This is a race report i’m excited to write!
For my pre-race nutrition, I followed advice from my nutritionist Christine Lynch and I minimized veggie and dairy intake the day before, had brown rice pasta with red sauce and a little bit of chicken for dinner and then ate a bagel with peanut butter the morning of the race. Conclusion: no emergency bathroom trips. WIN.
I won the Brooklyn Marathon in 2011, and it’s a special race for me because it was my first win and the first time I realized that I might actually be decent at this whole marathon thing. Fast forward a few years and this was my first time coming back to defend a title. I’m anxious and neurotic enough as it is before a race, so the added pressure didn’t make me an easier person to be around (sorry, Sam). There were no other previous female winners there so my main goal for this race was to work on pacing. I went out way too fast when I ran the NYC Marathon and I wanted to correct that mistake by running a negative split. Also, since I just ran NYC 2 weeks ago, I knew I really couldn’t afford to go out too fast — the consequences could be downright UGLY. I was tested right from the gun when 2 girls went out FAST. I watched them speed off, and thought, “if they’re that fast, good for them” and then thought maybe they’ll regret the quick start once we hit the hills. I reminded myself that it was a long race, with plenty of time for things to go wrong… or right. So, I stuck to my plan, and kept my pace at ~7-7:05 min/mile.
Sure enough, the hills got to them. I passed one girl to move into 2nd place around mile 8, just 1 mile after we crested the first hill. Around mile 13, Sam told me that the first place girl was about 3 minutes ahead and I chuckled and thought how tough it would be to make up all that time without crashing later on. It would be one thing to catch her, another thing to pass her, and a third thing to keep it up. As I passed other runners, I heard one say to the other “she’ll definitely catch up to the girl in first”. I’d be lying if this didn’t boost my confidence, but still knew it would be a challenge to make up that much time. I maintained my pace (ok, fine, maybe I sped up a tiny bit), heard from Sam that I was reeling her in, and got some encouragement from other runners (“she’s just ahead, go get her, you got it!”).
I passed her around mile 17. Phew. As I passed her, I said “good job, way to run” and she muttered something that I didn’t understand, so I knew if I could keep up my pace, I’d be good. But, while passing her, I was struggling to open my bag of Sport Beans — despite wearing mittens, my hands were so cold that my thumbs refused to work. So this is what it feels like not to have opposable thumbs (note: it kinda sucks). I couldn’t grasp the bag hard enough to open the seal. I was fumbling around with one bag and eventually dropped it. Crap. I got my final bag from my pocket and had Sam open it for me. After having a few beans, I picked up the pace a tiny bit, ran a negative split, and won the race! During my last loop around the park, my lead biker told me I was running my victory lap. I thought that meant I had a decent lead, but didn’t want to test things (I did that in the Shires of Vermont Marathon and ended up coming in 2nd place. That’s a mistake I won’t make again). So I kept pushing the pace. Turns out i was safe, as the second place female was 15 minutes behind me.
Overall, this was an amazing way to end a season. I achieved my goal of controlling my pace, and ended up winning, and feeling REALLY good doing it. As expected, NYCRUNS put on a fabulous race, with an attentive and professional RD, awesome volunteers, and hilarious spectators. This more than made up for my negative energy from bonking hardcore in NYC.