MHRC Marathon Prep Q+A: Major Keys

Mile High Run Club, my #1 homies, were so kind to provide the space and forum to bring together 20 upcoming New York City marathoners and some veterans of the race, Vinnie Miliano, Elizabeth Corkum, Michael Meliniotis and former Olympian, John Henwood.

These four runner pros spend their days (and nights) training runners at Mile High Run Club, while also crushing their own goals on the course. All were veterans of the New York City Marathon and had some familiar and new tidbits to share with a room of *scared little babies* (read: me).

The event was held at the *pristine* NY Custom PT. Damn. That place was fresh. And the AC was blasting.

image-1We spent a LONG time talking about everything leading up to the race. Honestly, that was the most stressful part of the conversation. By the time we actually started talking about the running aspect of the race, I was relieved.

What I learned about the EXPO: 

  • Get in and out as soon as possible. This was stressed. I am a loser and I went to the expo last year even though I wasn’t running and I thought it was a good time. But I think it’s different when you’re actually running it. Get in, get out.
  • Don’t eat samples. I am SUCH a sucker for samples, so I know this is going to be my biggest challenge. In the spirit of “nothing new on race day” — don’t try anything you’ve never had before as you’re sub-48 hours from running the biggest race of your life so far. UGH, fine.
  • Find your pacer. If you’re going to rely on the pacers, make sure you meet yours at the Expo. I think this was a great piece of advice. I’ve never really relied on pacers before, but I like to know they’re there. When I’m running a race and I see a pacer in the distance, it’s like seeing your favorite TA from a really big lecture. I think I’ll do some research on the pacers for this race, though my time goal now is FINISH.

What I learned about the morning of: 

  • Getting there. These guys could not stress enough the misery and mental torture of getting to this starting line. I had my doubts about this, and actually planned on asking “My ferry is at 7:30 but my start time is 10:40 — so like, I’m not getting there till 10:30. Cool?” Just heads up – this was shot down in the first 15 seconds of talking about morning prep. Apparently getting on a ferry is like getting into Hamilton. You could be waiting for 1-2 hours to just get on a boat that isn’t up to capacity. When you get to Staten Island you then have to TAKE A BUS to Fort Wadsworth. That was news to me. Busses also experience traffic. I’m bracing myself for the worst.
  • Food and warmth. If there is two things I took away from this whole event is it is so important to be eating and warm. Which are two of my favorite states so I don’t think it’ll be too much of an issue. As many of us NYRR-ers know, NYRR collects any deposited clothes from the starting line (and all around the course). So, make sure to wear layers on layers. Start going through your Goodwill give-away pile now and decide which Forever21 graphic sweatshirt you’re willing to deposit in Staten Island.
  • Plastic bags for life. Anything you bring on to the ferry needs to be in regulation NYRR clear bags. If you’ve ran any of the major NYRR races (think NYC Half or Brooklyn Half), you probably have that nice drawstring backpack thing that’s clear and serves no real purpose in your closet. I plan on stuffing that with bananas, GU’s and whatever else to bring with me. Then when I am in my corral I plan on sitting on it. COMFY!

What I learned about the race: 

  • Do you really want to know how much is uphill? Spoiler alert: It’s more than 6 miles of uphill running. Five miles downhill. And the rest of the math is flat. Brooklyn is the fastest borough and mostly flat, so beware. The real work starts after you leave the BK.
  • Verrazano Pee – Myth? According to Corky it’s real, but I guess you have to see it to believe it. The legend goes, that the gentlemen that didn’t have enough time to make it to a porta-potty before the start have no choice but to pee off the side of the Verrazano Bridge. Since the race starts on both levels of the bridge, this means that the bottom level gets a mist of…urine. We shall see – but best bet is to stick to the middle of the bridge.
  • Queensboro Bridge is a solo experience. No spectators, just pitter patter of runners. This is also the place where people start to struggle. It’s an emotional place. I’m excited. Also, when you exit – there’s a “roar” of the crowds. Did you just get the chills? Ok, me too.
  • Fifth Ave is uphill. That’s all, just beware I guess.


  • Re:bad conditions – “If it’s raining, nobody is having a sunny race”
  • Run without music (as much as you can)
  • Learn the “taco trick” for hydration stations
    • 1. Make eye contact with a volunteer. Think: bartender at da club
    • 2. Grab the water, pour half out.
    • 3. Crush it like a taco
    • 4. Sip that sh*t as you run
  • Take water from the left side — because most people are right handed and will go to that side.
  • Say my name, say my name. (it’s Anna)
    • Put your name anywhere on yourself. I’m getting iron-ons and wearing a neon shirt.
  • Gatorade vs Gatorade Endurance
    • We all drink Gatorade often. That Gatorade is made with high-fructose corn syrup. Gatorade Endurance, which is what is on the menu during NYRR events is made with real sugar. Sugar can hit your stomach HARD (it does for me). Just be careful if you haven’t trained with it or ran races with it.

PHEW – OK that was a lot.

I’ve spent this morning crushing on NYC Marathon videos of the internet and getting seriously pumped.

On deck for this weekend is the Verrazano Half Marathon in Brooklyn plus some bonus miles to get me that one really solid confidence boost run. Then bring on the taper.

Peace, love, NYC.


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