I’m sure all of you have been waiting for this post! If you have been following along with my NYC recap from day 1 and day 2 then you pretty much know that my weekend with Team ASICS was essentially flawless. Now the day had finally come…race day. My Apple Watch chimed at 4:00am. Not that it mattered, I couldn’t sleep the night before out of fear of missing my alarm then missing my bus to Staten Island, which would mean missing race. I woke up every hour. Oddly enough, when I got out of my comfy bed I felt fine. I felt rested and ready to do this. I showered to wake up, got dressed and made my way downstairs. We waddled over to the bus (because all of us were in layers because winter) and made our way to our charter bus. I took this opportunity to go back to sleep and slept all the way to Staten Island. I woke up only once to catch a glimpse of the Brooklyn Bridge which is quite amazing.
We arrived at the shanty town/start village of the race and went through security. I love that NYPD and FDNY were all on site to ensure the runners were safe. That’s a lot of people to protect so thanks guys. The 5 to the Finish Line crew met up with ASICS PR in the morning for our photos and pre-race interviews. I admittedly was still kind of asleep and now nervous being at the start of the journey. But we got our interviews in and the crew seemed to be in the best of spirits.
After we wrapped, we all kind of dispersed and headed to our assigned start village (which is done by color). But not before Katie and I went on the most important mission of the day next to finishing the race…GETTING OUR DUNKIN DONUTS BEANIES! We were quite successful in our search. Since I was in wave 1, I had to get going to my corral to get staged for my race so I gave my girl Katie and my friend Angela some good luck hugs. I was now on my own. Just me and thoughts. The bridges. The burroughs. I got really anxious and truthfully scared.
As I sat in my corral, I just kept telling myself to stick to the plan. Run the way you need to. Walk when you feel it. Fuel on time. Breath regularly. Enjoy yourself. I wanted to have a great showing here in NYC. I had been training for it. All of you had been watching and ASICS was supporting me. I didn’t want to fall on my face and have all that work be for nothing. Before I knew it I was at the start line and my nerves were in high gear. I prepped my music (which yes I did run with), tossed my last layers off and hit the Verrazano Bridge on the lower level…where no one pees. Yes there are rumors that people pee off the top level of the bridge. Yeah, not a thing.
What I don’t want to do is recap every step of this race. What I will do is talk about the highlights and where I struggled. I ate Staten Island and Brooklyn for breakfast. I even saw my pal Matthew (Angela’s husband) just past the 5K mark and told him I was worried…the miles were flying by and I felt good. He’s run NYC and Boston so I trust his advice on course, he said “Run how you feel.” So I did just that. I kept a consistent pace. I eased up when I climbed hills, and kept it easy coming off the back of the hill. Leg preservation is key in this race. NYC climbs and drops and rocks and rolls. And yes, all the stories you hear about the crowd support are REAL! Every time I took a walk break I would get pats on the back and thumbs up of nothing but love and encouragement. I can hear over the music in my head…which was actually helping me pace and kept my locked in to where I was on course. I am a master playlist designer.
I hit the half way mark at 2:04:06. My mind was blown. I didn’t expect that. I actually danced past the timing mat, teared up a little bit and kept moving. I was in awe of what I was doing. 2:04 at the half was insane. And I felt amazing. I knew I was no where near done so I kept moving according to the plan. Stick to the plan, Sharpie!
Around mile 18 in Queens is where things started to get interesting. My quads were officially tired and tight. So I slowed up and evaluated what was happening. How fast could I go? What REALLY was hurting? Fatigue, how far along is it? So, after I performed triage myself I adjusted my pace and stride and everything was fine. I continued to hydrate, take my electrolytes, salt sticks, and fuel. I was fine. This didn’t come back until around mile 22. I walked the climb into Central Park to save my legs for the last 2 miles which winds through Central Park. I ran into my boo Kat who was dressed as a hot dog spectating the race. She gave me a BIG HUG and some awesome words of encouragement right when I needed them. I was starting to hurt and fatigue in a REAL way. But with less than 2 miles ago, slowing down when I am rocking this race wasn’t an option. So thanks Kat for the love!
The last 2 miles went by so fast. I was in Central Park and I was done with this race. I had left it all out there. I did what I could. I knew I was close to a PR and NO WAY was I going to let that get away from me because I decided to walk. NOPE! So I dug deep and cramped and hurt and RAN through the park. I WAS IN PAIN! It hurt. I also was using very colorful language…which New Yorkers ate up and yelled back at me and made me laugh. New Yorkers are pretty cool. I came through the chute arms up and THRILLED. I DID IT! I got texts from my Doyle’s crew saying “LINZ ITS 4:40:42!!!!” That was more of a PR than I thought. I couldn’t take it.
I was immediately pulled to the side by ASICS who captured my finish and interviewed me seconds after I crossed the line. I was on cloud 9. Then my girl Pastry Chef Dani who was handing out medals saw me and came up screaming and hugged me. ASICS captured the moment that broke the Internet. Such a real moment and arguably one of my favorite photos of all time.
After Dani medaled me and I gave Joe a high five, I went and got my post race poncho (which I AM IN LOVE WITH) and made my way out of there. I took the subway to Rockerfeller Center and went to my hotel and changed. I was tired but on such a high. I DID IT! I PR’D IN NYC! WHO DOES THAT?! My hard work had payed off.
This was bitter sweet. It was the season finale of 5 to the Finish Line. And yes I am lobbying for a season 2. I made some new friends. I ate all the things. I KILLED it on this course and showed myself that I am capable of so much more than I realized. We finished the night with pizza in my room and periscoping out final thoughts. Check out the final video from 5 to the Finish Line.