Couch to 42.2k - My New York City Marathon Journey

I very proudly ran a marathon in 2011 and would happily run another. Here is my journey.
  1. - the inspiration -
  2. Circa 2008, I was unfit and agreed to do the cycle leg in a corporate triathlon. I consented under the influence of considerable champagne cocktails!
    I trained less than the required amount!
  3. It was the greatest high of my life! Despite totally sucking! I used a mountain bike!.. not ideal! I wanted to do the whole thing next time.
    I trained, sort of, and managed to complete the full triathlon (not massive distances, but still!)
  4. Spurred on by my ability to now run 2km, I considered my potential. After reading the article (I actually read it, ok!) from the below Men's Health, I proudly announced that I was going to run the New York City Marathon to aid brain tumor research (for my Dad).
    The article was of Ryan Reynolds running for the Michael J Fox Foundation. I love MJF and this story touched me.
  5. No one laughed at me. In fact, most were really supportive. I was shocked.
  6. So, I started to run.. well, jog! As much as I could. I had run 2km before, but I felt I needed to start from the beginning. My first run was 500 meters (0.3 miles).
  7. Though shit-scared of failure, I some how managed to tell people of my goal. An Aunt bought me a "how to run your first marathon" book for Christmas and it became my bible.
  8. - the training and support -
  9. I got a personal trainer. I learned when I ran best and how much food I needed to eat. I did yoga. I bought a freaking Garmin (watch)!
    I used to eat a spoonful of peanut butter before hitting the pavement!
  10. 500 meters progressed slowly. I went by the book, increasing my runs incrementally. If I fell off the schedule, due to vacation, I'd start again!
  11. My first 10km was exhilarating. The fact I wanted to keep going was the best feeling in the world. Running was my time. I processed many thoughts; demons, dreams, hopes and ideas.
  12. I struggled with iliotibial band syndrome. I consulted with a physiologist, bought a foam roller and continued on.
  13. The thrill of my first half marathon was more of a quiet pride. It was that moment when you know you've done well, but you're only half way finished.
    I always reserved energy for high fives! I think I even did a cartwheel - total show off!
  14. I would scour the internet for inspiration. @scotty, you do not know how much you impacted my journey. Thank you from the depths of my gratitude.
  15. The thrill of my first 26km (16 miles) was euphoric. I ran home from work, with my husband as my water-boy (on his bicycle). I had sunshine, rain and a light breeze in just one run!
  16. The thrill of my first 32km (20 miles) was complete and utter satisfaction. I ran from my mums house to her partner's home* and took the long way! My mum joined me for the last 5km and despite being fit, she could not keep up. It was the greatest compliment of my life!
    I earned my ice bath that night! * @estherlimtf : this was Mt Pleasant, to Nedlands (via UWA), to Cott Beach, up to Port Beach, around the Port to Freo, down to South Beach, switch-back into South Freo ☺️
  17. The week before flying to the US, I came down with a terrible cold/flu. It was horrible. My doctor was away and the stand in almost didn't prescribe me what I needed. We had a Jess-style heart to heart and I left with what I needed.
  18. We flew into Colorado and spent time with my sister. We went to Leadville where I was further inspired to do crazy shit! This is me being a smart ass running the Leadville 100M! I convinced myself that the altitude primed my lungs! We missed our connecting flight because we were snowed in in Vale.
    A 100 meter sign.. was my play on the grueling 100 mile foot race at altitude of 10,000-12,000ft. Can you spot me on the sign? It's like a game of Where's Wally! (Waldo).
  19. We then went onto Boston where I ate my weight in chowder. The white. Always the white! I kept my run training going and made quite the track along the Charles River, Beacon St (where we stayed), down and up Commonwealth Ave, and into the BP Gardens. Boston is gorgeous. You need to go!
    Not my running attire!! But isn't Boston beautiful? This was my running track on Commonwealth Ave.
  20. But don't get snowed in! Fortunately we got out within hours of all major terminals closing due to a major snow storm. Arrived in New Jersey and the tapered runs continued in the streets of Branchburg. I enjoyed my first American Halloween!
  21. We left the snow storm carnage of New Jersey for the snow storm carnage of NYC. The streets were being cleaned up and I got my butt down to the marathon registration centre.
    Bottom right: is that ChrisK?! ;)
  22. I am friends with the most amazing people and a handful of women I met in the @john Mayer fan community came from near and far (Brazil) to support my run. My crew consisted of them, my mum, my husband and my friends from NJ.
    See, online friendships are the bomb diggity! The love and support of these women in that moment still swells my heart.
  23. - the run -
  24. The day of the run arrived and I was feeling great! I'd met another Aussie runner and we buddied up for the 3 hours before we ran. At the bus in the Upper West Side by 5:50am and at the starting area at Fort Wadsworth a short while later.
  25. Corralled into our speed groups, we made our way to the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge for the start. They played Frank Sinatra, the US anthem and sounded the gun. I kept my training strategy in mind, watched for potholes (best tip I received!) and tried to absorb as much as I could.
  26. Coming into Brooklyn, the crowds were intense. 10 rows deep and I remember feeling on top of the world, with a pep in my step. The musicians played, I dance-jogged for some of it! There was no way I was going to find my husband in these crowds.
    We worked out he arrived with the balloons he said he'd bring minutes after I went by. Damn train!
  27. I was sad to leave Brooklyn and Williamsburg, my kind of areas. Alas, the marathon was only a quarter done! Up to Queens, over the Queensboro Bridge and up the Upper East Side. Where the crowds were ballistic! It was incredible that I found my mum and NJ friends.. but still no Daniel.
    Daniel missed me by 30 seconds. He tapped mum on the shoulder just after she took this photo.
  28. This was roughly the half way point I remembered. The mental fatigue of realising that, caused me to feel sluggish all the way to the Bronx. The bands, musicians and crowds fueling my spirit, I powered on. The next thought was seeing my friends at the 21 mile marker.
  29. With the beautiful 10C sunny day, the energy of the crowds and the smiles on my friends faces, I powered into their arms like it was the first 5km! I was renewed. And I asked, "where is Daniel?"
    He chose not to make the journey to Harlem for fear of missing me entirely.
  30. I ran on, with a pang of emotion, I still had not seen my greatest supporter. I tried not to think about it, whilst holding tight to the crowds staring into them for my 6'3" giant! Alas, it wasn't he I found. I found a warm gentleman of a much shorter kind. There in front of me was Michael J Fox clapping me on, "Go Runner!"
    I was speechless! And trust me, my mental voice had been in overdrive!
  31. Nearing the 25 mile marker and I miraculously found my mum again! I asked, with exasperation, "where is Daniel". My mum, with tears replied, "I don't know, baby". I pushed on. And there, on a rocky outcrop were balloons and a giant! I waved, he pushed his way through. We kissed and a woman with a thick NY accent said, "awww, this is beautiful".
    It was. I had what I needed.
  32. With the widest smile, I took in a 25 mile water, and pushed on. People around me were grabbing at their hamstrings and my big heart was full of empathy. The folks I ran the last half mile with, filled me with pride. We were doing it together. That final hill (it finishes on an incline!) was the best hill I've ever run. I crossed with Superman!
    My nephew with shock and excitement told me that I must be a good runner if I can beat Superman!
  33. I finished 42.2 km (or 26.1 miles) in 4 hours, 49 minutes and 48 seconds. I went back to the hotel, freshened up, and went down to Soho to celebrate with my amazing friends.
    I'm not gonna lie about it, we were at a pub on the same block as Mayer's apt. And, my friend Samara met him on that trip, just after our lunch at Katz'.. unbelievable!
  34. We finished up our vacation drinking our weight in champagne in Paris, before jetting home!
    GH Mumm is for celebrations!
  35. I'll end on this. I started this journey and ended it with champagne! Kidding, though, that was true!.. Ending on this, I started this marathon for my Dad and in the end, I ended it for me. Completing that marathon, for me, has been my greatest life lesson so far.