No Checked Baggage for NYC Marathon?

If you have run the NYC Marathon before, you may have complained or had an issue with the long lines/wait to get your baggage post-race.  For those not familiar with the NYC Marathon, this is what the post-race area is like: All runners enter a chute immediately after crossing the finish line.  There is no way in or out of this chute until you make it through all the “checkpoints”.  You get your medal and heat blanket, get your photo taken, pick up water, fruit, and other post-race fuel, and then head to the baggage area.  There is always a HUGE back-up / wait to get your baggage.  After that, you leave the chute and can find your family/friends who are waiting on Central Park West (by lettered signs corresponding to your last name).

I’ve run the NYC Marathon several times.  In my opinion, the wait at the end is a necessary evil of participating in a race with almost 50,000 other people.  Yes, it is long and stinks and all I want to do is find my family and get inside, but I’ve always viewed it as a good way to keep my body moving (regardless of how slow the crowd is moving).

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    Pushing the pace on long runs?

    When I was training for the NYC Marathon and my first ultra this summer/fall, I completed all my long runs at an easy pace.  NYC would be my first marathon after giving birth and since I hadn’t completed long runs consistently in over a year, my goal was to get the miles in without worrying about what my Garmin 610 was telling me.  I got very comfortable with doing my long runs at an 8:30 pace.  I was happy with that pace.  I didn’t feel the need to push myself any harder on my long runs – as long as I ran 20, 25, 30 miles, I was satisfied.

    I competed in the Foot Locker 5 Borough Challenge [FL5BC] as part of the NYC Marathon in November.  After separating from the other 4 runners at the halfway point (we had to run the first 13.1 miles together), I immediately tried to speed up to hit my target pace of 7:45.  No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t get my pace any faster than 7:50-8:00.  And it wasn’t that my legs were tired – they actually felt surprisingly good.  I just couldn’t pick up the pace without getting out of breath.  I actually didn’t run one mile at my target pace [6x miles were sub-8:00 and my average pace for the final 13.1 was 8:01].  I’m not complaining or upset with my performance at the NYC Marathon – my primary goal was to win the FL5BC.  But now that I am beginning training for my next marathon, I have to look closer at my training and determine what I need to tweak in order to improve my time.

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      How did you do in 2011?

      Photo Credit - visitfortwayne.com

      With only a few days left in 2011, it’s normal to reflect upon the past 12 months – smile with the good, hope to learn from the bad, and decide upon some goals for the upcoming year.

      After reading [and loving!] a similar post from Miss Zippy, a fellow blogger and FitFluential Ambassador, I decided to share these questions [and my answers] with all of you.

      • Best race experience? NYC Marathon! I participated in the 5 Borough Challenge with 4 other runners. We got to start the marathon an hour before the rest of the field, and run the course on empty streets.  The best part was having my son and husband standing at the finish line waiting for me to run through the tape – I’m not sure any future racing experiences will ever top that!
      • Best run? A one-mile run five days after my son was born. It felt SO good to run with considerably less weight (~20 pounds) than on my previous run (one day prior to his birth).  I felt like I was flying!
      • Best new piece of gear? Saucony Run Vibe beanie – keeps my whole head warm on early morning winter runs.
      • Best piece of running advice you received? If you aren’t in pain during training, how will you know what to do when you experience pain in a race?
      • Most inspirational runner? This year, it was Desiree Davila and her 2nd place finish at the 2011 Boston Marathon
      • If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be? Never Stop Running =)
      • What are a couple of your major goals for 2012?  Run a sub-3:10 spring marathon and complete my first Ironman

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        NYC Marathon – Experience of a Lifetime (Part 3) The Race within a Race

        Before I go into a detailed race report for the NYC Marathon last Sunday, there are are a couple of things to say:

        1. I am a very competitive person when it comes to running.  But NOT with other people.  I never show up to a race and look around and say, “I want to beat her and her and him” or “I want to finish in the top 10.”  I look at myself in the mirror before a race and say “I am going to beat YOU”. I am competitive with myself.  I think it’s fair to say that any serious runner has to be – you train for a race, sometimes for weeks or months, with one primary goal in your head…you want to PR (*for those not familiar with the jargon: a PR is a personal record).  You want to beat yourself.  You want to beat the effects of age, pregnancy, childbirth, sickness, stress, or whatever challenge you have faced or are overcoming.  You are stepping up to the start line telling yourself, “I am going to run faster than I ever have before.”

        2. I had waivered months ago about whether or not I should even submit an application to participate in the FL5BC.  Those who know me, understand that I am a solitary runner. I wholeheartedly love running alone – especially during races. Running, for me, has always been my release and to have some alone time that I wasn’t afforded when I was in the army (communal living), at West Point (roommates and communal living), and now that I have a son (I need some time to think like an adult without the babytalk!).  When I race, I  don’t maintain an even pace – it’s all based on how I feel, the terrain, and weather conditions, When my body tells me to slow down, I slow down.  When it tells me it’s feeling good, I speed up.  I’m constantly making adjustments when I race.  And I knew that by participating, I would have to run with 4 people whom I never ran with before. The rules of the FL5BC were this: run together for the first 13.1 miles and then race to the finish.  5 runners with 5 different paces, goals, abilities, and race strategies.  It’s very hard for two people to run a marathon the same way – even if they end up with the same finish time.  Some like to push through the hills, others like to maintain the same intensity (and therefore decrease the speed).  Some like to walk through water points, others cannot slow down because their legs start to cramp.  Some shoot for negative splits, others end up running the first half fast and gradually slowing down.  So I knew that running together would be tough for all of us – and knew that my hopes of running sub 3:20 would be impossible since I would have no control over the pace of the first half.  But, my husband convinced me to submit the application because of the once in a lifetime experience the FL5BC would be – and push my plans of sub 3:20 to a spring marathon.

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