On November 3rd, I ran my 4th NYC Marathon and no matter how many marathons you race, you always learn something new. Here are some my key takeaways from this year’s race:
The New York Road Runners pre-race dinner at Tavern on the Green is well worth it. It’s buffet style, but the food is decent and you get to check out the NYCM finish line before 53,000 other people cross it the next day.
Taking the Staten Island Ferry to the start line is much more scenic than taking the bus from the NY Public Library. Both the ferry terminal and the ferry are well heated, spacious and alive with energy. You get a great view of the Statue of Liberty and once in Staten Island, it’s just a quick bus ride the start line. The total trip takes about 90 minutes.
Daylight savings time on marathon day is a blessing. Spring ahead. Fall behind. An extra hour of sleep; enough said.
Porta-Potty lines were an hour long. This wasn’t the case in year’s past and it’s not the case at other races, but plan accordingly.
Peeing off the side of the Verrazano Bridge will get you disqualified from the race and banned from future NYRR events. These announcements prompted chuckles in the crowd each and every time and generally seemed more directed at the men than the women. Those of us running on the lower level of the bridge appreciated the reminders. The “wall” is moveable. There’s a well-documented physical and psychological “wall” that greets most marathoners at the 17-18 mile mark and it’s a dark place. You just keep putting one foot in front of the other and generally by mile 20, you’ve adopted a “just 10K to go” mindset and you are fine. This time, for me, the wall came early – probably between miles 14 and 15. It also stayed longer, but I adapted, pushed through and finished strong.
Nothing new on race day. You should never try anything new on race day – shoes, nutrition, socks, etc. We all know that, yet a found myself tempted by the huge BioFreeze stations set up along the final miles of the marathon. Big colorful signs and helpful volunteers promised immediate relief from muscle soreness and a strong finish. I resisted, but it was tempting.
The NYC Marathon is amazing, but they still haven’t figured out the post-finish line logistics. You finish 26.2 miles and a super-helpful volunteer puts the medal around your neck, while another gives you one of those silver space blankets and a goodie bag with water, Gatorade, an apple, etc. Then you do a death march with thousands of other people through the park up to 80th Street, across to Central Park West and then back down to 61st. Why? None of us are looking to sit down, but organizers creating a shorter, easier route out of the park would probably reduce the demand for post-race medical attention.
You don’t have to PR to have a great race. With a 4:37 time, I didn’t break any course records and didn’t score a personal best, but still enjoyed the training journey, the race itself – which is more like a block party – and a weekend in NYC.
Until next time, NY, thank you for a great race in a great city!
Here are some products I used during the marathon: