Posts Tagged ‘NYRR’

Summer weather has officially hit NYC which means hot and steamy running conditions. That didn’t stop us and tons of other runners from getting out there and hitting the pavement on global running day. The 4 miles weren’t exactly refreshing but they did feel like a great workout. Feeling lucky to be able to have access to so many incredible running routes in NYC and grateful for fantastic running partners. Happy Global Running Day everyone! Hope you find some time to lace up and get out there 😊

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It has been three weeks since the TCS NYC Marathon. I am finally writing my recap of that incredible day. I feel like it has taken the full three weeks to let all the emotions and experiences of the day fully sink in.

I just want to start off by saying thank you to Claire. I am so lucky to have shared this experience with my beautiful, strong, hilarious friend Claire. We have trained together, we have laughed together, we have cried together, we have definitely cursed cat hill and harlem hill together. We went on a journey together. It was tough, at times we wanted to quit, we helped each other, encouraged each other and questioned our sanity, but in the end we kicked ass together. I am grateful for her. “In a galaxy far, far, away… ” 😉


My marathon thoughts…

A friend of mine, also a runner, stated that running a marathon is a lot like a metaphor for life. During those 26.2 miles there are moments of pain, joy, excitement, despair, euphoria, disbelief, accomplishment- all the ups and downs. Tears and laughter mixed in. Much like life, you just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other and giving it the best you can.


The night before the marathon is a bit surreal. I feel like you have been training for months and months. Logging miles and miles waiting for the day to finally arrive. When it finally arrives it almost doesn’t seem real. I didn’t sleep well the night before. I worried that I would sleep through my alarm, that I hadn’t planned the proper clothing, that my food/fuel was wrong, I questioned my ability to actually finish the race and then I started panicking about where and how often I would be able to pee before I entered the corral… I am a nervous pee-er (is that even a word??!!) =) Of course, all worked out completely fine. I met Claire and Ashley and we took a taxi to catch our ferry to Staten Island.


It is really is hard to explain the frenetic, nervous, excited energy that exudes from the thousands of runners all crammed into one place heading to the start line. There are lots of comments, shared past experiences, nervous jokes and little acts of kindness. Everyone is bound together by their common goal of crossing the finish line 26.2 miles later. We all, all of us, definitely shared the same spark of crazy in our eyes!

I really shouldn’t have worried, there was plenty of time to visit the port-a-potty numerous times, stretch, take in the views, make sure the playlist was cued, calm the nerves, shed warm layers and make our way to the start.


I will never forget as long as I live the start of the NYC Marathon. Running beside Claire on the Verrazano Bridge with thousands of runners ahead of me and thousands behind me was worth all of the months of training. There really is nothing like it. The helicopters are hovering beside the bridge, breathtaking views meet you at all sides, the bridge itself is seemingly bouncing with the weight of the runners, people are taking pictures and the sound of sneakers hitting the pavement is mesmerizing. The first two miles flew by as if I was in a crazy running dream. I couldn’t believe we were doing this.

When our feet hit Brooklyn, the reality of the race set in. You run a half marathon in Brooklyn alone. It is time to sink in, let the training kick into gear and find your run. There were many times when I had to remind myself to reel it in a bit. The cheering crowds and other runners make it very tempting to pick up the pace.


I wish I could remember and break down my race from mile to mile but for me it really was about moments.

The cheering crowds in all the boroughs were unbelievable. Complete strangers yelling your name and offering support. High-fiving little kids, sharing a smile, a thumbs up or a wave. The different types of music playing, the creative and hilarious signs. The woman with the vaseline- THANK YOU!!!!!!

And then of course there were the friends and family that waited along the course so that they could share a quick moment with Claire and I. Each word of encouragement and warm hug was like a burst of energy. I am telling you right now thank you and you are all amazing.

It was pretty  hard to not get choked up when I saw my two spectacular daughters screaming my name.  They had so much faith in me and believed in me, it was everything!!!!

The marathon was a grueling race. At mile 20 I hit a pretty rough patch and I honestly wasn’t sure I was going to be able to finish. I started throwing up. Not so glamorous, but at least I managed not to hit my awesome sneakers 😉 It was at this point that I seriously began to question if I was going to be able to finish. My mind wanted to go on but my body was struggling.

Claire was a rock and like a true friend and running partner extraordinaire she agreed to only leave my side when I was left in the care of some other pretty damn incredible people. At this point I met up with my Soul family and I knew just by looking at all that love and strength that I was going to be able to finish the marathon, even if I had to crawl across the finish. YOU GUYS… my heart, seriously.


Jessica and Rebecca jumped in with me and walked with me all the way to Columbus Circle! In case I haven’t told you two enough- YOU ARE THE BEST, sniff.

Even though I had to walk for a good 4-5 miles, the support and encouragement surrounding me was inspiring. Rena and coach Rachel, Chad, Heather, Lisa, Babette, Edith, Meilan… thank you. Those last miles were a struggle but seeing all of you made my heart swell.


I was determined to run the last uphill stretch to the finish line. Central Park is my park. I had trained, logged so many hours, too many miles to count… I was crossing that finish line. And I did. It felt amazing. It felt exhausting. It felt painful. It felt euphoric. It was a day to remember.


I get asked a lot if I will ever run a marathon again. Who knows? Never say never. Right now it is in the bucket. I am pretty damn proud of myself. This has been a tough year, maybe even the toughest. The marathon was and is a triumph.

I AM stronger than I thought.


P.S. Just wanted to say a BIG thank you to everyone out there for your support and encouragement over the last few months… the texts, calls, Facebook posts and emails encouraging me on this marathon journey touched me in ways that I will never adequately be able to express.




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There are 18 days until the NYC Marathon, but hey, who’s counting??!! I finished a short run this morning and stopped at Duane Reade on my way home. I looked down at the cash register and had to laugh. Yep, this is what it has come to my friends. 

18 days and counting…

Happy Wednesday! Hope you find some time to get out and enjoy this beautiful day! 

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The NYC Marathon is less than two months away. Gulp. My training runs are getting more frequent and longer. Emphasis on longer. I am just trying to stay healthy and injury free. This weekend is the marathon tune-up. 18 Miles. My longest run EVER. Three loops of Central Park. That means three times up the Harlem Hill, three times waving at the kitty and the little “hills” inbetween. I am gearing up mentally. We (my running partner, Claire and I) have GOT this!!! Bring. It. On. 

All the bravado aside, at this point I am doing anything and everything I can to keep my feet and the rest of me healthy. Epsom salt baths, rolling, stretching, icing, acupuncture and the miracle cream Penetrex. All these helpful devices look suspiciously like “toys” and I have received odd looks from non running friends when they see them lying around. 

I also LOVE my Oofos flip flops for walking around the apartment. It’s all about keeping my feet happy 🙂

May the running Gods be forever in our favor!!

Happy Wednesday everyone!

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Today is National Running Day so even though I was feeling a little sluggish, I laced up the sneakers met up with some of my favorite running gals and headed to Central Park. I am incredibly fortunate to call Central Park my training ground. Its beauty in all the seasons is stunning. The views NEVER get old and I promise to never take the fact that I can run here for granted. Today, I will share some pics with you that I took during our running route. We ran at a very leisurely pace on this hot and humid day, we allotted time for pictures, water breaks and even headed over to the New York Road Runners Club to pick up our National Running Day bibs and bandanas. It was perfect. I feel so very fortunate to be able to run with a group of fabulous women on one of the best running courses in the world. I run to be healthy, strong, fierce, the beast mom, for my sanity, to spend time with my friends, for coffee time afterwards and of course, for cupcakes 😉 Happy Wednesday everyone and Happy Running!!!















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If you had told me six months ago that I would have successfully finished the NYC 1/2 Marathon, I would have told you that you were talking crazy talk. But here I am a week after the race, still in a bit of a post race glow. I ran a half marathon, yes I did. I ran a 1/2 Marathon in 2 hrs. 13 mins, yes I did.

Four months ago a bunch of friends sat down at breakfast and one of them suggested that we start training to run a half. We all bravely agreed that this sounded like a great idea and we convinced ourselves we were going to do it. I am sure a couple of people, myself included, left thinking “Ya, that’s never going to happen!” And then a funny thing happened, we started a little running club. This fabulous group of moms started meeting three days a week after drop off and ran in Central Park. We encouraged and inspired each other and week by week the miles started to build. We were doing it!! So, our group of ladies decided that we would all put our names in for the NYC 1/2 lottery and whoever got in would run and the rest would sign up for the More 1/2 in April. We would all have a 1/2 marathon race goal. Two days after Christmas I received an email that I was IN, I had a spot in the NYC 1/2. I have to admit, I felt equal parts dread and excitement. I was in, there was no turning back now, the training started for real.

To say I was nervous in the days leading up to the race would be an understatement. Just ask my poor husband and my visiting friend Matti. I obsessed about the course, my abilities, hydration, what I was going to wear, etc. I am sure that they were sick of listening to me. The night before the 1/2, I laid out all of the things I would need in the morning and then I went to bed relatively early, hoping to get in a few hours of sleep before my nervous energy and terror of sleeping through the alarm (which has NEVER happened) would have me waking up hourly checking the clock.

All Ready To Go!

Of course I woke up before my alarm and started getting ready at 5:15. As I was dressing by the light of my bedside lamp, I looked up and caught Ron’s eye. I let out a nervous giggle and said to him “Look at me, I am getting up a the crack of dawn on a Sunday to go and run 13.1 miles, who the hell am I ??!!” He told me how proud he was of me and that meant everything. I gobbled down a bowl of cereal, went to the bathroom at least three times, laced up my shoes and then headed out the door to meet Jessica and Rachel at 77th and Central Park West. It was still pitch dark out. Again, I questioned my sanity. I expertly dodged the vomit (St. Patty’s Day remnants) as well as a few drunken revellers on their way home and made my way to the park.

My view as I exited my apartment building. Crazy.

I met up with Jess and Rachel and then we headed to our corral. Before we took our spots we all stopped for a quick pee and of course, I had to go again while we were waiting in the corral. Being a nervous pee(er)- is that a word??- really does suck. At the corral line ups we parted ways with Rachel *insert hugs and tons of words of encouragement and inspiration* (she was in a different color group) and then we lined up in our own corral.

Jessica is NOT a morning person 😉

The sky beginning to brighten above our corral sign.

I think waiting in the corral is one of the hardest parts of the race. There is tons of nervous energy and bouncing around as people try to stay warm and calm. But in the end it is just a whole lot of waiting and more waiting. At this point my body just wanted to GO! The race started at 7:30 but our corral made it to the start line at 8:01! Yep, there was a whole lot of waiting. We were lapped before we even started. Seriously. 25 minutes after the race started while we were still edging closer to the start the elite athletes started whizzing by us, already completing a FULL loop of Central Park. Unbelievable. On the downside, we hadn’t even started to race yet, on the plus side, getting to see these runners in action is truly awe inspiring. They are beautiful.

At 8:01 we finally started and I have to tell you that it was an incredible experience right from the beginning. There really is something to be said about going for a run with thousands of other people. Their energy rubs off on you and even though running can sometimes seem like it is a solitary sport, not so in a road race where there is always someone beside you, trying to achieve the same goal, one foot after the other… The course started with one loop around Central Park. After training for months in this beautiful space, I really feel like I know the park intimately. I know each and every dip and curve. It is a great feeling running on your own turf. Jessica and I kept our training pace and ran smoothly towards the Harlem Hill. Oh Harlem Hill, how we love to hate you. We hit Harlem Hill with confidence and huffed and puffed to the top. A big THANK YOU and lots of LOVE to one of our running gals Babette who was standing at the perfect spot to cheer us on and encourage us to make to the top, it was exactly the encouragement we needed. After the Harlem Hill, there  were the four little up and down hills and then we were home free, down hill as we exited the park. I was excited to get out of the park. I couldn’t wait to head down 7th Ave and through Times Square. Running through Times Square is exhilarating and you really can’t help but be awe-struck by all of the buildings and flashing lights. Also, there is no other time when you will have that much pavement to yourself or the freedom to move. It was spectacular! I think I had a goofy grin on my face all the way to the West Side Highway.

Entering Times Square!!

One of the great things about running this race was running it with Jessica by my side. Her past race experience helped us to navigate the crowds, stay hydrated “Sandra, you need to keep drinking” and just having her running with me gave me additional strength to keep going. The West Side Highway is one loooong flat stretch. At around mile 10 I started to feel “it”, I was getting a little tired and there seemed to be no end in sight. At that point I remembered what Matti had told me, I could do this because I was Sandra Fucking Guirguis. Oh ya, that’s right and I picked up my pace a bit. By mile 11, I told myself, I got this. By mile 12 I couldn’t believe that I was almost there. 12 miles was the longest distance I had ever run. 13.1 was in my reach. At the tip of the island just past Battery Park we ran through a tunnel, at first it was a bit unnerving but then runners started cheering and the echo in the tunnel carried their voices and it was the last little push I needed. As I made my way to the finish line I was in a bit of a daze. This was it. 13.1 miles. My first ever half marathon. I did it!! At the finish it is a bit surreal, the crowd is cheering, people are congratulating you and moving you along, pictures are taken… I savoured each and every moment!! We met up with Ron, Matti and the girls and I was very proud to be able to share this time with them. I definitely couldn’t have done it without Ron’s support. He is my biggest cheerleader 😉

We did it!! Woohoo!!!

The rest of the day, I spent a lot of time on the couch and it took a few days before the stairs didn’t make every little muscle in my legs do a little “ouch”, but I am ridiculously happy to have accomplished this. I could not and would not have wanted to do it without my moms running group that inspires me daily. Our friendships have grown deeper as we have pounded the pavement through laughter, tears, vomit ;), heart to hearts, various weather and the occasional near miss with a bicycle. I love you all dearly. Thank you Coach Rachel, Jessica, Rena, Babette, Meilan, Deb, Robin, Jen, Nell, Lisa and Bien. I am looking forward to see where our next running adventure takes us!

But right now, I think I am going to go and put my feet up.. And please, don’t even ask me about a FULL marathon… I guess I should never say NEVER!

Anyone seen my personal masseuse?

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