down and I wasn’t doing long runs. I’d start runs and then just give up. By the end of summer I started getting things back together, but I had to fit training into a much shorter period of time. I ended up with three 20-milers, but my taper was more just… not running than anything else. Mostly, this was just laziness.

I wasn’t in PR shape, but my legs were definitely in marathon shape. Going in, I figured I should be able to run around a 3:40 on this course.


Though this was my first time running the race, I’ve gone to the NYC Marathon expo a few times. I knew how crowded it can get, like many expos, so I opted to get there for open on Friday morning—a bonus of having a job that allows me to come in late without an issue. Ten minutes to go before they let people in, the line to get in was ridiculously long and snaked inside the Javits Center. I thought it would take me an hour to get through security and get in. But when they opened the doors, everyone just flooded in as a mob and the line meant nothing. I was inside in a minute or two.

race expo

At the expo

I quickly grabbed my bib and race shirt—after finding out I couldn’t just scan my NYRR QR code like you can for any other NYRR race—and had plenty of time to explore the expo. I was pretty happy to see this year’s design for the shirt is really nice, definitely one that I’ll wear a lot. Lucky for me, the official merch area wasn’t too crowded yet so I could do a pretty thorough lap. I don’t typically buy much, if anything, at expos, but Boston and, now, NYC have been exceptions. I picked up the official jacket, a running tank top, the gloves with the boroughs on the fingers, a pair of socks, and a t-shirt. I just couldn’t stop grabbing stuff. And this doesn’t include the other jacket I bought after the race. Anyway, checkout was quick and easy with no line. runDisney could learn a thing or two from this.

race expo

It me

With limited time to explore the whole expo before heading back to work, I tried to do a quick lap up and down each row. Unfortunately, I didn’t find my brand and flavor of gels, which was the one thing I had to buy.

As I was just about to leave, I heard an announcement that Meb would be at the Sketchers booth at 11am. I looked down at my watch and it was 10:52am. Then I looked up and realized I was already standing at the Sketchers booth. So, you know, I had to wait a few extra minutes before leaving. Meb was a couple minutes early and I got my photo with him and got him to sign my bib! Typically, with these kinds of things, you expect people to sign and move on to the next person, but Meb tried to take a moment to talk to each and every person. He is so damn nice!

With Meb


With Meb

I look terrible here

On Saturday, I made a second trip to the expo. This was mostly just for a Team Nuun meetup. I started the day off by volunteering at the Abbott Dash to the Finish 5k to secure my 9+1 entry for 2019 and then did my shakeout run to the expo, where I then scarfed down an entire baguette while walking around. After the meetup, I met up with my friend Patrick and walked around the expo with him. I still didn’t find my gels and this set off a big excursion to get them. The Jack Rabbit at Columbus Circle also didn’t have them, but I eventually found them at Paragon down by Union Square. A lot of extra running around 👎. The day ended up being much more time on my feet than I would have liked, but it was really nice to get to spend a few hours with a friend from out of town.

Pre-race stuff

After finally getting home on Saturday, I tried to take a little bit of time to relax before setting out all of my stuff for the race. I did a nice extended session in our RabidReboot sleeves and spent some time on the couch.

I had known I wanted put “trans rights are human rights” on my shirt for the race, but I never ended up finding a cheap, plain white running tank to write on. Instead, I took a shirt out of our throwaway clothes bag and cut off a couple strips to pin to my shirt. Amelia on the front, trans rights on the back. I felt like I was reliving high school and college, this felt like a rather punk way to go about this.

With everything laid out and my flat runner photo posted, it was time for a final foam roll and bed. I got into bed some time in the 9 o’clock hour with a 5am alarm set. With Daylight Savings Time ending in between there, I even got an extra hour of sleep.

Front of shirt

The front

Back of shirt

The back

Race morning

I woke up reasonably easily with my alarm on Sunday and got right out of bed. I felt rested. I got dressed and quickly ate my overnight oats. I walked out the door at about 5:40, right on time. My plan was to take the 6am PATH train into World Trade Center and then walk down to Whitehall to catch my 6:45am ferry to Staten Island. Of course, the PATH is gonna PATH so a train didn’t show up at 6am. There were a few other runners waiting and we chatted a bit. A couple of them were getting really nervous about the timing, but I tried to stay calm. Eventually, at 6:15, the train came. This gave me just enough time to walk down to Whitehall and walk right onto the ferry that was already boarding.

The ferry

Getting on the ferry

The ferry ride over to Staten Island was nice and relaxing. The ferries are huge and have tons of seating. The vast majority of it was still empty when we left. I grabbed a seat on the lowest deck and relaxed a bit while eating half of a baguette in classic Amelia fashion. I have a brand to keep up, okay??

The ferry

Relaxing on the ferry

When we got to Staten Island and got off the ferry, it was around 7:15 and there was a long line to get on a bus over to the start. I have no idea if this is normal or not, but it was slow moving. I heard something about there being some issue near the bridge that was causing a problem with buses, but I have no idea. I don’t know how long I waited, more than a half hour, though. However, I was lucky enough to get a seat when I finally got on the bus. This was good because the bus ride suuuuuucked. We mostly just hung out in traffic for the longest time. I mean, all we did was just sit and not move. People were starting to get restless as the time creeped past. I hadn’t looked up when my corral would close, but Danielle texted me that it was 8:55 for wave one. This time was rapidly approaching. Eventually, when we got a few blocks away, everyone demanded the driver just open the doors and let us out. After a while, he relented and people poured out of the bus. But only about 80% of the people actually could get off before he closed the doors again. I was one of the 20%. After driving a couple more blocks, we again demanded he open the doors and we all got out. I started lightly jogging to the start, for fear of missing that 8:55 corral closing.

I got through security pretty quickly, but of course the green starting area and village was the one farthest away. I quickly made my way through all the people to get there while entirely skipping trying to grab a bagel. I just wanted to make sure I was in my corral.

Once in my corral, I waited in the sloooooowest porta-potty line ever. It wasn’t even that long, there were like eight people ahead of me. I guess everyone was taking a shit.

I don’t know when they actually closed the corral for wave one, but it was wayyyy after 8:55. I totally could have taken my time… and gotten a bagel. Oh well.

The weather was clear and sunny, around 50º. The sun was strong for a November morning. I actually had to take off a throwaway layer while waiting around. In the end, I ended up wasting some throwaway clothes that I didn’t need, but what are ya gonna do?

From where the corral was, we could clearly hear the start of the women’s race and the accouncing of each of the elite runners. There was, obviously, the loudest cheers for Shalane. I wish we could have seen the start, but hearing it was better than nothing. I think this is when I finally started to get pumped up to run.

Even though I was in my corral an hour before the race start, the time went by really quickly. It felt like I was only standing around for a little while before they walked us up to the starting line.

After we walked up to the start, I was actually surprised how close to the start I was for being in corral C, but I guess it makes sense when you consider that we were still broken into three different color groups for the start. Because I was green, I was in the group that would be running on the bottom of the Verrazano/Verrazzano Bridge and the other two were on the upper level. Personally, I didn’t care about not being on the top. As someone who lives here, I was glad that me being on the bottom meant maybe one extra out-of-towner got to see the view from the top.

At the start

You can see the start line in the back there

While waiting for the race to officially start, I noticed a woman next to me taking off her bottom shirt without taking off her top one. I commented how I was impressed that she pulled it off and then we chatted a little. She was from Sweden (I’m guessing based on her wearing Swedish colors) and was telling me how she’d never been to the US before. She had said she was excited, but it had mostly just been “so much… America 🇺🇸💪!” It was all the security and police with machine guns everywhere that felt really gross to her. Just after she said this, three police helicopters flew right over us and she turned to me and said “see, so much AMERICA!” She’s not wrong. I told her how much I agreed with her and how I hated all of that too.

Anyway, we had just a few minutes to go so I tossed my water bottle and gulped down a gel while they introduced the elite men. It was just about time to go!

At the start

Oh boy!

The first 5k

Once the canon went off, so did we. Even being in corral C, I got across the start line pretty quickly. The difference between my gun and chip times was less than 2.5 minutes.

The first mile on the bridge is uphill, but it barely feels like it. I expected to feel like I was running up a hill, but I didn’t. And it only really lasts the first .8 miles before things level off and you start heading back downhill again. My first mile clocked in at an 8:47, right on track for where I wanted to start out.

And then I hit the downhill section of the bridge.

Mile two was a 7:42. I didn’t feel like I had run that fast at all. I thought I was still like an 8:30, but 7:42 was not where I wanted to be at mile two of this race. I tried pulling back a little, but it’s hard to pull back when you already don’t feel like you’re putting in any effort.

One thing I was told about being on the lower level of the bridge, is to avoid running on the side of the road if you don’t like getting peed on from the men peeing off the side of the upper level. 🍆💦 I’m preeeeetty sure I don’t like getting peed on so I heeded this advice and, I’m happy to say, I did not get peed on.

As we came off the bridge and worked our way into mile three, I ditched my armwarmers and tried to focus on my pace. The crowds were already starting to appear and the energy was abundant. I knew I was still running too fast, but I took a quick bathroom stop without stopping my watch so I don’t know what my real pace was for this mile. With the stop, it was 8:55. Much of this mile was spent looking for a coworker in the crowd, whom I never found.

mile splits for this section

Mile splits for the first 5k

The second 10k

Right around the 5k mark, those of us who started in the green group finally merged onto the main course with the rest of the runners. Because we were coming off the lower level of the Verrazzano, our course was slightly different for about a mile while we made up for the fact that the way we came off the bridge was shorter than those on the upper level.

When we merged onto 4th Ave in Brooklyn, that’s when the crowds really got into gear. There were tons of people out and the cheers were booming. The amount of energy here was insane! So insane, in fact, that I ran a 7:59 4th mile. For those of you trying to keep score at home, that’s exactly my PR pace. Remember when I said I wasn’t in PR shape? Yeah. Yeahhhhhh.

I knew this would be a problem and I really tried to pull it back, but my legs were now locked into this pace. All of the energy in Bay Ridge was not helping me, either. I was running with my head up and a huge smile on my face.

For the most part, I spent this 5k soaking up the excitement and just having a lot of fun. I knew I needed to slow down, but as I starting getting a little further in, I started getting dumb and thinking “hey, maybe I’ll be able to keep this pace.” What a fucking dope. You’d think I’d have learned that by now. NOOOOOOOPE.

Miles five and six were 8:06 and 8:03 so I was still staying pretty close to that PR pace. This section of the course is pretty flat, but I knew there were plenty of hills to come so I enjoyed it while it was there.

mile splits for this section

Mile splits for the second 5k

10k to 13.1

Miles 7 and 8 weren’t much different from the few before them. I was still running the same kind of pace, but now I started realizing that I’d have to work harder to control my pace. Park Slope was even more energy than Bay Ridge was and these miles were also flat so that wasn’t helping the cause much.

The weather was still pretty great. I, of course, would have liked it to be a few degrees cooler, but there wasn’t much to complain about. In the sun, it was a little warmer than ideal, but in the shade it was nice and cool and felt great.

And then, as I approached the 8th milemarker, my pace finally started to slow a little. I was actually already starting to feel fatigued in my legs, which is the exact thing I didn’t want to happen by mile eight. On top of that, my right hamstring was starting to feel iffy. I didn’t know if this was going to be a thing or not, but having had some hamstring issues earlier this year, it was a bit of a concern.

At this point, you go up a bit of a hill just as you turn onto Lafayette, but it’s not too bad. Around here is when my brain stopped processing a lot of what was around me and I started to get more focused. I didn’t even realize we were near Barclay’s.

From here through the halfway marker, my pace stayed between 8:19 and 8:29. This was right where I had wanted to be for the whole race. Much of my focus now was getting to 13.1. This was my next mental milestone for how I broke this race up.

The crowds were still great for a bit and I totally forgot to take my second gel at mile 12. I didn’t even realize it until around mile 17. I hadn’t been taking much water yet, but this is where I started changing that up. I ended up taking water or Gatorade at roughly every other stop through the rest of the race.

For me, the highlight of this section was passing a man cheering with a big sign saying “Punch Trump” and a Donald Trump punching bag. As I approached him, I took a big wind up and punched it so hard it came out of this hands. I really decked President Dum-Dum right in the jaw. I heard one person yell “DAMN! Good for you!” at me after I did it.

Most of this section had solid crowds, with just a few small quiet parts here and there. The major exception here was the Satmar Hasidic community in South Williamsburg. This section of Bedford Ave felt like a ghost town 👻. It was almost eerie how few people were out.

Getting closer to the 13.1 marker, I wasn’t feeling any less fatigued, but I did feel a bit more controlled now. I had some friends who were supposed to be at mile 13, but I don’t think the timing worked for them to be there as I went by because I didn’t see them.

The 13.1 marker is just after you get onto the Pulaski Bridge to cross from Greenpoint into Long Island City in Queens. Of course, the bridge is a hill. I eased back my pace a little on the hill and tried to keep an even effort going into the second half of the race.

My time at the half was 1:48:55. Probably a bit too fast for a negative split kind of day on this course.

mile splits for this section

Mile splits for 10k to 13.1

13.1 to 16

After crossing the half, it was all about the Queensboro Bridge, which takes you from Queens into Manhattan. I’ve always heard the Queensboro Bridge being described as the worst part of the course. It’s quiet and a decent bit of it is climbing uphill. You run on the lower level of the bridge and there really aren’t any people at all cheering on it. It’s kind of like a complete dead zone.

I’d never actually been to Long Island City before, but most of the section we saw on the course felt kind of industrial. Again, I was just thinking about getting to that next mental milestone and getting over the Queensboro and into Manhattan.

As we turned onto the Queensboro Bridge, I found my right effort level and just… uh… ran? We hit the 15th milemarker early on the bridge and continued on. Things were quiet, but it felt mostly just like a little break between loud sections. To be honest, it was kind of relaxing and serene, which is not something you get much of in NYC. I was able to just hang out in my own head and take stock of where I was. So I guess I actually enjoyed the Queensboro Bridge.

Coming down the other side of the bridge, we crossed the 16th marker just before getting dumped out onto the mean streets of Manhattan.

mile splits for this section

Mile splits for 13.1 to 16

Manhattan, the first time

Coming off the Queensboro bridge, you come around a 180º ramp and then make a left onto 1st Ave. When you do this, it’s just a fucking wall of fucking noise. HOOOOO shit is it energetic here.

Off Queensboro Bridge

Off the bridge and onto 1st Ave!

I always try to be conscious of how crowds are affecting me. I don’t want to end up taking in too much energy and losing control of my pace. I did that early in my first marathon and ended up paying for it majorly. As a more experienced runner now, I try to take the energy in and store it for later when I need it.

1st Ave was just a lot of fun. This is also where Danielle and I usually cheer, right around 103rd St.

When you come onto 1st Ave, you’re at 59th St. and you have to go all the way to like 125th or some shit before you get to The Bronx. When you think about that as you’re turning onto 1st Ave, it seems like it’s going to be a brutal enterity and you need to settle in for a long haul. Maybe get yourself a big cup of coffee and a good book. In reality, the streets tick off like the second hand on a clock. One right after the other. You’ll look down for a second and, when you look back up, you’ll be 10 more blocks down the road.

1st Ave is where most of the people I knew were going to be. I had a couple coworkers around 77th St who saw me, but I didn’t see. And then I had another coworker closer to 100th. And then Danielle and some friends were just a couple blocks past that. I had a lot to look for through this section and it really occupied the time.

Seeing people was a huge mental boost, but my pace was slowing just a little. I’d now started running my miles in the mid-8:30s and my legs weren’t feeling where I wanted them to be.

Other than looking for friends, I just enjoyed all of the fun and energy. This section really makes you feel like Mary Katherine Gallagher a superstar.

Once I crossed the 18th marker, I started counting down the miles. Eight to go. Honestly, most of the miles throughout the race, so far, had felt like they were just ticking right off, but when you’re starting to lose that spring and energy in your step, that ticking becomes more of a slow roll.

mile splits for this section

Mile splits for Manhattan, the first time

The Bronx

The Willis Ave Bridge into The Bronx is, of course, another hill. By now, I didn’t want to climb anymore hills (spoiler: the hardest hill was still miles away). I was just looking forward to the downhill on the other side of the bridge. Yeah, that fucking downhill didn’t ever come. I guess it turns out that the land on the Bronx side of the bridge is more elevated than the Manhattan side so you don’t really come down much.

Coming off the bridge, we made a left and, there it was, the 20th milemarker! 10k left to go! I got this! I mean, we both know I had this because you’re reading this and I’m not dead 💀 yet.

While I was running, I kept saying to myself, “I thought it was just a blip in The Bronx,” but it felt like we were in The Bronx for so long. The crowds were good, but it was longer than I thought it would feel. In reality, it was just like a single mile, but whatever.

From that 20th milemarker on, my splits creeped up to the 8:40s. I was slowly slowing down. I knew I was, but I didn’t have much to push with for the last few miles. The good news was my hamstring hadn’t really been bothering anymore. I’m sure you could figure that out by the fact that I haven’t mentioned it in 12 miles. The bad news was my glutes and calves were starting to scream at me.


Just before leaving The Bronx, a woman yelled out about how good a post-race beer was going to taste and I immediately wanted all the 🍻.

I never ended up having that beer.

mile splits for this section

Mile splits for The Bronx

Manhattan, again

I had been warned about 5th Ave having a brutal hill, so that was my focus now, dealing with that fucker.

Crowds in Harlem were good and I just kept trucking until I go to one goddamn block that smelled liked fucking fried fucking chicken. How the fuck you gonna do that? HOW YOU GONNA MAKE A BLOCK LATE IN A MARATHON SMELL LIKE FRIED CHICKEN?! What kind of monster does that??? Fuck, man.

And then, not all that long after that, it happened.

No, I didn’t shit myself. 5th Ave happened. It’s just like a mile and a half long slog uphill. Sure, there are lots of people out cheering and all this energy, but this was miles 23 and 24. I kept my effort as even as I could, but I was running out of steam. I may have taken a short walk break around here. Honestly, I can’t even remember. ¯_(ツ)_/¯


Getting there

Anyway, my Garmin gave a low battery warning. It was fine, I didn’t need it, but I really wanted to have my splits for the whole race, not just the first 23 miles or whatever. I told myself I’d finally replace my 4.5 year-old Garmin Forerunner 220 when it couldn’t make it through a marathon anymore. I guess I’m starting to push up against that limit.

mile splits for this section

Mile splits for Manhattan, again

Central Park

At Engineer’s Gate, as we turned into Central Park for the first time, I was focused on the giant screen putting up the virtual “cheer cards” that you could make for people in the app. Danielle had made one for me with Hattie and I really, really wanted to see Hattie’s face at this point, I had been thinking about it for miles.

I did not get to see Hattie’s face.

Not only did I not get to see Hattie’s face, but I basically missed a friend of mine who was exactly where she said she was going to be. Luckily, I heard her yell my name out with enough time to turn and wave.

Running in Central Park

In Central Park!

The first part of Central Park was tough for me. I know Central Park pretty well at this point and I was glad the course is on the easier side of the park and going in the easier direction. I did not want to have to climb Cat Hill from the other direction.

Running in Central Park

Look how exstatic I look!!

Shortly after turning into the park, there was a runner down on the course with a ton of people around them. Not sure what happened there, but there were a lot of people attending to them.

I started having worries about my right calf locking up on me and I was also starting to worry I might have some, uh, poop issues. I ended up taking a few really short walk breaks because of these two things. I was so close to the end, but sometimes you just gotta walk for a second.

At one point, I walked past a group of five or six people cheering mostly by themselves. The last one got ALL UP in my face screaming, “YOU GOT THIS AMELIA! RUN! Stop walking! COME ON, RUN!” Typically, I’d be like “okay, dude, calm down,” but I appeased him and yelled back “I hate you!”

Running in Central Park

I've got thumbs!

I ended up passing another couple of runners who were down on the side of the course. They were also being attended to, but only by one person each. Mostly, it just looked like they had their legs cramp up on them.

Hitting mile 25, I was spent, but there wasn’t much left. While physically the last mile of a marathon can be the hardest, I find it to be one of the easiest mentally.

mile splits for this section

Mile splits for Central Park

Central Park, again

When we popped out of Central Park, I was surprised that the course goes over this weird median in the street. It’s really just curb height, but with 25 miles on your legs, you really don’t trust that you’re going to pick your feet up enough to not trip and faceplant in front of hundreds of people cheering. I chose to go around it the longer way, adding probably 20 extra feet to my race. Really not all that big of a deal and I had run pretty decent tangents all race so whatever. I just thought it was weird.

I’m pretty sure the longest-feeling part of the course was this section of 59th Street, as you run from 5th Ave over to, almost, 8th Ave. I never realized how damn long this block is. Christ.

Finally, I saw the 400M to go sign and turned back into Central Park while being very careful not to trip on the cube. I was so, so excited for that finish line to come. Not just because I had had enough running for one day, but because the whole race had just really pumped me up. This is basically my local marathon and it just so happens to be the biggest one in the world. I was excited to cross the finish line of that.

I know most of the curves of Central Park and the hills pretty well so I knew there was just one little hill to go over and a couple easy curves before the finish would come into view.

At the finish

Arms up... if you can

Let me tell you, the crowds at the finish here DID NOT disappoint. I’ve run plenty of big marathons with big crowds at the finish and NYC is right up there with Chicago and Boston. In fact, I’d say it’s even better than Chicago because it feels oddly more intimate. It feels like it’s a narrower road at the finish and the people in the bleachers are much closer to you. Almost like they’re engulfing you in a big NYC hug.

3:43:12 and I was done!

And done


With medal

They gave me a medal for not shitting myself

mile splits for this section

Mile splits for Central Park, again

overall race stats

Overall stats

Trying to get out of the park

When you finish NYC Marathon, you still have a long, long road ahead of you before you get out of the park. You get your medal pretty quickly and there are photographers right there to take pictures of you. Then you get a mylar blanket to keep you warm until you get to your checked bag or you get your poncho. You only get one or the other and this is something you decide months in advance. I opted for the poncho. I didn’t see a point in checking a bag to have dry, warm clothes with nowhere to change into them.

My glutes were so tight and sore, which is a new experience for me. I never have this issue after a marathon. And my feet were sore on the bottom, that at least is somewhat more common for me. Other than that and a chafed asshole—yes, I just said chafed asshole on my blog—my body was in pretty decent shape. I was able to walk mostly normally.

It feels like forever as you’re shuffling ahead before you get to your food sack, but that’s nothing compared to how long it is until you get your poncho. They tell you it will take you about a half hour to get all the way there and that is not a lie. You just keep shuffling up West Drive. For context, you finish somewhere around 66th Street, but you have to walk all the way up to 77th St to get out of the park. And you get your poncho after you exit the park and walk back down a couple of blocks. It’s a while.

Along this whole walk, there was just carnage everywhere. Bodies Runners lining the sides of the street, sitting and laying on the ground. I’ve actually never seen anything like this in the finisher chute.

One of the hardest things about this walk is you’ve got like one hand holding your mylar blanket closed (to be fair, there were people with tape right after you got the blanket to help with this, but I didn’t take any), you’ve got one hand holding your bag of post-race food, you’ve got your phone in some third appendage while trying to text your family, friends, and enemies, and you just want to drink some water and put something in your stomach, but you don’t have enough hands for it. It’s messed up, I tell you!

Finally, once you get your poncho, you can free up a hand because you don’t have to hold it closed and around you.

Anyway, it felt like it took forever, but I eventually made my way back down to 59th Street and out of the crowd. From here I had to walk to 45th and Lexington to meet Danielle and our friend Miranda at Miranda’s hotel. This walk easily took me another half hour.

Time and goal stuff

For the most part, I didn’t have a strong goal for the race. I just wanted to go sub-3:40. That seemed like a good place to aim. I didn’t quite hit that, but I’m still happy with how my day went. I ran a pretty sloppy race early on. I didn’t stick to my race plan and I paid for it later on. I knew I wasn’t sticking to my plan and I just couldn’t get myself under control. I should be better than this.

In less than two years, I’ve run a 3:41, 3:40, 3:38, and two 3:43 marathons. I’ve also run a faster marathon and two slower ones in that same time period, but this race just fit right into my standard marathon time for a race I’m not trying to make a PR attempt at, but also am not running two weeks after a previous marathon.

I’m starting to get the itch to work on a PR attempt soon, I think. I just kind of want to remind myself that I can run a sub-3:30 marathon, now that it’s been two years since I have.

Other observations

This was the first time I put my name on my race shirt for a marathon. I don’t normally feel like I need to have my named yelled out during a race, but from all of the years I’ve cheered at NYC, it seems like it’s just something everyone does for this race. Definitely much, much moreso than any other marathon I’ve run.

The thing with having my name on my shirt was that I heard my name hundreds of times throughout the race, but I couldn’t tell who were random people and who were people I knew. When you’re running and you just hear your name coming from a crowd, it’s hard to turn and see who said it and recognize if that’s someone you know or not. As someone who is terrible at faces, this is especially difficult for me.

Throughout the race, I got a few supportive comments on the “trans rights are human rights” sign on my back. All the comments came from cis-appearing people, both men and women. It felt nice to get verbal confirmation of this.

Along similar lines, there were TONS of people with “vote” on their shirts and people cheering with “vote” signs. Seeing that kind of push for people to vote felt really encouraging.

I’m sad that this was race director Peter Ciaccia’s final race with New York Road Runners. I’ll miss hearing him start off all of the races, but it was rad to be there and see his send off into retirement.

Lastly, this is just a wildly long day. I woke up at 5am to start a race at 9:50. Getting to the start took a train, a boat, a bus, and a jog. By the time I actually got to eat real food, it was 4pm. I was incredibly beat by the end of the day and even the next day. I’m not talking about the soreness and all that. I was just… tired in a way I’ve never been the day after a race.

Final thoughts

As I said at the beginning, NYC Marathon was never really a race I was excited to run. I mostly just wanted to do it to do it. Now that I’ve run it, I have to say that I truly loved it. It was an amazing experience with amazing energy and all the positive vibes this city is capable of, but rarely puts on display. It truly does feel like a 26.2-mile long block party.

I wasn’t pumped for the race until I was in my corral and getting ready to start. But throughout the race, my excitement grew and grew. I smiled a lot. It was a great day!