IT Band Running Injury: How to Recover

IT Band Running Injury: How to Recover

On one of my recent blog posts, one commenter suggested I write a post on how to recover (and train) with an IT Band Running Injury. Honestly, this was a great recommendation. I suffered a tough IT Band Running injury in March of 2018. I had recently completed my first marathon in January – the Disney World Marathon – and was just starting to get back into running after taking February easy. My first race back was a half marathon. After crossing the finish line, I instantly knew something was wrong and it took me 2+ months for the IT Band issue to recover.

IT Band – What is it?

Commonly known as Iliotibial Band Syndrome, it is an “overuse injury causing pain on the outside part of the knee especially during running when the heel strikes the ground.” (Medicine Net). If you believe you have an IT Band Injury, conduct some additional research to determine if it’s IT Band or something similar. In my case, I researched online to determine the issue.

Here are my top 6 recommendations to recover from an IT Band Running Injury (in no particular order). Please keep in mind that I’m not a licensed doctor or physical therapist. This is strictly based on my personal experience and what worked for me.

1.) REST – Take Time Off

It can be really hard to give ourselves a break from running. We all have races and training schedules and no one likes to get behind. However, when it comes to running and our bodies, always play the long-term game. I struggle with this a lot because it’s easy to think of the short term. For me, I barely trained for a few weeks. I did have a few races during this stretch, which I hobbled through them. Based on the severity, take a week or two off running and then reevaluate to see how your body feels. Patience is key here.

2.) SHOES – Get a Gait Analysis

If you’re pounding the miles, it’s important that you have the right running shoe with you every step of the way. The pair of Nikes that I initially wore the first few years of training were not good for me. In fact, after long distance runs, it was not uncommon for me to get huge blisters on my arches. Not knowing any better, I assumed it came with the territory. It doesn’t have to be this way. After the IT Band injury, I went to my local running store and had a gait analysis conducted.

During a gait analysis, they watch and film you running on their store treadmill to see your overall form. Based on your form, they recommend a pair of running shoes that will be a good fit for stability and support. I ended up with the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 2018s – one of the better shoes on the market for support and stability. I ran in the Brooks Adrenaline shoes for about a full year until just recently swapping back to a quality pair of Nikes.

3.) BRACES & KT TAPE – Add Support

As an added layer of support, use a knee brace/sleeve or KT Tape to keep everything secure and for overall peace of mind while running.

4.) RUNNING FORM & POSTURE – Be Aware and Try to Improve It

This is a big one. I’ll be the first to admit that my running form isn’t anywhere near perfect. When I first started running, I didn’t consider form. However, after the injury, I became aware of proper running technique and what it entails. I’m still learning and I haven’t changed as much as I’d like with my running form. It’s not easy.

If you are a heel striker, you are putting extra strain on your IT Band/Knee Joints. Pare that with overuse and you get IT Band issues. I’m now a lot more cognizant of heel striking and try to land parallel to the ground. My form isn’t great, but it’s better than what it was before.

5.) STRETCH & FOAM ROLL – Actively Work on Recovery

I recommend Googling multiple exercises for IT Band Recovery. Personally, I spoke to a friend in the Physical Therapy field. My friend gave me multiple exercises to help recover. There’s no specific stretch that made me feel better, so I would try several on your own to see what feels best for you.

6.) ICE IT – Post Run

I’ve found it very helpful to ice my knees after long training runs. Personally, I recover faster and have less injuries when I go this route. I use a Neoprene Wrap with a gel pack. I always keep the gel pack in the freezer and input it into the wrap when I use it. If you’re having an ongoing issue, I’d recommend doing this.

These are my top 6 recommendations on how to recover from an IT Band Running Injury. Of course, if it’s not healing on its own, please consult a doctor and physical therapist on next steps. If you have specific questions or comments, feel free to comment below or send me an email.

Hydrate During Summer Marathon Training!

Hydrate During Summer Marathon Training!

The summer is my least favorite time to run. It’s always hot and humid. If it were a dry heat, it would be more tolerable, but the east coast is always hot and sticky in the summer months. Unfortunately, fall marathons force summer long runs. Summer training is not ideal, but a necessary evil. In summer, it’s especially important to hydrate properly.


Most people struggle to stay hydrated in general regardless of the month. A 2013 study from CBS Miami found that “up to 75 percent of Americans may be functioning in a chronic state of dehydration.” Think about that – 3 out of 4 people may be chronically dehydrated. It’s important to keep in mind that caffeinated drinks also act as dehydrators and can counteract our water intake.

Of course, I’m a huge advocate for everyone to hydrate appropriately athlete or non-athlete. However, as an athlete, it’s extremely important to push the water and electrolytes when training. I’ll let you do your due diligence on how much water you should intake daily as there are so many factors and variables involved.

So, what are some steps I take to stay hydrated?

  • Awareness

With anything in life, it starts with being aware. I actively try to stay aware of how much I hydrate. It’s helpful to get into a routine.

  • Plan 

Before long runs or races, I always hydrate ahead of time and pump more fluids and water into my system. During runs, I’ll analyze how my body is performing and whether I need to hydrate again. Post workout, the first thing I do is hydrate to make sure I’m increasing my fluid levels.

  • Nuun Hydration 

I’m an ambassador for Nuun Hydration. You can check out my athlete profile. After intense workouts, I like to hydrate with one of their Sport + Caffeine Tablets. This helps me replenish quickly. My definition of an “intense workout” varies greatly. If I run 3 miles on a humid day outside and come back sweaty, I deem that as an “intense workout.” Nuun is great because it’s light on the calories, carbs and sugar. They try to use natural ingredients and I love that their caffeine is from organic green tea extract.

  • My Routine 

I often drink over a gallon of water a day. This is normal for me. With long runs and training regimens, I need to constantly be hydrating. In addition to water, I’ll drop a Nuun Tablet into my water to get extra electrolytes after intense training. Besides that, I’ll usually have 1-2 cups of black coffee throughout my day. Although it’s technically a dehydrator, I’m aware of that and make up for it with my overall water consumption.

Besides that, I don’t drink anything else (besides the occasional drink to kick off the weekends). I’m not an advocate for soda or any drink that has unnecessary amounts of sugar, unnatural flavorings, dye, etc.

This summer, be conscious and hydrate accordingly. Regardless of your training regimen, don’t allow yourself to get dehydrated.

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United Airlines NYC Half

United Airlines NYC Half, March 2019

This was my first time running the United Airlines NYC Half. If you’re a runner, this is a great race to compete in. The NYRR event is top notch and the course is exciting and fun.


The course starts in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park and heads down the streets of Brooklyn towards Manhattan. Then it crosses into Manhattan via the Manhattan Bridge and heads up FDR Drive until 42nd Street. At that point, it cuts across town toward the West side until Times Square. I’m pretty sure this is the only race where you run directly through Times Square! After Times Square, it continues up through Central Park for the last mile and a half and ends a few blocks short of Columbus Circle on the West Side.


My goal for this race was to pace below 8 minute miles. Unfortunately, I just missed and clocked 1:44:52 for an 8:00 average pace. I was also only 2 seconds away from a new half marathon PR! I was so close, but still missed.

Overall, I’m happy with the grit I showed on the course considering the circumstances. My wife and I moved to a different apartment the day before and spent 8+ hours packing, lifting, cleaning and unpacking items. Honestly, it drained me more than I was expecting and my whole body ached afterwards. I didn’t plan to move and race on the same weekend, but when you’re apartment hunting in NYC and find a spot, you have to move quick. I was concerned this was going to affect my race performance and it definitely did.

With that being said, I was exhausted before the race started and knew I didn’t hydrate well enough. I’d like to think I handled it like a champ. I hydrated a lot on the course and still did everything I could to PR and go under 8 minute miles. In hindsight, I started off too fast and ended up getting tired at mile 7 – hey, it happens! I really had to push and grind out the last 6.1 miles. This was one of the tougher half marathons I’ve had recently as I was not ready emotionally or physically.

My Takeaways:

  • Don’t move and race on the same weekend – it’s just too much (I didn’t plan it that way)
  • Pace yourself and don’t start off too fast
  • Make sure you incorporate hill/incline training into your workouts. The Manhattan Bridge got me and there were some other hilly pockets that slowed me down

Overall, it was a good race. Tough races are a good thing as you become more prepared for the next one. Although the weather was considerably better than the Fred Lebow Half in January, this was by far more challenging mentally and physically.

I put up some additional United Airlines NYC Half photos on my Instagram – Run.with.Rankin.

Fred Lebow Half Marathon

The Fred Lebow Half Marathon, January 2019

One of my goals is always to start the new year strong – running a half marathon in January is a great way to kick things off. As I gear up for my Spring races, it’s important that training starts in January and racing incentivizes me to stay on target. The Fred Lebow Half Marathon is my first half marathon since October’s Brooklyn Half.

Living in NYC, the weather in January is often a mixed bag. It’s pretty risky running a half in January. You never know if you’re going to be running on ice, in puddles or frigid temperatures. For this race, it was puddles and cold rain.

My Goals:

My goal for this race was very simple: Use it as a training run. It was not designed to be a PR race. I wanted to ensure my training started in January and this was a great way to do that. I ran a sub 2 hour half marathon (5-6 minutes off my PR time). No complaints from me as it was just a training a run and I wasn’t that prepared for it.

The weather made it challenging — I got drenched. When I got home, I was literally wringing out my clothes – everything was soaked! All in all, it was a much needed training run, but a gritty run. As much as I hate running in tough weather conditions, I know that it’s helpful in the longterm. The more experiences I have in tough weather, the better prepared I am to successfully tackle it the next time around. I always try to find a positive spin for every race (especially the tough ones)!

A huge thank you to the NYRR staff and volunteers – they are often overlooked and are a huge part of every race. The only thing worse than running in the cold rain is standing in it for hours. I really appreciate the team and volunteers.

2019 Goals: Running, Health, and Grit

2019 Goals: Running, Health, and Grit

Personally, I live by checklists and goals. At the end of every year, I start contemplating on the previous year. The pros and cons, areas for improvement and new goals to tackle for the following year. I generally start writing out my goals for the next year in October or November, although this year, I’m a little behind as I’m just getting my 2019 goals on paper now.

If you’re truly passionate about completing your goals for 2019, there are a few things you should always start with:

  • Put Your Goals on Paper

I find that writing out your goals is very valuable. It helps you think through what you want to accomplish and visualize it as well. Although I don’t know the exact number, I know that you’re more likely to achieve the goals you write down. And from personal experience, it’s true. Get those goals out of your head and on to paper.

  • Create a Road Map on How You Plan to Achieve Them

If you’re planning on running a marathon, do your due diligence and research. Put together a training plan and know in advance how you’re going to tackle it. The training plan may evolve or change as you learn more about your body and marathon training and that’s ok. It’s important to be able to adapt.

  • Be Consistent

After you’ve decided on your goals and created a blueprint on how to achieve them, the hard part is next. You need to follow through. To attain your goals, you’re going to have to be consistent. Keeping with the marathon training example, find ways to assist with consistency – whether you get an accountability runner friend, give yourself incentives, or use another method, nothing will happen without tough consistent effort.

In recap: Have a goal, create a plan, and stick to it! Fairly simple steps, but easier said than done.

Here are my fitness goals for 2019:

  • Sub 4:20 Marathon

During 2018, I completed my first two marathons: The Disney World Marathon (4:43) and then the NYC Marathon (4:53). My goal for NYC was to complete a sub 4:20, but I ran into issues and it didn’t happen. I’m more determined than ever to crush my sub 4:20 goal in 2018.

  • Tough Mudder

Ever since college, I’ve been talking about doing a Tough Mudder (the 10 Miler with all the obstacles). I think the only reason I haven’t done it yet is that I always wanted a group to compete with me. Now it’s 8 years later, and I’m determined to do it without a team if need be. This will be challenging as I’ll have to train my upper body strength.

  • Hike a 13er Mountain

It’s no secret that I love the outdoors: hiking, swimming, biking, running, etc. In 2019, I want to focus on becoming less of a one-dimensional athlete. Right now, I run and do a little strength training on the side. I love what I’m doing, but there’s a lot of outdoor sports I love that I’m not doing. I want to make a conscious effort to be less one-dimensional and start pushing the boundaries and expanding to different areas. Specifically, hiking/climbing mountains. I’d like to start by hiking a 13er in Colorado. This is a high priority of mine for 2019.

  • Nutrition

I need to focus on getting into a routine from a nutritional standpoint. I absolutely love cooking and meal planning, but have recently struggled with this as I’ve been busy with work and have let this slide. 2019 is the time to jump back into a consistent routine and push myself to be innovative and creative in the kitchen. My diet must mirror by workout routines. I can’t outrun a poor diet and need the proper fuel to allow me to hit my goals.

  • Cut My Body Fat by 10%

Over the course of 2018, my body fat slowly crept up. It was hovering around 12% in the spring, but now is a little over 18% – a 6% increase. I want to focus on knocking my body fat down to about 8% in 2019. Why? I don’t need excess fat on me for running and training and it slows me down. Also, if my body fat drops, that means I’m eating clean and smart.

What are your fitness and health goals for 2019?

2018 Life & Running Highlights

2018 Life & Running Highlights

As I think through the whirl wind of a year I had in 2018, it was full of laughs and struggles, accomplishments and challenges, successes and failures. I can say that I lived life to the fullest and it was truly an amazing year for me. Here are my 2018 Running Highlights by Month:

  • January: The Disney World Marathon

2018 started off with a bang when I completed my first marathon in January. It was an amazing experience and the runners high after the event was unreal. I truly believe that there’s nothing quite like finishing your very first marathon (at least for me).

  • February: Becoming More Confident as a Runner

In February, I became more confident in myself as a person and a runner. I joined a Runtastic running group for a weekend run in Central Park, which resulted in running with this group monthly from February – June (we stopped meeting for some reason after that). Through this group, I built some great friendships and got to know the NYC runner’s community a little better.

  • March: A Half Marathon PR

In March, I ran the Frozen Penguin Half Marathon in Bay Ridge. I hit a new PR and paced 8:00/minute miles for the full half marathon, which was a huge accomplishment for me.

  • April: The CUCB 10 Miler

Although I was injured with severe IT Band in my right knee, I fought through the pain and finished the CUCB 10 Miler in Washington DC. This is one of my favorite races.

  • May: The Popular Brooklyn Half

Believe it or not, this was my very first NYRR race. Frankly, this race went super poorly and was a disaster for me. I was still injured and it down poured before the race and rained off and on the whole time. I was soaked and shivering before the race even began. However, when I think of that race, I smile because it helped build me into the runner I am today. Gritty runs are good for you.

  • June: Vacation in Aruba

I took a break from races in June to recover and my wife and I headed to Aruba for vacation. We had the best vacation of our lives; It was so nice to get away and relax, recover and enjoy the ocean.

  • July: NYRR Races 

I ran my first two smaller races with NYRR in July. I worked on my speed and came away happy with my times.

  • August: A Trip to Europe with Friends

A dream of mine came true when I got to visit London, Amsterdam, Brussels, and Paris. This was a huge highlight and I’m so thankful for the opportunity. Life is short and nothing is guaranteed so I’m all about seizing the moment and doing things in the present.

  • September: A Labor Day 5K

Who would have thought a spur the moment 5k would be so enjoyable? I met one of my running friends from IG, ran a fast 5k, and won first place in my age group and 5th overall.

  • October: The Brooklyn Half Marathon

Although this was only a training race for the NYC Marathon, I ran a really strong race on one of my favorite courses in Brooklyn.

  • November: The NYC Marathon

Although the NYC Marathon didn’t go my way, it was still an amazing accomplishment and achievement that I’ll remember forever. I can’t wait to run it again and redeem myself.

  • December: Run Gum Ambassador for 2019

The highlight in December was becoming a Run Gum Ambassador for 2019. I’m so excited for this opportunity and can’t wait to share an amazing brand and product with other runners!

What were your 2018 running highlights?

My Last Race of 2018: The Ted Corbitt 15k

My Last Race of 2018: The Ted Corbitt 15k

On a chilly Saturday morning, the alarm went off at 6:00AM. It was time for my last race of the year – the Ted Corbitt 15k in Central Park. This race completes my 9 NYRR races in 2018. I’m volunteering at the Midnight Run on December 31st which will complete my 9 + 1 challenge and allow for guaranteed entry for the 2019 NYC Marathon.

I didn’t have too many goals for this race. The main reason I ran the Ted Corbitt 15k was to complete my 9 + 1 program. My goals were very simple this time around:

  • Complete the race
  • Have fun
  • Cross the finish line smiling

I’m happy to announce that I did all 3 and more. I unexpectedly PR’d for the 15k distance on Saturday. I completed the 15k in 1:10:44 for a 7:36 average pace per mile. I’m really excited about the new PR and attribute it to two items:

1.) The Weather

Historically, I always run better when it’s colder. The majority of my PRs have occurred during cold weather. Yesterday was no different as it was 26 degrees during the race. I started off with a jacket, beanie and gloves but ended up giving my wife the jacket and gloves on the second loop as I was getting too hot. That was the right decision as I automatically felt better and lighter.

2.) No Pressure

It’s important not to put too much pressure on yourself to always perform at a high level. For the NYC Marathon, I put a lot of pressure on myself to hit my goals and for whatever reason, I fell flat. For my races in December (this one and the Jingle Bell Jog 5k), there were literally zero expectations or pressures besides finishing the race. I told myself that as long as I crossed the finish line, I did my job. Without any added pressure or drive to hit a PR, I locked in during the Ted Corbitt 15k and focused solely on running. I felt strong, my legs felt good and I glided with other runners in my corral.

This year was filled with highs and lows, but I finished it on a high with a new PR!

Ted Corbitt 15k
Post race smiles after hitting a new PR!


Jingle Bell Jog 5k: Jingle Bells, Hot Chocolate, and Running

Jingle Bell Jog 5k: Jingle Bells, Hot Chocolate, and Running

What better way to kick off the holiday season than running a Jingle Bell Jog 5k in Prospect Park! Out of all the NYRR races, this is the most festive race. It’s great seeing people decked out in their Santa costumes, festive compression tights and elf suits.

I took an Uber to Prospect Park in Brooklyn shortly before the start of the race. For this race, I didn’t have any strong goals. Normally, I have a minimum of two goals for myself – trying to PR, hit a certain pace per mile, run the whole race without walking, etc. For this race, I didn’t worry about any of that, because I can tell my body and knees are tired of constantly trying to push the pace in races. It’s easy to put pressure on yourself to constantly compete at a high level, but sometimes it’s needed to take a step back, remember why you started running in the first place and just enjoy the sport.

I told myself going into the Jingle Bell Jog 5k that I didn’t care about my speed or time. I wanted to enjoy the race, enjoy the festivities and have fun. My body was very relaxed at the start of the race, especially since it’s a course I’m very familiar with. It’s about ¾ of a loop in Prospect Park.

Summary – Race Results

In the end, I ran a great race! My official race time is 22:47 for a 7:20 pace per mile. Honestly, I’m surprised I ran that fast. It’s funny that just last week at the Turkey Trot 5k, I was running as fast as I could and only ran a 22:55. Today, I ran on cruise control and had a better time.

At the end of the Jingle Bell Jog 5k, they had hot chocolate, red bagels in the shape of candy canes, green bagels, and the usual race amenities. It was a great way to kick off December and the holiday season. Next weekend will be my last race of the year – the Ted Corbitt 15k through NYRR.

Jingle Bell Jog 5k
My festive bib number and beanie


Gobble Gobble: Turkey Trot Time!

Gobble Gobble: Turkey Trot Time!

One of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving is all the great traditions. My family has specific traditions that are only for Thanksgiving. For instance, the night before we always feast on an assortment of appetizers – usually a spread of fresh cheeses, bread, homemade stuffed mushrooms and other samplers. The day of Thanksgiving, we all pitch in to make our annual favorites: Our secret recipe stuffing, the turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, green & white salad, rolls, gravy, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, pies, homemade egg nog and more. The Macy’s parade is always on television in the morning, naps are usually expected in the late afternoon, and the evening brings out the wine and games.

A New Thanksgiving Tradition: 

This year, I started a brand-new tradition: A 5k Turkey Trot. My wife and I swap holidays with our families. This year we celebrated Thanksgiving with her family in Wisconsin. I decided a few months prior that I’d run a 5k Turkey Trot the morning of Thanksgiving. I landed on the local Racine Turkey Trot right off Lake Michigan. It’s a beautifully scenic route. In fact, it was the same course I ran over Labor Day for the Bacon & Beer 5k. I ran with a runner friend of mine I met off Instagram (Twinningtherace).

It was a chilly morning and I bundled up in my beanie, running gloves and compression tights. I was determined to run a fast race and land in the top 10 – depending on if my knees could hold up (still recovering a bit from the NYC Marathon).  For a 5k Turkey Trot, the race is actually challenging. Since it’s right off the lake, you get the cold and windy lake affects. There are also 3 hilly areas (note to myself: Start doing more hill workouts – you need it!). Even with the cold weather, I love waking up early to run local races while on vacation. It excites me and I was mostly smiles.

Thankful to Run: 

Starting off, I paced with my friend for the first couple hundred yards until I locked into a slower pace. I knew if I kept his pace, I’d end up gassing out before the end of the course. I sprinted as fast as my legs would allow and finished in 22:58 for 7th overall out of 250+ runners. Props to my friend for claiming first place! Although I didn’t get a PR, I had a great time running a scenic race. My knees are a little sore from the speed – as they probably need a little more recovery time post marathon before sprinting a 5k.

As I analyze the year, I’m thankful for so many people and items in my life. I’m not trying to sound corny, but I am truly thankful to have the health and ability to run. I’m also thankful that it was only a 5k Turkey Trot and nothing more! I thoroughly enjoyed the local Turkey Trot: The scenery, crisp air, turkey medals, fun t-shirts and bibs. It was a fun experience and it started my day on a great note and put a smile on my face! This is definitely a tradition I plan on carrying over for Thanksgiving 2019.

New York City Marathon: Race Reflections

New York City Marathon: Race  Reflections 2018

The alarm went off at 3:50 AM. It was finally race day for the New York City Marathon! I was so tired, but I dragged myself up by 4:00 AM. As I prepared, I checked off each task that I had written out the night before:

Race Day Essentials

KT Tape On: Check

Body Chafing Stick: Check

Outfit: Check

Hydration Belt: Check

Gels/Bars/Waffles/Gum: Check

Music: Check

Eat Toast/Peanut Butter: Check

Drink Nuun Hydration Electrolytes/Caffeine: Check

Heading to the Marathon

I left my apartment at 4:50AM to catch the 5:30AM bus to Staten Island leaving from the Public Library in Bryant Park. When I arrived, everything was roped off and we had to wait in long lines for the bus. Props to NYRR though – everything went off without a hitch and our bus even left four minutes early.

The bus ride was supposed to last 90 minutes. I was planning to sleep, but I couldn’t – it was too hot. Instead, I listened to music and the two chatty runners behind me. They discussed their past races, the New York City Marathon course, past injuries, etc. Next time I’ll take a later bus – we arrived at 6:10AM nearly an hour earlier than expected.

After going through security, I arrived in the Villages. Each wave had its own village dictated by an assigned bib color: blue, green or orange. I was in the Orange Village. It was early but at least there was free food and drinks – something I didn’t expect. Dunkin had a truck that provided hot chocolate, tea and coffee – super helpful in the cold. They also were passing out orange and pink colored beanies. This was clutch since I didn’t bring a beanie. There was also a puppy therapy tent, a Gatorade tent passing out gels, and other tents too.

Once I grabbed some coffee and a beanie, I found a quiet spot to sit for a little bit to eat a Kind Bar. There were lots of runners huddled around shivering. Luckily for me, since I was running through TFK (Team for Kids), I knew there was a heated tent waiting for me. I found the TFK tent and stayed there until the race started.

Shortly before the race, the TFK athletes stretched and headed into our corrals together. As we made our way to the Verrazano Bridge, I chatted with a first-time marathoner from San Francisco. Right before we started, the National Anthem played, NYRR’s Peter Ciaccia gave his last official race start before retirement, and three helicopters flew overhead. At 9:55AM, the start gun went off and just like that the New York City Marathon was under way.

The New York City Marathon Miles Breakdown:

Staten Island and Brooklyn

Miles 1-3: I was put in a faster wave than what I expected. Instead of the 4:20 hour pace group, I was somehow placed in the corral with the 3:20-3:30 group. For the first mile, I purposely ran slow since we were running the incline on the Verrazano Bridge, but once we hit the decline I sped up. Needless to say, I started off a little too hot, but I felt ok. And just like that, we were in Brooklyn and already receiving crowd support. Fast forward a couple miles, I was heating up more than usual (long sleeves and compression tights felt great in the early hours leading up to the race but the sun was out now) and I was fatigued and hungry already – not good signs for the start of a marathon.

Miles 4-8: By Mile 4, my energy was low and my body wasn’t quite right. At this point, I was majorly overheating. I took a Go Isotonic Energy Gel earlier than usual, and I removed the Dunkin beanie and stuffed it in one of my already full pockets (I wanted it as a souvenir!). There wasn’t much else I could do besides roll up my sleeves and continue running.

Mile 9: I never walk in half marathons, but something was different. I was majorly off.  I started a run/walk combo on Mile 9. Knowing I wouldn’t PR, I pulled off to the side and used the outhouse, collected myself and ate a Honey Stinger Waffle to propel me forward. I also texted my wife to bring a short-sleeved shirt, Nuun electrolytes and water to Mile 14, where she was planning to meet me with my parents.

Miles 10-13: The crowd support was great as we raced down the streets of Brooklyn. The problem? I was walking for a good portion of this strip. It was deflating to walk so early when I knew I was capable of so much more. By Mile 13, I could see Queens approaching. Each step brought me closer to my family, my home running routes (I live in Queens and know these streets well), and most importantly at the time: a short-sleeved shirt.


Mile 14: My wife threw me the short-sleeved shirt and I ran into an outhouse right off the course. Changing my outfit took longer than I expected since I had to transfer the bib to the new shirt and move everything that was in my shirt pocket to my pants.  However, I immediately felt better once I was out of that long-sleeved shirt and hydrated with Nuun.

Queens and Manhattan

Mile 15-18: Although I felt cooler, the damage had already been done. I had another gel and refocused myself, but my body was working overtime. When I made it to the Queensboro Bridge, I allowed myself to walk it up – only running when I needed to pass slower walkers. I tried everything to continue pushing through as I ran down the bridge and into Manhattan. I told myself, “I’ll walk the next block and then I’ll run the next three.” I did that through Manhattan until I felt muscle cramps starting. Then I would slowly halt to a walk. I was pushing all the gels, waffles and hydration that I could get my hands on.

Bronx and Manhattan

Miles 19-25: I was so happy to get into the Bronx. The music was better and I pushed myself harder than what I had in Manhattan – Thank You Bronx! I enjoyed their crowd support and atmosphere the best of all five boroughs. As I headed back into Manhattan, I could taste the finish line, but I was still a long way off and my body was thrashed. I was out of gels and waffles. All I had left was Run Gum, which helped put electrolytes and caffeine into my body – something I desperately needed. Then, I finally made it back to Central Park – the home stretch.

Mile 26: I knew my family was watching at Mile 26, so I ran as much of it as I could. I didn’t want them to see me struggling. This was good, because it pushed me to run. I saw them on 56th right before I entered the turn back into Central Park through Columbus Circle.

Race Reflections

When I crossed the finish line, I was relieved and in pain. I completed another 26.2, but it was brutal – a physical, emotional and mental challenge. I fought through it regardless, but this race was harder than it should’ve been.

Overall, I was a lot more prepared for the New York City Marathon than my first, the Disney World Marathon. I trained better and had matured as a runner. I had been looking forward to a PR.

Even though my time was slower, it felt faster. I attribute that to growing mentally and physically as a runner– my body is capable of handling harder beatings than it used to be. As disappointed as I am, I know there will be more opportunities to improve. I learned a lot during this race and know what I need to do next time to improve.