I did it. I wanted it. I worked for it. I did it.
On Sunday, November 1st, 2015 I ran my first marathon, the TCS NYC 2015 Marathon.
I woke up right away at 4am ready to begin my day. I didn’t have the best night sleep but I knew it was okay because they say it’s the night before, the night before that really matters.
I took my pre-race shower, drank coffee, had an apple, two hard boiled eggs and a bagel with almond butter and jelly. I put vaseline all over the “chafing areas,” got dressed, put my hair in pigtails and was out the door a little after 5am. I also wore throw away clothes over my race outfit.
I of course wore my Garmin and a Prayer/Mile Dedication Bracelet that I made. I dedicated each mile to friends and family!
I drove down to Hoboken (I am still at my parent’s while my apartment is getting work done to it) and took the 6:13 am Path train.
Selfie at the Path
Once I got into the city I took a cab to the New York Public Library to get on the bus that I signed up for to take me to Staten Island. I saw two of my teammates on the bus and I also met a nice girl from California. It was nice to have someone to talk to and talk away any pre-race jitters!
The NY Public Library and all the runners waiting for the busses
The bussing system and transportation was all seamless. I arrived, got on a quick line for the bus, once our bus was full in like two minutes, we were off to Staten Island.
Once we arrived in Staten Island at Fort Wadsworth, we went through security, took some pictures and then stood on a long bathroom line. We were in Staten Island by 7:30am, and with an 11am start time, we had plenty of time to kill.
All the runners just waiting and waiting.
Dunkin Donuts provided breakfast and the free famous hats.
We found a spot to just sit and wait. Waiting was tough. The weather wasn’t horrible but it was just a lot to just wait and wait. It all was very surreal. I didn’t feel like I was about to run a marathon while I sat there.
I had my second bagel, more water, and gatorade while hanging out. I also used the bathroom again before we all departed and headed to our different corrals.
I again sat down and waited by my corral. I got all my gear ready to go and then headed into my corral. I used the bathroom one more time and then I took my warm up clothing off. I did keep my hat and gloves on though.
We then walked over to the start. I keep saying surreal because it was. It hadn’t hit me that I was about to run a marathon.
At the start they sang the National Anthem and then the gun went off and they played New York by Frank Sinatra. We started right up the Verazzano Bridge. I said a prayer and started off. It is SO crowded that you just run very slow. It’s also a longggg uphill so after just a few minutes I threw my hat and gloves because I knew I wouldn’t need them. Mile 1 flew by. I did remember to keep checking my pace staying around 11:00-11:30 miles because I did not want to go all out too fast.
Once we got off the bridge into Brooklyn, that was where the crowds were. I heard people saying my name and I was just so freaking happy. I just took it all in. I LOVE that my watch shows me my text messages because I really didn’t want to be on my phone at all during the race. Having the texts to see where my “cheer squad” was, was SO helpful. I got my first text from my sister saying that she was at State Street by Mile 8, so that was all I kept thinking about during those beginning miles. (My Mom and Dad couldn’t come to BK because my doggy got really sick the night before and they needed to get him to a vet.)
At mile 5 I took my first Gu and my first walking break. I took it after the water stop and realized that from then on I needed to take it before a water stopso I could have water along with the Gu. I made sure to grab water at Mile 6 just to help in the digestion of the Gu (I am very very lucky that Gu does not bother my stomach at all).
Once the street numbers dwindled and started to turn into names, I knew I would be seeing my sister soon. I saw State and just looked and looked and there she was!!! I ran up to her gave her the biggest hug and we took a selfie! She teared up and so did I! I was SO freaking happy to see her, it was the push that I needed!!!
Me running to her, from her Instgram
Next up was Miles 8-16 to get through. Miles, 7,8,9 were SOOO much fun! Brooklyn brings their freaking A-GAME to Marathon day. The cheering, the partying, it was freaking awesome.
By Mile 13 I was starting to feel my legs ache, especially my right quad and my right knee. Mile 13 was a hill and I just slowly got myself up it by saying, you are strong, hills make us stronger. I saw one of my teammates and we both encouraged each other and I kept on going.
Next up, the Queensboro Bridge. That Bridge. Oh, that bridge. It is a long standing hill with no spectators. A lot of people were walking up it but I decided that I wasn’t ready for that. I made my way up slow saying I am strong, I am comfortable. At this point my legs were hurting but I just got myself up it.
Once we got into Manhattan I knew that Jen and John were the next people that I would see on First Ave! That kept me going. I just told myself, get to Jen, get to Jen.
Once I saw her I ran!!! I gave her the biggest hug and told her I loved her!!
From Jen’s Instagram
Then I was off. My legs were aching. I took a couple of stretching breaks but it wasn’t really helping. I couldn’t even feel a stretch at all. It was like my muscles were just all locked up. At one of the stops there was a medic giving out salt, so I decided to take some packets with gatorade. I was thinking that my locked legs were from sodium loss. Then I kept on going.
At this point I just was using the crowd and talking myself through it all.
The next people I knew that I would see were my friends, Judith, Katie and Lester. I have known them since we were in Elementary School and it meant the world to me that they were there. I saw them around Mile 19 and gave them the biggest hugs!!! They helped so much and said keep on going you got this! It was just what I needed.
Then it was time to head into the Bronx. This is where I had to dig deep and give everything I had. I saw a sign that said “This is just a 10k with a 20 Mile Warm-up” and I laughed and tried to tell myself, just a 10k, 6.2 miles you can do this. My legs hurt so, so bad. My right knee also started to give out here and there, when that happened I walked it off a bit and then ran again. I didn’t really make a game plan, a decision or anything, I just went off of how I felt. If I needed to walk a bit, I did. When I felt ready to run again I did. I took more salt from a medic. There was also a woman with “The Stick” for people to use, I tried that and it did nothing. My legs were total bricks. They also had some bananas so I tried that, thinking maybe I needed potassium. Nothing. Bricks.
I used the crowd the rest of the way. I would scream “I can do this!” and they would shout back “you can do this Andrea!” (I LOVE that I got my name printed on my shirt.) I also shouted “my legs hurt!!!” and they would say “dig deep Andrea!!” I wish I could thank every single stranger from Miles 20 and on, because without them I could not have made it to the finish line.
At mile 23 I knew I would see my two best friends Julie and Danielle. Danielle sent me a text, you are 10 blocks away, and I just ran those 10 blocks for them. When I saw them I gave them the biggest hugs and said MY LEGS HURT SOOOO BADDDD!!!! They just said but you are almost there you can do it!!!!! Seeing them helped so much and I just kept going.
23-24, I just ran/walked. Those crowds just helped! I just kept saying I can do this, I can do this.
At Mile 25, Central Park South I saw my sister, my dad, my best friend, her husband, her two babies (one is my godson), her brother and her mom. I NEEDED THEM!!!! I gave them hugs and kisses and just told myself finish strong. Jen also texted me at mile 25 and said you have one more mile to go, you can do this!! My mom was also tracking me from home (she had to stay home with my dog) and she was texting me, you got this Andrea, you are almost there!! Thank GOD for my watch, seeing those texts helped SO much!
After I saw my family I ran to the finish. I just said I can do this, I can do this! Everyone kept screaming, Andrea you can do this!!!
Once you hit Mile 26, that .2 miles feels like an eternity to get to. I could see the finish line and I just kept running, one brick leg in front of the other.
Then I crossed the finish line!!! I couldn’t believe it, I even asked a man, wait is this the finish, did I finish??!! I was in so much pain and just so overwhelmed! I saw my teammates gave them huge hugs and they gave me my medal.
TCS NYC Marathon 2015 Finisher! Time: 5:25:40
I got some pictures, got my heat sheet and food bag and then began the zombie walk. My legs hurt so bad and you literally have another mile walk to leave the park. It felt like another marathon. Everyone was just hobbling. I got my awesome cozy post-race poncho and then slowly walked to meet my dad and sister. The stairs down to the subway was so painful. But I pummeled through!
We got my car in Hoboken, headed home and then went to Shake Shack for a quick bite. I wasn’t fully hungry, but I knew I needed to eat. It’s such a weird feeling!!
All the Shake Shack
I got a cheeseburger, fries, and a black and white shake.
When I got home I took a quick shower, tylenol, and headed for bed.
Today I can barely walk (thank goodness I took the day off of work) but I feel on top of the freaking world!!!!!
18 weeks of training, a year of 9 +1 to qualify, two running injuries, countless hours of physical therapy, time, sacrifices, all paid off.
I ran a marathon. 26.2 Miles. I did it. It took a lot of hard work and dedication but I made it and I feel so humbled, proud and accomplished.
And just like every other crazy marathoner, so where do I sign up for the next one?
SPECIAL THANKS TO:
My Cheer Squad:
- My sister
- My dad
- My mom
- Kirsten, Zak, Aiden and Noah
- Judy and Jon
- Danielle and Julie
- Judith, Katie and Lester
- Jen and John
MORE THANKS TO:
- Kristen and baby Natalie
- My co-workers
- All my River Edge Crew
- Jeanine- So bummed I missed you in Brooklyn
- Cheryl- thank you for always reading my blog and supporting me, I looked for you at mile 21!
- Christina and the Casual Tuesdays
- The NYInstarunners
- The Hoboken Girls
- My Instagram and Blog followers
- Janae at Hungry Runner Girl- your posts help so much!
- My Friday night crew at NYSC
I am so blessed to have so many amazing people in my life. Thank you all for support. I love you all! ❤