Tuesday, November 15, 2011

iRan New York City :)

I came to win, to fight, to conquer, to thrive, 
I came to win, to survive, to prosper, to rise,
To fly :)
(From the song Fly by Nicky Minaj feat. Rihanna) 

When I found out that Captain and Señorita was going to join me for the trip, I was really ecstatic because I'd have two awesome running buddies to share my amazing experience with... And the fact that Captain and I made plans to travel together in the States for three weeks (New York - Boston - Washington - Houston), I knew that this trip was going to be definitely fun and unforgettable :)

As per my previous post, we flew in a week before the marathon itself to get ourselves adjusted to the time (13 hours difference from KL!), to acclimate and to have a few final runs in NYC... Buses were already decorated with Asics' motivational messages for the marathon, posters in cafes were up inviting runners to dine at their place, and posters were scattered around the city... When we had our first run in Central Park, it was already 'decorated' with banners and posters, and that the organisers were working on the finish gantry area... And that runners from all over the world have started swarming the park throughout the week... Yeap, the marathon vibes were in the air already :)

One of the tour buses...
Pic credits to Señorita

We carboloaded here the night before the marathon ;)

At one of the metro stations' entrance...

Central Park...

I was really anxious for the entire week, and especially the day before the marathon itself... With friends and family posting messages on Facebook, Twitter or BB to achieve a new PB, how can you not right?! Haha! All of the possible 'what-ifs' popped into my mind... Thank God Captain understood what I was going through because she felt the same way too... Come to think of it, it was just plain silly to put such pressure on myself... I kept telling myself that even if I didn't get my PB, I'll be okay but I guess I was just trying to be in denial about it :P But one thing is for sure, I was pretty proud of myself to see how I've improved mentally and physically from the training :)

In Lululemon Athletica store, Woodbury Common... 

The marathon day finally came and it was a testament to myself to see whether what I've been training for the past 3 months were good enough for me or not to finish strong within my desired time goal :)

With the recent passing of my beloved friend, TSB, I dedicated this marathon to him as he was eagerly excited when I told him that I got in back in April and gave me encouragements throughout my training til the day that he left us.... So this one was for you and you were in my thoughts throughout the marathon :')

Tribute sticker was pasted at the back of my running top 
Pic credits to Captain

We woke up at 5am to get ready at the hotel... Captain was running for Autism Speaks so she had to leave early to catch a bus with the other runners from the group... An hour later, I left the hotel with Señorita (who was running for Shoe4Africa) in a cab to the Staten Island Ferry Terminal and catch our ferry...

Nervous already!!!

Once we got to the island, we took the bus that was provided for the runners to the starting point of the race - the Verazzano-Narrows bridge... The three of us were flagged off at 1040am... Mind you, it was still a very cold and chilly morning... So, camwhoring was a must for the three of us before we separated into our respective coral and wave no ;)

The G girls posing proudly with our Malaysian flag :)

I donated my sweater just before entering the starting point... They blasted out New York New York by the legendary Frank Sinatra for us after we were flagged off... So, we danced and sang before we started running and entered the bridge since we were going to run NYC 'right through the very heart of it'... A good way to ignite our running spirits eh? ;)

There were 5 boros that we had to go through - Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx and finally Manhattan... All of which we had to pass their insanely elevated bridges respectively from one boro to another... Here's the beautiful but torturing course map ;P

You can checkout the map clearer by clicking here

The legs had a good workout alright from the elevations ;P
You can click here for a larger view 

The first 2 miles were quite challenging for me as I had to run my way through the massive sea of runners and kept up with my pace... And the fact that my Garmin went hay-wired because I was running at the lower deck of the bridge... Hence, from the beginning of the race, I had to rely on the mile markers and my time on my Garmin to gauge whether I was on the right track for a sub-4:30 or not... And I was praying hard that I wouldn't get any more 'surprises' or mishaps during the race...

When I entered Brooklyn, I was overwhelmed with the supports from the crowds.... It was a huge street party, with the all kinds of music blasting from the stereos, performances by bands and percussionists, and the super loud cheers from the supporters, I smiled widely while running in this boro... Definitely the best boro to run in! :)

One happy runner I am ;)

Halfway to go!
Spot me ;)
I made sure that I posed for the cameras whenever I see them... Hehe

I ran past Queens and it was also filled with supporters that were mostly looking for their spouse, husband, wife, family members or friend respectively... I somehow wished that I did have at least one supporter to cheer me on at that point... Hehe... 

The toughest bridge for me was definitely Queensboro Bridge... It seemed never-ending for us and I laughed at the end of the bridge to see a couple of banners that said, "If you think the last 10 miles are easier, then welcome to easier"... 16 remaining clicks were definitely not easier in my books! ;p

First Avenue, Manhattan was filled with thousands of supporters on both sides of the street and I felt like a rockstar here as this was the area where my name was called by a no of supporters/volunteers and it felt awesome to be high-fiving them :)

The Bronx was definitely a favourite for me too - with hip hop and soul music and performances by the musicians, a sign from the crowd that says 'You're the shit', what's not to love about the Bronx? ;) Definitely my kind of hood... Hehe... I pretty much danced my way through this awesome boro :)

I was pretty consistent with my pace, which was between 5:45 to 6 min/km until I reached the 35th km... I was grateful that I didn't feel the wall, but my left leg started to cramp up at the last bridge that we had to go through... So, I stopped by the side of the bridge to quickly stretch my legs here... Also, my big toe nails were still suffering from TNF, and I was praying hard that they would still remain intact as they were 'throbbing' as well... *Drama* :P

Hence, the last leg of the race at Fifth Avenue before entering Central Park (the finish line) in Manhattan was challenging for me, as I switched to run-walk-run mode for the next 5km... Plus, I had a few mins to kill knowing the fact that I was well on track with my timing... Lazy :P

Except for this one...
Caught by the camera :P

The encouraging words and posters from the supporters really did help me get through the last 3km of the race... So when I finally entered Central Park, I gave my all and ran my heart out to the finish line with my Malaysian flag :)

Felt euphoric to be crossing the line :)

And Alhamdulillah, all of the training, sacrifices and investments were paid off on that glorious day as I completed the biggest marathon in the world with a whopping PB of 4 hrs 23 mins 39 secs!!! My first attempt and I nailed it!!! :D :D :D

I was overwhelmed that I almost cried after crossing the line, but at the same time I felt like puking because I sprinted like a crazy girl before that... So much that a few of the volunteers asked me if I needed medical attention... So crying did not take place :p

And these were my splits from the awesome marathon :)

I got 'lazy' between 30 -40km... Hehe

I felt completely overjoyed when I was running the marathon... With the amazing atmospheres from all of the 5 boros, it was a day of celebration for us the runners... The city came to life on that day and the people really know how to throw big parties for us :) There were many things that came through my mind when I was running too... I had my moments of reflection in life too (so deep right :P)

And to achieve what I've set out to achieve from the beginning, nothing beats personal glory and gratification :) I can't wait to share this amazing story one day with my kids, insyaAllah :)

Sub-4:30 marathoners - Check!!! :D :D :D

To Captain, I had a blast training with you for the past 3 months or so... We've strengthened our friendship through what we've shared and learned from each other, and that wasn't just through running... And you've proved that with perseverance and practice (oh, and no social life :P), magic can happen and a sub-4:15 is doable ;) Hehe... You did super awesome... I'm so happy for you and that I'm proud to be part of your journey :)

With our roses respectively from a guy called Pakwe (not mine!)...
The deal was that if three of us PB-ed, we would get one rose each..
And so we did :) 
Pic credits to Captain 

To Señorita, you finally did it! A sub-5 in your belt now and you smashed your PB by friggin' 42 mins! Fantastic! An awesome way to celebrate your birthday in advance right? :) You did me proud girlfriend (ala Bronx accent)! ;)

(My Oscar speech again :P) To all of my friends that have been endlessly supportive and for not wanting to strangle me every time I mention about NYC previously, you can all breathe a sigh of relief now :p Though I might be talking about it back at home for the next one month as I'll be carrying my medal in my bag too... Haha :P But thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of your kind, inspiring and positive words, be it via face-to-face, this blog, Facebook, BB or Twitter... Words cannot describe how thankful I am to have such amazing friends :)

I also would like to give a special shout-out to my fellow Gs, Idola and Apprentice, for staying up so late back at home, tracked our progresses and updated them on our Facebook pages while we were running the streets of New York until the three of us crossed the finish line respectively... So grateful to have you both as our Gs *hugs* :)

Would I run New York again? Heck yeah!!! Well, one day and if money permits again insyaAllah :) I highly recommend all of my running friends to run NYC... Definitely an experience of a lifetime :)

So, 1 marathon major down... What's next? *wink*

Maybe having a man in my life should be my next target... LOL!!! Just sayin' ;p

Next: The Day After the Marathon ;)

(Note: I am still waiting for my pictures from Brigthroom, the official photography for the marathon... The ones I've shared were taken from the website... Will upload once I've them)


  1. Great write-up Nana, I can imagine I was there too. Hope one day I will get the opportunity to run NY Marathon.
    Good luck in your next race and hope you will find that lucky guy soon ;)

  2. Best baca ..congrats again and again ..eh do u know last runner took how long??? Lol ...I don't want to go and be last MWAHAHAHA .. Dream jer ni ..

  3. What a beautifully narrated story, Nana! Made me regret not picking up running while spending all those years in the US. Could easily knock off two of the five majors (mimpi la nak qualify Boston hehe). Well, I've registered for Berlin next year, so I finally get to do one of them :) Anyway, you guys were fantastic. Well done G's!


  4. Hehe. Now you can go less than 4 hours(kasi up sikit).
    "..because I sprinted like a crazy girl..."
    for the historical run and the moments to tell your children, I'd say well done and Congratulations!

  5. Awesome accomplishment - well done! Love how you flew your flag across the finish line :) .

  6. Well done Princess! Tersangat awesome! I'll bookmark this page, one day if I get to run NYC, I'll need to study the route :)

  7. idola: kannnn? thanks :) now where's my free meal? ;P

    kam: thank you! i had to make this post as detailed as possible since i invested a lot to go there.. hehe.. well i'm sure you can run NYC, just sign up for the ballot ;) and insyaAllah on the guy too.. thanks again! :)

    rayyan: awww thanks! hooyah! :)

    sueintan: it was indeed an awesome one! thanks! :)

    kak j: awww thank you! the fact that i saw your msg (but was for shanaz :P) kept me going... i'm pretty sure you won't be the last runner la! please go! ;)

    azmil: thank you! :) omg, that's exactly what i told myself when i was living in melbourne for 6 years! menyesal sgt2! hehe.. but i guess it's never too late to start anything kan :) pretty sure you could've done boston ok :) and yayyy on berlin... who knows, maybe we'll join you? ;)

    manjs: hahaha! let me enjoy my sub-4:30 first! ;) thanks for all of your support throughout my training before this :)

    karien: i felt as though i made my country proud on that day.. hehe... thanks! :)

    deo: what do you mean 'if'? it should be - when you run NYC ;) thanks again! :)

  8. just marbeles Gs, salute ... but I will outrun you, watch out:)

  9. dd: thanks! and i'm flattered if you feel that way.. good luck then! ;)

  10. Great to finally get to read your experience in NYC. I will be running it this year InshaALLAH