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Friday, November 11, 2016

#117- The TCS New York City Marathon (aka The GREATEST Marathon In The World)!!

I don't even really know where to begin on this AMAZING week in New York City. 21 years in the city and running my 3rd NYC Marathon and I STILL think it is the greatest race, in the greatest city in the world!

After the Marine Corps Marathon, Bart and I drove back to Bethlehem for a couple days of rest. We both worked from his house on Monday and Tuesday and hit the bus to NYC on Wednesday afternoon.

The first thing we did after walking to our hotel (The New York Hilton Midtown) and dropping off our bags, was take a nice stroll around Central Park before Bart had to lead the Runner's World 50th Anniversary shake out run.

The energy in the city during marathon week is incredible!

Bart and I in Central Park

I saw this little face sticking out of the tree and Bart thought it was fake...until it moved!

For the first time ever, they opened the NYC Marathon pavilion, which in the past was only opened to members of the press. Now for the week leading up to race day the space was transformed into a fun and interactive place to hang out, listen to talks, buy some gear, take some photos and even win a prize (I won 2 gift cards). 

The Marathon Pavilion opened to the public for the first time this year.

The Runner's World 50th anniversary shakeout run  started at the pavilion at 6:00pm. After a few words from Bart and David Willey (Editor In Chief), we were given free Runner's World buffs and were on our way!

Bart and David Willey get us ready for the run!

Runners ready to shake out the legs! (Photo credit: Runner's World)

This was the first time I have ever run around Central Park at night, so it was a fun experience! After the run we went back into the pavilion and had some snacks and looked around.

One cool thing in the pavilion was a wall that said "Get Your New York On". When you got closer to the wall, you could see it was made up of all the race participant's names. 

Get Your New York On!

I finally found my name...

...all the way down here!

I also got my head on a stick! Ha Ha!!

After the shakeout run Bart and I grabbed some food at the hotel went back to the to eat it while we relaxed and got ready for the main event. No it's not the marathon, but the shakeout run with my BFF (and Olympian, NYC and Boston Marathon champ) Meb Keflezighi!

We got to JackRabbit running store on 14th Street and met quite a few runners checking in. Along with Runner's WorldKT Tape was a sponsor of this run, so we were able to get taped up and got some cool swag too! 

Joining the celebrities, Meb and Bart on this run was Brenda Martinez and Boris Berian, two badass 800 meter runners! My Achilles was hurting a bit so I thought I would sit the run out, but once I got there, it would be a sin NOT to run with these incredible athletes, so I got my Achilles taped and got my butt out there!

Bart doing introductions and giving us instructions! 

Lots of excited runners filled the store!

Then my BFF came out!


Bart telling us where to go.

Bart and Meb listening to questions.

Just waiting on the corner with Meb!

We are off!

Bart and I running with Meb. No big whoop! Ha Ha!

Boris Berian and I. Super nice guy!

After the run, we met back at the store for bagels and coffee and got the opportunity to meet and talk with other runners and 1st time marathoners, which is always fun.

Me, Meb, Boris and Brenda!

I got to chat with Howie (Meb's brother) about how good we have gotten at taking cell phone pictures of other people and the celebrities in our lives! Ha Ha! 

Now THIS guy knows how to dress for a run!

Bart recording a testimonial for KT Tape!

While Bart was talking to people, I was eyeing the shoes. I was in desperate need of a new pair of shoes as my old Asics Nimbus were on their last legs and this is what I believed to be the source of my Achilles pain. I really wanted a new pair of Nimbus, but at $150, I didn't want to spend that much (my car was in the shop and I would have to shell out $500 when I got home), so I looked at some Adidas Energy Boost (a shoe I love to run in too) that were on sale and I asked Bart if we had time for me to try on some shoes. He said sure and a really cool runner named Mary Arnold helped me.

She pulled the shoes and when Bart told her how much I liked the Nimbus, she pulled them too, but not just any Nimbus, the limited edition NYC Marathon Nimbus! I wanted them so bad, but they were more expensive at $160!

I tried them on anyway and walked around in them. Bart thought they looked cool and so did I. When I took them off, Mary boxed them up and handed them to me at no charge! She gave me the shoes! I was floored! What an incredible gift and I am so grateful to her and JackRabbit!

THANK YOU to Mary at JackRabbit for making my feet and me feel special!
After we left JackRabbit, Bart and I went back to the hotel to shower and change and head to the expo!

The expo was at the Javits Center. This place is HUGE so walking into the expo is quite impressive.

Walking into the expo.

Bart went to the Runner's World booth and I went to pick up my race numbers (bibs) for the Dash To The Finish Line 5K and the Marathon and my t-shirts.

I was seeded in the wrong coral, so when I asked the volunteer who I should speak to about it, they led me back to a little room and I took a seat. My original bib was a green coral, wave 4 (which was a little disappointing as not only does that wave start at 11:00am, but the green corrals start on the bottom of the Verrazano bridge. After showing the worker proof of my faster time, I was not only moved up to the proper corral, but I was given a whole new bib. Orange corral, wave 2! 10:15 start time and top of the bridge baby!

I was so excited and I went to find my pals Steven (President of the Marathon Maniacs) and Patti! When I told Patti what happened she was also in the wrong coral. I showed her the secret room and she was put in the same corral I was! In fact we were only two numbers apart!

The Prez, Steven Yee and I!

Patti and I were happy with our new bibs!

So awesome to see Julia and Sutah at the Running Skirts booth where I bought the perfect skirt for NYC!

Altra had some cool NYC shoes too!

My Utah friend Martin with Bart and I!

Excited to run in my favorite city!

My BFF is watching over me! Hee Hee!

This year marked the 40th Anniversary of the 5 Boroughs Race!

We all need it!

After we left the expo, Bart and I went and had dinner at a really great Indian place on 56th Street called Benares, walked around Times Square, then went back to the hotel. 

Bart and I in Times Square

We met Rita on the elevator of our hotel when she said to Bart, "Hey! We are wearing the same blouse!" She was so funny that I had to get a picture!

In the morning we got up and walked through our lobby to go to Starbucks. On the way out we ran into three NYC Marathon Champions in the span of five minutes! Our hotel lobby was like the red carpet at the Oscars, except for runners.

1988 NYC Marathon Champion, Steve Jones (UK) and I

Bart, Steve Jones and I 

Bart and I took a walk down to the finish line to see what was going on down there. There were a lot of people milling around, taking photos and just enjoying the beautiful sunny day!

The finish chute is lined with flags from over 120 nations. People were taking photos in front of their flags. We found ours and got a pic too!

First look at the finish line!

Fred Lebow was in place at the finish.

While Bart and I were walking around, someone called his name. We turned around to see not one, not two, but three legends of running!!

Why yes! That's me with George Hirsch (publishing icon and Chairman of the Board of NYRR), Frank Shorter (Gold and Silver Olympic Marathon Medalist) and Rod Dixon (1983 NYC Marathon Champion from New Zealand)!

These signs lined the marathon route!

After our walk, Bart and I went back to the hotel to change. We got in the elevator and when the doors opened, Olympic marathoner Desiree Linden was standing there!! We chatted for a second and I had to get a picture with her (no matter how rough I looked)!

OMH! It's Olympic badass Desi Linden!!

Bart had to be at the expo, so I met Steven, Patti Jaquie, and my sister Angel (who was in town for with her Team Challenge team) for lunch in Chinatown, but not before taking Patti to St. Patrick's Cathedral!

I LOVE St. Patrick's Cathedral!

So beautiful!

Patti and Jaquie stopped to light a candle.

On the way to the subway we walked past a few more sights!

How did I not get a ticket to see my #2 fake husband Jimmy Fallon?

Radio City Music Hall!

Waiting for our table at Shanghai Joe's in Chinatown! 

Soup dumplings, scallion pancake, Singapore mei fun, beef and broccoli, sesame chicken and veggies over noodles! We had sooooo much food! 

After we left I met Bart and we headed back to the hotel. On the way in I saw fellow Utahan and Olympic marathoner, Jared Ward and his cute family!

Utah in NYC with Olympic Marathoner, Jared Ward!

Saturday morning I got to The Abbott Dash To The Finish Line 5K!  This race is the perfect shake out run. Starting at The United Nations, you run past Grand Central Station, Radio City Music Hall and you get to run through Central Park, finishing on the NYC Marathon finish line! It is so much fun!

A few Maniacs at the Start!

The United Nations!

Heading down E. 42nd Street

Grand Central Station

Steven, Patti and I stopped at Radio City Music Hall to audition for the Rockettes! Steven got a call back! Ha Ha!

We finished! (Photo credit: Patti K.)

I think they should have called this street "Marathon Run" Hee Hee!

Bart was working at the expo all day, so after the race, I got showered and changed and went back to the expo in hopes of catching him for lunch. I got there and he wasn't there, so I walked around and did some shopping (all the NYC Marathon gear went 50% off) and waited for him to come back. When he called me back he was on his way back from lunch (he didn't hear his phone ring).

At that moment, I realized that I was supposed to be at the Maniac photo (that I set up) at 2:00PM. It was 2:05PM! I told those that were waiting for me that I was sorry and they would have to take it without me. So that was a bummer.

Bart was going to meet the young, blind South African boy that he would help guiding at 3:00PM. He invited me to come along.

We met Bongumusa Godfrey Shumana (Musa) and his other guides Ora, Henri and Christos at a restaurant just a few blocks from the expo. Musa was quiet and sweet. I just wanted to give him a big hug! Musa is 17 and attends the Ethembeni School for the physically disabled and visually impaired and this would be his first trip to New York and his very first Marathon! Balega Socks sponsored him to come over, so when buying socks, give them a try just for doing a great thing (plus their socks are AWESOME)!

For guiding Musa, Bart received a handmade wheelchair made of wire. It was so sweet! 

We were also given bracelets made by the children of the Ethembeni School in South Africa.

After we left Bart went to another meeting and I went back to the hotel. On the way in I saw the badass ultra runner Michael Wardian! We chatted for a second and I got a pic and wished him good luck! He was running the last of the Abbott World Majors (Tokyo, London, Berlin, Chicago, Boston and New York), all of which he ran this year. He was going for a world record to be the fastest man to do them all in the same year. SPOILER ALERT: He did it!! 

HUGE CONGRATULATIONS to Michael Wardian on his fantastic new world record!

When Bart returned, we went to dinner at a really great Japanese place. We had teriyaki tofu and rice, seaweed salad, miso soup and cucumber and avocado roll. It was a lot of food, but it was light food that sat well on our stomachs the night before the big race!

After dinner, we were both pooped and really glad that we got to set the clocks back and get another hour of sleep, but when that alarm went off at 5:15AM, it didn't feel like an extra hour.
Flat Angie and Bart ready to action!
(In case to want to know who I am wearing: Skirts and socks: Running Skirts NY Collection, Tank: Coaching By Super, Arm Warmers: Asics, Headband: Sweaty Bands and Flower: Fellow Flowers)

I was blessed to be on the Runner's World VIP bus to the start. Bart had to be down at the bus early to help with the loading, but I didn't need to be down there until 6:15AM. 

I got dressed (for the first time, I did what I KNOW I shouldn't do. Everything I wore for the race was new) and I made it over to the Starbucks across the street when the opened so I could get a cup of tea for the bus.

I was back in the lobby at 6:15AM and we were given a bagged breakfast with a banana, a bagel (with cream cheese) and a bottle of water. We were also given a VIP sticker to put on our bib. I wasn't sure what that was for, but I looked forward to finding out!

I took a seat on the very front of the bus. I wanted to see New York (plus the front seat had a little shelf to hold your drink). As we drove off Bart and his co-worker waved goodbye to us ans wished us all good luck. (Bart would only be guiding Musa for the second half of the marathon so he didn't take the bus with us). 

Bart and his co-workers waiving goodbye to us!

I love this sign!

I had the pleasure of sitting next to a retired policeman named Dave who was running with the NYPD team. He was such a nice guy and we chatted about New York and about racing.

My new pal Dave. I hope he did great!

When we got off the bus, it was really crowded getting into our start villages (they are separated by bib color). I had to use the bathroom, and even though getting through security was smooth, there were so many people to screen it took what felt like an hour to my bladder, but probably only took 20 minutes.

Security was very tight.

When I finally got in, I made my way to the nearest port-a-potty, but the lines were super long. A volunteer told me to go into the start village as the line are shorter there (people just stop at the first bank of potties and get in line). I did just that and he was right, but by this time I was desperate! My line was short, but I had to go so bad. I couldn't think straight and really thought I might have an accident before the race even started! Thank goodness a potty opened up and I made it in the nick of time!

Once out of the bathroom, I went on a pilgrimage to the Dunkin Donuts truck to see if I could score a coveted Dunkin Donuts hat. I have one from my two previous NYC marathons and I needed one from this year. I saw people walking around with them on so I knew they were giving them out. 

When I got to the Dunkin Donuts truck there was already a bunch of people asking about the hats. "We don't have any left", the Dunkin Donuts volunteer told everyone. Dang it!

In 2013, they ran out to, but I found one that someone left in a pile of throw-a-way clothing and I snagged it. This year the weather was really warm so I knew someone would cast one aside at the race start. When wave 1 went to their corral, I went over to the Goodwill bins and sure enough, there was a hat sitting on top! I grabbed it and stuck it in my bag, then a few minutes later, I saw someone at the DD truck giving out hats! I got a new one and put the one I picked up back in the Goodwill bin!

People in the runner's village sporting their coveted Dunkin Donut hats!

The score!

I will be running across that bridge very soon!

It would not be the New York City Marathon without see my favorite Swede Anders!

When I ran the Chicago marathon in 2014, I got to the runners village at the start and forgot to grab my breakfast. I didn't fret about it because surely being one of the World Majors (just like NYC) they would have food waiting for us. I was wrong (and hungry). The New York City Marathon spoiled me on all other big city marathons! The athlete's village at the NYC Marathon has bagels, Power Bars, Coffee, Tea, hot chocolate, and bananas! It is awesome!

The cute volunteers handing out bagels!

I got to relax with a cup of tea before the race! How civilized!

Patti and I wanted to run together, but there were just so many people in the athlete's village, I couldn't find her. There was no cell service either (I believe this was for safety). It wasn't until I got into our corral that I finally saw Patti and her friend Alex. I was so excited and was glad to have some one to run with!

As we walked to the start, the excitement built. I have run a lot of races and NOTHING beats the start of the New York City Marathon!

Patti, Alex and I in our coral heading for the start!

As you wait at the foot of the Verrazanno Bridge, everyone is pumped! Then you hear the cannon fire followed by Frank Sinatra singing New York, New York as we make our way over the biggest ascent and decent of the entire marathon! 

Patti, Alex and I at the start just waiting for the cannon to go off!

There were a lot of police helicopters flying around. 

Want to see the greatest marathon start in the world? Check this out!

Running over the Verrazano Bridge is AMAZING!

I am so excited!

I knew this would be a great day when I saw this rainbow coming off the fire boat!

We made our way over the bridge and into Brooklyn! We spend more miles in Brooklyn than any other borough and that's cool because Brooklyn shows up! The crowd in Brooklyn are amazing!

88th street in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn

Thanks for the tip!

We will NEVER Forget!

Brooklyn's finest!

Look at all those spectators!

At a little past mile 8, my friend Steve Kastenbaum (of Westwood One Radio) had a cool sign with my name on it! I was so excited to see him, but sad too as he was supposed to run this year but had to defer due to injury. He shot a great video of us that you can see here

This was so cute!


I love the NYC Marathon because you get to see the diverseness of the city and its people.

Around mile 10, we run through the Jewish neighborhood of Williamsburg. There was not much cheering, but the little girls would come out and wave at us. 

Right around the half way point we enter Queens!

Get Your Queens On!

Queens is awesome too!

Just before mile 15, we hit the Queenboro Bridge. This is tough bridge to climb when you are tired. You have a mile climb before you come down the other side, but we killed it!

Here we are running onto the Queensboro Bridge just before mile 15.

We kicked butt on this bridge, only stopping once to grab this awesome shot of Manhattan!

One of the most amazing parts of the NYC Marathon is coming off the Queensboro Bridge into Manhattan onto 1st Avenue. The roar of the crowd is something else after the quiet of the bridge. 

Here we are coming off the Queensboro Bridge onto 1st Avenue! Check out all the people!

The long climb up 1st Avenue is tough, but AWESOME!

Patti and I on 1st Avenue!

At around mile 20, we crossover the Willis Avenue Bridge into the Bronx!

Heading into the Bronx!

We only run a mile in the  Bronx, but Look out Bronx! Here comes trouble!

It was here we met a nice first time marathoner named Ian. Such a nice young man. He thought Patti and I were cool for running so many marathons and he made us smile when he said that finishing would be his biggest accomplishment. We lost him just before we got to Harlem at around mile 22. I hope he finished with a big smile on his face!

The last 3 miles of the race are tough! You run down 5th Avenue until about mile 24, when you enter Central Park. Now the hills in Central Park are not much during a 5K, but they feel like Mt. Everest during the last two miles of a marathon!

The crowds in Central Park are HUGE and really help pull you along. Patti and I didn't push the pace so I felt pretty great the whole race, until these last miles in the park. I was tired and just wanted to finish. Those last two miles hurt as my lower back started feeling a lot of fatigue. 

So close, yet so far!

.2 to go!

Here we are finishing the NYC Marathon!!


So happy to be done!

We got the bling! Not for nothin', but we look pretty fresh for just running 26.2 miles!

And the long walk begins... or so we thought!

After Patti and I got our medals and foil blankets, we started the long walk down pick up our ponchos (which are given to you only when you don't check a bag). We got only a couple of feet down the road when I saw a girl holding a VIP sign that matched the sticker I got for my bib before we got on the bus. When I asked the girl what that was for she said to exit through the gate. Patti came with me and we were pointed to a bunch of tents. One had out food bags and one had our ponchos.

After we got our stuff, we were pointed to the exit, that was about a half mile shorter than where the other poncho people were leaving! Before leaving Patti and I sat on a bench and ate a little food while she got a hold of Steven and I tracked where Bart and Musa were.

My I Love NY socks were awesome!

Take us to your ice bath! Ha Ha!

Patti and I in our ponchos! (Photo credit: Patti K)

Steven, Patti and I found the nearest Starbucks and went in for a hot beverage. The sun was starting to set, so it was getting a little chilly. After about 30 minutes in there, I decided to walk back to the hotel and get a shower before Bart finished. I got turned around and ended up walking to 10th Avenue!

When I finally got back to the room Bart called me just as I was getting into the shower. Musa finished! He was tired, but happy! CONGRATULATIONS to Musa, Bart and all the guides that got him to the finish line!

Musa at the Finish of his first marathon! (Photo credit: Bart Yasso)

After Bart got back my sister came over and we went back to Banares for dinner. We ate a lot then came back to the hotel for some much needed sleep.

The next morning Bart and I went to Starbucks for a quick breakfast before he had to head into his NY office. While at Starbucks, I got the New York Times and found my name in the finisher's list. This was kind of a big deal as both of the previous times I ran NYC, I ran too slow to make the paper! Now I'm in! It wasn't PR or anything, but it was fast enough to make the Times!

I made it into the NY Times finisher's list!

I was sad to see Bart go. Sometimes it's hard to be so far apart and when I do see him he is usually working. I am OK with that as we still find time to be together and have fun, but it is sad to say goodbye.

I didn't have to leave for the airport until 3:30PM so I met my sister at the pavilion so she could shop and I wasted an hour in line to get my medal engraved. Someone told me it was free, but they charged $25, so I jumped out of line. I didn't need to spend the money on that.

We then met Steven, Patti and Jaquie for lunch. After lunch, we said our goodbyes. I went and checked out of the room and sat in the lounge and waited for the airport shuttle to pick me up.

Sad to leave my city again!

I couldn't help but cry as we drove out of the city I love so much, but Bart reminded me that I did qualify for next year, so NYC Marathon 2017, HERE I COME!

I have to give HUGE THANKS to Runner's World for allowing me to run and getting me VIP access. This was fantastic.

The BIGGEST THANKS OF ALL goes to my boyfriend Bart Yasso. He always takes care of me. I might not understand how others think all the time, but he has never let me down. Thank you baby!

To all my friends that I didn't see, I AM SO SORRY! Things are so busy race weekend, that it hard to find the time to leave the area. I love you all though and hope to see you soon!

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