New York Marathon 2017 – Race Day

When I went  to bed the night before I knew that I will have a really long day in front of me on Sunday, so tried my best to be in my bed by 9pm.

Set my alarm for 3.45am, so I’ll have time to dress up, check my gear, have breakfast and make our way to the subway station.

Good night ZzZzZzZz

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I woke up at 2.30am on sunday, which was supposed to be at 3.30am but because the clock had to go back an hour on sunday I was wide awake  an hour early. I tried to go back to sleep but couldn’t. So decided to stay in bed as long as I can and tried not waking hubby up. When my alarm went off I had my breakfast ( porridge ) and braided my hair as well. Just had to do a final gear check and dress up. We left the hotel way before 5am and got on to the number 1 subway to the ferry station without any issues. The subway was almost empty, 4 other runners were in the same carriage as us.

When we got to the Staten Island ferry station there were only a few runners, but loads of NYPD officers with dogs. Went through them easily, they just wanted to see my clear bag.

Staten Island Ferry Station – Manhattan 

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When we got in around 5.20am we took a seat, because my booked ferry was the 6am. It turned out they were running ferries in every 15mins.

Waiting patiently for my ferry 

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When the 5.30am ferry left a volunteer lady were walking around and telling people that they can get onto the earlier ferry, not a problem if our booked times is later on. I had a feeling that they just wanted to get rid of as many people as they could, so maybe this would be prevented the chaos later on. So we boarded to the 5.45am ferry.

By-bye Manhattan, see you in a few hours time. 

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The ferry was almost empty, probably max a hundred runners on it, so not many at all. When we arrived to Staten Island I said goodbye to hubby, and he walked back to take the ferry back to Manhattan and I followed the others to the buses. Took us maybe 5-10mins to get to the buses, as soon as the bus was full the driver have closed the doors and we were ready to leave. We arrived to the starting point just before 7am. Another security check and I was in the starting village.

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Have to say the starting village was huge, and thousands of runners everywhere. Seen some nervous faces but others looked totally chilled out and happy.

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Absolutely breathtaking view

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When I walked into my start area ( green village ) I was greeted by volunteers and got a Dunkin Donut hat straight away. Which I was carrying all around the 26.2 mile course.

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In the starting village there were loads of things to do, or just simply chill out.  Picked up same bagel, coffee, energy bars, energy drinks, went to stroke puppies, and kept repeating this because I had 3 hours extra hours before start.

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I was able to get into my start area just after 10am. whilst I was waiting around there I went to the loo quickly, because I really didn’t want to go at the first part of the race. As we approached 11am we slowly started to walk to the start line. This is when i met a guy called Simon, it turned out he’s from just outside of Basingstoke. What a small word! I never met him here, but when we both travelled to New york and bumped into each other there. I still can’t believe it. 50000+ runners and we met there. Because I was in the Green area I was running in the bottom part of the bridge. I didn’t really mind that because at least it wasn’t as windy.

Promptly at 11am the  shot the cannonball and the race started. Whilst I was standing there I was thinking about all the past months. I felt ready because my training went much better than the training for London. But I still questioned my sanity. But I knew already then that I will give my best, no matter what going to happen during the 26.2 miles.

Course map

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The race itself was totally awesome, the first couple of miles wasnt many spectators due to the bridge and road closures but soon we reached into Brooklyn and the crowed appeared. Completed the first 5k in 36:20 and I felt really happy about that. I was following my ‘ jeffing ‘ strategy, which meant I run 1 minute then walked 30secs. Some people think it’s bad that I can’t run a marathon without stopping but this was my race so I really don’t care what others think.

WOW

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Somewhere in Brooklyn.

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When I got to the 10k check point my time was 1hr 14mins, which is roughly my normal time, and I was happy because I was well on track 🙂

Just before I got to mile 10 I had my meeting point with hubby, and it was really good to see him. I knew I still had a long way to go but seeing him gave me a big boost.

Which didn’t last too long :/ Roughly around mile 11 at one of the drink stations I have slipped on the paper water cups and felt my knee jumping in and out. I knew that feeling well because years ago I dislocated my other knee and I needed to have my ACL replaced. I tried to keep up my pace but it became harder and harder. I realised that I won’t be able to keep up my pace so have to give up my ideal finish time. so tried to re set my mind to the ‘ just get around ‘ plan. Which was hard because that’s not what I trained for. But sometimes life has different plans. When I reached 1st avenue just after mile 16 I desperately needed to visit the medical tent. The paramedic was lovely there, and bandaged up my knee and also got painkillers and ice spray. He asked me if I want to pull out and I said to him that I travelled thousands of miles from England to gere here, I wont quit now when I had 10 bloody miles to go! He smiled and wished me luck.

Silly melted slipper paper cups 

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The bandage helped a bit, but I was still in so much pain. 😦  But hat to say the view at 1st avenue was awesome. IMG_3103

By this point I walked so much that I had no idea how much time I’ve lost. I kept my friends and family updated via my Facebook live videos, and I have to say I’ve got loads of support from everybody. Also on the different Facebook groups ( Run Mummy Run, UK Mudd Queens, and R.U.N. Marathon training & support) total strangers and friedns were cheering on me and probably got thousands of comments telling me to keep going and I’m awesome. My friends and family , and people from work who posted on my facebook wall or sent me a text message saying keep going, and the other tracking messages. Due to the time difference it was getting really late in england but these people ( Jodie, Claire, Bev, Sue, Niki, Katie and loads others ) kept me motivated and cheered me from thousands of miles.

I knew I had now less than 10 miles to go, so even if I had to crawl though the finish line I would have done that. My 16 mile spilt was 3hrs 27mins, which is still not too bad. but after that I didn’t run my hardest I tried to take it easy. To be honest it was soul-destroying because I really wanted this race to turn out well and beat my London time. Probably loads of people would have quited by this time but I promised myself that i would never do that. As my name bib motto was ” PR or the ER ” so there was no option for quitting haha.

The miles slowly went by and when I got to the Bronx, I was knackered, but I knew I had to go. Mile 20 split was 4hr 49mins, which was supposed to be roughly around 4hrs 5mins, so as you can see I was way off from my time. At one point even I sat down to the pavement and just burst out crying and totally believed that I can’t move anymore. But somehow managed to get some last energy and stood up and started really slowly running. Probably I was slower than a sloth and tortoise together but I was moving towards to the finish line.

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At mile 21 we got back to Manhattan, at this point I tried to visualize the route map and kept telling myself that only a straight line down and 2 right turns and I’m at the finish line. Run Gabi Run!!!! I tried to high 5 as many people as I could and say thanks to as many volunteers as I could. Even high 5d Darth Vader, the force had to be with me then.

It’s started to get really dark now, so my plan to finish in sunset failed, at 4.45pm I was nowhere near the finish line.  By this time I was really questioning my sanity, and kept asking me why do I sign up for things like this. I must be mental or idiot?

Just before mile 25 I seen hubby again. Bless him he waited for me for hours and tried to cheer me on. But at this point I just wanted to finish, and I was a bit grumpy as well. He started to walk on the other side of the fence and he’s walking was faster than my running. Ohh dear me, I was in a complete mess 😦

I think the last 800 metres was the hardest. I knew that I’m absolutely close but still really far from the finish. C’mon Gabi left-right-left-right Keep going. When I finally seen the finish line it was really hard not to bust out f crying. I managed to hold myself up and crossed the finish line in a massive smile.

As soon as I crossed the line i got my space blanket from a volunteer sop that was keeping myself warm. From another volunteer I got my beautiful and hard-earned medal.

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After this I received my goodie bag, which was really heavy. Well it felt like that after completing a 26.2 mile race. Roughly had to walk another half a mile to collect my post race poncho. Which is awesome and comfy and beautiful.

I finished the race in 6hrs 32 mins 14secs. 

Which I still don’t know how but it’s still 25 minutes faster than my London time. So even with a knee injury I got a massive PB. Not a few minutes, not at all, a 25 whole minutes. I can’t believe it.

Physically I was in so much pain in the second part of the race. but it turns out I’m really strong mentally. It definitely wasnt an easy ride, but I haven’t given up. Found the way out of my darkest thoughts, and quitting wasn’t an option.

It was a long walk back to the subway station but after that an easy ride to the hotel. Have to say New Yorkers are awesome!! THE subway was full but when we got on a lovely guy gave me his seat so I could sit down after the race. Loads of people congratulated me and it made me smile. It didn’t matter that I was slow at all, they just seen I completed the race and was so happy for me.

Hmmm what’s the chances for this? Someone else called Gabby lost her name bib and I stood next to it at the subway

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Slowly we got back to the hotel and finally I had a chance to check out my post race goodie bag.

Goodie bag

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My split times

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The most beautiful medal ever

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Found my name on the Marathon Wall

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Beautiful present from Hubby

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I have run 2 marathons in 2017, London and New York are completed. Now only 4 more to go to get my 6 star finisher medal.

2 down 4 more to go

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How awesome are these ? 

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This race wasn’t totally how i planned it out, but that’s life. I’m happy I completed it, not in the time I really wanted but it’s done and dusted , and I’m proud. Was really hard but I didn’t give up.

Please see my race recap video below, on YouTube

Thanks again for the support everybody it really meant a lot to me, and because of that I was able to dig deeper and complete the race.

I’m not the fastest but I’m crossing those finish lines, so if you ever worried that you are slow and people will laugh at you. DON’T! You run your own race, you compete against yourself and you beating your own times.

Now I have a few weeks to chill before I start my training for the biggest challenge of my life, an Ironman triathlon.

Love,

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