I ran the Shape Magazine Half Marathon in New York City!
Back in December, I made two big announcements. One is that I signed up for a half marathon. It feels like it was just yesterday when I promised myself I’d do such a crazy thing, but it’s done and over. I will be writing a separate post with more details on the half + our half marathon training plan, so there is more to come! For now, I want to share our memories from our trip to NYC, our half marathon adventures, and some eats. I’m happy we decided on a destination half because I’m always up for a little getaway!
I want to warn you; there are a lot of photos in the post. I couldn’t stop all of the pictures because NYC is so fun and photogenic.
We left New Jersey around 10:30 am on Saturday morning. We decided to catch the train into the city.
We made it to Penn Station at 11:30, and decided to walk a couple miles to our hotel. The weather was gorgeous!
We stayed at the New York Hilton Manhattan hotel. It’s super close to the race start! We spent all day fueling properly and HYDRATING to the max.
After getting settled into the hotel, we headed out to pick up our race bibs and shirts. We were so hungry, so we stopped and ate cookies and bananas in the hotel lobby. No shame 🙂 The oatmeal raisin cookies were so good!
We donated to Care and then took our photo for the wall! We were so excited to be running the Shape Half!
After grabbing our bibs and bags, we headed to Central Park for a little walk.
Central Park was filled with people. There were groups of people playing music, ballerinas dancing and playing frisbee, people having birthday parties, and so many puppies!
It’s crazy that such a large city has this beautiful mile on mile park in the middle of it. I think Central Park is my favorite part of NYC, and I was so excited to run it.
Meighan and I wanted to grab a quick bite to eat, and head to the hotel room to relax for the night. Our goal was to be in bed by 7 pm. We had done a lot of exploring in Jersey and wanted to rest the legs before the race.
We were both in the mood for french fries and a burger. Having potassium and sodium in the fries was the perfect pre-run carb load. I was drinking a lot of water to stay hydrated for the race, so I needed sodium and potassium to hold onto all the fluids I was taking in.
We walked around for about two miles looking for a good burger place, but everything had a long wait, and we were too hangry for that. We hopped into Benash, a little diner (hole in the wall) for our burger.
After our burger, we needed a sweet treat. We stopped at Buttercup Bake Shop for their delicious macaroons and a cappuccino.
We chose the Nutella macaroon and pistachio!
I know a cappuccino isn’t a great idea before a race, so I only drank half to get a little fix! I chugged enough water afterward to make up for it.
When we got back to the hotel around 5:45 PM, I set out my race day outfit.
Running Shoes: ASICS GEL-Nimbus 18 (I trained with this style for 8 months)
Running Capris: Athleta Capri (loved that it had pockets on the side for my phone and a zip pocket in the back)
Socks: Asics Running Socks (with heal tab & grips)
KT TAPE: Black KT tape to wrap any aches & pains. I used it on my knees.
Running Shirt: Under Armour Tech V-Neck Tee. I have this shirt in seven colors. I am obsessed with the fit, the material and how light it is. All the air comes through and you never burn up.
Sports Bra: Ryka
Chews: Bolt Energy Chews
Post Workout: Muscle Milk
After getting everything ready for the race, I showered, threw on my yoga pants, and hopped into the hotel bed. We hit the jackpot because there was a Nicholas Sparks marathon on E! We watched Safe Haven, The Last Song, and The Best of Me. We are going to have a wine & Nicholas Sparks marathon soon!
We got hungry around 8 PM, so we headed out to grab a bite to eat.
We picked up pizza at Herb N’ Kitchen, and it was one of the best pizzas I’ve had in a long time. Looking at it, you wouldn’t think so, but it was perfection. Everything from the sauce, the cheese, the pepperonis, and the crunchy/soft crust! I wish I could have this pizza every night 🙂 I didn’t want to make myself sick, so I had one slice, finished off another bottle of water, set my alarm clock, and headed to bed.
I need to be awake at least three hours before a workout, or I’m miserable. This is why I hate going to 6 AM boot camp classes or running before the sun is up. I need at least 6 ounces of coffee, and a bite to eat. I set my alarm for 4:45 am so I could have my morning wake-up time. I even wrote a blog at 5 AM race day to relax.
I chugged a bottle of water with electrolytes and potassium and then headed downstairs to pick up a bagel, banana, and coffee. Half a bagel, banana, coffee, water, and half a granola bar was a safe breakfast pick before my practice runs, so I stuck with it. You don’t want to change too much the day of your race.
Meighan and I left the hotel at 7:25 am. The race didn’t start until eight, but we wanted to find our corral and maybe use the restrooms if we had to. The park was filled with runners, and the bathroom lines were about a mile long. Luckily, we didn’t have to go, so we headed to our spot to do a little jumping and stretching.
We were in Corral J.& so were the Good Morning America anchors!
I had a bit of race anxiety, but I knew it would go away eventually. The anxiousness mostly came from the fear of my aching hamstring. I was upset that I had trained for months and months, and the week before my race, my hamstring was achy. I iced it, wrapped it, took Ibuprofen, and rested it the night before. I decided to go into this run with the attitude that I was going to finish. I didn’t care about the time, and I would just slow down if my hamstring gave me issues.
We finally took off.
The first seven miles feel like they never happened. I remember listening to The Weeknd on my playlist, exchanging excitement smiles with Meighan, drinking water at mile four, and chewing mint gum because my throat was dry. We kept our pace around ten minutes for the first seven miles. When we made our first loop around the park, I was confused. Why did everyone tell me this was going to be extremely hard and hilly? About ten people tried to talk me out of running Central Park for my first half. The routes Meighan and I ran during training were 3X harder. Meighan and I looked at each other on top of Harlem Hill with a confused expression, “was this the hill people warned us about?” It was nothing. I’m not saying this to sound egotistic; I’m saying this to make the point that everyone’s training routes and definition of “hard” are entirely different from your own. Don’t psych yourself out before a race based on someone else’s opinion. Trust your training and don’t let anyone get in your head.
I felt a pop in my groin on the ninth mile. I ran to the side and did a couple of lunge stretches and then ran right back out into the race. It felt better for a mile and then the pain came back. I decided just to slow down my pace. We had a couple of nine-minute miles towards the middle of our run, so it wouldn’t be too bad to slow it down.
Around mile ten, the worst thing happened. The reason I could never run a half marathon is that I suffered from runner’s knee about two years ago. It was so bad that I couldn’t walk at times. I spent a year rehabbing it. I stuck to swimming, walking, strength training, and told myself I’d do everything right to get back into running, and I did. At mile ten, runner’s knee made a grand appearance. I know this pain, and I’m very familiar with how it creeps in, creeps out, and how I’d be feeling when this race was over with. The most upsetting part was that I never had an ounce of pain during our training, and it decided to make a comeback on race day. It was frustrating to have such high endurance, I hardly broke a sweat, and I could have run for miles, but that knee felt like knives slicing through my cartilage. I was grateful that it didn’t happen at mile three because there would have been no way in hell I could have finished with excruciating pain. And if you’ve had runner’s knee, you know the feeling. It’s so painful that it makes you want to chop off your own legs (sorry for the dramatic vision.)
The last three miles I repeated prayers to God, in hopes that he could give me the strength to finish. My knees were quitting, and my groin was popping in and out, but I was not going to quit with only two miles left. Meighan kept giving me positive encouragement, and I kept trotting along. If I could just keep trotting for the next couple of miles, the race would be over in no time. The rule is to stop immediatly if you feel any signs of runner’s knee, but I didn’t have a choice in this case. I worked way too hard, spent way too much time invested, just to stop at mile eleven. I added a couple of minutes onto my last three miles, but I still ran across that finish line.
I was definitely disappointed in my knees and the fact that my body did this to me, but I was also proud of myself for completing a half marathon, something I never thought I’d ever do. I used to skip the mile runs in gym class, and do everything I could to get out of any physical activity.
I do have a doctor’s appointment today for my knees, and I’m hoping we can look at surgery or a new rehab method to fix the issues. I do not want to give up running, so I’ll do anything to get everything under control. I am giving up running for the next two months, and exchanging it with strength training, yoga and walking.
This girl wasn’t’ going to let me fall behind. She pushed me so hard to get to the end, and I am so grateful for her! I told her to run, and I’ll meet her at the end, but she wouldn’t go ahead. She is the best motivation, and I wouldn’t/couldn’t have done this without her! We have a half marathon in December, so I’m praying I can get better by then, and we can try this again.
After the race, I headed over to the icing station and got ice for my knee. The pain was so bad that I couldn’t bend my knee on my right leg and hardly move my groin on the left leg. I was a mess.
Meighan’s family came to the race and it was so nice seeing them at the finish line.
We all walked across the park to Le Pain Quotidien for breakfast. I felt so bad because it took me so long to walk, but there was nothing I could do about my mobility. I was pretty miserable.
It felt so good to just sit down. When you’re sitting, you don’t feel the pain.
I was ready for coffee, water, and food!
I ordered the goat cheese and seasonal vegetable frittata. This breakfast is what inspired me to make frittatas on Thursday night.
Breakfast was so good. I’ve been to Le Pain Quotidien in D.C., so I knew it was a safe choice for good coffee and delicious breakfast.
After breakfast, we headed back to the hotel to shower, pack, and get ready for the day. I ended up taking Advil, putting icy hot all over my legs, and wrapping my knee with KT Tape. My knees were so inflamed, and it was very frustrating. I just wanted to have fun, but I couldn’t. I was on the verge of tears because of the amount of pain. I kept telling myself in my head that it’ll go away, because runner’s knee does, but when it’s bad…it’s bad.
We slowly walked down to Bibble & Sip later in the afternoon for coffee and a snack. Luckily I had my roller suitcase with me, so I leaned on that for support.
The Bibble & Sip bakery cafe was adorable. I loved the rustic and earthy decor. I was excited to have a cappuccino!
They are known for their Cream Puffs, and I ALMOST bought one of their matcha flavored ones, but the little matcha parfait looked a bit healthier for a post-race recovery.
Meighan ended up getting one of their cream puffs and we all split it. IT WAS SO GOOD!
I ordered a small cappuccino with skim and an extra shot of espresso.
We walked a few blocks to Barnes & Noble to relax and read. We planned on visiting the Brooklyn Bridge and doing a couple of touristy things, but with my condition, it wasn’t going to happen. We will plan another NYC trip for just that.
The matcha parfait from Bibble & Sip!
Chia seeds, matcha Greek yogurt, granola, blueberries, raspberries, and honey.
Later Sunday night, we headed to Meighan’s friend’s house. She lives in Upper East Side and she was so nice to host us!
We had dinner at Canyon Road, and it was SO GOOD. I ordered the chicken fajitas!
After dinner, we headed back and went straight to bed.
I didn’t sleep much on Sunday night. I’ve never been a person that takes Advil or any pain medication, and my body wasn’t reacting too well to it. I started experiencing some of the side effects, and I was pretty worried. I had extreme nervousness, restlessness, and my heart was racing. I ended up re-falling asleep at 1 am, but then woke up in tears an hour later because the pain was excruciating. I was scared that I messed up. At that point, I was afraid to fall back asleep. I just sat up with my laptop and fiddled around until I could close my eyes comfortably. I woke up at 8 am, with my laptop still on my lap. Fortunately, the pain was now an eight and not a ten. I could at least bend my legs.
Meighan and I had a few hours to spare before heading to the airport for our flight home. We packed up our belongings, said our goodbyes, and decided to slowly walk to Sarabeth’s for breakfast.
The walk was so pretty and I couldn’t help but take a billion photos. This little bookstore reminded me of the movie You Got Mail.
We finally made it to Sarabeth’s.
Sarabeth’s first bakery opened in 1981. Sarabeth and her husband opened a little spot to make and sell their baked goods and the 200-year-old family recipe for jam. The little spot became a huge success and hit to New Yorkers. A couple of years later, Sarabeth’s started serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner in multiple locations. Now there are locations throughout the U.S. This just goes to show that if you have talent and can create something great, go with it, and you’ll go far!
The breakfast spot was so cute, and I’m so glad we found it!
We started with coffee, and boy was it good! The smooth dark roast was the perfect way to end the New York note.
We sat at a little table by the window. It was a great spot for siting adorable NYC fashion and lots of dogs!
I ordered a goat cheese and spinach omelet, a side of fresh fruit, and seven-grain toast. The food, the jam, the fruit, and everything on my plate lived up to it’s rumored greatness.
After we had breakfast, we sat around for about forty-five minutes having our final cup of coffee. We didn’t want to leave this little spot.
We had about an hour to spare before heading to the airport, so we just trotted along the Upper East Side. We went in and out of stores, stopped to take photos, and enjoyed the fresh air.
I love the character of all the homes and apartment buildings.
NYC’s flowers were breathtaking, especially the tulips.
We headed across to Central Park and walked a little. I was slowly, but surely getting better. I was still in a lot of pain, but at least I could walk and bend the knees. I took “walking” for granted, and having this injury made me realize how lucky I am to be able to walk and explore every day. I won’t be complaining about walking anywhere anytime soon.
After walking the park and visiting a couple more shops, we called an Uber and headed to the airport. We drove past the Met Gala and watched them set everything up, so that was pretty neat.
When we got to the airport, they delayed our flight by three hours because of the storms in Charlotte. I was starting to have a bit of Deja Vu, and all I could think of was the little mouse I saw running around last time I was in the Laguardia airport, and we were in the same gate.
I spent the time working and cleaning out my inbox before getting on the plane. I picked up some snacks while we waited at the gate, and then finally boarded the plane at 6 pm. I was sitting by an older couple and you could tell the lady was afraid of flying, the older man held her hand and said “if we go down, we go down together,” and I just melted. It was adorable.
It felt really good to be home, but I was still proud of finishing something I never thought I could. It was definitely a battle, but I made it through, and I can’t wait to post our training plan + more details on the half marathon. Thank you guys for all the support this year and I couldn’t have made it through without you all either! XO
Also, update on my pains. I’m officially back to normal, but NOT running and risking the injury to get worse. I’ve been walking and weight lifting a lot. I WILL BE BACK! 🙂
Questions for you.
- What was your first race experience like?
- Has an injury ever affected you?
- Ask me anything about the race/what you’d like to see on the training plan.