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Dry Martini: My last .2 thoughts about the TCS NYC marathon

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Mischief managed.

So here I am, ten days post-marathon. To be brutally honest, the fact that I ran 26.2 MF’n miles in NYC still hasn’t sunk in yet. I don’t know that it every really will.

Some of that can be chalked up to post-marathon malaise, which is totally a thing and anyone who tells you differently is trying to sell you something — and that something, likely, is running a marathon with them. I’m just exhausted, y’all, what with all of the energy expenditure on Sunday, the travel back home, and a tumultuous election week. What drive I had has evaporated into a diffuse cloud of meh. I have no doubt this, too, shall pass once time does.

What would help it pass, is suspect, is being able to go for a nice long run. My body has other ideas. I’ve managed a few 2-3 milers but my legs still feel like lead. Plus, all of the muscles in my lower back keep seizing up if I run for more than 45-minutes or so. This, too, falls into the “this, too, shall pass” category (especially since I’m about to visit my friendly neighborhood massage therapist) but I’m still irked by my human frailty. I mean — I just ran a marathon. I can’t run 3 miles?

Yeah. I know.

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I was on the Staten Island Ferry when reality kicked in.

Some of my melancholy stems from the experience being over, which is weird because it’s an experience I have zero desire to have again. For six hours on a Sunday in November, though, I had a singular focus and a whole lot of people on my side. Not only in-person along the race course itself but also on Facebook and Instagram and email. Friends all over the country tracked my little dot on the marathon’s app. I can only say thank you. I can also confess that I keep looking back on all of the comments when the day gets kinda blarg.

For those six hours, I felt like a rock star, albeit one with zero cash, fewer recreational drug options, and decidedly less vomit. That’s not something you get more than a few times during your life. When you have a baby, maybe. And the feeling you get at the end of the marathon is a lot like the one after labor: one that makes you realize that you are the biggest badass in the world and so relieved that you’ve succeeded. I burst into tears as the medal was being lifted over my head. Or more accurately, tears without actual liquid coming out of my eyes because running for that long can dehydrate a person.

While the bulk of my race report is in last week’s podcast, I have a few more thoughts, because of course I do.

— I have Very Strong Feelings about all of Brooklyn and the Queensboro bridge. By the time my part of the pack hit the BLKN, a lot of the crowd had gone home. While there were some bright spots, like the high school band that played the Rocky theme on a loop and a church choir that brought the goosebumps, it was quiet enough to really think about how long this race would be. Ditto the Queensboro bridge.

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I stopped in Brooklyn to cheer myself up by taking a selfie with a woman in a banana costume. Like one does.

— Related to the above: one of these days, I’ll figure out how to stage a race where back of the packers have the same experience as the front of the packers. There has to be a way, right? One that doesn’t leave all of the runners in a big tangled heap in the middle?

— While making plans before the race, I discouraged folks from coming to spectate. On race day, I was beyond thrilled that folks I know ignored me. It was so much of lift — like Bette Midler “Wind Beneath My Wings” level — to see people I knew. Especially when I got to see my teenager. Words fail.

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This photo shot by my friend Kate shows you exactly what it felt like to see someone I knew.

— The people who were handing out tissues and squeezes of hand sanitizer were geniuses. Next race I spectate, I know what I’ll be packing.

— Footing gets super slippery at water stops after a crap-ton of runners has gone through.

— My knee-jerk response to doing hard things is to want to stop and hug every dog I pass, even the ones who are sniffing for bombs. One day, this will likely get me arrested.

— I managed to run an entire marathon with only two minor injuries: I wound up with a blister on the bottom of my fourth toe and a bruise on the middle finger of my right hand. I’m still not sure how that last one happened. I must develop a death grip on my water bottle as the race wears on.

— If I can run a marathon, pretty much anyone can. Seriously.

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I'm the one in the blue poncho, fyi.

— Once you’ve run the biggest race in the world, there’s no point in doing any other race like it again. Or so I keep telling myself. I’m 99.99 percent sure I mean it, though. That .01 percent is because I’ve learned to never, ever say never.

So what did you learn from your last challenging race?

12 responses to “Dry Martini: My last .2 thoughts about the TCS NYC marathon

  1. as a another mother runner stranger friend, i am so proud of you. the podcast was great to listen to. i have attempted 26.2 three times and none of them turned out the way i had hoped. onward

  2. Way to go, Adrienne! I have to say that I can only imagine running NYC as a first marathon. I have a Binghamton friend who did and hasn’t run another full since. I’ve run seven and am not sure I will ever run a full again. I ended with Marine Corps – another great one should you desire to do 26.2 again.

  3. Congrats! I ran the NYC marathon this year as well, my second full marathon. I started pretty late and it was tough getting to the finish line when everyone else was leaving and it was cold and dark. I hit the wall around mile 23. Luckily I saw my 6 year old nephew at mile 24 still happy to cheer me on! That kept me going for a least one mile longer.

    I am still wiped out and could barely run a mile on the treadmill a week later so you’re not alone. Just know you ran one of the biggest races out there and it is such a great accomplishment. Congrats again to you and be proud of the medal you earned!

  4. Congrats to you and to all the NYC 2016 participants. I was lucky enough to be there running as well. What I learned was that I CAN run 26.2 miles even 25 years later than my last one. I also learned that the after effect is not fun! I have been a bit down ever since I landed back in Portland. I think about the race and the incredible weekend in NYC and I smile, but here at home it is back to reality….and the 2 buddies who I was training with for 18 weeks are back to their own reality, too. No longer is the need to check in daily to go over our next training run or work out or fueling/hydration. My Saturdays won’t be filled with hours of running, chatting, and coffee with these two either. I am also a bit broken….My hip/hammy is super sore and I have run only about twice on it. IT HURTS!! I am in such Great shape I don’t want to be injured now and fall out of shape especially before the holidays!! 🙁 I will end though on a HIGH….. I learned most of all that HELL YA, I am a BAMM~

  5. My last challenging race was a 10 miler in September. I learned how important planning/training is to accomplish a goal. I did not have a coach or use an actual training plan, but I set goals, did mental and physical preparation, and did not give up. I accomplished my goals of time and running the whole thing. It was an amazing race. I learned how my determination and persistence in reaching my goals are still with me. I listened to the AMR podcasts and got a lot of great information that helped me with my race and trainings.

  6. My last two (I’ve done 6 total) marathons were the most challenging races I have ever done. The first of the two was at the end of September 2014 and unbeknownst to me I was having a gallbladder attack that day. For a year we had been treating my issues with my gallbladder as Acid Reflux and come race day morning I looked at my BRF during breakfast when I was having pain that it wasn’t going to be a good day. I could barely hold down food but determined to finish; my mother was at mile 18 with my sister and my son and luckily she wasn’t the quickest 65-year old to grab me off the course. I finished and cried the whole the time; I even had a few spectators ask me if I was alright. The finish was close to a hospital and the only way my mom allowed us to pass it on the way home was if I promised to call my doctor in the morning. I ended up having my gall bladder removed the following week and my Dr was very unimpressed with my marathon finish. The day after surgery I went to switch my next Full scheduled for January (Walt Disney World) to the half, we had our tickets and trip booked to Disney so I wasn’t going to miss it but the Half sold out the day or two before and no such luck. I was running another full with only a few months to start over. It was my slowest race and it was painful but seriously the Most Amazing Marathon Experience EVER!!! If you want a race where they support back of the packers all the way through, WDW is the race to do. I finished in about 6:30 and that was with starting almost 45-60 minutes after the Elites and Epcot was still lined with spectators (or just people visiting the park and having to wait to cross the race route but willing to cheer as they wait). I bawled at the finish because it was a bucket list race, it was hard from being untrained, and I felt a lone. I will run it again but with friends because I just cannot put into words how amazing that marathon was. Now almost two years later, and vowing never to run a full again…I start marathon training in February for my 7th full in June 2017.

  7. Congrats… I’ve been following all along. I listened to your podcast, and I ran NYC as well. It was my second marathon, and it was a tough tough course with all those rolling hills at the end. You should be extremely proud of yourself….. I have some post-marathon blues myself… I think part of it is the election…. Anyway, I love this idea of somehow making the marathon more exciting for the back of the pack runners… they are the ones who are doing the hardest work and they need all the encouragement and distraction they can get! Congrats again.

  8. Oh, look, Connie has two perfect races picked out for you! When I ran my first marathon (Savannah RNR, Kathy, I was there this year too!) I was not even finished before I knew I wanted to do another one. I just kept thinking “I know I could do better than this” Every race is challenging, that’s kind of the point. Well, except for the fun runs, and the point of those is to find a great costume.

  9. My last challenging race was the Savannah RnR marathon, the same weekend as NYC. I ran w/ a friend who relocated to Savannah. She was starting training from scratch as she had a kidney stone that side lined her the previous year. We had both done 2 marathons prior, but that was 20 years ago. We wanted to challenge ourselves in our 60s. The goal was to finish and enjoy ourselves. We high-fived kids, we stopped for pictures, we stopped for beer. We finished in 5:32, good enough to be 8 and 9 of 20 in our age group.
    So what am I feeling now? Listening to the tales of NYC, I feel as if I have somehow cheated. Our course was mostly flat, there was a lot of spectator support. The weather was perfect. Because I did not run as fast as I could have, I recovered quickly. To be honest, my 17, 18 and all 3 of my 20 milers run in NNY felt worse.
    Sometimes I have to remind myself…you ran 26.2+ miles!!!

  10. All races are challenging. I truly have never experienced the “let down” after a marathon or an Ironman /half iron race. Maybe I miss the self-absorbed structure, but it’s really not “me” to be that self-focused, so I get back to that other side of me that likes to focus on helping others and doing many of my other interests. And I sign up for another race. Once I did three marathons in a period of 6 weeks…I kid you not. That kept me focused (it was a series of events and I coveted the “queen of the mtn. patch, which I got!) I learned last weekend in a dusty (dirty) 5k through some Pecan orchards in 80 degrees that leaving my albuterol inhaler at home wasn’t such a good idea. Congrats on your marathon. That’s a long time to be running. My prediction is that you just may sign up for another one.

  11. I ran NYC in 6:30 and it got lonely (and cold and dark) at the end in 2014. I ran Marine Corps Marathon in 6:03 this hear and there were crowds the entire way. Which was awesome. My favorite marathon was Adirondacks in upstate NY. It’s small and so gorgeous. There was an early start option where one could start two hours early. That means my 5:48 was finishing with the 3:48 starters so the cheering made me feel like a rock star. Also the half marathon starts at mile 13.1 of the marathon so you also are finishing with fast halfers the way it is set up. I loved it.

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