This past weekend, I ran my 40th marathon! I did not know until a few months ago that the NYC Marathon would be my 40th. I usually lose track of my count and have to go look in my book.
Since it was my 40th, I wanted to really enjoy the 26.2 miles and not race. Race hard=have lots of pain. Take it easy=have lots of fun. My goal was to run a 3:37-3:40. Running a negative split to earn free shoes from Strava also would have been nice, but I positive split by about 2 minutes, so no free shoes for me. Weather was perfect and the crowds were amazing! I felt great until Mile 23 going up 5th Avenue. The quads cramped like always, but I kept running because that was the fastest way to the finish line. I do not usually walk during a race because I know I will have a very hard time running again if I stop to walk. I have learned to run through the cramps over the years and they eventually go away or my pain tolerance goes up as I continue running. It was great to finish strong all the way to the finish line and I was all smiles as I raised my arms up in victory. I told Peter Ciaccia that I just ran my 14th NYC Marathon and he said “Next year, you’ll be part of the streaker club!”
I ran my first marathon in 2002. In 14 years, I have run in 8 different states (CA, FL, IL, MA, NY, OH, PA, SC) and 3 different countries (Canada, Hong Kong, and UK). The majority of my marathons have been NYC and Boston, so I did not travel to many states.
People often ask “Why do you do it?” “Is it worth it?” The answer is always “Because I love it and yes, it’s worth it!” I have met so many great friends through running, traveled to fun places, and I met my husband through running! I love the challenge and each race experience is so different.
The NYC Marathon has been on my schedule every year since 2002. How do I manage to run NYC every year? I have gotten into the NYC Marathon through the lottery, time qualifier (when the 1/2 qualifying time was 1:37), and I have done the 9+1. Since 2002, running 15 NYC Marathons to get guaranteed (non complimentary) entry for life was a goal. At that time, 15 did not seem like a huge number, but having just run #14, I am amazed that I have stuck with it for so many years! Just for comparison, to get guaranteed entry at the Chicago Marathon, you have to run 5 in the last 10 years. That sounds so much easier than 15!
The NYC Marathon is my favorite marathon and I have so many good memories from the race. There were also painful memories of legs cramping and falling down 2 times in the past 14 years, but I have loved each race every year. I am not one to look at data and statistics, but from experience, many things have changed since my first tun in 2002. Here are just a few fun facts from 2002 off the top of my head:
- The 2002 marathon shirt was a cotton t-shirt.
- Champion chip was the timing chip and we had to secure it to our sneakers to get an official time.
- The 2002 marathon did not have a title sponsor. The race was simply “The New York City Marathon”. (ING became the title sponsor in 2003)
- Meb also ran his 1st NYC Marathon in 2002 with me. =)
- The Staten Island Ferry was not an option as transportation to the start.
- The marathon expo started on Wednesday. =)
- The day before the marathon, NYRR had a run only for international runners.
- I finished in 4:38:56! (I ran this year’s race in exactly an hour faster! 3:38:56!)
Technology and social media has changed the marathon culture tremendously over the years. I am usually resistant to change, but I think the changes have been positive despite race registration being more difficult for popular races. I do not know the numbers, but I know that the number of people running marathons has increased since 2002 and I always love welcoming people to the club. More people are trying to lead active and healthier lifestyles, which is great!
Marathoning has become a lifestyle for me. I am always “in training” and running never feels like “work” (unless it’s speed work!). I have a closet that is only for running clothes (I might have more running clothes than regular clothes.). I love going on race-cations! I love that my husband also runs and supports my crazy obsession. He is the best because I always get a little crazy (from excitement!) during marathon weekend. The NYC Marathon and Boston Marathon has been part of my schedule for so long that it would seem weird if I spectated instead of ran (that will never happen!) My friends know that I run long on weekends and they know where I will be the first weekend of November and Patriot’s Day in April.
What’s next? A new country next year! Entry into 2 streaking clubs next year (Not that type of streaking! Get your mind out of the gutter!) My 10th consecutive Boston Marathon and my 15th NYC Marathon!!
Men’s Winner: Ghirmay Ghebreslassie 2:07:51
Women’s Winner: Mary Keitany 2:24:26
Total Finishers: 51,388 (Female: 21,457; Male: 29,931) : Unofficial numbers from NYRR