The one piece of advice I always give to first time marathoners (in training) is to appreciate your experience because any other marathon or long distance race after the first one will never be the same. You will always compare your next experiences with the first one… crowds, course, time, training, the list goes on. The NYC Marathon is a perfect first marathon (and may spoil you for the future) because no other marathon in the world will ever compare especially when you have the good fortune to train on the course and call NYC home.
I’ve known Carrie for a couple of years now before either one of us became marathoners. I thought it would be interesting to have Carrie share her experiences from the perspective of a first time marathoner who just completed the NYC Marathon (CC – me, CB – Carrie).
Congratulations Carrie on an incredible achievement and I am so proud to call you my friend and teammate!!
CC: Why did you want to run a marathon?
CB: Prior to running the NYC marathon, I had run four half marathons and running a marathon was something I have always wanted to do. After seeing my sister run the NYC marathon in 2013, the race itself is so inspiring and exciting, I knew I had to sign up. I worked to complete NYRR’s 9 + 1 in 2013 and was excited to finally start training in 2014. Running a marathon gives you a sense of accomplishment, a challenge and makes you a stronger person. I enjoyed learning as much as I could about running and really embraced the entire process. I have played team sports my entire life, and knew that to prepare for the marathon, doing so in a team environment would be the most effective for me. I researched many charity teams and wanted to run with Alzheimer’s due to the smaller size of the team and wonderful cause they are supporting.
CC: What made you decide to run the NYC Marathon as your first marathon?
CB: Growing up in Larchmont, NY, 30 minutes outside of Manhattan, NYC is my home turf. I remember growing up and seeing my friend’s parents run the marathon. I am lucky to have such an amazing course in my backyard. I have lived in the city for 7 years and grew up in the suburbs of Manhattan so it just made sense. I don’t know if I realized when I signed up that NYC is such a tough, hilly course, but as the song goes, “if you can make it there, you’ll make it anywhere…” and I am looking forward to trying my hand at a flatter “fast” course someday soon.
CC: What do you think helped most during the training?
CB: Being part of an amazing team like Athletes to End Alzheimer’s. The coaches were very supportive and dedicated to the team. I really can’t imagine training alone and not having anyone to answer all of my first timer questions and concerns. Being part of a team, also exposed me to many marathon “veterans” who would share their tips and wisdom on the “dos and don’ts” of marathoning. It was comforting to be around people who had so much knowledge and experience. Lastly, being on a team causes you to push yourself harder than you would alone. I have trained for several half marathons and did not feel nearly as prepared or strong in those races.
CC: What is the one piece of advice that was most helpful?
CB: 1) Not to go out too fast – this is easier said than done but an important tip that I kept in my mind as I was running on Sunday. 2) As one of my coaches put it, “the marathon is just the icing on the cake”…knowing that the hard part of running a marathon is the countless hours you put in and the weekly commitment you make to training. Being confident in your preparation and just enjoying the race and being in the moment. I think it is important to mentally prepare yourself as much as possible and knowing that I was prepared and could do it, helped me not to freak out as I was heading into my corral.
CC: What do you wish you knew before Sunday?
CB: It’s great to have a goal or a time in mind, but completing a marathon in and of itself is an incredible accomplishment that one should celebrate. Sometimes the conditions don’t go in your favor and even with perfect conditions, you never know what could happen on the course. Remember that running a marathon alone makes you part of an elite percentage of people and take pride in that accomplishment.
CC: What advice would you give someone who will be running NYC as their first marathon?
CB: Join a team and run for charity! Not only will you be helping to raise awareness and do good in this world but you will push yourself harder than you would otherwise. Plus, the running community in NYC is second to none and meeting other “crazy” runners to hang out with is never a bad thing! 😉
CC: What other races do you want to run next?
CB: I am looking forward to getting more halves under my belt. A half is a great distance! I am thinking about the NYC half or maybe traveling to do one in a fun destination like Miami. Marathons: I would like to run NYC again – I personally don’t feel it’s a race that you can do just once. I have unfinished business with NYC and would like to try to run it without 40 mph winds…other than that, I think it would be fun, and a dramatically different experience to try to run a flat course like Chicago or the Marine Corps in Washington, DC.