First Marathon Story: Emily from Em in NYC!

You may remember that last year, I ran several first marathon stories on my blog. I wanted to share a special one with you today.

My friend Emily has “wanted to run” for a long time. Her good friend Kathleen and I both are marathon runners, and Emily would always say how much she wanted to become a runner.

Last year, she got a Garmin for Christmas and then blogged that she should run a half, or something. This is where I stepped in.

“I’m running the D.C. Half. Here’s a plan. You should run it, too.”

And she did. And then said “people who do fulls are nuts.

And then called me in May and said she wanted to run NYCM. (On the same day Anne told me she was thinking about a marathon, too. MY HEART SWELLED for both of them.)

And now, my dear friend Emily is just five days away from her first marathon, the best marathon in the world. I’m so proud of her, and below is her story in her own words.

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Name: Emily


Years running: Just 10 months…so not quite 1 year!

Marathon training for: ING NYC Marathon 2013

Why I decided to run a marathon:

Marathon Day in NYC is magical and I look forward to cheering on my friends each and every year. The energy of the city is off the charts and it’s so fun to be a part of. There’s pure joy everywhere and quite simply, I wanted a bigger piece of it.

But if I’m being honest…and since we’re all friends here (right?)…I’ll admit that I had also been in a bit of a personal slump and felt like I needed to shake things up a bit. Taking control of my loneliness, anxiety, and general lackluster feelings about the present state of my life and replacing them with something that would make me feel proud, strong, and awesome was the only option. Setting a goal that was well outside of my comfort zone gave me something to pour my time, energy and heart into. It’s been hard work, but I’ve found joy after every long run, every donation that was made to the cause I’m running for, and every piece of Lululemon apparel I’ve purchased with the excuse of “I’m running a marathon” (my bank account, however, isn’t so joyful).

So, in short, I decided to run this marathon for…JOY!

(Not going to lie…I also thought that training for a marathon would make me “skinny”…spoiler alert…it didn’t…more on that later!)

How is marathon training measuring up to your expectations? What’s better or worse than you expected?

With the exception of one thing, everything about this process has exceeded my expectations. I’m about to bullet point this jam…

  • Through this process, I’ve fallen in love with running. I’ve looked forward to the runs and races that have gotten me to this point. Added bonus: Now I can call myself a runner and not feel like a total poser.

  • The experience of training with Team In Training (to support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society) has been stellar. The coaches and mentors are incredibly organized and I’ve been impressed with them every step of the way.

  • The running community in NYC is legit. Even though we’re just a bunch of individuals doing loops in the park, there’s this quiet understanding that we’re all in this together. Also, I’ve found that most runners are SUPER nice and I pretty much want to be friends with all of them.

  • I couldn’t believe it when my wine-less (and pretty boring) Friday nights and early weekend mornings were met with anticipation for tacking on a few more miles. Nothing compares to the way you feel when you’ve completed 14 miles before most of your friends are even out of bed. Nothing.

What’s the exception?

I mentioned this before, but training for a marathon does not, in fact, make you skinny. Surprised? I was! As it turns out, when you eat and drink with abandon after every long run because you feel like you’ve “earned it” or when you over indulge because you’re, like, running 20-30 miles over the course of the week…that’s not exactly a guarantee for success. However, instead of concentrating on a few extra pounds, I’m focused on the fact that my body is strong enough to carry me 26.2 miles in a few days…and that’s pretty awesome.

Number of days running per week

I run 4 days per week – Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. I have also been cross-training at SoulCycle on Monday’s & Wednesday’s with my favorite instructor, Lori A, at the Upper West Side studio. If I could go back and start my training all over again, I’d focus more on my strength training and core work as well. I can run and pedal to my little hearts content but picking things up and putting them down is a very different story.

What are you most excited about for the race?

You can’t honestly expect me to pick just ONE thing, right?

  • Seeing my entire family and so many friends along the course!

  • The “Did I actually just do that” feeling I’ll get and wrapping myself up like a baked potato with one of those finisher foil after the finish line.

  • Having an excuse to wear a hair bow (umm…I’m serious, people. Opportunities for this 31 year old to rock a hair bow are dangerously few and far between. Important things are important).

  • Seeing NYC from the Verrazano Bridge and taking in all the people, stories, and energy around me.

What are you most terrified of?

I’m afraid I’ll miss spotting my family along the course. They basically jumped through rings of fire to make this weekend a special one for me and not seeing them en route to the finish would be pretty disappointing. I’ve recently spent a significant amount of time praying for specific things pertaining to the race and they usually sound a little bit like this…

“Dear God – It’s me, Emily. Please don’t make it rain on Marathon Sunday! Oh, and if I’m making requests…please don’t let some uncomfortable digestion situation prevent me from running my best…but if it must happen…please let there be a semi-clean facility nearby (that has TP) and let’s make the process snappy because I have a time goal and stuff. But seriously…no rain, OK? Thanks and AMEN.”

Do you think you’ll ever run another marathon?

We should revisit this question on the evening of Sunday, November 3rd, but I think yes! I’m actively fulfilling the New York Road Runners 9+1 Program in order to get guaranteed entry to the 2014 ING NYC Marathon. I like having options.

Number of black toenails so far?

ZERO! Aside from a pretty painful blister (thanks a lot new running shoes!), my training ailments have been pretty non-existent. That being said, this week I’m feeling all kinds of new aches and twinges that my experienced runner friends refer to as Phantom Pains. Let’s hope that’s the case! (Editor’s note: True story. Emily and I are also
now lucky enough to work in the same building, and she came up my desk yesterday
to tell me that everything hurt. PHANTOM PAINS, I told her.)

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Any advice for Emily?? As you can see, she already has her name on her shirt, which I feel is a damn good start.

8 comments on “First Marathon Story: Emily from Em in NYC!

  1. Becky @ Olives n Wine

    I love this post, Emily and Theodora! I can also relate to sooo many things in here. I have yet to run my first marathon – I’m aiming for the Chicago marathon next year – but can say from experience that training definitely doesn’t make you skinnier. I always have the opposite problem, haha! Best of luck and can’t wait to read about your results 🙂

  2. Sarah (Shh...Fit Happens)

    Such an honest and fun post! I loved reading through and now I kind want to go run around Central Park! 🙂 I have only ever visited NYC and am always envious of the runners and that I am not wearing any running gear when Im there!

  3. joelle (on a pink typewriter)

    Yay, I like that you’re sharing stories like this! Great to hear how other people found themselves at the starting line of a long distance race….everyone’s got a different experience to contribute. Good luck to you BOTH this wkend! 🙂

  4. Beth

    I’m running the marathon on Sunday and it is my first one as well. I can totally relate to everything Emily says in this post! Thanks for writing this – it makes me feel like I’m not alone with my crazy phantom pains this week:) Good luck on Sunday and have fun!!!!

  5. Cassie

    This is a great piece… my best friend (a non-runner) texted me today saying she wants to train for NYCM… which is the one marathon I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve done a number of halves and never thought I’ve wanted to do a full… Emily’s post puts me a nudge in the right direction!


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