Dry Martini: Holy Mother of Pearl I’m Doing This New York City Marathon Thing

And, lo, in just a few short days (or sooner, depending on when you are reading this), I will be in the middle of doing something epic and terrifying and epically terrifying: running the New York City Marathon.

I have also discovered that taper brain is a real thing, which means this post will be mostly bullet points. I do love a good bullet point. (And bullet capris, btw. Go Team Saucony!)

Because I am a planner, I have my medal hook ready already.


  • Last week, I experienced something during a training cycle that I have never experienced before. Five miles was on the schedule on a Monday morning. Sunday night, I did what I usually do, which is lay out my gear, charge Herr Garmin the Second, and set my alarm. Said alarm went off. I opened my eyes and my entire being — mind, body, and spirit — said NOPE. This wasn’t one of those refusals to move that you can talk yourself out of; no part of me was even able to change clothes and get out there for a few minutes. I honored the nope and went back to bed.
  • Fortunately, that seems to have been an isolated incident. While I can’t say that I’ve been the world’s happiest runner, I have been getting it done with minimal complaint.
  • Fortunately (part two), there really hasn’t been much to get done this week because I’m in the tail end of taper and the runs are short. Or, rather, shorter than they have been, given my skewed sense of what now qualifies as short. What’s been surprising, however, is how hard the taper hit me. I honestly did not expect to be continuously on the verge of wanting to stab someone or bursting into tears or both simultaneously. I’m also hangry most of the time and ready to eat my weight in Halloween candy. OK - that last part happens every year but an impending marathon isn’t helping.
  • Now that I’m through nearly all of the training, I can say, despite ten days in Italy, several gripes about mid-week eight-mile runs, and one full-body nope, it has been completely do-able. The trick was to never, ever look past the week I was in. A 20-mile run can’t freak you out if you don’t have too much time to think about it.
Somehow, I've managed to keep all of my toenails. I'm shocked, too.

My actual race prep:

  • I have a list of stuff that I must pack without fail. My track record with these sorts of lists is about 50/50 so we’ll see how it turns out. NYC has stores, right?
  • I have two mantras ready to go: one is pictured below and I'll put the tag either on my shoe or in a pocket:img_1074It's stolen from Hamilton, which is a) amazing and b) the right musical to listen to/muse upon when running through the five boroughs. When it gets bad, I hope to remind myself how lucky I am to be alive right now and doing what I am doing. Because, damn. I am so lucky.
  • My second mantra might also wind up being a new tattoo and is from runner/writer Haruki Murakami: Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional. This is a fundamental truth — and not just for running.
  • I have a stash of fun magazines, TV shows, and an easy knitting project to keep me occupied during the weekend. The city itself, while tempting, is a place I’ve visited enough (and will visit again) that I don’t feel like I have to get out there and get all tourist-like crazy. Instead, I’m going to see one show a dear friend created, eat one brunch with the Every Mother Counts folks, and hang out one afternoon for a few hours with a great bunch of knitters. Other than that, I will be drinking NUUN and chilling.
  • I have packed a stash of Calms Forte because I suspect sleep will be hard to come by on Saturday night, no matter how chill I try to remain. I’ve also packed a larger stash of ibuprofen for after the race.
  • As for Sunday itself, my goals are simple:
    • GOAL A: Negative split and finish around the same time that Alicia Keys did, under my own power and with a smile, even if I only have the energy to smile on the inside.
    • GOAL B: Finish upright and before sunset.
    • GOAL C: Take some fantastic selfies and don't die.

Above all else, however, my goal is to take it all in and look around.

At the risk of getting too sappy — taper brain, remember — thank you. Without the support of every single one of you, I’m not sure I would have made it. Your comments both in person and online (even if I haven't always had the wit to respond) have kept me going because I knew even my worst moments would be understood and accepted. Together we raised over $3,500 for Every Mother Counts. You have helped make the paths of so many moms around the world an easier one. You will all be on my mind on Sunday.

Here we go.

58 responses to “Dry Martini: Holy Mother of Pearl I’m Doing This New York City Marathon Thing

  1. My gosh this post resonated with me – I ran my first marathon this year and embraced the journey and truly appreciated the experience and reminded myself to look around as well, as I ran with my friend on an unseasonably warm, humid day. I also had a one and done mentality – – and need to find that medal hook!! And indeed I am pretty certain to be one and done with no regrets but not enough hours in the day to make a marathon a routine part of the fitness regiment! Run and enjoy or at least embrace and be grateful for every mile this weekend!! You are awesome!!

  2. Good luck! Have “fun”! Know that peeps around the country are rooting for you to finish as simply as you can! You. Can. Do. It.

  3. making a guess here….One and Done will be temporary. I was just “getting this out of my system” and hating life heading into the Bronx. Just past Engineer’s gate, with the museum on my left, I was ready to sign up for another. While the medal hanger is hilarious….I’ll bet it doesn’t last. Best wishes. Enjoy the run. You’ve done the suffering part, now enjoy it. You’re ready.

  4. Good luck Adrienne! I ran my first full at Marine Corps on Sunday. It was your blog post last spring about your decision to do NY that inspired me. It was challenging but amazing. Like you, I strived to make it the best possible experience and soak it all in. It will be hard, but it will be worth it!

  5. An awesome Hamilton quote and wonderful mantra! I’m very excited for you and thanks for sharing your training with us. Good luck!

  6. SO VERY excited for you, Adrienne! You are so ready and have a great plan for the weekend. I love your ABC goals too 🙂 I will be cheering for you in Michigan!!

  7. I’m so excited for you! So does the One and Done mean no more marathons?? 🙂 I’m really looking forward to your race recap. Good luck!

  8. Adrienne, you may not enjoy every moment, but take pride in every step, in every mile knowing that you are a great role model to your children and a BAMR!!! I will be following you and cheering too‍♀️

  9. Love the post. Getting ready to run 26.2 Saturday in Indy with my BRF. Seems surreal. Good luck and have fun! Can’t wait to hear all about it!

  10. Great Hamilton quote! I had several songs from Hamilton on my play list for my marathon a few weeks ago, how perfect for NYC! Hope you have a great race!!

  11. Good luck Adrienne! Your posts have been so relatable–I’m running Richmond next week and live in NC, and have been training like a mother, so I’ve enjoyed seeing the similarities of your posts with my progress. The heat has been ridiculous this summer! I hope you have a wonderful experience and can’t wait to read about it!

  12. Best wishes!! As much as I hate the pre-race (packet pickup long lines and having to arrive so early before race start,) it is my favorite race. Soak it in. The international runners and crowds are amazing. Love the “Look Around” mantra — it is perfect for this race. You got this!!

  13. Add me to the chorus of BAMRs who are so excited to you! Thank you for sharing the journey of your training with us and all the messiness and vulnerabilities that involved. Love the Hamilton mantra!

  14. So excited for you, Adrienne! Love all of the planning elements. You have got this, sister. If the going gets tough on Sunday know this: I will be sending good thoughts and prayers to you all the way from Westminster Presbyterian here in Portland. (Where knitting during the sermon is encouraged, by the way.) Go Adrienne!

  15. Looking forward to seeing you there . . . with only 50,000 runners, it should be easy to find people you’ve never met, right?! LOVE the Hamilton motto–what a perfect fit for being “in the greatest city in the world”! 🙂 Have a great race!

  16. Go get it! You have worked super hard, and I’m so excited for you to enjoy the rewards! Great mantras, I will remember them too this weekend when I’m running Rock & Roll Savannah. This taper thing is really bad…teary eyes, junk food eating, antsiness, worrying…it reminds me of a bad break up in high school! My mantra is from one of the Strava fairies, who took it from Scott Jurek ” this is what I came for” : the pain, the struggle, the triumph. I can’t wait!

  17. Run, Sister, Run! After finding the AMR podcast, I’ve loved hearing the stories of the various podcasters and guests. That you have made it this far makes me so proud of you and hopeful/excited/nervous for me (Houston in January – my first as well). I’m stealing your Haruki Murakami quote for myself. Thanks for that! All the best for your race. I KNOW you will rock it!

  18. Best Wishes Adrienne! I ran mine in Kansas City 2 weeks ago. It was awesome and like childbirth, you will cherish it much more after it is over! Enjoy each mile and scenery and soak in the energy from the crowd cheering you on as you go by! Will be excited to hear how it goes!

  19. So very excited for you. I’m running, too. My goal is to enjoy it and not worry about my time. I love the mantras you’ve chosen…. I will keep them in mind as well!!

  20. Wishing you all the best, Adrienne. Trust in yourself and your training. You’ve got this. And I love your charm – “look around.” It seems so obvious but when you’re in the throes of a race, it’s not so easy. I can only imagine how exciting it will all be. And just a warning. Immediately after my first half two years ago, my comment was “one and done”! I did my second this past spring!! At that time, on the verge of turning 60, I quietly said to myself “no more”! Have a great race and totally enjoy it

  21. Good luck Adrienne! And good luck to all the NYC runners. I have been following your journey, as I am running the Savannah RnR marathon this weekend
    Yikes, I left 26 degrees in NNY yesterday and arrived to 80s.
    In the words of a Momentum bracelet “You Got This”
    And in the words of countless mother runners “trust the training”

  22. My only advice to offer is that when you start feeling bad, find someone else who looks worse off to help out. Focusing my energy on helping another runner struggling distracts me from my own pain, makes the miles pass faster, and does a good deed. And you usually end up with a new running friend too!

  23. Eeeeeeeeeeee!!!! You have GOT this, girl. So happy that I’ve gotten to know you a bit over this last year+ – I could not be more excited for you. You are going to rock this!! Go get it!!

  24. That Hamilton song played as I climbed trails in Vegas on a extra long half. It was a running vacation with my BAMR friends. I was halfway in and struck with the beauty and luck that I was there, doing it. A lucky girl! Great mantra!

    Have a fantastic marathon!

  25. Oh, my gosh!!! I swear I didn’t run Monday either! …I had 4 on my plan. Couldn’t get out of bed! I am running NYC also…reading your words made me feel SO MUCH better. Love your mantras!!! May steal them!! I will use a black sharpie and write “I Can” on one arm and “I Will” on the other. Did this for my 20 miler and it helped. Hey, free shoes if you have negative splits…another one of my goals. ….Good-Luck!!!!!!!

  26. Run strong and happy! We’re all cheering for you! Enjoy your victory lap through the boroughs! (Is that enough exclamation points???)

  27. You are awesome!!!!! If things get tough, remember why you decided to run this marathon and enjoy your surroundings. Have a great race!!!

  28. Good luck!! You will do wonderfully on Sunday. Side note: if Kathrine Switzer is at the expo have her sign your bib. She rights a message upside down on the bib so only you can read it when you are running. Welcome to the BAMR marathon club. We are glad you’ve made it in. 😉

  29. NYC is the best marathon ever!!! I hope you have so much fun and feel so proud for getting yourself there. You’ve got this and we’ve loved reading about your training. Go get em!!!!!!!

  30. Woohoo! Marathon here you come! Have a great race. You have a huge crew of BAMRs cheering for you. Can’t wait to read the race report!

  31. If your feet are a prediction for the race, this is going to be way better than your current level of credit giving. Go get it!

  32. Having never run a marathon I have no advice to offer, but it sounds to me like you’ve trained/done your time, and are ready willing and able! . Good luck Adrienne… you are awesome and you’ve got this 🙂

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