I know that the NYC marathon is not a PR course for so many reasons. I live in a completely flat city where I have to drive to a bridge to run hills, they aren’t something I am used to, and New York is a hilly course. On top of that it is a late start and goodness knows what sitting around for hours waiting on my wave to begin might do to my mental prep and my resulting time. Plus, the weather in NYC in November can be so unpredictable. There are so many reasons that people tell you to go to New York, take in the sights, enjoy the crowd, and to have fun at the marathon, but not to expect a PR – NYC wasn’t built for that.
However, with with the New York City Marathon, my fifth shot at this distance, approaching I cannot help to think back to the 4 marathons I did before. By the time New York rolls around it will have been 2 years and 8 months since my last marathon. The truth is that the half is my favorite distance and I really wanted to work on improving there for awhile, but something has drawn me back into the full. Full marathons bring a challenge to me that half marathons just don’t deliver and a sense of accomplishment that is unparalleled. As I embark on my journey to New York I cannot help but think of the 4 marathons that came before.
Marathon: 1 – Disney World
Course Profile: Flat and Fast
Weather Conditions: January in FL – 50s
My Condition: feeling strong after a recent sub 2 hour half and a great training cycle
Finish Time: 5:13:31
Thoughts: I was on perfect pace to finish at 4:30 and then something horrible happened in my right foot. It was a shooting, crazy pain every time I stepped and at about mile 19 I couldn’t take it any more. My face was in a permanent wince except when I would try real quick to fake a smile for the cameras. My pace dropped from 10:30ish to 12 to 15 min miles. Ouch! I was really disappointed in myself. However, I tried to look at the bright side I did finish my first marathon.
Marathon: 2 – Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville
Course Profile: Rolling Hills
Weather Conditions: April in TN – 50s/60s & pouring rain from start to finish
My Condition: strep throat hit just 3 days pre-marathon, plus a nagging leg issue
Finish Time: 4:57:34
Thoughts: I was really worried about how this one would turn out with some nagging leg issues (that I know know are related to my Joint Hypermobility Syndrome which I get treatment for) and a surprising case of strep throat. To top it off, I woke up on race morning and it was pouring, and it didn’t stop the whole time. I started off the first half of the race perfectly, even though I had to stop and stretch my injured leg twice I still ran a 2:20 half. I was so excited to be on track for my 4:45 goal. However, it wasn’t meant to be – the truth is that I don’t think I did enough hill training and only ran the super flat roads and trails around me, and even more than that, the strep throat just took it out of me more than I thought.
Marathon: 3 – Marine Corp Marathon
Course Profile: Rolling Hills
Weather Conditions: Oct in DC – 40s/50s
My Condition: still dealing with nagging leg issues that made this training cycle tough
Finish Time: 5:47:38
Thoughts: With MCM just 6 months after Nashville I had taken a 2 month break and jumped right back into training without yet discovering what was going on with my body or how to treat it. Nagging leg issued bothered me throughout my training and compromised the quality of my runs. I knew that 4;45 I had been chasing was out and was instead hoping for a decent finish. However, it was not the day for me to see what my body could do, I had convince a friend to run her first marathon and around mile 9 her body gave up and it became all about her. I walked the next 17ish miles with her, cheering her along, being bossy, trying to keep us from getting swept off the course, and supporting her how I could. While it may not have been the marathon I planned I wouldn’t change it for anything as helping her cross that finish line was an amazing experience.
Marathon: 4 – Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans
Course Profile: Flat and Fast
Weather Conditions: Feb in NoLa – 60s/70s & humid
My Condition: with only 3 months after MCM my legs had gotten worse and not better
Finish Time: 5:43:35
Thoughts: Without the ability to take time off between races, because I had book this trip almost 9 months before, I was now running New Orleans just about 3 months after MCM and the lack of rest time and continued training caused my legs to feel worse, not better. I went into this race without any huge goals. I wanted to have a fun girls weeks since there would be 7 of us there, and if my body wasn’t up for it I was totally okay dropping down to the half. I ran the first few miles with friends and around mile 5 one of them began to look very pale and feel faint. I could have left her, but it was her first marathon, and she didn’t look well, and truthfully – I will always be a people over PRs type of person. We were able to help her meet up with some of our friends who walked her into the half marathon. So after walking miles 5 – 11 with her I still felt pretty good and decided to continue on with the one other girl who was running the full so she wouldn’t have to go it alone. Miles 11 – 16 were perfect and then at mile 16/17 my leg really started bothering me. With just a 10K left I couldn’t do it any more. I stopped and stretched and realized I was running slower than I was could walk so I convinced my friend to go on without me. I hindsight, the half marathon would have been a better bet on this one as I walked all the way into the finish.
Marathon: 5 – New York City
Course Profile: Hills & Bridges
Weather Conditions: Nov. in NYC – ???
My Condition: I have now been diagnosed with Joint Hypermobility Syndrome which is a lot of what caused the nagging leg pain in my previous marathons. The further I run and more miles I train the worse it is. However, now that I know what it is I try my best to combat and prevent the pain by visiting a sports med chiropractor for ART every two weeks and being more consistent with my stretching.
Finish Time: ???
Thoughts: I currently have mono which will really impact my training in 2 weeks when school starts back up and I have to add 10 tiring hours of work and commuting to my day, and I also have an appointment (not until late October) to see a specialist for advanced thyroid testing. If I can persuade them, through desperation, to move the thyroid appointment up and also get over this crazy mono those two things could have a huge positive impact on my training. If I am suffering through training with mono and possible thyroid issues the whole time it will be ugly.
I cannot help but wonder if my body cooperates and I can take care of the mono and the thyroid stuff, now that I know what I know about my joint issues will NYC be the one? Could I actually PR on a course that is not made for PRs? My current PR was run in Nashville on a course full of rolling hills, in the pouring rain, with strep throat. I know New York is a tough course, everyone says don’t even think about a PR, but could it be tougher than that? Could my body cooperate? Could I run under a 4:57:38 and PR? Even better what about that 4:45 I dream of… (I guess it is time for weekly hill work.)
Let me know –
What do you think is there any possibility in New York?
Any insight to the course from those of you who have run it?
What has been your favorite race and why?