Damaris' NYCM (FE and Race Report)


On Sunday, I finished my 4th Marathon, the NYCM, the first of my season.  It was a great experience and I had tons of fun, I met tons of forumites, and I experienced how my marathon season may go if I don't get my asthma in check.  Even with that, I finished in 4:59:22, not a PR, but with a lot of insight as to how my lungs work.

Chapter 1: The Training

This was not a marathon I was planning or wanting to run, but my friend wanted me to enter the lottery and run with her (pacing her on her first) so I entered never believing I would get in.  So, of course I got in.  I had already planned to choose a high mileage intense training for the West Palm Beach Marathon (December 4), so all I needed to do was to organize my training so that I was already trained by the time I would get to NYCM and with enough time to recover until WPB.

Since I was already doing 50mpw easily, and already averaging 40mpw in 2011, in June I made the decision to use Pfitz 18/70.  It was a good plan and I loved it.  I never felt too overwhelmed by the training itself and I was able to do most of the workouts (more on that later).

So, going into the training, I was very positive that I would be able to PR, especially after I lost 25 lbs and shaved off 4 minutes of my PR in the 5K and 6 minutes of my PR in the 10K this year alone.

Training started very well and I was able to run all the workouts at my designated paces.  I completed an 18 miler in late July in 3:04 that went perfect.  But, life is not always easy and here is where August starts and things get hairy.

Chapter 2: The Asthma

For those of you that live in Florida, you know August and September are the worst months of the year.  Not only are the temps our hottest, but the humidity goes through the roof.  This year was no exception.  I ran from July through October in 90+F weather and 75-80 dewpoint of humidity.  Every fricking day!  We are still in the 80s and I cannot wait until our temps finally go down.  They got to, right?  RIGHT?

So when I started getting winded during my long runs and when I started bunking my long runs, I was not worried.  I thought it was the humidity which was brutal.  I thought it would pass and I would get better.  But I started bonking all my LRs in a period of three weeks and then came the dreaded 21 miler.

During that 21 miler, I had an asthma attack that forced me to walk back to the car and complete 17 miles, half of them walking.  That's when I realized what I had was not normal.

I was diagnosed with mild asthma in September.  The doctor prescribed me one inhaler to use twice a day plus the emergency inhaler to use whenever I felt I was on the verge of an asthma attack.  Even with the inhaler, I am currently at only 80% breathing capacity which is borderline normal but as the doctor says, it does not let me breathe deeply.  Yet, I thought my problems were over.  They were not, as you will see later in my report.

Chapter 3: The Taper

Prior to the taper, I started getting a lot of stress from life, making my training twice as hard to complete.  First, not only have bankruptcies increased tenfold this year making my caseload double and almost triple, but I was also assigned another judge, which gives me double the pleasure!  Yay! 

Then, in September my dad came over for a visit with his girlfriend.  We had a nice time, and then a week later she got an infection, went into a comma and later died.  At the same time, one of my cats got very sick and almost died as well.  Still, I kept training through it all, even completing a 20 miler barely hours after Ada passed away.  It was a very stressful and sad month we just had.

Taper went well, but with all the stresses in my life, I decided to do a more aggressive taper than Pfitz requires.  My legs started feeling fresh, my paces picked up around 20-30 seconds per mile, and all was as it should be.  My friend canceled her entry (her training was not going well), so I had the chance to run my race rather than a 6 hour marathon with her.

Chapter 4: The FEs

I arrived in NY on Thursday night, hoping to relax, not get sick, and do well on Sunday.  One of the perks of traveling alone is the ability to FE left and right.  This trip was no exception!

On Friday, I met Mary (Maloyo) for coffee and breakfast at a Starbucks in Wall Street.  We took no pictures (although you will see her later in the dinner FE).  Mary is a great person, she is funny, easy to talk to, and extremely nice.  It was a pleasure meeting her and I would love to hang out with her again in the future.

After my breakfast with Mary, I met Dahlia (lilflute) at Penn Station and headed together to the NYCM expo.  Huge expo!  It was messy, it was crowded, it was fun!  I picked my bib, bag, and T-Shirt, and headed to the Asics area to window shop.  Eh, that did not work.  I ended up buying a bunch of stuff.  I also stopped at the ING Miami booth and got my picture taking for posterity (or FB at least).

Here are some pictures of the expo:

Going overboard with the credit card

The race shirt

The Bib

After the expo, we had lunch and proceeded to Central Park to run the last 3 miles of the race and to find my husband's grandfather's bench and memorial.  Those of you that frequent the dailies know my DH's grandfather, Alberto Arroyo, was known as the Mayor of Central Park and was one of the pioneers of running in the reservoir.  Dahlia took me to the memorial and I took some pictures:

I was probably one of the few people that ran Mile 24 twice:

And here are some beautiful ladies we saw on the course:

That night, Dahlia, Gary (500lbstomarathon) and my friend Ilana went to dinner at Dos Caminos, a Mexican restaurant.  We had tons of fun.  Gary is an amazing guy and he looks so thin already!  I do look like a vampire in this picture though:

Chapter 5: The Day Before the Race

Saturday arrived and as soon as I woke up, I felt off.  I did not notice my breathing was getting shallow, but I knew I felt weak which is a sign that I was not breathing properly.  I spent most of the day at the hotel, relaxing, and waiting til I got to meet more forumites for dinner.

Our pasta dinner consisted of Carla (SeeRUNdipity) and her DH, Mary, and Tahiti (troy41).  Carla is as amazing as we all think she is and her husband is very nice as well.  Tahiti was just a bundle of nerves and I cannot believe she has kids because she's so young and pretty.  Here is a picture for posterity:

After dinner, I went back to the hotel, tried to relax and planned my marathon.  I decided on what to wear, how many gels to carry, and whether to carry my inhaler or not.  I am very glad I did.

The Race:
OK, here is the race for those that have actually read all the crap I just wrote.  From the ferry ride to the finish line, this was an amazing marathon.  The organization was superb, it was crowded, but I never felt pushed, or punched, or anything, I had access to all water stations, and was able to pass and be passed without problems.  My experience, it seems, was not the norm, as there are a lot of people that were not happy with this marathon.

I was on Wave 2, which means my start was at 10:10.  My races are normally at 6am so my first mistake was to eat what I normally eat before a race, instead of eating a full breakfast and maybe more.  I was hungry by the time I stood in the corral and things never got better after that.

We were in the corral for about 20 minutes.  The time from when I reached Staten Island to the corral went by quickly.  It was a couple of hours, but I talked to so many people around me I never noticed that time has gone by.  I took the hoodie and sweats off, remaining in my tech shirt, arm warmers and skirt and felt fine and not too cold.  Suddenly, Wave 1 left and we were officially on a countdown.  And then, we were off!

Miles 0 through 3.1:
The miles went by so quickly I never noticed I had hit the 5K mark.  The first mile is all uphill and I did not want to go out too fast or too slow but I was unable to know my pace since I was at the bottom of the bridge and the Garmin went crazy.  It said I was doing 15mm and I knew my feet were moving faster than that.  The same with the second mile, which was downhill.  I ended up running almost at 10mm when you average the two.  By Mile 3 I had finally settled on my easy pace, which is where I wanted to be throughout the whole race.  I crossed the 5K mark at 31:38, for a pace of 10:11.

10K mark:
From the beginning, I felt fine but a little off, especially since the nausea started to bother me at the 10K mark.  I know what is causing the nausea and cramps but there is nothing I can do about it, so I pushed on.  I hit the 10K mark at 1:02:55 for a 10:08mm pace.

15K through HM:
Some of you commented that I had slowed down during the 15K through HM mark.  I did not, except I had to go to the restroom and I spent 6-7 minutes in line and on the restroom at Mile 9ish (just prior to the 15K mark).  So although my paces slowed down to 10:25mm, that is counting a 7 minute stop, so I was still doing well.  I crossed the HM mat at 2:16:26.

Miles 13-19:
After Mile 13, everything starts going up.  The hills in this marathon were not that bad; they were just long.  So, I could see roads ahead with no end in sight to the uphill.  Still, I pushed on.  However, my nausea got worse and I started to get dizzy at Mile 14ish.  I did not notice until it was too late that the dizziness was related to my lack of breathing.  I was still doing strong up to the 30K mark, slowing to 10:44mm but still doing good.  Then the Queensboro bridge came.

The Queensboro bridge is not that bad.  It encompasses Miles 16 and 17.  It goes uphill for exactly 1 mile (I checked).  I was probably 3/4 done with it when I started hyperventilating.  I stopped, tried to control my breathing, and walked a bit.  The lungs were not taking it, so I pulled out my inhaler (which I had already use 30 minutes before the start) and puffed.

For those of you with asthma, you know what follows.  All the energy you possess concentrates in trying to breathe, so you get tired, you completely lack energy to do anything else but breathe.  Still, I am surprised I pushed on until almost Mile 19 without walking at all. After that, the breathing got too shallow for me continue like that.

Miles 20-26.2
Between the nausea (which never ended) and the asthma attack, I ran when I could and walked when I had to.  I continued on and did as much of the course as I could running.  But by the 40K mark, I had slowed down to 11:25mm.

When I entered Mile 24 (the one I had run two days before) I felt much better.  I ran all the way to the finish line.  And then, I was done!  The time went by so quickly, that I thought, it's after 3?  How come?  I just started!  I finished in 4:59:22, which is not my best, but also not my worst.

Post Race:

I came to the conclusion that the NYRR are torturers.  Not only do you cross the finish line to realize you must continue walking, but you walk more than a mile before you even get your gear!.  I had to walk like a 1/4 mile to get my medal, then like another 1/4 mile to get food, and more than 1/2 mile to get to my UPS truck to pick up my clothes.  Then, I had to exit Central Park and head to the subway.  After that, I had to walk 1/2 mile to the hotel.  Overall, I think I walked like 2-3 miles after the marathon, which at least helped with recovery.

I loved this marathon.  The energy from the volunteers, and spectators is amazing!  I touched approximately 200 hands from all the spectators that were there cheering you on.  I got candy, vaseline, paper towels, and other things from complete strangers, and we all had a nice time.  I challenge you to find a picture of me from the event without a smile on my face.

If you have read this far, you should be commended.  So, as a prize, here are some more pics:

And this made me really happy.  The Freedom Tower is more than halfway complete!

Thanks for reading!  You can take the rest of the day off.


  1. Great RR Damaris! I am in awe of how you continued on with all of the physical ailments that you had in addition to the asthma! Congratulations! I know this was not a PR for you, but it was still a good race! I hope that you get good news from the Dr. concerning your asthma!

  2. Damaris, back to 2010 a group of runners from MIA ate at the same italian restaurant.

  3. Fantastic job pushing through the obstacles that were thrown at you and still finishing well. Loved the all the pics. Thanks for posting them!

  4. hey found you via the RW boards. Congrats on the NYCM finish!! Looks like it was awesome!! Now you can come back to sunny Florida and run some more! :-)

    I feel inspired now...if you can complete a marathon even with asthma issues...then i should be able to as well someday!


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