NYC Marathon 2018 Race Report, Part 2: Pre-race planning

Earlier: Part 1 — Race Week

Coach B called me Tuesday before the race so we could walk through the plan mile-by-mile.

After our phone call Tuesday, Coach B had sent over a spreadsheet showing my paces for each mile, plus how that tracked with course support and the elevation gain/loss. There are some gentle rollers on various parts of the course, but the incline and decline for most ended up in the same mile, so Coach B was figuring on pretty consistent splits of 16:00 through Mile 24, then 15:30 once I got into the park. She reminded me if I had a pit stop one mile, not to try and make up all the time the next mile. Save that for the end in the park.

We’d also talked effort, because that’s how I typically train. No higher than low marathon effort through the Queensboro, then allowing it to gradually creep up to the high end of marathon effort before finally dropping the hammer once I was in the park and going as hard as I could at that point.

Coach B was pretty sure that being conservative early would leave me with enough in the tank for a good strong finish. I was looking forward to the downhills in Central Park after the slog up the really sneaky Fifth Avenue hill. She was quick to warn me that they might not feel as good as I was expecting because I would have been running for so long, so not to be discouraged if my knee, hips or calves were screaming at me when I tried to run hard down them. Just do what I felt I could and be prepared to run hard on the final stretch after Columbus Circle.

I had that in mind and walked through my plan a few times in my head throughout the week.

Course support, Part 1

Pre-race prep was one of the time I really appreciated her experience with the race. She’s run it before, and coached several runners, so she had a good handle on what I should expect — including that I would lose course support right about the time I got off the Queensboro Bridge, and would need to have enough water/electrolytes on me for the final 10 miles (two to three hours) of the race.

I knew I’d lose course support, but had figured it would be after the Bronx, so that sent me hunting down the extra holsters and bottles for my hydration belt. NYC doesn’t allow hydration packs, and I haven’t run with more then the standard two bottles on my belt for the better part of a year.

Actually, once I finally got off the phone, I went to bed before I turned into a pumpkin. The bottle hunt ended up being Thursday afternoon, which ended up being an issue.

Bottles, bottles, where are you, bottles?

I was pretty sure I knew where the bottles were: In my Low & Slow clear cinch sacks I use to store all my race-type gear between races. So when I saw the Fitletic booth at the expo on Thursday, I thought about going over, but then didn’t. Sure, a couple of my bottles were dinged up and stained, but after shelling out for lots of NB race gear, I could hold off on replacing those bottles.

Yup. No bottles. The holsters were in the cinch sacks. It’s been almost two weeks since the race and I still have no idea where the bottles are hiding. Seriously, my apartment is not that big.

So Mom and I ended up at the Jackrabbit store in Columbus Circle on Friday trying to find bottles that would fit my holsters. It took some doing and I had to buy the entire hydration belt to get the two bottles, but we found a Nathan one where the bottles would fit with some wiggling. Bonus: They were 10.5-ounce instead of my standard 8-ounce. More water!

Course support, Part 2

Then, at dinner Saturday night, InknBurn Queen was talking about what I could expect at the BOTP. She rolled her ankle last year the day before she flew out to the race and ended up walking a lot of the race and finishing in 7:30-ish. She said the roads would re-open about the time I hit Columbus Circle, but the volunteers would just move things up on the sidewalk and keep the water stops open. I’d have water all the way up into the Bronx, and possibly even on Fifth Avenue. That was a relief to hear.

Still, when I laid out Flat Jennie back at the Airbnb that night, I mixed up electrolyte solution for all four bottles. I’d rather have extra at the end than run out with a couple of miles to go.

I also spent a ridiculous amount of time repacking my chews from the six-block sleeves they come in to four-block zipper bags that I could roll up and stuff in my pants pockets. (Seriously, these lululemon pants are amazing as far as pockets go!) At one point, I had to repeat my math to my mom because it wasn’t coming out right in my head. (I’d mixed up the number of sleeves I needed with the number of zipper bags I needed.) Finally, that was done.

One pile of clothes on the floor, one stack of pre-race food on the table, a last turbo foam-rolling session with the car buffer, and it was time for bed, and hopefully for sleep.

Next: Part 3 — Race Morning