Where to even begin…what a trip. One of my besties, Kaella has always talked about how amazing NYC is. Her wedding a few years ago was NYC themed. Can I just say, I get it. I totally, totally get it.
Our trip to New York started early with a 4 am wake up call. Tawnya and Kaella picked me up at 4:30 and we headed to the airport for our 5:30 flight (the first of three!). We connected from Calgary to Toronto and once there grabbed some much, much needed coffee and food. We also learned that Courtney’s flight was delayed and she would be late getting to NY :-(
Once we survived our sketchy taxi ride to our hotel, we settled in. Courtney arrived not much later and we went to the race expo.
The expo was cool and we picked up some free swag. It definitely got me excited for the race, although I was still crazy nervous. Afterwards, we hit Times Square and did a little shopping, gawking and exploring. We ended up at a little gastro pub named The Guilty Goose where we had our first of many amazing meals.
The next day we did some more sight seeing (including the Plaza, aka the hotel from Home Alone, Rockefeller, Tiffany’s and St. Patrick’s Cathedral). A quick change and lunch at our hotel and then it was off to see Wicked!
Wicked was amazing, and I shed more than a few ugly tears watching the performance. I love musicals and this one tops my list for sure! It was just a surreal experience.
We knew we would need a good carb load prerace, so we went to a restaurant in Little Italy called La Mela. We knew nothing about it, but were surprised to find it was the real deal…noisy, crowded, festive and full of New York accents! I had a delicious spaghetti marinara, a gazillion pieces of the exact same bread I remember eating in Italy, and wine. They just drop the whole bottle on the table and they use the honor system . They even topped our glasses up after we paid!
It was early to bed that night, because the next morning was the race! Kaella and I laid our gear out, snagged some buns and bananas from the hotel cafe and tried to get some sleep.
4:30 rolled around too fast and we quickly dressed and shoved some food in us so we would have time to digest. We sat in the hotel lobby and shook out our nerves and went to the bathroom 6 or 7 times. Finally, it was time to head to Central Park. Kaella is much faster than me and was in a different wave, so we hugged goodbye at the entrance and went to find our respective corrals.
It was freezing and a long wait. I made a new friend in line and we chatted to pass the time. Finally, the horn sounded and we were off!
I didn’t take any pictures en route, but really tried to take it all in and absorb it. Central Park is beautiful, and not at all as hilly as people made it out to be. I actually laughed to myself a little going up one of the “dreaded” hills because it was nothing like I expected. We wound through the park for 6 miles and then headed to Time Square. It was so encouraging, because the spectators along the route really started cheering louder and yelling things like “half way there!”, “it’s all downhill and flat now” and “you trained for this, you can do it!”.
Coming up into Time Square was crazy! There was a huge increase in spectators and this big roar from the crowd, not to mention the bright lights of Time Square. It was significantly easier running and the music along the way helped!
We wound through downtown and down to the water along Manhattan. It got a LOT colder there and I was starting to shiver. Unfortunately, I had ditched my fleece in Central Park.
Around the 11th mile my body was just done. My back hurt, my legs were numb and my knees weren’t really bending. I couldn’t make a fist with either hand and was feeling broken, for lack of a better word. I was encouraged that I felt awesome cardiovascularly, but made the decision to start doing walk/run intervals. I continued with that until about 12.5 miles and the ran the rest.
When I saw the finish line, I got really emotional and started to cry a bit. It was a really overwhelming experience. I got my heat sheet, recovery bag and medal and then wound through the shoot to find my friends. I was so excited to find out that Kaella had destroyed her PR and finished in just over 1:54!!!!!! I had originally signed up for the race with a goal of 2:30. After some training I revised that to 2:15 with a secret goal of 2:10. After injuring myself and not being able to train, the new goal became just finishing the race at all. I was actually really nervous that I was going to get picked up by the bus that collects runners who won’t finish in a certain length of time. So, although I wasn’t thrilled with a time of 2:25, I am not mad about it either. I know I could have done better had I not needed a month off from training, so I will just be happy with the experience as a whole. Tawnya had to point out that I could see the Statue of Liberty from where we finished at Wall Street!
This was hidden in my suitcase
Poor Tawnya was having a horrible time with her asthma, so we took a detour to the lovely Bellvue Medical Centre after the race and hung out there for a bit. Thankfully she felt a lot better after the visit.
Also, I felt like I earned this sucker!
We got cleaned up and sent Tawnya to bed and then went back to do some more sight seeing and shopping. We took a break for dinner at Ruby Foo’s for a delicious dinner and celebratory drinks!
On our last full day there, we headed to SOHO for more shopping, subway rides, street food and lunch. We ate at an awesome vegan friendly cafe for lunch and I even snagged a vegan cookie for the ride home!
We had to, we are all closet Kardashian fans!
Courtney and Kaella tried to get tickets to a talk show, and Tawnya and I checked out the outside of the Today Show and went to MoMA. It was cool seeing all the art, although both of us will be the first to admit we didnt “get” everything there was to see, lol!
We later headed to Serendipity for dinner and Dylan’s Candy Bar for dessert. A bit more shopping and then Kaella, Tawnya and I went to the top of the Rockefeller center. The city is all visible from there and is a beautiful sight!
Afterwards, it was packing and bed, because once again it was early flights. It was such a great trip, and although I missed my family a lot, I want to go back again right now! I loved eating dinner at 9 pm, running across the street in the morning for coffee and getting ready in the room and worrying about nothing but how many different things there were to see, do and eat!
A fantastic trip with some amazing girls. It was the experience of a lifetime, and I will definitely be back! I was happy to come back and find a clean house, happy kids and my husband awaiting me. It was right back to work that night, but I took a little bit of my trip with me!