Saturday, November 09, 2013

One of 50,304 Finishers of the New York City Marathon 2013!

After waiting three years, I finally received an entry into the New York City Marathon through their lottery system.  I had never been to New York City either, so I couldn't wait to have a running/sightseeing tour of the five boroughs - Staten Island, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and the Bronx.  My training strategy was to be fit enough to run at a comfortable pace so I could enjoy my surroundings and the entertainment on the course. 

The security for this race was nothing like I have ever seen in the other races I have done.  On Sunday morning at about 6:30 a.m., I hopped on one of the hundreds of buses to the start.  We had a police escorted ride to the start village at Fort Wadsworth on Staten Island with traffic breaks and all.  It was actually very cool!  I sat beside a gentleman from Germany on the bus, and he was quite an interesting fellow.  I asked him how he liked our beer, and he told me he wouldn't even pour Coors, Miller, and Budweiser in a donkey's ear!

(Waiting at the New York Public Library to get on the bus to the start.)

Once we arrived, all of the runners had to go through security.  We were given a special clear bag at the pre-race check-in, and that was the only bag we were allowed to bring in with us.  We were not allowed to bring in sleeping bags or blankets like they had allowed runners in previous years.  There were policemen everywhere -- and I mean everywhere -- on land, in the air, and on the water.  So I made sure I brought a lot of extra clothing that I could leave in the donation bins while I waited approximately two hours before my wave started.  It was in the low 30s that morning, and it was only expected to get to about 50 degrees with wind gusts of 20 to 30 miles an hour.

(Getting in to the start village at Fort Wadsworth, Staten Island)

While waiting, it was fun to observe all of the other runners and the security measures in force.  There was security up on top of the bridge, and there were helicopters flying back and forth, and police walking all around the runners' village, some with bomb-sniffing dogs.  When it was time for my wave, (Wave 3), they called us to the start line. 

For each start, they shot off a howitzer cannon and played Frank Sinatra's New York, New York.  The first 1.75 miles is running over the Verrazano Bridge, the longest suspension bridge in the USA.  That ended up being one of the coolest parts of the race because as we were running over the bridge, an NYPD helicopter hovered right beside us to ensure our safety across the bridge.  Runners were stopping and taking pictures of the helicopter.  That was really, really cool, and I felt so safe...I actually felt safer during this marathon than I've pretty much ever felt in my whole life!

Running across the bridge was also the coldest part of the race, being so high up, the wind was really whipping in your face.  The views from the bridge were also spectacular.  You could see the city and the Statue of Liberty.  I just kept telling myself during this race to slow down and enjoy it!

After the bridge, you run through Brooklyn for quite a few miles, up to the halfway point to be exact, and you run through many ethnic neighborhoods.  There was lots of cheering and all different kinds of entertainment.  In total, I've read that there are 2 million people cheering you on throughout this course.  It is simply amazing, and really makes you smile pretty much the whole time you're running!  I actually was getting choked up during the first 10 miles of the race because I couldn't believe I was running this marathon, the largest in the world, with runners from 109 countries!  My favorite part of the race was in Brooklyn, somewhere between miles 5 and 10, a huge gospel choir standing on the church steps and just belting out some superior gospel singing.  I really thought about stopping and just staying there to listen to them for a while because they were so good.

Then between miles 10 and 11, you enter the Hasidic Jewish Community, and it is super quiet because Sunday is a workday for them.  They were dressed in their black suits and hats.  It was very interesting to see.

The halfway point is in the middle of the Pulaski Bridge before you enter Queens for two miles.  By the halfway point, I was still feeling really good, so I decided to speed it up a little bit.  I was really just hoping to run the whole marathon at a 10:00 minute pace, but I was consistently running a pace of a little under 9:30.  I told myself not to speed up until after the halfway point.  In a marathon, the race really does not begin until mile 20.

After Queens, you run over the Queensboro bridge and into Manhattan.  On all of the bridges, there are no spectators, so it's super quiet.  The Queensboro Bridge was especially so, but as you run down the ramp on this bridge, the crowds start getting even larger and it's very loud and motivating running through Manhattan.  Miles 18 through 20 take you through "El Barrio" and Harlem, then over the Willis Avenue Bridge and into the Bronx.

Finally at about Mile 22, you enter Central Park.  I was feeling great as well in the second half, and I was able to pick up the pace a little knowing in the back of my mind that the wall was going to sneak up on me at any time.  And as expected, I started to feel dull at Mile 22.  So I would say I didn't enjoy Central Park as much as I had hoped to.  Then I was about a quarter of a mile from the finish when I heard my daughter Nikki shouting "Mom!!!!" And Ted shouting "Jeanie!!!!"  I looked over and was so excited to see them because I didn't expect to see them at all during the race with security measures being what they were and no one being allowed near the finish line unless you had a special ticket.

(A quarter of a mile before the finish.  I look better than I felt!)

When I heard them, it took the pain away, and I jogged to the finish with a time of 4:07!  People who knew I was running the race would ask me what I expected to run the race in, and my standard answer was that I didn't have an expected time.  I really no longer wish to run a marathon for time because it is very difficult to do.  You can't enjoy the experience if you have to keep looking at your watch and analyzing your pace.
When I saw that I ran a 4:07, I was kind of surprised.  I knew I was fit enough to do it, but I just didn't expect to run that fast.

After crossing the finish line, you have to walk and walk, and I started to feel a little woozy, but after about 15 minutes I was feeling okay.  I just wanted to get to my family.  We had set up a meeting place prior to the race as they had advised everyone to do because of the tight security.  So I kept walking until I found everyone.  (It was a kind of "Yo Adrian" - Rocky kind of moment.) I just wanted to use the bathroom, sit down for a few minutes, and drink a Coke (my usual procedure after an endurance event).

The average pace for a woman in the 50-54 age group was 4:57.  I ran the average pace for men 25-29.

Here's my tracker breakdown.  I ran a consistent pace throughout the marathon.  I came in #262 out of 1,654 in my age group.

Jeanine Huebner48468FSan MarcosUnited States
5K 11:02:45 AM0:29:5902:45:20 PM09:39
10K 11:32:01 AM0:59:1502:42:43 PM09:33
MILE 8 11:48:40 AM1:15:5402:41:20 PM09:30
MILE 9 11:58:01 AM1:25:1502:40:55 PM09:29
15K 12:00:58 PM1:28:1202:40:42 PM09:28
MILE 10 12:07:10 PM1:34:2402:40:04 PM09:27
MILE 11 12:16:34 PM1:43:4802:39:59 PM09:27
MILE 12 12:26:02 PM1:53:1602:40:03 PM09:27
20K 12:30:03 PM1:57:1702:39:59 PM09:27
MILE 13 12:35:34 PM2:02:4802:40:16 PM09:27
HALF 12:36:45 PM2:03:5902:40:44 PM09:28
MILE 14 12:44:55 PM2:12:0902:40:04 PM09:27
MILE 15 12:54:25 PM2:21:3902:40:10 PM09:27
25K 12:59:27 PM2:26:4102:40:13 PM09:27
MILE 16 01:03:37 PM2:30:5102:39:46 PM09:26

MILE 17 01:12:30 PM2:39:4402:38:56 PM09:24
MILE 18 01:21:16 PM2:48:3002:38:01 PM09:22
30K 01:26:53 PM2:54:0702:37:30 PM09:21
MILE 19 01:30:02 PM2:57:1602:37:12 PM09:20
MILE 20 01:39:16 PM3:06:3002:37:04 PM09:20
MILE 21 01:48:19 PM3:15:3302:36:44 PM09:19
35K 01:55:30 PM3:22:4402:36:58 PM09:20
MILE 22 01:57:43 PM3:24:5702:36:51 PM09:19
MILE 23 02:07:41 PM3:34:5502:37:35 PM09:21
MILE 24 02:18:14 PM3:45:2802:38:54 PM09:24
40K 02:26:42 PM3:53:5602:39:24 PM09:25
MILE 25 02:28:07 PM3:55:2102:39:25 PM09:25
MILE 26 02:37:46 PM4:05:0002:39:39 PM09:26
FINISH 02:39:57 PM4:07:1102:39:57 PM09:27
The next day, as I was checking over the results, I decided to look at the Boston Marathon website, and I saw that I had qualified for 2015!

Overall, my experience at the NYC was awesome and an experience I will never forget!

Many thanks to Fred Lebow, the founder of the New York City Marathon.
(Statue of Fred Lebow in Central Park near the finish line)


Zebster said...

This is tremendous, Jeanie...what a great job on your first blog post. If half of our posts were this good, we'd have readers. Such a great use of the tools we rarely use. LOL You must be so proud. And pictures are awesome, especially like the one of you near the finish line.
You are welcome to write here anytime and if you decide to run Boston again, please let me know and I'll come down.

mamajoan said...

A wonderful account of the marathon and congratulations for doing so well. Mama Joan

Anonymous said...

Congrats on both your achievement and for the well written post!

Mrs. Huebner said...

Thank you for all of your nice comments! I'll have to do more events just so I can write in your blog! It was so much fun writing my story and having others read it!

Next up is the LA Marathon in March!

Brent said...

Congratulations on your accomplishment and on the well written post.

Michael said...

That was awesome! Congrats. I'd be lucky to walk a marathon. That's quite an achievement.