A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step. – Lou
Last year, I made a goal to run the NYC Marathon and less than a year later, thousands of steps the journey and goal has been completed. My NYC weekend isn’t the typical weekend because I can never do anything basic. I am always extra with everything. Additionally, I am always representing the Black Marathoners or doing something for the organization so it’s never a dull moment in my life. Brace yourself, it’s a bit lengthy but I couldn’t leave out anything because it was packed weekend and it’s a dream come true! It’s a good read I think. So with that, here is my VIP NYC Marathon recap.
Friday – New York City I Am Here
I arrived in NYC Friday and basically had mapped out my day with going to hang out and tour the Women’s Health Magazine / Rodale office and then hit the expo and I did just that. The NYC Marathon is not a typical race as most because it’s an entire weekend event of stuff. You really have to be organized or you might just miss out on running the actual race. HA! Anywho, I had a packed weekend so here goes…
If you don’t want to read then feel free to enjoy the video
epic documentary with scores, scripts and more extraness on my youtube channel.
Women’s Health Magazine / Rodale
So Rodale owns some major magazines you probably read, one being women’s health but also runners world, men’s health, and Prevention. As a 2x Women’s Health Action Hero of the year, I wanted to finally meet the folks I had been working with for now a few years. It was a cool office and experience. It was even cooler as I got a chance to see the wall of magazine covers!
So my goal was to do everything I could at the expo and avoid it on Saturday. I did just that. The expo is basically split into three big sections. Section one is the intro to the NYC where you get everything for the race, (bibs, VIP, etc.) Next section is the NYC Merch and New Balance – the sponsors. The third is full of the other vendors.
There was a lot of NYC merchandise and it was very busy. Honestly, it was crazy. The expo can be overwhelming at times. I took breaks because I was so scattered brained and wanted everything but the way my pockets were lined up…. Yeah, Nah son. The lines weren’t too long for me, as I didn’t have a wait at all. After debating on jackets for an hour, I ended up getting a windbreaker NYC jacket because I knew it would look cool with my brooks NYC shoes and red is my favorite color.
The next part of the expo is basically the other sponsored stuff and picture time. This also includes the section where you do the thank you wall. I loved this because it was really cool to see all the different nationalities and ethnicities that were represented. It felt like the Olympics and we were the athletes on opening day. I couldn’t just write just one thing but I wrote multiple ones because I am extra…
After that, I hit the United section and obviously more and more picture taking. Also, they had a cool section to learn about “visualization” for running from Olympic athlete Meb Keflezighi. You can check out the video in my NYC Race recap, which was really helpful during the race. Once I learned a few tips about visualization when running then I hit up the general expo section for goodies for the race. (Really look at my video recap for details on this.)
I met so many people and companies at the expo that it was kinda of a blur. The best thing I did at the expo was NormaTech system. They look like large boots that basically help with dynamic compression devices designed for recovery and rehab. Basically, you put the boots on and they are supposed to help you recover faster between workouts by reducing muscle soreness and improving circulation. I did this before and afterward my race and let me tell you it works! My feet were super sore from just walking, traveling and such. After 10 minutes sitting with it – the swelling was gone. The boots provided circulation to flow better and offered more oxygen. If you get a chance to try this at an expo please do!
Anywho, I got a chance to do a lot at the expo, needless to say, I was there basically for hours. From getting VIP badges in the Blue room to picking up a complimentary custom pillow, I had a great time at the NYC Expo it was lit! After the expo, I watched the NYC parade. My phone was basically about to die so I don’t have any footage of it nor do I care. This race/weekend made me just live in the moment and just take it all in. It’s like that sometimes. …
SATURDAY – Social Day
In the video, I show you a better glimpse of the hotel I stayed it but I stayed in the DoubleTree in the Financial District in New York. It was right off the Ferry stop and very convent to all the trains in New York. I picked this location because I wanted to roll out of the bed the day of the race. Most of my friends had over an hour or so commute just to get to the Ferry stop due to the subways being packed. I had a 3 minute walk!
I was able to enjoy some sleeping in a bit. Instead of going for a quick shake out run the day before like most folks, I just took a quick 2-mile tour of the financial district and grab a few items from the apple store. I was able to check out all the historic buildings such as Tiffany’s Co, NYSE and the 9/11 memorials since it was on my way to the store.
I made to go back and relax a bit so that I could preserve my legs for the race. Since I ran Baltimore the week before, I was fully aware of how crappy I am when I am on my legs too much the day before a big race.
Black Marathoners NYC Marathon Meet-Up
First up was the Black Marathoners meet up at Harlem Tavern, which was a cool place. I got a to meet a lot of new folks and others who I have virtually known forever in person. It was a good time, as we all would be running together the following day and talked about how we got there and our excitement. It was also a great way to discuss the Black Marathoners organization. As a Director on the board, I truly enjoy speaking about what we do on the regular.
The next event was one of the biggest highlights of the weekend by attending the Running USA VIP NYC Marathon event. Running USA advances the growth and success of the running industry. Basically, Running USA is the organization that deals with Running and Making Money– they are it. Folks on the board and involved are organizations like New York Road Runners (NYC Marathon,) Boston Marathon, Active, USA Track & Field and much more. Oh yeah our Executive Director of the Black Marathoners, Tony Reed, is on it too #BOSS.
The event was basically a (late) happy hour and time to gather to network and mix and mingle. How often do you get to be in a room with ‘Who’s Who’ of the running industry?!! HELLO!!
It was an open bar and lots of appetizers and stuff so I was so annoyed half the time I couldn’t drink a tasty beverage. Since I was running the following day, I did ironically get a lot of great advice and support while there. From meeting 2X Boston Marathon winner Geoff Smith to simply hanging finally with my running bestie Sika Henry – 2x marathoner winner and upcoming IronMan champion, the night was just something you couldn’t even imagine. I truly felt like the “dumbest” person in the room but it was great for me. This means the sky is the limit for me and I was where I needed to be.
SUNDAY – New York City Marathon
My morning started off walking over to the Ferry, where I would take it to a bus only to walk to the runners’ area until I started at 11 am. My ferry ride was cool. It’s a lot of walking and waiting in lines though. It’s a process let me tell you!! It’s not a race you can just roll out the bed and go to. I am glad I selected the ferry ride because I got the see the statue of liberty but to honest, it seemed I had a bunch of “uhohs” along the way.
From our ferry door being messed up, to our bus breaking down, I made it to the race with a lot of nerves but really ready to get it over with. Again, I would like to take this time to remind you it’s logistically a lot to do a simple race. Just getting to the starting line is the hardest part.
The theme of this weekend was VIP right?!!! I am telling you this weekend was epic! The VIP tent for the NYC was lit and I had it thanks to my friend Cicely for the hookup. With a warm tent, nice restrooms and tons of food, I waited in style for without having to sit in the rain or cold like the other 48,000 people. FAVOR ISN’T FAIR!
NEW YORK MARATHON – TOUR THE STATE
After waiting, I headed to the race and then the cannons were off and I ran at 11:03 am for my first major marathon. I was so excited and had a pretty good pace. The race is basically an entire tour of New York so we start in Brooklyn. I kept looking for Beyonce and Blue but I guess they were busy that morning or probably on a jet so I didn’t get a chance to say hi.
The crowd is SOOOO EPIC! I danced with a troop, moonwalked with a few kids and prayed with a choir. This race is greatness. I was in the zone and didn’t even need my trap running mix for most of the race.
In the midst of my excitement, I noticed my nose began to run. … run… run… and run… For some reason, the mucus in my body decided to run a marathon as well. I felt okay despite the running nose but at the halfway mark, I began to have chills, then my face started to turn green. It was pretty bad as a few medical or volunteers kept looking and asking me “are you SURE you are okay?!”
I hit the wall and when I hit it- I hit it hard. I stopped and could hardly breathe nor could I really think clearly. I started panicking because I am too far into my race and I am getting sick. I HARDLY GET SICK. Also, it’s to be said it’s raining so I am miserable as well. I keep pushing and I try to keep a nice pace because if I stop I get colder and that’s not a good thing.
THE MARATHON MIND
At mile 22-24, I am miserable so much so now crying. I am with a fever and at this point, I can’t keep down any solids. It seemed the miles are taking forever. People tracking me are now becoming very concerned about what’s going?! I am so embarrassed at my splits and everything negative is pouring in my head now and more mucus is pouring out of my body. I am balling but no one can tell because it’s pouring rain at this time.
I now am giving up hope that my goal of finishing is going to end so close to the finish line. My mom keeps pushing me and kept saying how close I was. She helped me to set up new goals in the middle of the race. She was SO ENCOURAGING at this point. I don’t think I would have finished the race without her support. Additionally, I start to think about how much money I have spent on training, travel, lodging and all and if that doesn’t move you I don’t know what. I kept thinking about the finish line and my mom’s encouragements. Randomly I also got messages from friends and folks all over cheering me on. #ThanksGod
FINISH LINE – I DIDN’T DIE
Physically, I was out of the race but once I made it over to mile 24, I could feel a bit more energy and now my mind is telling my body to just keep moving. The spectators are still there and cheering. I am still getting crazy energy from them!! I just tell myself it’s just a 2-mile walk. The 2-mile walk ended with me sprinting 800 yards to finishing the 2017 NYC Marathon.
After the race, I took a few pictures, called up Tony and my mom. I stopped at a medical tent on my way out. I was dehydrated and
very loopy but they helped me get it together. I selected the race poncho so that was the perfect as I was so cold! After that, I don’t remember much except getting the rest of my finishers stuff and literally passing out on the way back to the hotel. Oh yeah, when you finish the race it’s about a mile or two before you are actually out. Yes yal!!! More miles after the marathon. There was some NYC officer who helped me because again I really was out of it.
MONDAY – MARATHON MONDAY
I didn’t sleep as well as I would like too because I was sick. I missed hanging with everyone so I was so pissed but heck I just wanted to live another day! That morning, I did manage to get a bunch of juice and smoothies that morning. I was obsessed with Juice Shop. They hooked me up this enter weekend with advice and good healthy stuff.
I felt better and made my way to the official medal engravement area in Central Park. Unfortunately, what I wasn’t going to do is wait over 90 minutes for engraving that thing. NAH! I remembered I had signed up for Nike’s Post-Marathon and Engraving event and walked over to it. It was perfect as I got a chance to get my medal engrave and try recovery items.
I walked in limping but left with a small strut! I opted not to put my time but instead my race mantra, which was truly Mind Over Matter. It also is a play on words as I dedicated this race to my Mom. Get it MOM?!
I didn’t do much because again – I was sick so I went back to bed, grabbed more juice and soup and then packed it up to head to the airport. I made sure to wear my medal, jacket and the entire outfit that day. Unfortunately, I a 2-hour delay so my 3-hour flight back was 5. (BOO) But anyway…. who cares. I finished the New York City Marathon along with over 50,000 people!!! If you missed my journey you can catch it on my #FitHairRoadtoNYC Tag
So what’s next?
I am already working with a running Coach and have my eyes on Boston. I am competitive and a bit prideful so I am really going to train for my PB of sub-5 (maybe 4:30) but no more 6+-hour marathons for me. I can’t do it. My feet and my life is not set up for all that. Anywho, thank you all for going on the journey with me to NYC! If you want to help support me on my next journey to the Boston Marathon please visit here.