2018 TCS New York City Marathon: Race Review

November 4, 2018 I finished the 2018 TCS NYC Marathon in 4:28:55, but the finish is not the whole story. Let me start from the beginning.

I have entered the lottery for the NYC Marathon every year religiously since 2010. Every year I waited patiently for the lottery results to get let down when I received the email, “sorry, you have not been chosen for the NYC Marathon”.

But life is a marathon, not a sprint right? So I kept coming back despite my disappointments. It would all change in February of this year when I was on a trip to Singapore with my college friend, Katie. She excitedly announced that she was in! A lucky chosen member of society to participate in the 2018 NYC marathon! I was thrilled but then was like, “wait, what about me”? No sorry email. No golden ticket email. So I waited because no news is good news I suppose. After distracting myself touring parts of the island, I finally came back to the hotel to wind down and catch up on social media life and to my utter surprise, after 8 years of being a patient runner, I too was finally selected to be part of the 2018 TCS NYC marathon. My heart leaped for joy. I’d be running another world major marathon (4 of 6, for those keeping track) and with my bestie!

Training commenced in the summer and this year I was selected to be an ambassador for the awesome coaching group at RunRelated. So for my first ever marathon out of 11, I would be training with a coach. Coach Christy from my hometown state worked with me through the app Training Peaks to create my schedule. If you have not worked with a coach before, I highly recommend the group at RunRelated. Caring, smart and easy to work with you to help you achieve your goals while individualizing the program to fit your schedule and needs. Receiving my training schedule two weeks at a time with adjustments needed in a timely fashion, certainly reduced my stress. We shot for under 4:30 and the goal was a success!

Back to training though, I’ve battled more aches, pains, sprains, and GI distress than with any previous training cycle. I attribute this to getting a bit older each year but also, due to my own fault, I really slacked on the strength and core training that should coincide with the running program. My bad and I paid for it. Hopefully lesson learned for the future. So besides the physical issues, my mental game was on point. I was excited, determined and ready to bring on Marathon #11!

I planned a trip out from Luxembourg to NYC, with a quick layover in Amsterdam with my arrival the Friday evening before the Sunday race day. From the airport, I took the train and immediately made my way to the Jakob Javits Center for the expo to retrieve my bib and check out the vendors, non-showered with bags and all. New Balance was the sponsor with some high quality, not cheap race gear but outside their main set up, the expo was lacking umph. No super deals and that late in the day no guest speakers, so I was able to fly through the venue rather quickly then head back to the Park Plaza hotel near Central Park and crash for the evening.

The Saturday before was eventful, with jet lag I was up really early and ready to do a shake out run at 8am with the folks at Jack Rabbit Sports in midtown hosted by Runners World Magazine and Aftershokz. From there I made my way to Brooklyn where I was invited by Jaybird Sports for a release of their new Tarah Pro Wireless headphones which last a remarkable 14 hours. I was even a part of their promotional video release on YouTube.

I then made my way back towards Penn Station to meet up with my college girls Liz, Katie, Jocelyn and Eileen. We had lunch and laughs then walked around for a bit in Central Park to get a feel for the finish line. That night we met up with some family member and a couple of other Boston friends who made their way out to cheer us on for a family style Italian carb load up.

After a 4am wake up call, we caught a bus to midtown that drove us 60 minutes to the start in Staten Island. Heavy security at the entrance into Fort Wadsworth brought us to a huge space to chill out 4 hours before race time on the cold morning with food and drink offered by Gatorade, Powerbar and Dunkin Donuts.

Go time! The start at the Verrazano Bridge is high energy with NY, NY blaring on the speakers and a great view of the skyline on your left. Waves broke the start into 3 groups that didn’t officially meet back up until about 5-7 km later, but with over 53,000 runners, you were constantly fighting for your running space.

Miles 2-12 kept us in Brooklyn, the most memorable part. I was told crowd support was insane and they did not let down. Wearing my name on my shirt made me feel like a celebrity as thousands of people screamed passionately for us.

Making our way into Queens for the half, we saw our friends, lifting our spirits before making our way over the covered Queensboro Bridge. Here we felt what seemed like a forever lasting incline and the mind started to say, “This is not my favorite part.”

Up next, First Ave, it seemed so long and straight for 3 miles but full of support and more space, finally, on the wide road to give a little bit of breathing room which was little to be had with the huge field size. I started to hit a wall here at mile 17 and was having some confusion, moments of nausea and starting to feel much warmer than expected on the beautiful clear day, but with water stops every mile I was able to manage my hydration.

A brief moment in the Bronx, I was starting to get my second wind at mile 21 where we re-entered Manhattan for the final 10k πŸƒβ€β™€οΈ

Continuous small, rolling hills were no joke. The end seemed pretty far as we made our way into Central Park where there were people cheering you on, it was difficult to show them a small muster of your appreciation.

A final stretch on south side Central & seeing some family members before Columbus Circle, we were at the last stretch to head back into Central Park. There was a final incline to the actually anti-climatic finish, compared to the crowd support for the first 26 miles.

Getting out of Central Park was a real b*tch. Walking north to the medal and poncho, the exit had us walking about another 2 miles to finally make our way back to the hotel while fighting with supporters and other finishers in every which direction when all we wanted was a beer.

Finally, back at to the hotel with family & friends to celebrate the excitement of NYC and the marathon. An overall amazing experience but definitely challenging course. Not the PR I was hoping for but great memories that will last forever.

Recovery brought us a week on the Bahamas, a well deserved R&R before I made my way back to France. I’m so thankful for 2018.

Garmin Crew Member

I’m thrilled to share the exciting news that I’ve been selected by Garmin to become one of 30 people chosen to be a member of the Garmin Crew. This is an honor as I’ve been wearing my Garmin Forerunner 620 watch since 2015. It’s literally been a necessity to my running and training for the past 4 marathons I’ve finished including: Paris, Rome, Berlin, and NYC.

Garmin is known for its cutting edge GPS products including sport watches, sailing & golfing equipment, 360 degree cameras, and so much more. The Forerunner series is specific for runners and tracks routes, elevation, cadence, pace, heart rate, personal bests, & can be synced with the Garmin Connect App, via Bluetooth, to download workouts right to your phone or computer. All ways to help you #beatyesterday.

By becoming a Garmin Crew Member, I get team gear and huge discounts towards future products! How exciting!!

Do you know of Garmin or use their products? What do you like best about them? If you aren’t familiar with them, do you have any questions for me?

Where Have I Been?

Well, happy summer! I’m sorry I’ve been MIA but I have several good reasons for my absence. First and foremost, summer in Europe means holidays for many which means my work schedule becomes much lighter. Great for keeping up with my European Adventures but not so great for making money and paying bills. But I have been able to do a lot of more local, short trips on the cheap. Some examples include: Beaune, France, Bruges & Dinant, Belgium, Altfels & Saarburg, Germany, Upper Sur Lake in Northern Luxembourg & a hot air balloon ride in Thionville, France. And while I’m writing this, taking a long drive to Florence, Italy. I’ll be sure to update you on each of these trips in the near future.To help compensate my funds, I’ve also become a paid weekly contributor for RunnerClick. RunnerClick millions of readers with whom I’ve been able to share destination runs, exercise and rehabilitation programs, interviewing other inspiring runners, and reviewing up and coming running brand businesses. Go ahead and check them out, if you haven’t already. In the meantime, I’m honored to have been interviewed by Boston Voyager Magazine. Being able to share my story and hopefully inspire others to follow their dreams, puts a huge smile on my face.As I’m sure most of you are aware, my strong passion besides sport is travel. I’ve recently made a video entry for a contest through Travello to win an Ultimate Australian vacation and adventure trip. The contest ends this week and I would so much appreciate your support and clicking here to vote for my entry to help increase my chances to win this Epic prize! I’ve also been fortunate enough to live in the country of France and watch them win the World Cup this year in Russia. Although I’m not a huge soccer fan, it’s fun to be part of the excitement of a huge world sport. Allez Les Bleus, Champions du Monde! And to top it all off, I’ve started my 11th Marathon training for the NYC Marathon on November 4th. Training in the summer is not my favorite but running NYC is on my bucket list and brings me to 4 out of 6 in making my way to complete The Abbot World Marathon Majors. Doing NY also brings the opportunity to visit home and Boston right before my birthday!So, here’s the brief catch up on my side of the world. I’ll be back soon to dive deeper on my local escapes! See you soon!

What to do in Singapore and from One Runners Perspective. A weekly series of daily itineraries: Day 9

Well, I’m finally finishing up my blog posts about my Singapore trip and the things to do in there and near by South East Asia. If you’ve been following along, I appreciate your support and patience as I know some posts were not always a week apart. I have to admit it’s because I’ve become a regular contributor for the site RunnerClick, plus work, and half marathon training. Time has become more and more occupied with free time becoming less frequent. But enough with excuses, here’s my finale to my series!

Day 9 brought about a final day of running, as I was still training for the Paris Half Marathon in early March. The race would be immediately after a 13 hour flight home to Luxembourg and then a train ride from Metz to Paris. Check out that race recap here.

On my final full day, I made an 8 mile run out to a unique park called Haw Par Villa. It was created by the man who invented Tiger Balm to teach youths and others about Asian historical stories. Entrance into the park is free allowing one to view the most colorful, somewhat crazy and interesting sculptures depicting different eras in eastern time. Most stories are fables or folk and lore while others are about royalty and religious conquests.

Haw Par Villa

After getting my unique cultural history lesson, I took the metro over to the Chinese Gardens. Here I found beautifully kept landscapes with authentic Chinese and Japanese architecture housing the most amazing bonsai tree collection.

Chinese Gardens

Making my way back to the hotel to shower and pack, Katie and I had a final happy hour with dinner and meeting some other expats and Australian tourists before making I made my way back to Chiangi Airport for a red eye flight.

In summary, Asia has some of the most beautiful, culturally influencial countries in the world with the most amazing food and people. I’m thankful for the opportunity to visit Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, and Indonesia. Being able to experience this interesting world is my strong passion and I can’t wait for my next adventure.

What to do in Singapore and from One Runners Perspective. A weekly series of daily itineraries : Day 8

If you’re just checking in for the first time, I’ve got 7 days of what to do in South East Asia that you can check below! Otherwise welcome to the continued journey bringing us to day 8 back in Singapore.

Day 1: Singapore Popular Tourist Sites

Day 2: Sentosa Island

Day 3: Little India

Day 4 & Day 5: Siem Reap, Cambodia

Day 6: Running Tour of Singapore

Day 7: Bintan, Indonesia

On this day, I ventured out to Marina South Pier in Singapore by metro to catch a 10am morning weekday ferry with Singapore Island Cruise. The cruise ventures to a couple of the smaller islands (St. John’s, Lazarus, and Kusu Island) off the southern part of Singapore, just past Sentosa Island. The ferry first brings you to St. John’s which has a connecting land bridge to Lazarus, from there they give you 2-3 hours until the ferry picks you back up at St. John’s Island for a quick trip to Kusu Island for 45 minutes and then back to the mainland by late afternoon.

St. John’s Island

Known as an old quarantine island for immigrants who suffered from cholera and leprosy, now vacant for campers, tourists and homeless cats and my main reason for this adventure. The ferry dropped us off at a jetty near a lagoon. I made a quick tour of the main lodge and campground sites before feeding the homeless cats that all seem to hang out by the bridge landing before heading to Lazarus Island. After a 15 minute feeding session, I made my way over to Lazarus which took about a 15 minute walk.

Photo 1: Welcome Lodge to St. John’s Island, Photo 2 & 3: homeless cats of St. John’s Island

Lazarus Island

Here is where the more tranquil and quiet beaches rest. I think mostly because it was a weekday but also being a secluded island, I basically had the place to myself except for a docked boat and two other ferry passengers. Although I’ve read, weekend trips here will be packed.

Photo 1: Bridge Walkway between St. John’s Island & Lazarus Island, Photo 2: Enjoying the quiet beaches of Lazarus Island

Kusu Island

After about 3 hours, the ferry picked us up for a brief stop at Kusu Island. This is a legend island known for its Tortoise Temple and fostering turtle sanctuary. The layover to Kusu was only about 45 minutes but have you enough time to visit it’s temple, shrines and sanctuary before heading back to Singapore.

Kusu Island and Turtle Sanctuary

After a relaxing, touring day, I made it back to the main island for ladies night in the financial area. Meeting up with my friend Katie, we started our evening at Level 33 to catch a glimpse of the evening light show of Gardens by the Bay and the Marina Bay Sands Hotel. We then headed over to The Fullerton Hotel rooftop bar called Lantern which has free drinks for the ladies. After several cocktails, we knew we needed dinner and headed along the waterfront near Merlion Park and ate outdoors at The Pelican to continue to get great views of the evening light show.

Photo 1: Katie & I at Level 33, Photo 2: The Fullerton Hotel Rooftop bar, Photo 3: The light show view from Waterfront

Join me next week as I conclude my journey with a last long run in on my last full day to visit the bizarre tourist attraction called Haw Par Villa.

What to do in Indonesia & Singapore from One Runners Perspective. A weekly series of daily itineraries : Day 7

When you’re in Singapore, you are given many chances to visit near by countries, quickly and affordably, and that’s exactly what I did.

From Singapore’s Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal near the airport, one can take an hour long ferry to Bandar Bentan Telani in Bintan, Indonesia. This northern island of Indonesia, second most promoted after Bali, is cluttered with resorts along the coast. Picking one over the other can be your hardest decision of the day but you will be completely pleased in any one of your final destinations in Bintan.

I opted for the day pass at Club Med Bintan. For under $100 dollars you get pristine white beaches, 2 pools, 2 all you can eat and drink restaurants, daily sponsored activities like water aerobics or any water sport and even a trapeze lesson. Friendly servers, delicious cocktails and serene beach coastlines filled my day in Indonesia. It was paradise.

After spending the day and afternoon in Bintan, Indonesia, I took the ferry back to Singapore. A taxi ride later and I made my way to meet up with my friend Katie at the famous Newton Hawker Food Center. A huge outdoor fast food court with hundreds of options for Asian cuisine. You can go off the beaten path and try a unique delicacy like sting ray or stick to more traditional tiger prawns, chili crab, beef skewers or bbq chicken. You really can’t go wrong, especially if you enjoy meat, for an incredibly cheap price you can wash it all down with one or two Tiger Beers. A great way to close out the evening!

What to do in Singapore and from One Runners Perspective. A weekly series of daily itineraries : Day 6

Making my way back from Cambodia, I had a lot on my plate planned for seeing more of Singapore. An early rise at 8am & after breakfast, I had a long run planned and started by making my way towards Arab Street and the Kampong Glam District.

Masjid Sultan

This area hosts many mosques along with brightly painted buildings full with street art, souvenir & coffee shops. It’s serene, hip, & cool. Perfect for colorful photo opportunities.

After exploring a bit, I made my way over to East Coast Park. A perfect area made up of a long stretch of walking, running & bike paths parallel to the beach and lined with easy going restaurants.

East Coast Beach

After a 13 miles I was ready to hit the beach. After a quick swim, I showered up at one of the free public restrooms equipped with showers and caught a bus back into town to stroll in the Botanical Gardens.

Botanical Gardens

A huge park with several species of flowers, plants and trees, one could spend an entire day in its peace and tranquility.

This busy day had me tired early so I just grabbed some take out and planned my day 7 which included a day trip to Indonesia. Check in next blog for a day in Bintan, Indonesia!