Liz’s 2019 NYC Marathon Report

What was your race experience like?

The 2019 NYC Marathon was, by leaps and bounds, the MOST FUN I have ever had running a marathon! This was my fifth marathon overall, but my first time running NYC. My previous four marathons were all small races, with barely anyone out cheering. And I’ve certainly never had anyone come out to cheer specifically for me. So I really don’t have the words to describe how it felt to run a marathon with so many friends and family out on the course that I had to carry a cheat sheet listing everyone’s locations! When I started to struggle with a flareup of my recurring IT band injury at mile 15, I set my mind to running from cheer station to cheer station, and that pulled me through when my body started to quit on me. 

Other than the IT band problem, the whole day was pretty much perfect from start to finish. I rode the 5:30am ferry with fellow CHRC-ers Nicole and Thomas, we found Guillermo and Kelsey at the busses, Jimmy in the start village, and Brooke and Madeline just before I headed to the start corral. Having so many friends around definitely helped keep my nerves at bay, and made the long wait in the village fly by. That’s the best thing about being part of a club like CHRC — you’re almost guaranteed to find a buddy at any NYC running event.

The NYC marathon is literally a 26.2 mile party through the streets of the best city in the world, and I really just tried to take it all in. Kelsey, Nicole and I ran most of the way together, and it was amazing to run as part of a little squad, with random spectators shouting “Yeah Crown Heights” at us. The feeling when the three of us hit the CHRC cheer station at mile 9, with my sister waiting at the end of the line holding a sign that I didn’t have time to read before I crushed her in a huge hug…well, I just want to capture that incredible joy in a bottle so I can dose myself with it when I’m feeling down.

I’ve found that with my past marathons, I don’t remember much of the race. Once I fall into a good pace, the miles kind of blend together. But I remember EVERY. SINGLE. MILE of the 2019 NYC Marathon, and I will for the rest of my life.

Did you train for this race? If so, how?

I used McMillan Running’s Intermediate Marathon Training Plan, which is the same plan I’ve used for my most recent two marathons. And I followed it pretty closely. 

Did you have any goals for this race? If so, what were they?

My A goal was to just to embrace the experience of running NYC for the first time by running as happy as possible. And I totally succeeded.

My B goal was to finish in under 4 hours. I missed this goal by 52 seconds; my IT band problem meant I couldn’t push as hard as usual in the second half of the race. But honestly I cared very little about my time goal.  I mean it when I say I ran this race just for my love of running and my love of NYC.  

Did CHRC help you train for/run/celebrate this race? If so, how?

I did most of my training on my own, but CHRC definitely helped me run & celebrate this race. I was lucky to have Nicole and Kelsey with me for most of the run. Even though it was sometimes hard to keep track of each other when the course got crowded, I was so proud to be running with these amazing women. I lost them for a while on 1st Ave, when my IT band started to be a real problem. I caught up to them just as we were about to cross into the Bronx, and hearing them shout encouragement at me as we pushed up the Willis Ave bridge made me proud to call them my teammates. 

And of course CHRC helped me to celebrate the race! I’ve missed the post-race potluck the past two years since I was out of town running the Indianapolis marathon, so I was thrilled to make a triumphant return as a finisher!

What was your favorite thing about the race?

If I have to pick just one thing, then it’s definitely seeing my friends and family all along the course, especially my sister and parents. Having my own personal cheer squads out on the course honestly meant the world to me.

My parents drove down from Albany to cheer, and caught me three times during the race: in Brooklyn  on 4th Ave & Bergen, and twice in Manhattan on 1st and 5th Aves. My mom put an old orange feather boa to hold up above the crowd to help me spot them, which was ridiculous but totally worked. And she made three different signs to hold, my favorite of which featured a picture of my dog, Meera. 

My sister came all the way from Indianapolis just to cheer me on, and took on the challenge of catching me in four boroughs. She started at the CHRC station in Brooklyn, then caught me in Queens near the Court Street Station, in the Bronx at Grand Concourse, and in Manhattan on 5th & 97th! She also made separate signs for every stop, and all of them referenced my favorite musicals. Seeing her for the first time in Brooklyn – a moment captured by CHRC’s excellent photographer – well, I just don’t have the words to describe how that felt.

What was the biggest challenge about the race?

This was a hard marathon to run, but not for the reason most people think. Most people think it’s the bridges and hills that make NYC a challenging course. But I didn’t have a problem with those, because I spent all summer training them and I’m generally pretty strong on hills.  

My biggest challenge was just how crowded the course was! It was almost impossible to settle into a stable, comfortable pace. I was constantly weaving around slower runners, runners stopping to hug their families, runners who were trying to get around other runners. The water stations were especially tight, even if I tried to just cruise through the middle without getting a drink. I expended a lot of energy trying to avoid tripping over or colliding with other runners.

Would you run it again?

Yes, absolutely. I’m hoping that I can convince my sister and brother-in-law to enter the lotto for the 50th Anniversary marathon in 2020.

What advice/tips would you give to Royals wanting to run this race?
  1. Do it! Even if you never run another marathon, the experience of running 26.2 through this incredible city we all call home — while it throws a massive party just for us — is something every runner should experience at least once. 
  2. The bridges and hills aren’t as bad as people make them out to be.
  3. Come talk to me for all of the tips & tricks for staying warm in the start village.