15 Things I’ll Never Forget About the TCS NYC Marathon

Running the TCS NYC Marathon was an incredible experience that I will never forget. To give a simple recap of the race would not do justice to the magnificence of this once in a lifetime running adventure. Plus, I like to do things differently than other bloggers (in case you haven’t noticed). So I’m sharing the 15 most significant parts of the marathon that will stay with me forever. Hopefully, this takes you through my emotional and mental marathon journey without all the physical suffering.

recap of the TCS NYC Marathon

  1. The training. I began preparing for the race in the excruciating August heat. After running 12 miles on a treadmill to avoid the heat, I knew I had the mental energy to complete the arduous training. I ran 5 times per week on extremely sore legs that never fully recovered, which made  me realize that I could do ANYTHING. The most annoying part of the training was the constant hunger. Believe me when I tell you that it’s possible to get sick of carbs.

2) Getting to the start. The NYC Marathon starts at Fort Wadsworth on Staten Island. The only ways to get there are to take a REALLY early morning bus or the Staten Island Ferry. To avoid the insane crowds, I decided to take a later (9am) ferry, which worked out perfectly. When I got to Staten Island, I only had to wait for a bus to Fort Wadsworth for about 30 minutes (instead of 1-2 hours, like the people before me). One thing I could’ve never expected was the insane amount of traffic on Staten Island. It took us 45 minutes to go three miles. I made it to the start just in time for my 10:40 am start.

3) The start. Waiting on the upper level of the Verrazano Bridge for the race to start was thrilling, to say the least. When it was time, the announcers counted off with an “on your mark…”, then a cannon shot off (yes, a cannon!), and Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” played through the speakers. Running over the Verrazano Bridge was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced, and it made me feel like I was on top of the world.

4) The spectators and their energy. After crossing the bridge, I started my journey through Brooklyn with unrelenting energy from screaming spectators. The air was electrified with the voices of energetic fans, and it put a smile on my face for miles. That smile continue for many miles, especially when I ran into my first friend at mile 7 in Park Slope.

Wondering what it’s like to run the #TCSNYCMarathon for the first time? This runner shares her experience. Click To Tweet

5) My first sign at mile 11. I’ve run a ton of races. In fact, I ran 9 races in 2015 alone to guarantee my entry into this marathon. But I’ve never had anyone on the sidelines with a sign just for me. That changed at mile 11 of the TCS NYC Marathon. I was beyond thrilled to have own personalized spectator moment.

TCS NYC Marathon sign

6) Hitting 13.1 and feeling great. I’ve run 8 half marathons, and I know what it feels like to cross the finish line after 13.1 miles. I’m usually tired and happy it’s over. But when I hit 13.1 in this race, I felt fantastic.

7) Seeing my family at 16. To get to mile 16, I had to run up the Queensboro Bridge, which is a bit tough after running for 2+ hours. This is where many people around me dropped down to a walk, but not me. I knew my family was waiting for me at mile 16, and I was so excited to see them! And alas, another sign!

family at TCS NYC Marathon

8) Running the streets of Manhattan. I performed much of my training on the streets of Queens and in Central Park. Running up 1st avenue was cooler than words can describe. As a native New Yorker, who is constantly dodging cars, bikes and other pedestrians, I felt free flying through the streets of Manhattan on my own two feet.

9) Hitting “the wall” in the Bronx. After that “free” feeling in Manhattan, I felt pretty terrible in the Bronx. I definitely hit “the wall” at mile 20 and endured aches and pains that were brand new to me. Plus, I lost mental energy as everyone around me was taking walk breaks. Words cannot really describe the agony and exhilaration of running miles 20-26.

10) Mile 24. The Bronx was leading me to mile 24, where I knew my family would be waiting again. If they weren’t there in Central Park, I don’t know how long it would’ve taken me to get from mile 20 to 24. Having the support of people on the sidelines does so much for your mental energy–it’s really incredible.

11) Those last two miles. After I reached mile 24, I didn’t care about the pain anymore. I felt a new burst of stamina from seeing my family, and I was ready to get to the finish line. I won’t say the last two miles were easy, but the thought of being so close to the finish line gave me new adrenaline. And, of course, seeing the words “Finish” after 26.2 miles of running is indescribable.

12) Receiving congratulatory texts. One of the coolest parts about running was knowing that people were tracking me from all over the country. Two RD friends tracked me from Washington DC and Seattle, and they both sent congratulatory messages as I crossed the finish line. My cousin tracked me from Florida. My other friends tracked me from Atlanta. Hell yeah for technology!

13) The greatest runners high ever. After the race, I had to walk about a mile to exit Central Park. I picked up this awesome poncho, and I enjoyed my runner’s high. I didn’t even feel tired or hungry– I was just excited. Going down the stairs to the subway definitely sucked, but otherwise, I was on cloud nine.


14) Feeling more sore than I knew was possible. I could barely walk the next day. My day went something like this: Get up. Lay back down. Ice my joints. Heat my muscles. Repeat. But by post-marathon day 3, I was walking normally again.

15) Wanting to run again. I felt 100% about a week after the marathon, which could only mean one thing for a runner–I wanted to run again. Bill kept telling me to wait another week, but it’s so hard to go from running 30+ miles a week to not running at all. The Sunday after the marathon, I went out and ran a few miles and felt great. Now, I’m doing more yoga and running less. But my next goal is to run the NYC ½ Marathon (in March) faster than I ever have before!



  • Reply
    December 1, 2016 at 11:15 am

    Congrats again!!

  • Reply
    Sally @ Real Mom Nutrition
    December 1, 2016 at 11:28 am

    Congrats Natalie! This is such a huge accomplishment. I love that you shared the ups AND the downs so people know what it’s really like. Way to go!

  • Reply
    December 1, 2016 at 12:47 pm

    Congrats again! I loved reading your recap- definitely makes that marathon even higher on my bucket list! PS walking was terrible the first couple days after the marathon but omg sitting down was the hardest thing ever for me!

  • Reply
    Lindsey Pine
    December 1, 2016 at 2:28 pm

    Congrats Natalie! Such a huge accomplishment! Loved reading about your experience!

  • Reply
    Chrissy @ Snacking in Sneakers
    December 1, 2016 at 8:31 pm

    Way to go! Sounds like it was an amazing race and experience. 🙂

  • Reply
    December 1, 2016 at 9:10 pm

    Congrats! Sounds like such a memorable experience!

  • Reply
    Bridget Swinney
    December 1, 2016 at 11:07 pm

    Wow! You’ve done something most wouldn’t dream of doing (me included!) And to top it off, you look model perfect in your pictures! Congrats!

  • Reply
    Katie Cavuto
    December 2, 2016 at 10:33 am

    Congrats! What an amazing experience!

  • Reply
    December 2, 2016 at 1:29 pm

    Congratulations! Loved reading your recap of the marathon–it brought me back to my one and only marathon many years ago! (But it was much smaller — can only imagine how cool it is to run the NYC marathon!) Sounds like you are ready to sign up for another one! 😊

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