Wednesday, November 12, 2014


Staten Island.



The Bronx.


My favorite race ever.

My third NYC marathon, yet it felt like my first (just in a MUCH better way).

While this race did not go as planned because of some pesky 20-35mph winds, it was an incredible day.

Simply incredible.

Despite the winds and the cold, this race remains my favorite.  The crowds, the support, the course.

After an amazing few days spent in NYC with Mr. Southern Fried Soul and my son, the weekend culminated with the race.

When I found out that I got in (a statistical anomaly in itself) earlier this spring, I couldn't WAIT to tell Louis,

As I stated in an earlier post, he has been begging to go to NYC for over a year.  Upset that I haven't taken him in the past (he was just too little), he was *ecstatic* when he heard the news.  We've been on a countdown for months!

Anyway, here's how the race went down...

All week I was a little worried about the weather.  I was happy that I brought as many throw away clothes (all given to charity) for the start.  It wasn't just cold.  It was freezing.  Top that off with some incredibly gusty winds?  A little chilly for this Texas girl.

can you see that flag blowing?

By train, ferry and bus, runners arrived at the start.

SIF ride with Canada Cory - he's waited for 4 years to do this race!

I think she's waving her partially frozen hand at me,  Good morning lady liberty!

Our timing was perfect...some runners had been out on Staten Island since early (5-6am!) that morning, but I arrived with enough time to walk to the starting corral and then on to the start.  I wasn't even ready to start.  I had so many layers, it took me awhile to get down to my race gear!

tons (and I'm not even exageratting) of "throwaway" clothes are collected for the 
needy just in one day

The first two miles consist of the Verazzano-Narrows bridge....and are usually two amazing miles.  Helicopters hovering and amazing views of Manhattan make it a start like no other.

These were the two miles I'd most like to forget.  The winds were RIDICULOUS.  I can't even explain how ridiculous.  I could barely maintain a 11 minute mile in a place where I'd normally run a 9-9:30min/mile.  The wind was blowing everything and everybody around.  My favorite headband blew right off my head (luckily someone else had lost theirs too - I didn't even care who's head it had been on at this point).  I couldn't WAIT to get off of that bridge!

apparently so!

The next several miles veer through the heart of Brooklyn...basically an 11 mile long block party. *Amazing *crowds.

one of my *favorite* neighborhoods in Brooklyn

the city where every stranger on the side of the road cheers for you in that moment

a Brooklyn landmark indicating you are *almost* halfway there

I made up a little time here, but not much.  I feel like I held back WAY to much, which may have boded well for me in the end, but looking back I think I could have made up a little time.

I stopped at mile 11 to take a picture to commemorate my 11th marathon and my 1,001st mile for the year (thanks for the idea Cory!).

The half way point (on the Pulaski bridge) had me feeling over the wind and just winded in general.  I have never run in winds like this.  Never.  Not even at the Rock and Roll half in Dallas in 2013 were the winds that bad (and that was windy! I even PR'd that day).  Feeling down and negative, my times reflected it.

Onto the Queensboro bridge.  Spectators are not allowed on the bridge, so it's pretty much you, your breathing and footsteps.  It's a place to take a scan note of how you feel and know that some of the best miles are to come.  The bridge is long and can be unforgiving on the legs, one mile up, one mile down, but it rewards you in so many way.  Spectacular views of midtown Manhattan the entire way.

that's a good afternoon view!

The spill from the bridge onto 1st Avenue is like being a celebrity for a day (just in case you already don't feel like one).  The roars are loud, the crowds boisterous.

1st Avenue party!

I knew Louis and Ryan would be coming up at mile 18 and I picked it up a little after the bridge because the sooner I got to them, the better.

I was thrilled to see them and Louis even ran some of the NYC Marathon with me!  My best moment the entire race by far.  This definitely lifted my spirits and gave me the extra kick I needed to pull myself out of the mid race slump.

This race flew by SO quickly.  I can't even explain it; it almost like I dreamed my way through it.  Even the last few miles.  With just a blip through the Bronx and Queens, before I knew it, only the 5th Avenue and the park remained (some of my favorite parts).

another fave - sun bathed Central Parl

I continued to pick up the pace into Manhattan, stopping only for the hydration, trying to make up some time knowing I had nothing to lose.  Unfortunately, Ryan and Louis didn't make it into the park for the finish because of daunting security and insane subway wait times, but it didn't make it any less spectacular.  The crowds here are some of the thickest, with way too many people yelling "you're almost there" (IMO, you're "almost there" at mile 26.1).

happy to be in this moment - mile 25

The rolling hills are hard on the legs, but the downhills forgiving.  I flew around Central Park South, Columbus Circle and into the finish, for the first time high fiving kids, cops, spectators...whoever I could find a boost from AND I was smiling.  A first for me.  I finished strong and for that I am thankful.

The long death march began to the finishing area to collect my high fashion poncho (for reals, super nice!) and my snacks.

By the time I got to Louis and Ryan I was exhausted and FREEZING.

I was finished and a little sad to be done.  Like I said, it wasn't my goal (4:30), but it was a 43 minute improvement on 2010 and 23 on 2011.

But my real goal?

It was this.

The very first time I read about the NYCM I knew that if you finished fast enough your name would be printed in the New Yorl Times the next day.  I knew this was my goal from that first year.  After a disappointing showing in 2010, a better one in 2011 but just not quite good enough, it had *finally* happened.  I may or may not have had a tear in my eye when I opened it to that page.

I have been so fortunate to have been able to run this race three times.  I would have felt lucky to have run it once.  I told myself that this would be the last time I'd run this one for awhile, but post-race, my feelings are much different.  We'll see how I feel come January.

Sitting on my couch last year, reminiscing about 2010 and 2011 definitely spurred my interest in getting in this year.  If there is any downside to this race, it's this: it completely ruins you for any other race you do.  I've run some great races that have almost compared to this one (the Twin Cities Marathon & Chicago...even Houston is right up there!), but like one of my favorite book's title, this truly is a race like no other.  Despite this being my 3rd in just 4 years, it just doesn't lose it's charm or emotional quotient for me.

Til we meet again NYC!


  1. Smiles the whole way...even though you struggled with wind, you still had a smile on your face!! :)
    You did AWESOME!! And you were published; how cool is that!!? SO PROUD!!

    1. Thanks!! I'm pretty sure that was the first time for ALL of those things to happen!

  2. Found your blog through Friday Five. Your NYCM was awesome. Looks like you had a blast! I've run in Central Park once and had a blast. Maybe one day again...

    1. I wish I lived closer to Central is SO pretty in the fall! Thanks for reading!