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welcome to curated by kayla, my lifestyle blog. you can expect to find a rundown of my experiences as a marketer + traveler + runner. 

KaylaDouglas
nyc marathon: race day from start to finish

nyc marathon: race day from start to finish

Marathon morning came all too quickly. For weeks, I'd been telling people "I can't wait for it to be over!" but in reality, I found myself wanting everything to slow down as race day approached. After a few jam-packed days of fun leading up to the big day, waking up on November 5th felt sort of like Christmas morning as a kid.

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outfit flatlay

having all your gear set aside (right down to socks and fuel) the night before is essential

The logistics behind the NYC Marathon are jarring, particularly for a first-timer trying to navigate a sea of 50k runners without a clear picture of the finish line. But, fear not; the setup, including transportation, organized by NYRR runs like clockwork. Since the race starts in Staten Island, participants are assigned a ferry departure about 3-hours ahead of their wave. While it may sound extreme, for those running, I'd suggest following their recommended ferry time so you're not stressed about arriving at the start.

Crowds were chaotic as we traveled from Manhattan, but the energy shared amongst everyone running and volunteering was truly electric.

Crowds were chaotic as we traveled from Manhattan, but the energy shared amongst everyone running and volunteering was truly electric.

Once we had gotten off the bus (yep, it took a car, followed by a ferry and finished off by a bus ride to run 26.2 miles!), Lianna and I were officially in "Marathon Village." The grounds are expansive but broken up into different areas dedicated to charities and other teams. Luckily, were set to enter the invite-only United Airlines tent where we'd wait out our wave three start time at 10:45am.

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Amongst other logistics to consider, clothing choices should be centered on functionality to reduce potential issues on race day. Experienced marathoners emphasize having a plan around how you'll stay warm before the start; so, it's really common to wear extra layers that you don't necessarily care about shedding (for good!) so that you can begin your race comfortably. There are hundreds of donation bins lining the start that you can toss your extra clothes into just before you take off.

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The elite women began their race just as we'd arrived in Marathon Village. Shalane Flanagan ended up crushing her race that day to take the gold, notably the first American woman to do so in NY in 40-years! Her story is truly inspirational and worth checking out if you haven't had a chance yet.

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United Airlines tent

we were so grateful for the chance to keep warm and hydrated thanks to United Airlines

As we hung out in the tent mingling with other runners we'd met at the United dinner at Del Posto the night prior, anticipation morphed into anxiety. Despite all of the preparation, I certainly had a nagging fear that something would go awry and I wouldn't be able to complete the race....Did I bring enough gels? Was it really going to rain? Will my foot act up? All kinds of doubts were racing through my mind.

See all of those little ants? The runners in wave two were off!

See all of those little ants? The runners in wave two were off!

In order to restore some calm to our jittery minds, it was time to focus on some positive thinking. This is when it's time to turn to finding a race day mantra. Different tools work for everyone, but choosing an inspirational phrase to repeat to yourself when things get tough is super helpful. I chose "Don't be ordinary" because personally, so much of the race was redefining what's possible if you shatter the limitations others have placed on you.

I loved the different mantras that Lianna, Massiel and myself chose. "Run your own race" was something Li and I chatted about throughout our training and the concept never felt more relevant than on marathon day.

I loved the different mantras that Lianna, Massiel and myself chose. "Run your own race" was something Li and I chatted about throughout our training and the concept never felt more relevant than on marathon day.

Before we knew it, wave three was called and it was time to leave the comfy United tent to tackle the start line. Emotions were high as we walked up to "Empire State of Mind" being blared, followed by the national anthem which was beautifully sung by a runner in our wave! While the weather was certainly not what we'd been hoping for, we were each putting out positive vibes that the mist wouldn't turn into rain (spoiler alert: it DEFINITELY DID).

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 We crossed the official start line around 1:09 into official timekeeping, which meant I was fighting that "9" for 26.2 miles. Since I was looking to pace overall around 9:30/9:45, I really wanted to start seeing an "8" as I crossed the 15-mile marker and above. It turned out to be nearly impossible, but it sure was, uhm, fun trying!

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blurry photo of brooklyn

the energy in this borough of the race was truly magic

They say that the crowds that turn out in NY are unlike any other marathon in the world. Until you experience it for yourself, it's difficult to conceptualize just what the live music, cheers and overall support will mean as you knock down each mile. I can confidently say that the motivation I felt from the spectators kept me going. When things felt impossible, someone would yell your name to keep going (hint: this is why it's a MUST to have your name on your shirt!) and get you through that rough patch.

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don't stop

as much as I would have loved to take some better photos on the course, a lot turned out just like this. oops.

They say that the crowds that turn out in NY are unlike any other marathon in the world. Until you experience it for yourself, it's difficult to conceptualize just what the live music, cheers and overall support will mean as you knock down each mile. I can confidently say that the motivation I felt from the spectators kept me going. When things felt impossible, someone would yell your name to keep going (hint: this is why it's a MUST to have your name on your shirt!) and get you through that rough patch.

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My mental state fluctuated throughout the course from anywhere ranging, "THIS IS THE BEST THING I'VE EVER DONE!" to, "Why the *expletive* did I do this again? Holy *expletive* I'm literally going to walk off this *expletive* course right now and get a donut." But, that's what made it worthwhile because everytime I wanted to quit, I kept going. Stretches like the one pictured above would give me the little burst of energy to go just one more mile. And then another. Then, another.

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I also can't say enough about the funny signs along the course. Thank you to every person that made me smile with their humorous posters with sayings like "An Uber to the finish cost $40.56" to "If Trump can run so can you." When I was down, these brought me back up.
Beyond the crowds, cheers and signs, it was being able to look forward to family on the sidelines that helped get me to the finish. Lianna knew what to expect having ran the race before, so she skillfully orchestrated four points that we could look for our families along the course. I had the intersections written on my hand and would break up the race in my head based on these stops.

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By the time I'd reached Central Park where the race ends, by body was running on fumes. Unsurprisingly, all I wanted to do was finish (in under 4:30) and be done racing. Needless to say, crossing the finish line at 4:21 was a euphoric experience that words can barely describe. Besides barely being able to walk to the poncho pickup, I was overcome with pride. I'd done it.

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nyc marathon weekend pt. 1: meb edition

nyc marathon weekend pt. 1: meb edition