On Sunday, November 6, 2016, I ran and finished the 2016 New York City Marathon. Here’s a personal race recap and a few photos.

First off, let me mention that in the weeks preceding the marathon, I was interviewed to be included in the stories of runners on the NYC marathon website. I took this opportunity to speak out for body positivity.

My spouse and I arrived in New York on Thursday, November 3. After leaving our luggage at the hotel, we wandered around Bryant Park and Times Square until late afternoon when we could check-in.

On Friday, we visited the marathon expo to pick-up my bib number, shirt and a few other goodies, and also attended the opening ceremony in Central Park that night.

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Saturday there was nothing race-specific for us on the agenda, so the day was devoted to some very touristy NYC activities, like visiting the One World Observatory and Times Square. All day, I was sipping on maple syrup diluted in water to be fully carbed up for the marathon the next day.

Sunday morning, marathon day, I got up way too early because I couldn’t sleep. I was browsing my Instagram feed when I came upon a quote saying that if you can’t sleep, you’re best using that time to hydrate. So I just drank lots of water while browsing the web until it was time to get up.

Unbeknownst to me at the time, Sunday morning was also the day of the year where you gain an hour after time reverts from daylight savings time. Though my phone had automatically updated to reflect the correct time, the radio clock in the hotel room did not. The result: at 5:30 (correct time, from my phone), when I was in the washroom and thinking I still had an hour to get ready, by boyfriends barges in and tells me it’s 6:30 and that I’m going to miss my bus… This gave way to a bit of panicking, but we finally figured it out. No, it wasn’t 6:30 a.m., it was 5:30 a.m., and I could still take my time to get ready.

I left for the midtown buses to get to the start line at 7 a.m. Lots of waiting after that… waiting to get on the bus, waiting for the bus to get to the site, waiting to get off the bus, waiting to pass security to get into the starting village, waiting in the portable toilet line, waiting for the corrals to open, waiting for my wave’s official start… yep, there was as much waiting as there was running that day.

Now, the New York City marathon was a once in a lifetime experience. Huge crowds, friendly runners from around the world, and a great party-like atmosphere with music throughout the course. I’ll sincerely never forget it.

Now, onto the race!! My goal since running less than 2:30 in a half-marathon this spring has been to run a sub-5-hour marathon. I knew this would be a challenge for me, but I thought it possible nonetheless. On the start line, I aligned myself with the 4:55 pacer. She was awesome. She told those around her that this was her 27th marathon (she’s the lady with the pink headband in the picture).

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I managed to follow the pacer for more than 2/3 of the race. I lost her when I took a short walking break at 32km. She left in front and I guess I never caught up again.

I encountered some problems at around 39km. Then, I got a weird cramp in my leg that prevented me from bending my right knee. At that point, I could only walk/limp with a straightened leg. I said to myself “Oh well, I’ve done good up to now, I’ll just have to accept this and walk the remaining few kilometers to the finish line”. I went to the side of the road and did some light stretching, and this seems to have fixed the problem, because after that, my legs were fully functional again.

Passed 40km, with the 41km marker in sight, I looked down at my phone and saw that I still had 8 minutes to reach my goal for a sub-5-hour marathon. At that point, I didn’t have a choice than to give it my all and just go for it. I put down my head and started to grind.

My finishing time: 4:59:43!!! (reached my goal with 17 seconds to spare!).

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Here’s a video of the finish:

 

 

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