The first Sunday of November is one of my favorite days of the year; it’s the day more than 50,000 people take to the streets after months (and sometimes years) of hard work, dedication, and dreaming, to run 26.2 miles through the most amazing city on earth. My first experience with the NYC Marathon was my first fall living in New York. I could tell it was going to be a big deal but didn’t totally understand until I walked two blocks from my apartment on the Upper East Side to 1st Ave and found the sidewalks crushed with people drinking and cheering for the runners passing by. It’s impossible to look at those runners and not see the emotion and sheer will pushing them forward each step to the finish line in Central Park. Finishing the NYC Marathon in 2009 will always be one of the things I’m most proud of.
Many of my Oiselle teammates will be running on Sunday, including – get ready for this – Gabrielle Amara, Susan Empey, Paulette Ference, Dori Gray, Catherine Haggarty, Jessica Holt, Lisa Janssen, Farron McIntee, Prianka Nandy, and the one and only Kara Goucher! Check out this post on Oiselle’s blog about all the birds racing!
Sunday morning I’ll be tracking my good friend, Grace (bib #: 51842), who is a constant source of inspiration and support for me. You’ve seen her on this blog more than a few times over the years, but did you know that the woman behind Lean Girls Club was chosen by Asics to run the TCS New York City Marathon as part of their Editors Challenge? They made an excellent choice! I was lucky enough to run six miles in Central Park with Grace when we were out in New York and she recently took time to answer some questions for me about running, training for her third NYC Marathon, and advice for first-timers.
Lisa: How long have you been running? Why do you run? Grace: I've been running for about eight years. I never thought I would "be" a runner, and according to doctors I'm not built for running. But I love it and do it anyway. I love running because it's changed my life and given me new life. I've lost a lot of weight through running, made new friends through running (the run community is like no other), and have even traveled to new places because of running. Running is my ME time - it's the time I get to invest back in myself when the other 23 hours of the day are spent doing things for other people.
Why are you running NYCM this year - for the third time? It's my hometown race. I love that MY city and MY people come out and celebrate runners. It's an amazing race which NYRR and the City do an amazing job of hosting. The energy in the city is explosive and I like being a part of it, whether running or volunteering.
You're running for Asics; can you tell us a bit about this? I am so honored to be a part of the Asics blogger team. Asics, who is a sponsor of the NYCM, invited me and five other runners to run with their blogger team. They've been incredibly supportive by giving me this opportunity to run the race by not only providing amazing gear but also giving us access to Coach Andrew Kastor. This is the closest to the pro-team I will ever get! It's amazing to me that less than 10 years ago I couldn't run a mile, and now I'm running with Asics. I told you running has changed my life!
What are your goals for Sunday? My goal is to run my best race, not cry at any point (I seem to cry at every marathon), and come out injury free. Oh, and to have fun!
Tell us about your training a bit, when did you start? I'd been running 10-13 miles on the weekends this summer and really ramped up my training in August.
What has your weekly training schedule been like? T/R – tempo runs, W/F - speed work, Saturday - fun run, Sunday - long run, M - rest (distance and intensity varies each week).
Photo Credit: Lean Girls Club
What was your longest run preparing for this marathon? 22 miles…in the rain.
What has gone well and what have you had to focus on? Recovery each week has gone really well. On the flip side, I've had to focus on being adaptable in harsh conditions. I ran more times in the cold and rain this training period, which wasn't ideal, but because I made myself focus on those runs in particular I feel extremely prepared.
How do you prepare for long runs and how do you recover? I truly believe a good low-key Saturday, sleep, good fuel, and an ice bath + foam rolling really helped me recover quickly. A beer during the ice bath helped too ;)
What type of cross training do you do? Spin, yoga, light weights. I have to admit that I'd like to (need to) do more in the future.
How do you stay motivated? Following other runners on Instagram motivates me. I see how much fun insta-runners are having, how many miles they're running, what they're struggling with, and it makes me want to get out there. Again, the run community is so amazing and so supportive!
Do you have any pre-race rituals that you'll follow Saturday & Sunday morning? Saturday - spaghetti bolognese + lay out my clothes + foam roll. Sunday - foam roll + cinnamon raisin bagel + banana + a quick prayer cuz I need it!
Do you have any mantras to help you through? "Pain is temporary, pride is forever." "Change and reward are on the other side of discomfort." "My heart may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart… - Psalm 73:26"
What advice would you give to someone running the New York City Marathon for the first time? Have fun. Trust the process and the work you've put in. Run strong. Blast Empire State of Mind.
How will you celebrate? I'll be attending the Lululemon Post--Marathon After Party and then I'll have a big glass (or two) of champagne with my Asics Teammates.
Photo Credit: Lean Girls Club
Is there anything else you want to share? There are too many people in this world who will tell you that you can't do something, don't let yourself be one of them. Dream big!
Before she lines up at Fort Wadsworth, you can find Grace with Asics at the Marathon Expo on Thursday at 10am EST, a #TeamAsics Tweetup Saturday at 9am at the NYC Public Library (5th and 42nd St) and the Marathon Lounge at 10am EST.
What characteristics mentioned in the Asics “We Are Marathoners” infographic do you associate with? * What is the best spectator sign you’ve seen along a race course? * Who will you be cheering for on Sunday?