“The Experience” – New York City Marathon 2011

There is so much to share about the NYCM!  It was quite the adventure to say the least!  Here is my “Race Report” ๐Ÿ™‚   

Training:  My focused training on speed through training working to best my speed on my various routes in the neighborhood had me feeling strong.  Taper discipline was great combined with the fact that we lost power after receiving 2 feet of wet glop grounded me & messed with my normal routine.  Completing my first ultra at the #VT50 was such an accomplishment, but the taper in and recovery out of that time frame truly ate into my progressive training — although mentally I was READY for this marathon better than any other. ๐Ÿ™‚ 

Friday: Still no power after 5 days — I was able to do a load of wash using our generator so I would have my favorite jog bra. (priorities)  We traveled to NYC to get in early for the DetermiNation pre race dinner.  It was nice to be there early, although we got caught in traffic and ended up arriving to the dinner just on time as they were running late too. Yay.  I love sharing my story and having people just amazed at all I have been through this past year with my cancer journey.  And to compete — this being my third marathon since diagnosis….. I was truly feeling like a rockstar after that dinner with the cowbells ringing from the volunteers outside the restaurant.  
Video of my cancer journey at the Pre – race pasta dinner: ๐Ÿ™‚ 

Saturday:  After a great night sleep at Tabi’s house on 76th st / Central Park West (primo location for the marathon) — we had a great brunch at a local joint around the corner and then off to the expo.  The expo was also a great experience — I got those compression sleeves from the CEP folks after making the guy give us his “sales speech” ๐Ÿ™‚  Socks, cutie hat, NYCM vest / hoodie & more!  Shop till you drop — my favorite of all shopping is at these marathon expos! ๐Ÿ™‚  Fun to see all the people milling around, buying, everyone with smiles and energy abound.  My favorite pre race meal is to go to Northern Italian food and get some Shrimp Scampi and lots of bread. ๐Ÿ™‚  Seriously that is my #1 choice EVERY marathon.  We went to Papardella and I had shrimp pesto with Paparedelle pasta…. tiramisu and lots of bread.  Yum…  
Things got a little crazy at night as we walked a bit to work off that pasta as my stomach was so full.  I am not used to eating that much and it had me rolling. ๐Ÿ™‚  We shopped at Filene’s basement (our other favorite thing to do in a BIG city).  ๐Ÿ™‚  Got some cutie jeans and so did Steve.  Cool.  Well I was so worked up, and got all my stuff together for the next morning — wake up at 4 AM!  I am not sure, but I probably got maybe 5  hours sleep…  couldn’t get in that REM space….  I think i ran a marathon in my sleep!

Sunday:  Early wake up — I was thinking about the fact that Coach Ramon gave me a bracelet to ride the bus — oh no! Where is that bracelet?  UGH — I needed it to get in the Charity Village too — so I was scrambling all over the house looking for it — no luck.  I texted Coach – he said “no worries” – Sarah will take care of you.  So off we went in the dark walking on Central Park West to the bus.  There were a couple others that I met outside the bus also had lost their bracelets. ๐Ÿ™‚  Deidre was wearing a costume (I wish at that point I had my Wonder Woman costume – and after I told them my WHOLE story on the bus – of course I made sure they weren’t hearing it for the second time ๐Ÿ™‚  I also got to meet Ed Schober (#2 fundraiser for the ingNYCM athletes & fellow Determinator Blogger!) — he wasn’t able to run because the week before NYCM he had to have retina surgery. ๐Ÿ™  The folks on the bus were amazing…. I just love DNation marathon runners…. so many of these runners experiencing their first marathon, I could feel the excitement and they all felt like “family”. Love being surrounded by passionate people!  

The tent was cool to hang out talk to a few people, drink a little coffee, eat a bagel & make sure I don’t get LOST!  I always worry about missing my start (must have been a bad dream once and I just can’t get it out of my head).  I looked to see if there was anyone in my corral and introduced myself (and told him my story when this other guy came over and wanted to shake my hand – #rockstar feeling!) — I guess I need to can my story a little more! ๐Ÿ™‚  Well, I lost him in the shuffle and after Ramon gave us all a GREAT kick in gear PEP talk (YOU ARE SUPER AWESOME!) — I wandered out alone…. and yes!  I found my corral!  I snuck to the front (saw a 3:15 pace group sign ahead of us so I felt like I was on target!).  I found a piece of pavement and realized we  had more than 30 minutes to sit before moving forward.  I met a bunch of runners — DC girl, Italian snowboarder, Norwegian Tall Guy, and Arabic Dutch Man (he recently moved)….. it was amazing the international flare all around — I was American & felt one of the minority out there…  such an awesome feeling to be a part of this international event!  NYC is the favorite amongst the internationals and they are all so friendly and talkative at the start!  

The start was such an amazing experience too… the Star Spangled Banner never sounded so good — the music throughout this course was top notch — thinking my marathon entry fee was worth it because it truly was worth the “concert ticket” throughout the 26.2 miles.  There were Rap artists (good ones!), Rock Bands and various mix of music that was on my playlist!  Amazing how that happens — you hear all the popular music everywhere!

The marathon start for Wave 1 was 9:40 — my corral was #11 which was the last corral in wave 1.  I didn’t know it at the time and was happy to be in wave 1 – but the flow of people slowed as the numbers moved forward to the start.  This meant that there we’re 11,000 people ahead of me.  I like to get my pace early and the crowds were just never spread out to get moving for the first 3 miles…. so I jumped up on the curbs of the bridges and tried to keep up with this girl (long brown ponytail with neon pink calf sleeves and arm sleeves.   I followed her for 5 miles as she was pushing ahead through the crowds just like I love to do!
OK – so if you want a step by step rundown and great evaluation of the course I found this great piece on the INGNCYM site — which would have been good to read ahead of time…. but hey – I have not always been great at the recon on the course (I love a good surprise). LOL

Quotes from the road:
I love the signs people make for their friends and family — and people yelling at those with names on their shirts.  As Wonder Woman I loved getting the cheers too (sad I didn’t wear the suit) — but then again the quiet helped me focus.  The international runners from France & Italy were all around me.  I ran with this guy from Norway all dressed in long tights/long sleeves.  He was hoping for a 3:15 too – so he was a good pacer.  I felt strong and even in my pace (which seeing below that I was right on track!).  When we hit Brooklyn after going over the first bridge there were fun signs everywhere
Welcome to Brooklyn – Run Like you Stole Something!”  were on signs and some girls were yelling it from the sidelines too.  Everyone was smiling and happy — it was a gorgeous day to watch a marathon.  LOL
Toenails are Overated” and “Black Toenails are SEXY” – 2 signs I totally relate to as my big and third toes on both feet are still BLACK from the VT50.  ๐Ÿ™‚
Leaving town…. “Welcome to Brooklyn – Now get OUT!”  ๐Ÿ˜‰   
Queens is tough — hilly — and just tough.
I remember the winds in my face running under the bridges —- and this guys says to me “Have you done this one before?  Check out the view of the city — it’s amazing!  Just breathtaking!” and he was right — I looked to the left and remembers to “smell the roses” — and smiled.  NYC is absolutely beautiful!  The energy is something you just can’t explain.  All the people on the street just cheering, clapping, singing, smiling, little kids putting their hands out — just an amazing city.  I was feeling the love on this course
After the view we came into  Manhattan — my favorite sign “Welcome to Manhattan – Welcome to EASY” — Yay!  It was!  Flat, fun, I was cruising in Manhattan!  ๐Ÿ™‚  Then into the Bronx, it was tough (as the Bronx can be) but the people were out in force giving me strength… I kept my pace strong.  Then 21 mile mark was here! Manhattan again (have I told you I LOVE Manhattan?)  ๐Ÿ™‚  5 miles to go — but the course was pretty hilly — seemed to go up and up and up.  Central Park is amazing and I just tried to focus.  I looked at my Garmin and knew my pace wasn’t where I wanted it and all those negative talk thoughts scrambled my brain… I needed to dig, kept trying to run faster… ouch.  When is this going to be over?  The crowds were awesome people were cheering so loud I couldn’t hear myself think (and that was a GOOD thing).  I smiled and pumped my arms.  I was going to do it.  I looked at the clock on the side and I was pushing past a 3:20, and after feeling like I threw out my goal when I left my watch at home – I thought it may still be possible to beat that 3:30 — a post cancer PR (personal record)…. and well not too shabby!  I focused again — saw the finish line and kicked!  Seriously I had something left — not much but something! ๐Ÿ™‚  Crossing the finish line with a big smile is the most amazing feeling.  After pushing hard for 26.2 miles I just wanted to collapse – – the volunteers at the finish line are the coolest — smiles, tin blankets, medals, food, and we kept walking.  It was over.  I was done.  I broke that 3:30 and didn’t really know my time, but I was happy. ๐Ÿ™‚  Now to find my bag and go back to Tabi’s house.

OK – this part of the story is the worst part for me — I call it the death walk –– it is crowded shoulder to shouldr walk through Central Park that felt like a full mile.  I wanted to sit (the medical people tended to all that sat down) – the volunteers on the mega phones say “Keep Walking, Almost There” for a full mile.  It was horrible.  My legs were starting to cramp – I rolled down my CEP compression socks to relieve the pain.  but my body was shot.  I wanted to cry.  It was chilly and my body was sweaty under the aluminum blanket…. No one said anything to each other — everyone was looking down at the ground.  This one guy commented to me that he thought this has always been the worst part of this marathon.  We walked by all the green UPS trucks and finally found my UPS truck for the 11000 numbers.  Steve, my amazing sweet husband, was there — he could see that I wasn’t doing well and was stuck behind the fence.  The little boy pointed me somewhere else to get my bag after waiting in line… and then I just pushed through and got my bag.  UGH.  Toast!  I was toast!
On course looking strong! ๐Ÿ™‚
Then my favorite part of the marathon…. taking photos of my medal — drinking champagne with my sweetie at Tabi’s with Tabi.  We picked up snacks and invited Charlie, Mom & Lily over for a celebration.  It was fabulous!  Another marathon under my belt!  I loved the course — NYCM rocks!  As Coach Ramon would say “SUPER AWESOME!” !!!

Here is a link to my NYCM Facebook Album

It was an amazing trip!  Thank you to Tabi for hosting us — being at the finish line was phenomenal!

Nancy E. Cook
Age 47
Overall Place:  4559 of 46,795
Female:  596 of 16,928
Age (Female) 45-49:  37 of 2079
24th marathon
3rd marathon as a cancer survivor
6th marathon with ACS DetermiNation
Total raised through DNation $9380

See below for my splits:  
So cool that I ran a pretty even 7:30 till the 20 mile mark!

Men    30,166
Women  17,272
Total  47,438
Men    29,867
Women  16,928
Total  46,795
conditions at start: 51ยฐF, 54% humidity, wind SW 9 mph
conditions at 12 noon: 53ยฐF, 52% humidity, wind 3 mph
Finishers by Age Group
                                      Men     Women     Total
18-19                                  95        48       143
20-24                                 706       629     1,335
25-29                               2,578     2,817     5,395
30-34                               3,924     3,068     6,992
35-39                               4,849     2,821     7,670
40-44                               5,857     2,996     8,853
45-49                               4,535     2,079     6,614
50-54                               3,715     1,428     5,143
55-59                               1,764       583     2,347
60-64                               1,088       280     1,368
65-69                                 359        82       441
70-74                                 157        26       183
75-79                                  34         6        40
80-84                                   8         4        12
Oldest runners
Joy Johnson (San Jose, CA), age 84, 7:44:45

Women's Age Group: 45-49
1Paula Keating (45), CAN2:50:41
2Karen Friedman (49), USA3:02:35
3Franca Fiacconi (46), ITA3:07:04

A few last fun facts about the race, courtesy of Asics:

1970 year of the first New York City Marathon
127 starters
55 finishers
$1 entry fee

 applicants to the ING New York City Marathon 2011
47,438 participants in 2011
8,000+ event volunteers
2 million spectators along the course

+ NYRR staff working year-round on the marathon
 UPS trucks transporting participantsโ€™ bags from start-finish
 media credentials issued
4.4 million
 readers of the results section of the NY Times
62,370 gallons of Poland Springยฎ Water
 gallons Gatorade G Series Pro Endurance Formula
 paper cups
 PowerBar Energy Gels at Mile 18
 portable toilets, at more than 35 locations (every mile)
54,000 finisher medals
Heat Sheetsโ„ข
 finisher recovery bags
Finish!  3:26:26 – I sprinted to beat that 3:30 on the clock!

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Nancy Cook 2021

About Nancy

Nancy Peck Cook is a trainer and speaker who has presented in front of large and small audiences for the past 25 years.ย  Her work as an executive and volunteer trainer for the American Cancer Society during the growth of the signature activity Relay For Life trained professionals to be more confident and successful in their roles.ย 

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