NYC Marathon Transport & Bag Check Decision Time!

Hello class of 2019 TCS NYC Marathoners!

While we are still over 3 months away from the actual day of the TCS NYC Marathon, the next couple of days are very important days to all of us. On August 1, New York Road Runners will allow you to go into your profile to let you choose your transportation options as well as your bag check options. All you have to do is log into your account and go to your NYC Marathon entry within your profile and select your options.

For those who have run the marathon before, by now you likely have your preferred options and know how to respond accordingly. It may be helpful for experienced runners to chime in on your opinions below in the comments section!

However, if this is your first time running the race, then it may be worth it for you to proceed reading! Here is how I break down the different options that will be in front of you soon!

Transportation Decisions

Staten Island Ferry

Riding the ferry to the start line does provide an amazing view!

NYRR will give you two options with respect to the transportation that they provide to you. Those options are either chartered buses or the Staten Island Ferry.  Before I go into these decisions, I will start by saying that your transportation to this race is like no other traveling you have done for any other race. Unless you are staying in Staten Island close to the start village, you will need to give yourself plenty of time to get to the starters village. Remember, there are 60,000 runners making their way to the start line with you!

The FIRST transportation option is a chartered bus that leaves from two (2) locations. You can choose to take a bus that departs from either the NY Public Library (42nd Street & 5th Avenue) or from New Jersey departing from MetLife Stadium (parking lot K).

If you happen to be staying in Manhattan or anywhere near Manhattan, I strongly suggest the buses that leave from the NY Public Library. The bus from the NY Public Library will take you straight to the starters village in Staten Island. In fact this ride is so smooth that the NYC Department of transportation has arranged to have the roads leading to the starting village closed off and strictly only for the buses. It is my thought that NYRR hires every charter bus in NYC for this event because the parade of buses seems to be continuous. NYRR will ask you to pick a time slot where you will board the NYC buses, but to be honest, just show up with plenty of time before your start time and you will be able to board a bus.

With that being said…I strongly suggest giving yourself three hours of traveling and prep prior to your wave start time regardless of which option you choose. Ideally, traveling will take you between 60-90 mins and then getting thru security will take you some time as well. With that being said, it isn’t a bad idea if you factored in even more time to travel!

I can’t comment here about the bus from MetLife Stadium in New Jersey but I have to imagine that it is similar to the bus that leaves from Manhattan and runs very smooth.

The SECOND transportation option is taking the The Staten Island Ferry. Like the buses, the ferry also leaves from Manhattan, near Battery Park, but departs once every half hour. Unlike the buses, it isn’t a continuous departure. If you choose to travel via ferry and you happen to miss a ferry, then you are waiting a half hour for the next one. Something else to keep in mind is that once you are off the ferry, you will still have to board a bus from the ferry terminal to the starters village. In 2018, there were serious delays with this shuttle buses from the ferry terminal. Will NYRR fix them for 2019? Lets hope so!

Bag Check or No bag Check?

Aside from transportation options, NYRR will also ask you to declare whether you will be utilizing their bag check system or not. For ease of reference, you will check your bag in at the starters village in Staten Island and it will then be transported to the finish line area in Central Park. The weather in New York City can be very unpredictable and its hard to say what you will need after your race months in advance. But I will say this, if you plan on meeting someone after the race or if you are staying in Manhattan afterwards, you might want to consider the option against bag check. I say this for a few reasons. The first reason is that if you decline bag check, NYRR give you a very cool insulated poncho. No this isn’t an aluminum heat wrap but a very nice insulated poncho! This poncho cannot be obtained by any other methods other than by declining bag check on the day of the NYC Marathon. A picture of the poncho is below as it is being worn by a bunch of runners!

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You can only scoop up these cool ponchos if you decline bag check!

Also a deterrent of bag check for me is that the walk off after you cross the finish line will be even longer if you have to pick up your bag from bag check. For comparison, the walk off if you opt for no bag check is roughly a half mile to exit the park at which point you receive your poncho and continue on your way, However…if you have to retrieve a bag from bag check, you can end up walking close to a mile to retrieve your bag and you guessed it – no pretty poncho! Walking a mile after you have run 26.2 miles can be quite daunting.

Finally, the third reason I lean away from bag check is because of the complimentary runners aide bag that is given. While the bag is a very nice gesture by NYRR, it will include two bottles of water/gatorade, a protein drink and some other nutrition in the bag. If you are tired, the bag will weigh a bit as will the bag that you retrieve should you be checking one. I just wanted to mention this if you were still considering checking in a bag as carrying two bags after 26.2 miles might be a drag.

Overall, my personal opinion is to decline the bag check and grab the cool poncho. Of course I say this because I will likely stay at a hotel in Manhattan after the race and will just make may way to the hotel to change. But if you have to travel after the race, checking a bag to get into some fresh clothes might be for you. Just give yourself even more time before the start of the race to go thru the bag check area as that will also require more time from you before you start the race.

At the end, lets hope that the decisions that we are about to make in the next couple of days regarding bag check and transportation are the hardest decisions that we will have to make during our journey to the marathon! Making the decisions to run the 26.2 miles was clearly the easy decision right?

If you have any questions regarding the bag check or transportation options you can reach out to me on wearenycrc@gmail.com or DM me on Instagram at @catrunsnyc_2018 . Enjoy your decision making day!

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The finish line awaits!

Upcoming WE ARE NYC RC Runs!

Happy hump day to everyone out there! The sun hasn’t come out in New York city that much the last few days but that doesn’t keep this group from running. So many of our members continue to post their “rainy days” run since they keep gaining their motivation to run in the rain from the group itself! Another benefit of being part of a running community like ours!

With that being said, here are some of our upcoming group runs that you all can partake in to keep that motivation going! Hope to see you at one of these!

Club Members At Last Weekend’s 5th Avenue Mile!

WEEKLY GROUP RUN IN CENTRAL PARK! (all paces are welcomed!)

• WHAT- Weekly group run (5-6 miles)

• WHERE- Central Park – Meet At NYRR Run Center (320 West 57th street, NY, NY)

• WHEN – Thursday, September 13, 2018.

• TIME-Meet up at 6:00pm, leaving run center at 6:15pm

Taken at the last workout led by club member Tobias

5 Mile Run & HIIT Training!

• WHAT- 5 mile Central Park Loop/HIIT workout 10 mins of high intensity interval training, followed by a one mile run to a location in central park. Repeat 5 times for a total of 5 miles and 50 mins of HIIT. Led by one of our club runners Tobias!

• WHERE- Central Park – Meet At NYRR Run Center (320 West 57th street, NY, NY)

• WHEN – Saturday, September 15, 2018.

• TIME-Meet up at 8:00am at Run Center

Members at the NYRR 15 Mile training series! 18 Mile one coming up this Sunday!

NYRR NYC MARATHON TRAINING–18 MILE RUN!

• WHAT- 18 mile training run. While this is a NYRR run, you can run this together w/ a club member! After all, it is an 18 mile run!

• WHERE- Central Park – Meet by 102nd transfers on East side by softball field 8.

• WHEN – Sunday, September 16, 2018.

• TIME-Meet up at 6:30am, run time 7:00am!

Recovery After A Half Marathon

Happy Monday morning!

In looking at my social media feeds this past weekend and even last weekend, I noticed a lot of folks completing half marathons. Yesterday I was thrilled to see so many people I know completing the NYRR Fred Lebow half marathon. The weather in NYC was perfect for a half marathon and I am hoping a lot of people achieved personal records!

There is no question that when you set out to conquer a half marathon, especially if it’s your first, adrenalin and euphoria will push you to achieve wonderful things. Running a half marathon is no easy feat and while some may think it’s something they can’t do, hard work and motivation will push you to the finish line along with the adrenalin and euphoria I mentioned before. But what about after the race? What about when your medal is hung and there are no more crowds, cow bells clanging or music playing? When it’s just you, and your sore muscles?

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Just complete a half martathon? Listen to your muscles!

Since today is the day after a big half marathon here son New York City, I thought I would post some suggestions about half marathon recovery.

  • Hydrate and rest– Sure you drank a lot before the race and during the race but your body will still needs to replenish its liquids. You lost slot of your electrolytes during that half marathon. Therefore look for liquids that contain a lot of electrolytes. Gatorade and coconut water are perfect for this. Also, try to increase your fruit and vegetable intake, you will need the potassium that they provide. Further, your first day after a half marathon should be about rest. Unless you are an experienced runner, avoid running the first couple of days after. Your body needs to recover from the impact of 13.1 miles.
  • Diet.During these important next couple of days you will need to have a well balanced diet to fully replenish the nutrients you lost during the race. Meals that includes a healthy balance of complex carbohydrates, protein and monounsaturated fats are ideal after the in the days after a race. I like to go with roasted salmon with quinoa and garlic mashed potatoes. Coincidently, I like this before a race too! (lol) A little Greek food is always a plus for me. I enjoy some pork kabobs with cherry tomatoes and onions and a lemon cucumber dressing with rice.
foamrolling

Foam rolling is a great way to help sore muscles recover!

  • Listen to your muscles. There is no question that there will be sore muscles to deal with. Whether it’s your hamstrings, quads or calves, spoil them rotten the next couple of days. Ice them. Invest in a foam roller and massage your muscles. If you don’t want to invest in a foam roller, get a friend or loved one to simply use their hands. If you want to splurge, seek out a sports therapist or a masseuse for a deep tissue massage. Do any of the above that suits you but please don’t sit there and let your muscles ache!
  • Walk but don’t run. While running the day after is not recommended because of the impact on your legs, do go for a walk to stretch the muscles and get the blood flowing.
  • Need more to stay active? I understand that some of you just don’t like the couch or that your body just needs a workout as a mental escape from it all. I’m kind of like that myself! (lol) Go ahead and cross train in the first few days after a half marathon if you must. But if you do. work muscles you didn’t use in your half marathon. Stick to upper body work or something that is low impact on your legs. I find yoga can aide in flexibility right after a half or full marathon. Also if you can gain access to a pool, running or walking in a pool is really helpful. Cool water helps muscles recover and there is zero impact on your legs in the pool.
  • Running again I know, you just crushed a half marathon and you want to run again. I would hold off on any running until about day 3 after your race. If you recall in the last week or 2 before your half marathon, most people tapered their miles and ran less. If you were training at 10-13 miles, you reduced your runs to much less mileage. Well now after your half, my approach is to “reverse taper“. Go very short on your first run. 2-3 miles is ideal. As you progress over the next two weeks, keep “reverse tapering” and increase your mileage to 4-5 miles then 6-7 miles until you are back in your routine. The idea is to ease your legs back into the running routine while they recover.

Keep in mind that the above are just suggested ideas that can help you recover after a half marathon. These have worked for me in the past as well as others I know. Thankfully, I have never seen any long term effects of injury after a half marathon. However if you have pain, not just soreness, after your half marathon, seek a professional doctor’s advice. In a couple of weeks it is normal to have soreness but definitely not pain. The most important thing is to listen to your body and respond to it with the appropriate treatment. I cannot stress how important this is.

But lets think positive! If all goes well and you recover well and get back into running, don’t be afraid to put that next race on your calendar! Remember complacency can work against you. If you are pleased with your first half marathon results, make a goal to run faster and most importantly a smarter race. We can always improve. Challenge yourself, because the challenges you present yourself will reward you. Comfort never rewarded anyone!

Congratulations to everyone out there that recently completed a half or a full marathon!

Don’t be afraid to plan for your next big race!

Well It Is Official..

After 4 years of entering the lottery and hearing nothing back, yesterday I got the message I had been waiting for. I finally got accepted to run the TCS New York City Marathon! Yes, I eventually got into this race because I ran 9 races last year and volunteered for one through the New York Road Runners “9+1” program. Yes, I had a hunch that I was running this race this coming November. But there is nothing in the world like absolute confirmation. I was very worried since I ran my 9th race for them last October and had not heard anything since then. I was sure that they would keep their word but hey, you never know right? I can put to rest any doubts on this. God willing I can stay healthy and complete this race. As a runner, its been something I have wanted to do my entire life! While I need the time to train for it, I also wish November was already here!

Before I start my training for the marathon, I do have plenty of races still to complete. the competitive side of me will want to go all out during these other races but I have to remember that this will be a long road of preparation for November. There will be so much planning and training that will go into this. I know I will need the assistance and patience of my family along the way to deal with long training runs and crazy thoughts as I go thru this. But I can’t wait to see how this all has turns out.

Is anyone else about to run their first full marathon this year? If so, is it NYC or is it another? For those who have run marathons before, do you remember your first? Any great stories? Do share in the comments below!

Have a great week everyone!!

Display Your Pride For New York City!

Happy Monday to all!

New York City has just gone thru one hell of a cold spell. The temperature has not been near freezing for over a week. Wind chills have had it feeling below zero for quite some time. Still, I have seen so many posts on social media of people running in this cold weather.Seeing this is quite inspirational. It shows a drive and determination that you just don’t see in too many place.

I myself ran a 5k on New Year’s day in zero degree weather. New Yorkers for lack of a better term can be crazy at times with their running. For me, it has to do with a very busy schedule so my time to run is limited. That being said, whenever I plan on getting a run in, I hold myself to that no matter what it is doing outside. For others, as well as myself, there is a great sense of pride to running in New York City. That can also be said for the hundreds of thousands that flock to New York City each year to run races here.

With all of the above in mind, I had an idea to make accessories and shirts with the hashtag #irunnyc on them. For me it is one of my favorite running hashtags. I’m proud to be from New York City and I love running thru out the streets of New York! I have had several runners, both from New York and from out of town express the same pride. I’ve started a page on this blog that has a few items on it that display the hashtag. I am hoping that you will give it a visit and check it out. If you do, check back often as  I will be adding more things from time to time. If anyone has something that they would like to see with the #irunnyc hashtag on it, let me know and I will try my best to make it happen! If nothing else, I will have fun wearing some of these items over time to some of my upcoming races!

For now, be proud of your city and display your pride with #irunnyc accessories and apparel!

A Marathon Of Inspiration!

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Shalane Flanagan Wins The Women’s Race! (photo credit USA Today)

The 2017 installment of the New York City marathon has come and gone. I must say that there were so many great emotions for me personally during the last week because of the marathon and I didn’t even run the race! From the race week activities, to just visiting the finish line and to hearing the stories of so many friends that ran the race, it has been a great week to just take it all in.

When the race finally began, I decided to “watch” the race for the final time hopefully in some years to come. I literally say on my couch from about 9am until 2pm which is when channel 7 ended their coverage. I was engulfed by all of the stories coming across the broadcast. One of the ones that really got me emotional was the story of Beverly Ramos, an outstanding female runner from Puerto Rico, who completed her marathon  training in Puerto Rico after the wrath of hurricanes Irma & Maria had left the island in shambles. With the suffering that her country was enduring, Beverly pushed on and was determined to run the marathon. Her interviews on the broadcast were pretty emotional. She may not have finished as well as she would have wanted but she came to New York, competed, and is likely going home to Puerto Rico a champion. 

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In his final race, Meb collapses at the finish line (photo credit – NY Daily News)

Then there was the story of Meb Keflezighi. Most of you probably know it. The storied American marathoner is calling it quits after this race. For a while, he teased us all a bit during the marathon as he ran with the lead pack and he may have even taken the lead once or twice. Nevertheless, the 42 year old marathon legend would finish in 11th place in his 11th NYC Marathon. Adding more suspense was that he collapsed right after the finish line. He was fine, just exhausted from giving the marathon that he loves so much, all that he had left in his body. He will be missed on the NYC marathon scene, at least by me.

Shalane Flanagan talking to children before the start of NYRR Percy Sutton Kids race in August.


Then of course there was Shalane Flanagan. Oh how she has lifted so many young girls spirits. Being a youth amabasador for New York Road Runners club, Shalane was a favorite for alot of kids on Sunday, including my 7 year old daughter who got to meet her back in the Percy Sutton 5k in Harlem back in August (see my pic above from that day!). Shalane was at the starting line for the kids races that day high fiving all of the kids before they sprinted to the finish line. Fast forward back to Sunday’s marathon, watching her with my daughter from the couch was pretty awesome as she broke the tape to become the first woman in 40 years to win the New York City Marathon. Hoisting the American flag with a huge smile on her face was not only a much needed proud moment for Americans but INSPIRATION for so many young girls. 

Then there was the fun aspect for me to track some celebrities from my couch with the New York Road Runners app. I got a kick out of watching Kevin Hart go out at sub 3:30 pace only to see him cramp up and finish in 4:05. I remember thinking “man Kevin Hart is going to CRUSH this”, but this is the marathon and it will test you! I also saw Tiki Barber and Prince Royce run a steady race and I am hoping that when I run the marathon in 2018, I can at least run faster than the three of them did!

 

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Peg Trager from Minnesota Finishes on Crutches (photo credit – Mike Waterhouse)

However none of these stories hit my heart and soul like the ones that ABC News 7 posted on their website earlier today. I ask you all to give this article a read and take some time to read the stories of the runners WHO NEVER GAVE UP. These aren’t experienced professional runners or folks in tip top shape. They came to this race wanting to finish. When water stations were empty and abandoned and when people no longer lined the course to cheer them, they continued. When nightfall fell they didn’t waiver. When their bodies told them “No mas”, their mind and their spirits told them to continue. Read these stories, they all finished the race! This is why running is SO POWERFUL and why it is my wish for all of you to experience the power of overcoming something you didn’t think you could do and being proud of it! Once you read these stories, if only one of you will get up and make a vow to make yourselves better, then my mission was accomplished for the day!

Always believe in yourselves just like the 50,000 plus that crossed the finish line on Sunday did! If your up to it, join me and let’s crush the 2018 NYC Marathon ir any other race together! 

Marathon Expo In Full Swing!

An inspiring view message to all marathon runners!

All these years that I have been running and I never brought myself to visit one of the NYC marathon expos. What have I been missing all of these years? Well finally Thursday was the day that I made my way over to Jacob Javits Center and I was not disappointed in the least! The only thing that I was disappointed in was that  I didn’t give myself enough time there! Yes I left there frustrated that I only gave myself an hour of my lunch break there!

A huge welcome before getting your numbers!

I arrived at Javits Center at around 12;30pm and was literally overwhelmed when I walked in. I was not expecting the massiveness of it all! Many of the volunteers that were working the venue were directing guests upon arrival to the race number pick up area. Sadly for me, I am not running the race this year so there was no need for me to go into that area. I will say that to have the bags and numbers for 50,000 plus runners requires alot of space so this area of the expo in itself was very big!

An insane amount of official merchandise!

Once runners were done picking up their numbers, they were led right into the midst of the New Balance Official 2017 NYC Marathon Merchandise area. I have run lots of road races before but I have never seen a race have so much official merchandise! So many t-shirts with the NYC Marathon logo. So many fleeces, jackets, pants, shorts, winter tops, winter bottoms, hats, gloves, and every other accessory you can think of, all of them, with the NYC Marathon logo on it! There were so many items I wanted to buy but I couldn’t let myself buy something that said “2017 NYC Marathon” when I wasn’t running it. So I actually found a couple of items that didn’t have the year on it. I was very happy with these items but then I thought to myself “when I come back for the 2018 expo, I am going to have to come back with at the very least $500“!

A nice pair of cold weather gloves with no year on them!


After I left the New Balance area, the next part of the expo was what was considered the expo itself. Rows upon rows of different vendors selling every single type of merchandise that could ever be used by a runner. The amount of items I browsed was dizzying likely because I viewed them all so fast because I was limited in time. I tried a few different sports drinks, tried some protein bars and was introduced to Gatorade “carb-gummies” which I found as a personal future alternative to the “Gu Gels” that I have always used. My only issue with these gatorade gummies, they come 4 in a pack. If i only want one or two during a race, do I really want to carry the others during my race? Will they melt? I am going to have to research this a bit! 

Carb gummies from Gatorade!


From there I saw so many different types of apparel vendors, from North Face, to Paragon, to Nike, the list just went on and on. If there was an accessory or gadget that a runner may use, several vendors were selling them all.  I stumbled across a couple of vendors that were selling memorabilia keep sakes that would preserve your race number pictures and medals to commemorate your race. Definitely something I would consider getting should I ever complete the NYC Marathon.

Another course strategy presentation!


Tucked away in another corner was a section that was dedicated to the Marathon itself. In this corner there were a couple of NYRR coaches talking about race strategy. In one of my last posts, I wrote about attending a race course strategy event on Monday at the Marathon Pavilion. It was very nice to see them give multiple course strategy sessions because there is some really great insight discussed at this session and I think all runners should try to attend one that fits their schedules. Amongst the other items that they had regarding the marathon in this corner was an opportunity to meet the “Pace team” members and to learn the mile splits that you would have to run in order to meet your desired time. There were also virtual reality kiosks set up so that you could see several parts of the race in a virtual environment right smack dab in the middle of the Javits Center .

My hour was done and I barely scraped the surface at the expo. My last stop on the way out was at the Disney World table. I had heard of races run at Disney before and I wondered how one could sign up for them. The table had several medals from past Disney races on display and I fell in love with all of them. At the table they also had a timeline for upcoming races in the next couple of years. I have the timeline saved at home and I have entered the registration dates as calendar entires on my i-phone. This might just be my next race after the 2018 NYC Marathon!

Just look at these Disney Medals – #bucketlist!


I am still a year away from running the 2018 NYC Marathon but here I am looking at races beyond that. This is what will hopefully keep me motivated in the years to come. This is what can get some of you motivated, if you haven’t started running yet. Pick a race and start training for it. Come on what are you waiting for! 

In the meantime, if you need more inspiration, check out the NYC Marathon Expo at the Javits Center like I did. They will be there thru Saturday! Hope you enjoy it as much as  I did!

And for anyone reading this that is running in Sunday’s New York City marathon, I want to personally wish you all nothing but strong legs, hearts fulls of pride, and finally minds full of courage! This race is yours – enjoy every second of it!!