Redemption has never felt so wonderful.
Remember last year when I bonked during the New York City Marathon, having gone out too fast? After that experience I knew I never wanted to experience that feeling of failure again. While I know it is still an achievement to finish a marathon, at any pace, seeing my dreams of breaking five slip between my fingers because of my own stupid decisions, didn’t feel good. I walked more parts of the marathon than I want to remember including 2 bridges, Pulaski and Queensborough.
For the past few months, I’ve worked with Gia and Lauren on multiple aspects of running, both mental and physical. After increasing my mileage each week, pushing through workouts that I would have bagged on last year, enjoying late night conversations with Bo who is training for his first marathon, finding strength and support in my co-workers who push me through each midweek run, working to balance my muscles so I’m less quad dominant and my glutes actually work, and finally having the faith in myself that I can master 26.2 miles; today almost 11 months later I was able to run over both of these bridges. Oh yes, there were definitely tears in my eyes.
So now that I’ve given you a bit of a preview and drowned you in sappiness, let me give you a full review of today’s NY Flyers 3 Bridges Run!
The NY Flyers 3 Bridge Run which has taken place for years, allows runners from all across the metro area to enjoy a pacer led 20 mile run through three different boroughs in New York, some of which includes the actual marathon course.
They offer the organized run 2 separate times, once in September and once in October. For $10 you receive a pacer, 3 water and fuel stations, a 20% discount at Jack Rabbit Sports afterwards, and an awesome group of men and women with whom to run and gain expertise.
Since I chose to run in the 11 minute pace group this morning, hoping to hang towards the front so I could keep closer to a 10:45 pace, I arrived at Jack Rabbit UES at 6:20 in time for the 6:30 start time. We left exactly on time, led by one female pacer, surrounded by 20 other runners of all ages. Luckily I wasn’t flying solo during today’s run. Meghann, with whom I ran 16 miles with a few weeks ago during our trek to the George Washington Bridge, and her friend Libby kept me company during the run together. Unfortunately, within two miles we quickly realized that our pacer, while very nice and kind, was a speed demon. As we all moaned and vented in the back of the group, which was going at about a 10:20 pace, we decided that we’d make our own pace group. All donned in red we ended up being the unofficial 10:45 pace group, talking with our fellow runners about our marathon experiences.
Before we knew it, we reached the first aid station at mile 8 as we were crossing across the lower Manhattan towards the Brooklyn Bridge.
The aid station had tons of water, Gatorade, fuel, and people cheering us on. We spent about a minute or 2 at each aid station, depending on the pace of the group. The pacer did do a great job making sure not to leave anyone behind. We didn’t leave an aid station until any stragglers had arrived and had a chance to chug down some fuel.
From the first station we crossed the Brooklyn Bridge, where we saw the lovely Gia and Jes who were looking speedy in the 9 minute pace group. Even though there was zero shade and running a bridge is never a lot of fun, it was over before we realized it since our group was having a blast. As we progressed into Brooklyn, I decided that it’d be fun to let the ladies tell me all about Brooklyn since they both live there. This too helped the miles go by quickly. All the while, keeping a pace under 11 minute miles, except for the bridge.
As you can tell from this picture, taken at the next aid station at mile 12, we were all smiles. The 10:45 pace group was having a blast!
We headed off from this aid station knowing that the next one we’d see would be the one at Mile 16, right before the Queensborough Bridge. We also knew that we’d tackle another bridge, Pulaski Bridge, during these miles. Our positive attitude and constant conversation made the miles between 12 and 16 made us feel stronger than ever as you can tell from our paces. We dropped down to a 10:30 and we were able to keep a 10:40 over the bridge, enjoying the view of Manhattan.
We made it to the fuel stop at mile 16 all smiles, ready to conquer the bridge. We didn’t even have an interest in stretching or getting more water. We were all feeling strong and excited to cross into Manhattan, especially since he mileage lined up perfectly with the marathon. As soon as we entered through the gate of the pedestrian bridge path I felt an insane rush of excitement. I told the girls I’d see them on the other side and pushed. I loved every second of the bridge. Sure, it was long and the construction’s exposed gates made it quite arduous today, but the fact that I could keep an 11:30 over the bridge at mile 17 gave me happy tears. My legs were tired but were able to push through, my heart was bursting with happiness, and mentally I felt stronger than I ever have before at mile 17 of a long run. Running this bridge with co-workers a few times this training session meant that my legs knew what to expect.
From the bridge the rest of the run was a bit of a blur and pretty annoying since the NY Flyers course had us cross the city on 59th street to the Park which meant dodging cars until we reached the Park. From there we ran into the Park, up Cat Hill which was hell at mile 19, and then out the Engineer’s Gate back to Jack Rabbit. The final mile was definitely hard as hell but I felt like I could run further if needed, especially if the crowds were cheering and I had more fuel. After stomaching 3 Gus at mile 4.5, 9, and 13.5 I couldn’t stomach the thought of a 4th Gu packet by mile 17.5. I felt the difference during those last few miles for sure.
But, this 20 miler was done and done as we crossed the threshold of Jack Rabbit sports at Mile 20! My Garmin is missing the first half mile since I didn’t pick up satellites until we were in the Park. NY Flyers, you all are amazing! This was a perfectly organized training run and really the only thing better would have been a more experienced pacer. But everything else outweighed that one flaw.
Done and done! Luckily Bo’s pace group (9:30) finished just a few minutes after us due to the start times. He rocked out a new PDR today with Theodora’s support and was all smiles. One cab ride home downtown and a shopping cart full of ice, we were happy campers.
If you want to see the exact splits and more details, feel free to jump over to my Daily Mile page.
THIRTY FOUR DAYS AND COUNTING!