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A trip down NYC marathon memory lane…

My NYC marathons are on a 15 year (approx) cycle.   In 1985 – I ran/finished my first NYC marathon….followed by #2 in 1999….and #3 yet to come – Nov 2, 2014.   So many things have changed….


  • just under 16,000 runners.   I was one of approximately 2000 women runners
  • I’m 20-something  (exact age details are overrated 😉
  • My mom was against the idea of me running 26.2 miles.  She was convinced it would contribute to some organ failure 😉
  • World Trade Centers still existed
  • I got “IN” to the NYC marathon via the lottery
  • Information is relayed to you from the event organizers via postal mail!
  • running over the Verrazano Bridge was most memorable with views of the NY Harbor….and men taking a pee over the side of the bridge
  • I ran in gym shorts and a t-shirt — there was no such thing as “performance” or “technical” fabrics
  • My nutrition can be best described as: M&M’s, popcorn, soda and cookies
  • no cell phones or technology to capture the moment, or coordinate with family
  • no timing devices
  • no Garmin or GPS thing….just a wind up watch
  • no official event photographers located throughout the course – you get one official photo when you cross the finish line
  • water only was available on the course– no Gatorade or performance energy drinks, or energy gels
  • no internet
  • I trained by running no more than 13 mile max.  Leading running experts “thought” that you just needed to run 1/2 the distance during training — to be able to complete the full distance on event day.
  • I trained solo – there were no running groups or clubs – in upstate NY.
  • I measured my training distances in advance by driving my car the route – and used the mileage from the car as my distance markers.
  • spent the night before the marathon in Poughkeepsie, NY – and took a 4AM train into NYC on the day of the marathon
  • caught a bus from mid-town Manhattan to the Start – at Ft. Wadsworth in Staten Island
  • my brother accompanied me to NYC for the event and miraculously found me at the finish
  • I ran well up to 13 miles…then it took a very long time to finish the event after that!
  • apparently training up to 13 miles, makes you good and ready to run only 13 miles
  • took a train that evening back to Poughkeepsie, NY.  I proudly wore my finisher medal the entire train ride.
  • photos


  • approximately 32,000 runners
  • I’m 40-something  (exact age details are still overrated 😉
  • World Trade Centers still existed — and I had even worked at 2 World Trade (106 floor) in the late 1980’s
  • I got “IN” to the NYC marathon via the lottery
  • Information is relayed to you from the event organizers via postal mail!
  • I trained for this for approximately 3 weeks.   You read correctly – 3 weeks.  I have no idea what I was thinking.  I was very fit, but not running fit.
  • took an Amtrak train from Maryland to NYC – accompanied by my brother Chuck and his wife Jill
  • had a reservation for a hotel in Manhattan.  It turned out to be a crack-house.   We turned and ran from this building…and planned to spend the night in a taxi cab as there were no rooms anywhere in Manhattan.
  • At 9PM, our friend George Bernard found us a hotel room in mid-town Manhattan for a zillion dollars for 1 night.  We took it…
  • got up at 4:30AM to board a mid-town Manhattan bus for Staten Island start.
  • Temperatures very cold.  I group huddled with the Italian and French runners…
  • carried a Nokia analog cell phone — which is a monster in size compared with today’s technology — and definitely not a “smart phone”
  • no Garmin or GPS thing — still using a wind up watch
  • no running with music – unless you carried a bulky Sony Walkman!
  • called my brother at mile 13 from the monster phone – and requested that he find me a banana.   Apparently this was next to a Mission Impossible task due to the # of spectators — but they did find a banana at a Bodega in Manhattan.
  • despite the millions of spectators on First Avenue at 59th street — heard my brother and sister-in-law call out my name — and they handed me a much needed banana
  • fancy-schmancy gels and goos did not exist
  • by the time I made it to mile 13 – my hip flexors had quit.  I dragged myself the remaining 13+ miles to the finish.  It was not pretty.
  • Note to self…if you are going to run a marathon, it helps to train for one.
  • no official event photographers located throughout the course – you get one official photo when you cross the finish line.   One scary photo was enough!
  • I could barely walk after finishing.
  • Somehow managed to get down the steps leading to the subway – and SENIOR CITIZENS got up to give me their seat.  Oh so sad!!!
  • photos


  • approximately 50,000 runners will start the NYC marathon
  • I’m 50-something  (at this point I don’t remember the exact age details 😉
  • World Trade Centers gone.
  • I did NOT get “IN” to the NYC marathon via the lottery – instead got in via a charity partner – The Ulman Fund Team Fight
  • I have an amazing team of supporters — Thank you!!
  • thanks to 2013 Boston Marathon insanity — there is huge focus on security!
  • So much technology to choose from — from a Garmin GPS…to a SmartWatch…to a Smart Phone to iVue Video Glasses — that can be easily carried while I run!
  • Timing devices throughout the course – to aid your friends n family in tracking you via the internet!
  • Information is relayed to you from the event organizers via Internet — no more paper!
  • I actually trained….3 years of a steady diet of 1/2 marathons, with the last 20 weeks following a marathon training plan.  Who knew I could be trainable at this age?
  • I train primarily solo — with my Team Sherpa accompanying me on my long runs.   My Team Sherpa ROCKS!!!
  • longest distance trained – 21 miles
  • I am at the same running weight – as I was in 1985
  • My nutrition revolves around veggie & fruit smoothies, more veggies, all whole foods, lots of carbs…no sweets…but I still love popcorn!
  • I now drink Gatorade and consume gels — starting at hour 2 of running
  • booked a room VERY early.  Though, too late to get a room in Manhattan (one that I could afford).  Will be staying in Queens
  • I will be joined by my incredible TEAM SHERPA’s – hubby (Paddy), brother (Chuck), sis-in-law (Jill), step-daughter (Emma- who is also running NYC), and son-in-law (Mike – who just ran the Marine Corps Marathon)
  • Excited for what will “be”….
  • Stay tuned!!!

5 replies »

  1. Loved the way I could follow your experience (and running culture!) through the years! This was a fun and interesting post to read.
    Hang in during your taper. I’ll be rooting for you come the 2nd!

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