Sunday, November 8, 2009


Sorry it took so long to write my race report, but sitting at the computer is not so leg friendly right now. Haha. And lots of thinking/emotions going through my head (all good though!!!). And trying to post this LONG report with photos, was no easy task. Thank God Beachy/hubby, knows what he's doing. I'm not the writer in the family, he is, but here goes:

On Sunday, November 1st, I ran my first marathon, the NYC marathon, which runs through the 5 boroughs of NYC; from Staten Island, over the Verrazano Bridge, through Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx and finally into Manhattan. I'm doing well, sore, but I'm a marathoner & actually thrilled with my 4:39:21 finish:)!! Wasn't the plan, but at one point didn't think I'd finish, and then was just hoping to come in before 5:30, so, to cross at 4:39:21 made my day.)!!

My Hubby took this pic on train ride home!!

I didn't blog about my last long run (before the marathon) on Saturday, October 17th, which was supposed to be a very slow 18miler. It turned into a 13.9 mile run because at mile 10 I tweaked my right calf. I tried to run through it (I thought it was a cramp, as I was running slowly & how could I pull something 2 weeks out from the marathon), but finally it got to the point where it hurt & I knew the run had to stop. In hindsight I should have stopped immediately when I felt it at 10 miles, but thought it was a cramp. After running NYC, I now know that during this last long run it was a pull/strain, not a cramp, because I now know what cramps feel like!! haha) I called my husband to pick me up (1st run in 22mths that I couldn't finish & that he had to pick me up). The only upside was training for NYC was complete. Race was in 2 weeks, and I was now in taper. Didn't realize my taper would mean no running at all for 14 days on account of injury, but I wanted to make sure the calf, specifically the soleus muscle, located between the Achilles & the calf would heal. I knew these 2 weeks didn't matter much, and I knew that as long as it healed, I would show up on race day, fresh and ready to go, instead of having tired legs.

All went well, calf/soleus was getting stronger/healing by the day, and before I knew it, it was Friday before race day (Sunday), and I was taking the train into NYC to go to the Expo to pick up my Bib# and shirt. This was amazing. I trained for 22 months and when they placed that bib# in my hand I can't explain to you how happy/thrilled I was to run on Sunday. The journey I had worked so hard over the last 22 months was finally here. I was running NYC in 2 days!!!

Saturday we drove to Staten Island to my brother’s place (he lives about a mile from where the marathon starts), had a great dinner (pasta with marinara sauce and chicken, with a 20 oz bottle of gatorade), were asleep by 9:30, and woke at 6am. Even got an extra hour of sleep due to daylight savings time, sweet. I woke feeling well rested, had my oatmeal and banana, and then we left for the start at 7:30. I packed a bagel with peanut butter & honey and a banana to have while waiting. Got to the race start around 7:45am, surprised it wasn't raining & the temps were pretty reasonable: windy and low 50’s I think. The day before, I hit a thrift shop and purchased sweat shirts and sweat pants to wear before the start & throw away. I looked pretty funny, as the clothes were extra large, but they kept me warm, and that’s all that mattered. Someone took a picture of us before the race. Here we are

Me (with my white head band) in my extra-large pre-race gear

As a member of the Richmond Rockets Running Club, I had the opportunity to join the NYPD running club. They had a tent, so we hung out there till it was time to head over to the start. About an hour before the race I ate the bagel and about a half hour before I ate the banana. Drank plenty of Gatorade, water and coconut water, that when it was time to head over to the start, I felt ready!!! Plan was to run with my brother John, friends John B and John C, all training indicated that we could run together, and come in somewhere around 4 hours. My goals for today were 1. Finish; 2. Beat 4 hours; and 3. If all the stars were aligned and I felt good, aim to break sub 3:50:00.

My NYPD running singlet & NYC Bib#29232

We got to our corral in our wave start, and soon realized we were in the wrong wave; we were in the last wave (#3) instead of wave #2. It was so crowded we did our best to walk up to the front of the wave, but in the end it really didn't matter as we had chips on and it would signal when we crossed the start & finish. I did call my friend Josh, to let him know that I would be starting later. He was getting ready to meet me at mile 14 or so, so he could run with me till mile 23.
The only difference was I started at 10:24 instead of 10:00, but I was thinking, no biggie as it gave my husband & children more time to get from Penn Station over to 63rd & First Ave, where I would see them around mile 16, as I came off the Queensboro Bridge. Let me tell you, knowing they were there was HUGE. Many times just thinking about them caused me to choke up, and kept me running when things didn’t seem so good.

Well, the cannons went off and the weather was perfect for running, and off we went in the mass of people. I have never run with so many people before. They say 43,000 people ran NYC this year. They separated everyone into either the Blue, Orange or Green groups, and then broke it down into Wave #1, Wave #2 or Wave #3, and then by letter corrals. We were in the Orange so we crossed the bridge on the upper level of the Verrazano Bridge, to the left. The site going over the bridge was breath taking. We tried to stay at about a 9:15 pace, but with the crowd that was hard to do, I didn't want to zigzag and waste energy at this point. It was very windy. I kept the throw away sweatshirt on till I was about half way across the bridge, and then threw it to the side. People were doing the same at this point, and you really had to watch your step as clothes were flying everywhere.

The mass of people running was amazing, and my calf that had been sore 2 weeks ago seemed to be holding up. Mile by mile we were over the bridge and into Brooklyn. It was really amazing to see the different neighborhoods. All was great until someone kicked my leg at mile 8.7 (still have the bruise on my left calf with their foot print). Here's a pic I took of it about 3 days after the marathon, of the bruise I had. Should have taken it that night, but you get the idea:)

sorry I took this myself, and it was the best I could do!

The kick in the calf caused me to fall head over heels to the pavement. Landed on my hands & thankfully went into a tuck & roll, so though I was bruised up, I survived & got right back up with runners' help & kept running. Thankfully no one fell on me, and the man that tripped me stopped and helped keep people from falling on me, then helped me up. Till that point I was feeling great. Afterwards was thankful the fall wasn't as bad as it could have been. Only thing that hurt at the time were the scrapes on my hands. But yesterday & today the pain of the bruises are now hurting. Josh found me about the 14 mile mark, I told him the legs felt ok, not great, and we plugged on. John C was still with me, and we worked our way around the crowds. We approached the 59th street Bridge, it was dark, but I still felt ok. Running over the bridge, I rolled my right ankle; it hurt, but didn’t think it was that bad. The next day, showed this:

Pic of my ankle the next day

Anyway, I kept running and was keeping about a 9:08 pace into mile 16 where I saw my husband and two girls cheering for me on First Avenue. What a thrill, it was, though it was very brief, because I was afraid to stop, for fear the legs wouldn't keep going, so I waved & continued on knowing I would see them again around Central Park. Unfortunately, my oldest, Rebecca was distracted and jostling for position in the huge crowd and did not see me run past. I tried to yell and get her attention to no avail, but she did say she heard me and I knew I would see her again at the finish.

But then the cramps started about a half mile later @16.5 in both calves. I tried running but by 17 (right around 1st & 72nd), I had to stop and walk. It killed me to stop, but I thought I could walk through it. So, from 17 - 23 miles I spent every mile getting a calf massage by my friend Josh who ran with me from mile 14.5 to 23 (without him I know I would not have finished THANK YOU!!!). I knew if I could just keep a 10 minute pace from here on out I could maybe finish in 4:00 or around there, but that was not to happen as the the massages allowed me to get a foot cadence going again at about a 10min pace, but it would only last for about a half mile, and then I'd have to walk again, pull over to the side and Josh would massage both calves again. And this would repeat till mile 23 where Josh had to bid me farewell/good luck as he didn't have a bib for this year's marathon & didn’t want to chance being thrown out of NYRRs club. He gave me my last massage at mile 23 and said do your best to keep running/stay in cadence, cause if you stop, the legs won't go and you'll really cramp. Well, I proceeded at about an 11:30 pace trying to keep my legs running and eventually entered Central Park. The only thought in my mind was keep going, you've come to far to quit now, my husband & kids are waiting for me just before mile 26 in front of the Plaza Hotel on Central Park West, so I plugged along. It hurt, but the thought of not finishing, or my family seeing me walking would hurt more. Finally I got to the point where I came back out of the Park and onto Central Park west & 59th street. Knowing that my husband & the girls were somewhere to the left in front of the Plaza. I kept running, scanning the crowd. Finally I saw them, hit with the most emotion ever (maybe matched by the birth of my children) I ran over to them, tears flowing down my face, I could hardly breathe. I went to Rebecca first, as she missed seeing me at 63rd & 1st, then Allie, then my husband. The emotions were wild; the crowd was incredible (I learned later that the whole group of people standing around my family all cried with emotion when they saw me hugging my kids. A spectator/ stranger even took a picture of me hugging Rebecca & emailed it to my husband the next day. If you by chance are reading this, THANK YOU for sending the picture, I truly appreciate it!!!).

Me kissing Rebecca (in the purple hat) on Central Park West and my hubby (in the black cap) waving his arm in the air.

I knew with their energy, I had enough to go .2 more and off I went. It was the longest .2 in my life (Vic you were SO right!!), but cramps and all, I crossed the finish line & showed my girls what determination & perseverance are all about. That, my friends/family/supporters was what this race was about for me. Not beating a time (though it would have been cool to Boston Qualify. There's always next time, and mark my words, I will run another marathon!!), but showing my little girls that when things get hard, you stick to your guns, and persevere!!!

I made my way through the crowd, and because I was wearing the NYPD running singlet, they pulled me out of the crowd, and over towards the NYPD tent. I was given a goodie bag with water, a protein bar (that tasted SOOOOO good), an apple, and soon found all my friends, and we made our way to the street, to the NYPD shuttle/van, that brought us to the hotel, where family, refreshments and a shower were waiting for me. In hindsight, I should have walked to the hotel. The 15 minutes or so that it took the van to drive us, just sitting there, my legs completely went dead/stiff. I could barely get out of the van, thank you to whoever it was that helped me off, I walked over to the bus to get my bag, and made my way into the hotel. The party was located on the mezzanine, which was about 16 steps up a stairway. OUCH OUCH OUCH. I found my family, got them settled in the eating area, and went upstairs to take a shower. It felt awesome! I should have taken the time to soak in an ice bath, but time was limited, and I wanted to see my family. Got back to them, ate, and hung out, then said our goodbyes, and we made our way to the subway, to get a subway to Penn Station, to catch the train back home. Overall, it was an amazing experience that I do intend to repeat some time in the future (maybe NYC in 20011)!!!

And here are some pics that NYRR so graciously took of me while I was running. Not pretty, but hey, they show the pain and triumph, I went through, while running this marathon!

I believe this was taken around the 13.1 mile mark, still feelin' pretty good!

Not sure where this was taken, but definitely taken near the end, maybe at the 20?

This one was taken as I shuffled across CPW before mile 26

Instead of a mile by mile time submission, I'm going to note the marathon splits that NYRR supplied. Here they are:

5 K 00:29:43.00 Pace/mile: 00:09:33.08

10K 00:58:15.00 Pace/mile: 00:09:22.68

15K 01:25:38.00 Pace/mile: 00:09:11.21

20K 01:53:18.00 Pace/mile: 00:09:06.84

Half-Marathon: 01:59:36.00 Pace/mile: 00:09:07.73

25K 02:21:57.00 Pace/mile: 00:09:08.37

30K 02:54:43.00 Pace/mile: 00:09:22.35 (Going into about 18miles I still had about a (9:08pace), but that time soon dwindled, as I hit the last 10K and was completely and utterly humbled by NYC. No training could have prepared me for what I experienced that day), but too persevere through the pain, made finishing that much more special!!

35K 03:39:09.00 Pace/mile: 00:10:04.51

40K 04:22:02.00 Pace/mile: 00:10:32.64

Finish Time: 04:39:21.00 Pace/mile: 00:10:39.74

All my training, I thought prepared me for this race. My runs were spot on, my nutrition and hydration has drastically improved over the past few months. Experts say you never know how a race will pan out until race day and when you cross the finish line. I don't think I was cocky thinking I could finish in under 3:50 for my first ever marathon. All my training, and even my races this year, all indicated sub 3:50 was within my reach. I do believe if I didn't cramp, I would have accomplished my sub 3:50 goal, but that is now behind me, and I must try to learn from this race, why did I cramp? And now humbled, must do everything in my power, so when I run marathon #2, history does not repeat itself. As, I said in the beginning, I am THRILLED with the time I finished in, and so happy to be a marathoner!!!!!!!

I must thank all my family/blog buddies/everyone, because you all were such an inspiration to me in finishing the marathon. I thought of you all often when I didn't think I could go on and remembered all your stories of marathon courage, your advice over the last 22 months, and just your unconditional "virtual" support and friendship. I did pace myself; I took endurolytes; 3 capsules every hour, drank water and Gatorade; rotating at every mile, not sure why I still cramped, but I MADE it, and will definitely do another marathon. I'm seriously thinking next year's New Jersey on May 2, 2010, (if I'm ready), or most likely Philadelphia 0n November 21, 2010 (where Beachy is thinking he'll run the Half).

Oh, and if you're wondering why I didn't post a finishers photo. Well, I didn't know at the time, but in talking with someone this week, I realized I didn’t stop after the finish for a Finisher’s Photo. Hahaha, I hurt so bad and didn’t want to stop walking. I had no idea what they were doing, just thought it was the parade of masses walking to collect their baggage and family members. Well, I know now for the next time to stop and smile for the camera. Though, I was smiling from ear to ear, cause I had just accomplished running/hobbling 26.2 miles, which 22 months ago, was just a far out, crazy wild dream!!!


Jenny said...

Wow! What a race! I can't believe you took such a fall and kept going! You are right that you are an extraordinary example for your kids. To see you complete the marathon after such a struggle with getting tripped and having cramps must make them so proud! Of course you will race again, and come back even better! Way to go Joanne (aka Beachy's wife) !!!

Anonymous said...

Great report. I'm still working on mine and will get it posted this week.

At least you got the first one out of the way, and now know firsthand what it takes to finish 26.2. You really have to go through it once to appreciate. My first 2 were dreadful and then it gets much easier!

I can't believe that you fell, sorry to hear that, but it was great that it was not serious and you could recover and finish!

Great to hear that you are coming back for more!

Zoë said...

Congratulations on your first marathon...and NYC at that!! You are awesome!!! What a great way to show your girls what practice, perseverance and determination can bring. :) Congrats again!!

Andra said...


Your first marathon experience shows your guts and fortitude! It shows the strength you have deep within! What a role model you are for your little ladies.

Reading your write-up brought me to the sideline and finish line with you and brought me to tears. I felt your pain and agony. So glad you stuck with it to the end, to experience that feeling of being a champion! A champion you are! A marathoner you are!

If you were able to dig deep and conquer this, what else are you capable of doing!

Chic Runner said...

What a great report! I'm glad that you got the chance to do it and even after the fall you kept chugging along. Your pictures look so cute! I love the armwarmers and jersey! :)

Great job and you totally lowballed your time!!!! :) Congrats again!

robison52 said...

Fantastic marathon report!! Congrats on finishing your first marathon, you'll never forget your first one. Now you have a time to beat next, which I'm sure you will. What are you going to name your blog now???

Jocelyn said...

AMAZING! You rock! major congrats!

Allen said...

Great race; great pics. You do rock! Welcome to the world of marathoners!

Ted said...

Congratulations ! I've felt like I was completely there to watch you run the marathon. It gaves me plenty of goose bumps. Again, Congrats for getting the job done.

Lily on the Road said...

CONGRATULATIONS Joanne! Wow, you did IT!! What an awesome time too.

Wow, your ankle looks pretty sore but I imagine it is almost better by now. sorry for taking so long in reading your report (which is fantastic BTW).

Good JOB...

Michael B said...

amazing accomplishment my friend. it has been a pleasure following you for the past ??? months. look forward to one day meeting up at a starting line...cheers

真心 said...

cool blog,期待更新.........................

オテモヤン said...


Anonymous said...



Gowri said...

I'm training for my first marathon in April, and find posts like this one very inspiring. Thanks, and congratulations! (4:30 is quite amazing!)

zbsports said...

So cool the run looks great...I like the old woman running in the picture...she is so cool!!!

Anonymous said...

INCREDIBLE! What an exciting story! What are you doing these days? Are you running NYC 2010?
I saw you're from Long Island, are you running Cow Harbor this year? Loved your stories.

treatment for anxiety in children said...

Great marathon story. Keep it up.