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Well, folks. It’s over. I officially ran the ING New York City Marathon this past weekend. My review will come in a few parts, mostly because pictures are on three different cameras. I’ll review the expo, the race itself, and post-race happenings, which may or may not include me walking around NYC dressed as a small homeless person. You’ll just have to read to find out.

I’ll also give an update on how much money I raised for the CPSVP on my last post. I’m still collecting money so I can’t total it yet.

Let’s begin on Saturday. Matt and I met my parents on Staten Island early Saturday morning. In order to get a cheaper hotel room and limit my pre-race day stress, we opted to stay out of Manhattan and close to the start of the race.

Once we got settled, we head to the Staten Island ferry terminal to catch the free ferry over to Manhattan. The SI ferry was great. It cost nothing and offered great views of the city. On our way over I got a glimpse of the bridge that I was least looking forward to running over, the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

Yeah. Jennifer doesn’t like bridges. The smile above is fake.

After stressing over the bridge for about 10 minutes, my family and I walked to the front of the boat and were greeted by beautiful views of the Statue of Liberty and New York City.

After the ferry ride, we navigated our way to the expo hall.

The expo was okay. The room it was held in seemed really small for such a large race. However, while there was also a lack of freebies and small-sized shirts, the entire event was expertly run. There were no real long lines or angry runners; it felt like I was going through customs trying to get my bib and race packet.

We spent an unnecessary amount of time there for one reason: RYAN HALL! Yep. My family was gracious enough to hang around the super crowded expo hall so I could finally meet my elite running idol. He holds the American record at the Boston Marathon with 2:08:41 and he writes a blog that I read regularly.

Oh, what was that Ryan Hall? The secret to being awesome??

Sorry, can’t share the secret. But I will share that we shook hands, pictures were taken, and he signed a program for me. He’s such an inspirational runner that it was so great to see that he’s just as nice in person. Well worth the hour-long expo experience.

After the expo we ventured to Little Italy and ate some good ol’ New York style pizza, which was amazing. Even if the waitress did kind of yell at me for asking about vegetables on my pizza. Guess that’s not cool in the NYC?

When we got back to the hotel for the night, I laid out my race-day clothes and accessories so I could get up and go in the morning. I had a 6 am wake-up call and didn’t want to forget anything!

My next post will be about the marathon itself. I have to wait until I get pictures from Matt and my parents. Here’s a little sneak preview: the Verrazano Bridge wasn’t all that bad, the course was rolling hills the entire time, and I set a new marathon personal record for myself!

Wicked 10k…DONE!

And we sparkled the entire way.

Full race review and more pictures to come!

Official time: 1:25:43

Mystery Memorial Revealed

Tuesday: 5 miles; not timed

It was beautious when I ran last night. It was cool-ish and the leaves were all orange and maroon! It was cloudy, but that just meant that I could run without my annoying cheap-o sunglasses. Since it was cloudy, I didn’t feel like waiting around for my Garmin to hook up so I ran without it.

Yesterday my friend Caroline sent me information on the memorial I couldn’t name near the Pentagon. Thanks, Caroline!

I took the following information from Wikipedia, because Wikipedia knows everything. Picture source.

The United States Air Force Memorial honors the service of the personnel of the United States Air Force and its predecessors. The Memorial is located in Arlington, Virginia, on the grounds of Fort Myer near The Pentagon and Arlington National Cemetery, at the intersection of Columbia Pike and South Joyce Street. It was the last project of American architect James Ingo Freed (known for the design of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum) with the firm Pei Cobb Freed & Partners for the United States Air Force Memorial Foundation.

The three memorial spires range from 201¬†feet (61 m) to 270¬†feet (82 m) high and appear to be soaring; its array of stainless steel arcs against the sky evoke the image of “contrails of the Air Force Thunderbirds as they peel back in a precision ‘bomb burst’ maneuver.” Only three of the four contrails are depicted, at 120 degrees from each other, as the absent fourth suggests the missing man formation traditionally used at Air Force funeral fly-overs.

This past weekend I ran the Army 10 Miler in Washington, DC. I love this race. I ran it last year and made sure to sign up right away when registration opened for 2010 because it typically sells out within 3 days.

I didn’t take many pictures because my camera wouldn’t fit in my belt pocket with my cell phone, and I figured if I got lost and couldn’t find my way to the finish the cell phone would come in more handy than a camera. So the cell phone won and I took pictures with it.

I went to the race with my dad and his neighbor. We were all in different starting corrals because we can’t all keep up with my dad since he runs like a machine all are on different yet respectable running levels. We all got to our corrals at around 7:15 and waited around for the 8:00 start.

This is the view of the Pentagon from where I was waiting. Isn’t the sky pretty?

This is a memorial of sorts. Sadly, I don’t know what it’s for. I’m not good on DC memorials. Ask Matt.

A parachuter came down at around 7:40. There were supposed to be more, but my dad said air traffic control stopped the others from falling due to aircraft in the area. Last year there were about 5 parachuters all twirling and landing exactly where they’re supposed to land. Very professional.

The run itself was great. You start at the Pentagon and run across the Memorial Bridge where you can see the Lincoln Memorial ahead of you. Then you turn and run alongside the Potomac and by the Kennedy Center. From there you run along the National Mall and in front of the Capital Building, which my dad did not see (told you, he’s a machine). The last few miles are along the Mall again, across another bridge, and up a highway where you finish right back where you started, at the Pentagon.

I finished within 30 seconds of my time from last year, which is great considering I had no goals for the run. I didn’t really push myself, but I didn’t hold back either. I just ran.

Official time: 1:38:44; 9:52 pace

And Now We Taper

Thursday: 5.5 miles; not timed
Friday: rest
Saturday: 20 miles; 3:44:17
Sunday: 3 mile walk with Scout

Saturday’s 20 miles was hard due to strong wind gusts. There were times where my legs were moving but it felt like I was going nowhere. Quitting at 5 miles crossed my mind but I didn’t let it stop me. Because after 5 miles was complete, I only had 15 more to go. Easy peasy. In all seriousness, though, the winds were rough and I only got through them because I talked myself into keep going. Looking back now I’m really grateful for the wind. It would have been easy to stop and walk home, but I didn’t. Knowing I can talk myself into running 20 miles in strong wind makes me confident that I can talk myself over any wall I may hit on November 7.

When I got home I stretched out the floor and then curled up in a little ball. Bending my legs felt so good! It wasn’t until I realized my teeth were clattering and I was shivering that I got up to take a hot shower. Then I made myself pancakes about 2 hours later when I finally felt hungry.

Not getting sick on Saturday was also a plus because the last time I used that pancake batter was after my 20 miler last year. Apparently I don’t eat a lot of pancakes and pancake batter doesn’t go bad after a year. Go Target brand! But I probably should buy some more before I run 20 miles again next year. If I choose to do so. Just sayin’.

Now that I’m tapering I have time to psych myself up for New York. I probably couldn’t run a marathon next weekend, but I will definitely run a marathon on November 7. It’s all mental at this point. I’ve done all I can do to my body to prepare for the mileage. Now I just have to convince myself that I can go the extra 6.2 miles and finish my second marathon.

Tapering this year also includes two awesome races before the big day! This weekend is my second running of the Army 10 Miler in Washington, DC. The following Saturday is the Wicked 10k down in Virginia Beach. Here are my lofty race goals:

  • Army 10 Miler: don’t trip and injure yourself
  • Wicked 10k: don’t trip and injure yourself…and find candy corn and eat lots of chocolate candy…but not to the point of nausea…and look ’80s fab…and sparkly

Easy, right? I think I can handle those goals.

Exciting!

Wednesday: 10 miles; 1:45:something

I had a nice and easy 10 mile run yesterday. It finally felt like October again with chilly temperatures. I have 5 miles scheduled for this evening after work.

Here are some exciting things that happened this past week:

  • I got new shoes that will carry me through the marathon.
  • Matt has successfully found a way to stalk me on Google Maps so he can track me during the race.
  • I received my bib number and starting line placement for race day! I’m in the second out of three waves, which means I’m not last!!
  • I’m running on the lower level of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, which is good since I’m scared of bridges and won’t be able to see how high I am.
  • I read that the bridge sways with 90,000 feet running across it since it’s a suspension bridge. Cue vomiting…now.
  • My official start time is 10:10 am. A little late as far as races go, but I’ll deal.
  • I found out Bobby Flay is running NYC this year. Add another celeb to the list I want to see. So far I have Edward Norton, Jared from Subway (for Erin!), and Bobby Flay.

I have a few product reviews I want to write about in the next few days. AudioFuel sent me more samples and I’ve yet to write them the review they deserve. Also, Erin and I ordered Sparkle Skirts for our 10k on Halloween weekend. I MUST review these skirts because they’re super cute and homemade.

Be happy…it’s almost the weekend!

Quickie!

Tuesday: 5 miles; 48:59 minutes

My run last night was glorious. Glorious! It was chilly out and I got to wear shorts and a long-sleeved shirt. My favorite running combo!

I was, however, barked at upon my return. Scout wasn’t very happy that I didn’t take him running with me; he’s been mad at me for a couple of days about this issue. Yesterday he retaliated by running around with a box of Ziploc bags and then opening his food container so he could stick his head in and eat at will. He also got me up at 4 am pretending to have to go the bathroom while he really just wanted to run around in the back yard.

This morning he ate a chopstick.

You see, Scout had big boy dog surgery last week and can’t exercise for another week. It’s going to be a long one…

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