2011 Philadelphia Marathon Recap

I guess I should love November even more now that I’ve reached 2 milestones in my marathon career.  #10 NYCM and #20 completed in Philly!

Amount of prize money won: $0.00
Amount of money spent on 20 marathons: You don’t want to know!  Haha.

I had a blast and I felt great leading up to Philly.  I wasn’t nervous like I was at NYCM, but I was excited to be running in a new city.

After meeting up with Boston and Philly BOMF’ers for a quick circle and photograph, I headed to baggage and bathroom lines 25 min before the start of the race.  I never made it to the bathroom pre-race because the lines were so long and there were not enough portopotties!  I ended up running to a portopotty in the first mile to empty my bladder.  There was no way I was running 26.2 miles with a full bladder!!

I am still shocked that I didn’t cramp during the marathon and I’m walking semi-normally and not like a zombie!!  Besides the Boston Marathon with Dean, this was only the 2nd time I’ve never been plagued by leg cramps!  It’s a miracle!  There might be some truth tp Vic’s thought on running 3 marathons a month to prevent leg cramps…..

I ran strong for about 20 miles and I got tired.  It happens, right?  The one moment where I thought I might be in trouble was at mile 19 (I think) when I looked at my watch and I thought to myself “one more hour to go….”. Note to self: stop looking at your watch!!!  I quickly changed my mindset to “keep it up for a half hour, then it’s only another half hour to go!”. You’re probably thinking that’s not any better, but it worked for me! 

I got my second wind in the last two miles and for the first time, I was able to really sprint to the finish line.  It was awesome!! 

Back at the hotel, I took an ice bath, packed, and got ready to sightsee!  We ended up taking the elevator with 3 Kenyan runners!!  One came in 3rd place!!  He asked me what place I came in and I told me “2nd!”. Haha.  They were awesome and they looked like they could run another 26.2 miles!

A Philly cheesesteak from the famous Jim’s on South Street and a visit to the Liberty Bell capped off the marathon day!

A few things that I felt while running Philly compared to NYC (because I compare everything to NYCM!  Haha)

1. Even though there were only 25,000 runners (15,000 marathoners and 10,000 1/2 marathoners), I felt that it was more crowded than NYC.

2. The first 13 miles went by much slower in Philly compared to NYC.  I did run 2-3 minutes slower, but time just didn’t seem to pass that quickly.  Not sure if people understand or have felt this before!  It was probably because I didn’t really know where I was going.  I studied the course map before the race, but it’s different when you’re actually running the race!

3. I didn’t think to bring a water bottle with me for the first few miles like I do in NYC or Boston and so I suffered through the first few water stations.  There was no warning that the water station was coming up so by the time I realized there were fluids, I had missed the Gatorade table!  Doh!  Should’ve been paying more attention!

4. Loved the cheering zones!  Especially at mile 20 when they were blasting dance music and when I needed a boost.  Just wish the music followed me to the finish!

5. There was a headwind on the way out on the “out and back” portion of the race so I expected a tailwind when I turned around.  Nope, the wind reversed direction so we had headwind to the finish line!  Awesome….

6. This marathon is logistically very easy.  I loved that most of the marathoners walked in the dark to the start together. 

7. Baggage was arranged by first letter of your last name.  I was in the last truck at the very end of the row for drop off, but I was the 1st!! truck for pick up after the race.  It was awesome! 

I just realized that I lost my camera somewhere in the Philly airport or on the Septa train so I don’t have my race pictures to post!!  waaaah!!!  =(


2011 NYC Marathon Recap!

This year’s NYCM was a milestone year for me.  I still can’t believe how time has passed so quickly so I’ve spent all day thinking about my 10 NYCM’s before writing this post.  (Special 10 year post to be up later!)

Like the past 9 NYCM weekends, this past weekend was a blast!  Even after 18 marathons, I was nervous before the race. My training this summer was not the best (to my standards), so I did not expect a PR or an easy run.  I surprised myself with my time.

New York Road Runners took advantage of multimedia this year and I felt that they were able to reach the entire world with their marathon coverage.  I couldn’t keep up with their Facebook posts!  I did manage to find the Nissan Leaf (the official car of the marathon) and win a free pair of Yurbuds!

In the past, NYRR had an International Friendship Run for international runners, but this year, they organized a new race called “5K Dash to the Finish Line” and it was open to all runners.  The course started at the United Nations and ended at the marathon finish line in Central Park.  My friends Dawn & Greg, who came down from Boston to cheer me on, ran this race with me on Saturday.  NYRR even brought in some fast runners to run this race (Deena Kastor, Sara Hall, Molly Huddle). 

After breakfast at home and a quick shower, we headed to the expo to see (some would say “stalk”) my “long distance” boyfriend, Dean Karnazes.  I even brought my 50/50 book for him to sign.  (If you have the book, I’m in the Boston finish line picture).  I asked Dean what he was planning to run on Sunday and he said “O, not too fast.  I’m just going to cruise.  About 3 hours.  You better not pass me!”  Dawn, Greg, and I couldn’t stop laughing afterwards that he was just going to “cruise” to a 3 hour marathon. 

I decided not to wear my Garmin on Sunday and planned to run by feel.  My plan was to run a little past my comfort zone and see if I could hold on till the end.  No thoughts of negative splits or what pace I was going to run.  I liked it that way.  I “cruised” to the halfway point in 1:46.  If I held my pace, I could have run a 3:32, but I could not hold on and slowed down a bit in the second half.

Highlight of running up 1st Avenue was Dawn launching a banana into the race for me.  She couldn’t get close enough to the street so she threw the banana at me.  I can’t catch for my life so the banana grazed my fingertips and landed on the ground.  It was a good throw and it would have been amazing if I caught the banana.  I’ll need to practice catching bananas on the run for next year!

Words cannot express how I felt after I crossed the finish line.  I couldn’t really breathe, but I was so excited to be done and to have broken 3:38!! 

Thanks to NYC and all the spectators out there yesterday!  Congrats to all the finishers!  Congrats to my friends Glen, Angel, Kate, and Ketty who also ran!  To celebrate my 10th NYCM, I’ll be running the Philly Marathon in 2 weeks for #20.  Thanks for tuning in!

Here are some stats from the race!

My official time: 3:37:46

Men’s Champion: Geoffrey Mutai 2:05:05 (course record!)

Women’s Champion: Firehiwot Dado 2:23:15

Men’s Wheelchair Champion: Masazumi Soejima 1:31:41

Women’s Wheelchair Champion: Amanda Gregory 1:50:24 (course record!)

 46,795 Finishers

29,867 Men

16,928 Women


Here are some of the celebrities who ran the marathon too!  No Bobby Flay this year!

Apolo Ohno 3:25:12

Dean Karnazes 3:09:34

Mario Lopez 4:23:30

Ethan Zohn 4:20:46


2010 New York City Marathon Recap!

Going into this year’s race, I had run 2 of my fastest half marathons and a few of my friends were rooting for me to run a fast time in NYC too.  I ran fast for 21 miles and then had some quad issues (what else is new?!) going down the dreaded 5th avenue stretch.  I still finished with my 2nd fastest marathon time, but it was not without a fight from start to finish!
It was probably the coldest morning out of the 9 NYCM’s that I’ve run.   If you want to see 40,000+ people dressed up in trash bags and bad sweaters, the start of the NYCM is the place to be!  I had a trash bag on top and one on the bottom for my outer layers, johnny pants and a robe from the hospital, and an old fleece on as well.  I’m cold just thinking about that morning!!
After starting on the bottom of the Verrazano Bridge for the last few years, I was finally back on top of the bridge this year!   I was close enough to the speakers to actually hear announcements and even the national anthem this year!  After the blast of the cannons, we took off in the freezing wind!!
Running through Brooklyn is one of my favorite parts of the course because of the crowds and how wide the course is!  Most of you know by now that I fell at mile 3.  How did I fall?  2 words.  Bobby. Flay.  I heard a spectator yell “Go Bobby Flay!” so I turned around to look for him.  I quickly turned back around to look forward only to find myself too close to a black running jacket.  I ran so hard into the guy in front of me, that I fell backwards onto my left butt cheek and I kicked my right shin in the process.  I don’t know how I got back up, but I did and started to run again.  Some guy said to me “You shouldn’t look back like that.  You should always keep looking forward.” I felt like such an idiot.  I don’t even like Bobby Flay!! I said “I know” to the guy and ran off as fast as I could, cursing Bobby Flay along the way and trying to figure out when I’d be able to fix my hair.
Needless to say, I was really shaken up and couldn’t get comfortable for a few miles until I made a friend at around mile 8.  His name was Russ and he had just run Marine Corps the Sunday before.  I had my name written on my shirt so spectators were screaming my name along the course.  He thought it was funny that I had a fan club.  It was nice to have a running partner for a few miles, but he weirded me out when he said “You also have that cute asian girl thing going.  I’d cheer for you too.”  Dude, I’m just out to run!  I ditched him at mile 13 on the bridge.
Crossing over the Queensboro Bridge this year was harder for some odd reason.  It felt longer than usual (probably because I ran my slowest mile on there!).  I was glad to get into Manhattan to see my mom on 1st Ave!  Tiffany, sorry I missed you!  Running up 1st Ave was great until I stepped into a pothole at mile 18 and twisted my ankle.  I jumped around a bit and then ran it out, but it sure did hurt after the race.
Mile 19 is when I first started to feel my right quad cramp, but I didn’t pay any attention to it.  I kept running!  After cruising through the Bronx, I ran over the final bridge and back into Manhattan!  That’s when my right quad had enough of running.  My quads have a history of hating to run down 5th avenue.  What gives?!  2 packets of Biofreeze later and I was able to make it into Central Park!  (Biofreeze to the rescue!) Thought about all the good old cross country practices I had there.  Got to see my mom at around mile 25 and I ran as hard as I could to the finish.
There’s no better sight than that finish line after 26 miles!  I crossed at 3:38:02.  My goal was 3:35 as it was last year.  What do I need to do to get there??  Add strength training to my program, not care about celebrity sightings, and run a little harder!! 
Thanks to everyone’s good luck wishes and support!  I’ll be back next year in better shape!!  and maybe some butt pads in case I fall again……..=)
And for those curious about my shopping addiction, I did not spend $500 at the expo this year!  Merchandise wasn’t too great.  I got a jacket (the cheapest one!), 2 t-shirts, a pint glass, and socks.  =)
Attached are some pictures of me and Meb and one of me after the finish!  Enjoy!
about to puke on acela from motion sickness,
PS. Bobby Flay finished in 4:01.  He was behind me!!