How Do You Fake Running the New York Marathon 2010?

November 17, 2010 at 1:47 pm | Posted in New York Marathon 2010 | 6 Comments
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(OK I have finally gotten my NY marathon story written. It’s a four part series. I’m interested in your feed back and comments, as I will be using this in a book I am writing. SOOO I am regifting a prize worth $25 I won from Greg S to be raffled off to everyone who comments on the blog. You can get more raffle chances by commenting on each of the four parts- The start to this series is Nov 12.  You can read just this or scroll down and start there. Happy reading and commenting)


Race Day!  The New York Marathon.  The day I have hungered for, hidden in my past. Something I didn’t dare do.  An event that I was sure would show that I was a fake when I was younger, now was mine to have and show I am real. That I really can do a marathon and somehow that I really am who and what I believe I am.

Funny, because I inspire so many people, especially young female athletes and their mothers, to be their own personal best.  But I was hidig this secret.  I was hiding that I never let myself live up to my own personal best. Well, I did run in my youth. I did run one hundred miles a week. But I stayed away from competitions.  I had all the right excuses.  And I knew they were all deceptions of the truth.  I was afraid of being amazing!

So back to NY marathon 2010.  Race day at 5:10 am.  Luckily the clocks changed that night, so I felt like it was 6:10, an easy time for me to be up.

When I go to the street I saw another runner.  Of course the stance, but also the tell tale bag.  She had a few other bags.  Anyway, I asked if she were heading off to the public library for transportation as well and would she like to share a cab.  And to our luck at that moment a cab was dropping off someone right across the street.  We hopped in and the adventure began.

As we approached the library about a thousand buses were doubled up on the right side of the road, waiting to take us- me – to the start.  Getting onto the bus was just as simple.  We showed our bags and got any bus that had space.  As soon as it filled up off we went.

My new friend and I sat together, sharing our stories of how we got here.  She was a breast cancer survivor and a sister with active cancer. We had our reasons for sure.

When we got to Staten Island it was dawn.  There were about a million port-a-potties.  I think actually one per racer LOL.  Dunkin Donuts was giving out hats, I got two and my friend got one.

Well this lady was so prepared.  She was terrified of the cold.  She had a tent, a comforter, hand and toe warmers, paper clothes to wear till the start.  And she invited me to join her in her tent.  We laughed about sleeping together and hardly even knowing each other.  She was terrific.

I had my regular breakfast- yogurt, granola, milk, and my vitamins.  I also had one bottle of my lemon ginger Cell-Nique.  This drink was my race day energy drink of choice.  It is completely organic and formulated to replenish and energize from the cell level.  Perfect for me!

Well, we were just hanging out in her tent being rather happy and smug about being out of the wind, when we heard at 9:15 that the 10:20 corrals would be closed in fifteen minutes!  This was a shock.

Just a bit of race start info. There are actually three start times (9:40, 10:20, 10:40) with three start locations (orange, green, blue) for each time.  This means there are only 5000 for each start.  Much more manageable than 45,000.  Also, each racer has a tracking tag attached to their shoes.  With this great device each runner’s time is true of them alone.

My friend’s start was at 10:20. So we hopped out of the tent.  She was planning on leaving everything behind except what she was wearing.  She told me to see if I could take the tent home for my ten year old.  She started to help me with the tent- I sent her off with my best wishes for a great race!

And I was on my own.  I went quickly to the blue start, arriving just five minutes before the UPS trucks taking the bags to the finish were closing up.  I had a lot of changing to do.  I sat in front of the truck. Took off my outer four layers of tops, two layers of pants, socks and shoes, and put on my vibram-five fingers.  I kept my gloves and her comforter.

It really was chilly and I felt sorry for those who had on shorts and tank tops.  I was absolutely perfect. The sun was strong and crystal clear, with temps to be around 50 degrees.  Nothing could be better for me running or NY fans to watch.

I had signed up for the 4:30 team. There were about 12 in our group.  This was put on by Timex.  We had two leaders who would run the marathon paced to be done in four hours thirty minutes.  I joined them outside our corral.  Then one by one 5,000 people passed a few check points to be sure we each had a bib and personal tracker on our shoes.

This took only five minutes!

One more potty stop.  And we moved en mass in one direction.  I thought how lucky we were to be going on this pleasure trip, thinking of all those pour souls who have been lead to their deaths en mass, particularly in the holocaust.

We heard the BOOM.  Our race had started.  I was prepared for the pushing and shoving, getting ready to protect myself from the onslaught of people needing to get going.  But the bantering talk continued, the slow pace to the start remained the same.  Of course, we had individual trackers.  No need to push and shove to the start to get a better time.  Our times were our very own!  When we reached the start I looked up at the clock.  I couldn’t make out what time it really was, so I just went.  I didn’t have anything to worry about- I had pace setters.

On the Varrazano Bridge, at last I was being my dream.  I dared to look around me.  To see the river, to see the city, to see the runners.  Each and every one of us were living testimony that we can be our dreams.

For some the incline and wind were tough.  For me they were a gentle and invigorating start.  It was fun to be on the team.  When there was a crowd the leader with the balloons simply said, “ Make way, team 4:30 coming through.”  We snaked our way along.

But something happened and it was GREAT!  I realized that this pace was too slow for me.  I knew that if I tried to be this slow I would be more tired in the end than if I went just a bit faster.  This pace was 10:17.

So I went off on my own.  Really daring myself to be completely independent.  Relying on no one but myself.  Just what I do when training, but never in public!  And I assured myself if I got too tired I could always hook back up with the 4:30 team.

I had told my family that I wanted them at four spots along the run, 8, 16, 20, 24.  They took a great deal of time looking at subway maps and the race route.  They figured it out, and were close to my desires, 7, 12, 16, 23.  My friend Annie was going to meet me at mile 18.  The race was covered!

Anyway I forgot, when I got off the Varrazono Bridge there was cheering and cowbells, high fives, and so much positive energy I was blown away.  I ran on the right side because that is where my family said they would be.  What fun, to be going along and having all the people cheering me on.  The looks on their faces were inspiration enough to last a lifetime.  They were so excited to see us running.  They looked directly into my eyes.  They where genuinely impressed by what I, and all the other runners, were doing.

I found another pace setter for myself, a young man in his late twenties, about 6’5” with a bright orange T-shirt on. I took two steps for everyone of his.  Anyway, he was going at the pace I wanted and he was sure easy to see.

My family was right there at mile seven, with the bag of food and drink I wanted.  They were so excited and happy.  Jeanee jumped into the race with the bag.  I just wanted the Cell-Nique.  It was perfectly satisfying!  I had lemon ginger.  I was able to avoid all the other drink stations.  I was able to spread the word because the bottle was glass I had to hand it off to a spectator.

Then we went into Queens.  The crowd was different.  The bands here were slightly more mellow.  I loved Broolkyn’s dynamic energy and now I loved Queens’ more gently soothing energy.  Actually just what I needed.  Mile 8 to 14 were a breeze.  My pace was energizing rather than exhausting or depleting.  My Vibrims were doing just what I wanted.  I was fleeting along, easily able to dodge and maneuver around people. And as soon as anything felt a little off I knew, so I could adjust instantly rather than waiting till I cramped or something.  Once again I loved seeing my family where planned.  Pictures this time, but no stopping for me.  Another Cell-Nique. And ready for the second half of the race.

This race began with the Queensboro Bridge.  For me it was rejuvenating.  The uphill climb of two miles was effortless.  The quiet patter of the feet reminded me of the leaves rustling in the wind in my New Hampshire mountains.  I began to pass people in earnest.  Yes I did feel for them, but I was my own goal today.  And going up this hill was a piece of cake for me.  Then came the down.  And it actually was steep.  It’s hard for lots of runners to know how to go up, but way harder to go down.  But I am really good at down!

At the bottom we made a sharp left turn, to the cheering and yahooing of the entrance to Manhatten.  Another boro and another personality.  This group was barricaded off.  Not sure why. But it was less fun, less personal.

At mile 16 my family was not there.  I think I saw my step-daughter, but she did not see me. I was sure at our last spot they had told me they would meet me some other place. I ran on the left side of the road here, to be sure to get my drink!  And their love.  Both of which were so important for my stamina.

This was the hardest part of the whole journey.  The road was hard cement with cracks in it. I was super glad to have my vibrims on here and my rocks and roots training.  The vibrims allowed me to mold more easily to the uneven surface, so no straining or sprained ankles.

Her I was chugging along.  Not huffing or anything, just reserving my energy for the last two parts of the race.  At mile 17 out of nowhere was Annie!  With a sign to boot!  A quick hug, a quick good luck and I told her I was doing great!  Thanked her for supporting me and that I was running for her.  It wasn’t that I was running to impress her.  It was that I was running because she had ultimate faith in me that I could run my own personal best.  And that I was not a fake. I was, for real, amazing!

I stayed to that left, knowing my family would be somewhere before the Bronx.  I was just a bit tired.  Nothing like any of my training runs where I thought I’d just collapse, or slowing down to a slower than walking pace.  As I said, just a bit tired.  And then they were there.  This time with just the Cell-Nique ready for me.  Energy blast, and to last.

Off to the Bronx with vim and viggar.

And what a Bronx!  As we crossed the bridge, again great for me with the incline, there was a man yelling with as strong a Bronx accent as possible, “ You’ve reached the Bronx.  Only 6.2 to go.”  After him was a rapper, one from my lesson!  He had a stage a few blocks long, lots of vocals and instrumentals with him.  His words and beat were infectious.  We all bounced along to his rhythm and inspiration.

Back to Manhatten and the last of the race.  This was where I had decided to pick it up.  I began to run in earnest.  I had to really do my rocks and roots to dodge the people.  So many walking, jogging, limping, struggling and here I was going like a deer.

One person commented, “ Look at her go and look at that face of concentration.”

Gave me just another little boost.

Mile twenty-two.  Still feeling great.  Dodging and weaving.  Keeping my speed.  Loving what I was doing.

Mile Twenty-three and out of know where are Jeanee and Jamie.  Jamie jumped into the race, by the way no barricades here.  Chattered away, trying to keep up, and give me love and inspiration.  And she was doing it.  Looking back my only regret is I didn’t grab a Cell-Neique. But at the time I thought I was fine.  Man, I was running when everyone else was walking and jogging.

Mile twenty-four.  Still strong, still in control. And Jamie prattling along just behind me.  She had to duck off to the port-a-potty.  I went on.  No stops for me.

Mile twenty-five.  Just a little touch of a blister on the ball of my right foot behind the big toe.  Slowed me a bit but still going strong!

Mile Twenty-six.  Some walkers were now running.  I had slowed down some, but still I was going at run.

500 yards to go

200 yards to go

100 yards to go.  The emotions of the runners around me was palpitating.

50 yards to go

20 yards to go

10 yerds to go


I had done it.  I was totally alive.  I had run every single step of the way.  I knew I had beaten my goal.  I really was amazing!

I looked at that finish line clock as I went through but again couldn’t really register what it meant about my personal time.  I was awarded my medal around my neck.  Given my heat blanket, had it taped on, had my picture taken, got my end of race goody bag with the best apple I had all year.  I know this was so because I could never have eaten a mushy, soft, tasteless apple.

As a tired, relieved, and truly feeling successful crowd we began our walk past the UPS trucks with our pre-race bags.  As we walked along I asked the time.  It was three.  I guessed that meant I had run a 4:15.  When I got to my UPS truck I sat right down and put on my layers of clothing, stretching as I did so.

It took a whole hour to get from the finish line to the streets.  It was a great way to end the race, all together still before we were invaded by reality.

Once out of Central Park I walked toward our meeting place.  But the bags were just too heavy to carry, they were filled with drinks.  I stretched, used a few people’s phones to call my family.  I stayed where I was and stretched.  We connected.  Hugged and laughed.  My girls were SO proud of me!  I drank another Cell-Nique and ate two eggs.

We went to the subway.  The stairs were tough.  And of course we had lots of them.  But I made it.  Jeanee and I went straight to Grand Central.  The others met us in time for the train.

We went straight to my mom’s house.  They are the best thing in the world moms!  She had a big hot tub filling up for me and a wonderful huge dinner for when I got out.

My real results-

4:15:03 How about that- three seconds off my guess! And fifteen whole minutes faster than my goal!

278 out of 1348 females aged 50-54 – again pretty darn good!

4848 out of all females

20060 out of total runners!

My pace was 9:45. Thirty whole seconds per mile faster than I had ever planned.

And guess what?  I did not reach my peak.  Yes, it was my own personal best for me that very day.  But I can and will do better.

It was fantastic to run for me, for my family, and ultimately for the Women’s Sports Foundation with all the girls and women they support and represent.



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  1. Really amazing how strong you sounded throughout that race Grace, you almost never see that type of report about a marathon. The city must have energized you, and your training must have prepared you well, of course. I didn’t realize you were a VFF runner, I’ve always feared the blisters from them (plus I have fat toes). Hope your recovery from the amazing experience is going well. Now, the big question, over a week later, is – are you planning to do another?

    • Thanks Greg! The city energized me. I felt like I was in my 20’s. An amazing run for sure.

      I have only had the one blister from the VFF in the race and no others. They have been instrumental with my recovery.

      To see if I am doing any others you’ll just have to read the final part- recovery

  2. Hey great to read your Marathon experience. Yes,of course the same question comes to my mind as well. Are you planning to do another?

    LifeSpace Running

    • Hey Julie-
      I just found your comment in the spam. My plan is to write about recovery and in that section to answer the question of more marathons or not- And just as an inside- I AM still running regularly!

  3. Grace,
    Just amazing reading your 4-part marathon series. You have inspiring experiences and words that will help others achieve their goals. I take inspiration from your blog for raising my daughters and sons. I also take inspiration for running my marathon in 2 weeks. I won’t be afraid to succeed. Thanks for sharing and I look forward to your book. It was nice to meet you on Daily Mile recently.

    • Steve-
      Happy New Year. I’m so glad to inspire you- in raising your children and in running your marathon.

      To be successful will be simple now that you can embrace it. You simply run your own personal best for that moment in time.

      Daily Mile is a great community for sure!
      Good Luck in the marathon.

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