New York City Marathon Weekend

This weekend might go down in the books as one of my favorites ever. I don’t know what “the books” are or where they’re located, but in them, someday, it will say, “New York City Marathon Weekend 2011: One of Ali’s Favorites.” It’s good to document history.

Marathon spectating is a serious sport.

I currently have a severe case of New York City Marathon Fever. It’s a good thing I’m running the race next year.

This morning I went for a five mile run through Central Park to glance at the finish line — again — and got excited when I realized that the next time they set up the finish, it will be so that I can run through it.

But let’s go back to Friday, because that’s when the excitement really started kicking in. I got an email a few weeks ago from a nice lady named Christine, who let me know that she was arranging a lunch at Subway with Apolo Anton Ohno, and “Do I want to attend?” Oh Christine. What a silly question. YES.

Apolo, who is a badass Olympian and a handsome devil, chatted with a handful of us at lunch about his training for the New York City Marathon. He was running it to raise money for the Special Olympics, and if you followed along yesterday, you know that he finished in a very respectable 3:25. It was weird, too, because he professed his love for me at lunch, and I was like, “Apolo, I can’t, I have a boyfriend,” and Apolo was like, “OK, Ali, but I’m going to run this marathon for you anyway, and every time I win a gold medal at the Olympics it will be for you.”

Jared, Apolo, me and Jess. Yes, Jared the Subway guy.

That was the end of our love story. Jess was there, too. She witnessed this, so I’m obviously not making it all up.

After breaking Apolo’s heart, it was time for the next part of marathon weekend: visitors! Who better to spend marathon weekend with than two fellow marathoners? I may have badgered Emily and Lauren into coming to NYC this weekend to scream on the streets with me. I can be very persuasive. I promised them Puffins and mimosas. It didn’t take much convincing beyond that.

They arrived Friday night and we raged. Raged = ordered pizza delivery and ate it in the comfort of my apartment. Also cupcakes. The weekend included several rounds of cupcakes.

I hate sharing.

We stayed in for a good reason, which is that I had to be up at the butt crack of dawn Saturday morning to volunteer at the New York City Marathon Expo.

This T-shirt is exactly my size! Perfect!

I manned a spot at the sub-elite and local competitive registration table, which was surprisingly fun. I handed out bibs to all the runners coming in, and got to chat with lots of impressive international athletes.

These were my boxes.

Everyone seemed super nervous, anxious and excited, and now I have earned my volunteer credit, which brings me one step closer to guaranteed entry to next year’s New York City Marathon. The expo itself was very overwhelming. It was crowded and crazy and Lauren and Emily handled it much better than I did. We also met Mario Lopez.

AC Slater and me. No big deal. Oh, and his trainer, "Jimmy"

I let A.C. know that I invited the cast of “Saved by the Bell” to my birthday party in fifth grade, and that I was still waiting on his RSVP, and he laughed and assured me he’d “be at the next one.” May 6, Slater. Write that down. After the expo, we spent the rest of the day eating.

When visitors come to the city, you take them to 16 Handles.

Look who we found! Becky! The best day, of course, was Sunday: marathon day. I couldn’t let 47,000 people run a marathon through my city without first getting in a few miles of my own, so while Emily got her Pilates on…

Nice plank.

…Lauren and I headed to Central Park.


Lauren, as you may know, is fresh off her blazing 3:18 Marine Corps Marathon finish. She did that last week. And this week she agreed to run with me. What a nice girl. I wanted to get 11 miles in, and I wanted to show Lauren the marathon finish line. I accomplished only one of those things. Security was tight. They did not let us anywhere near that elusive finish line.

No finish line? Fine. We will pose with American flags. GO USA!

Lauren, if you could move to NYC and do all my long runs with me, that would be great. I’m pretty content with my splits.

Mile 7 was my favorite.

My stomach felt pretty good during the run. I made one necessary rest stop around mile 6.5, but overall the marathon excitement kept me going. By “marathon excitement kept me going” I really mean, “I knew there were mimosas waiting at home, so I wanted to run fast and get back.”

Fun fact: I am apparently strong enough to run a marathon, but not strong nor smart enough to be able to open a bottle of champagne.

My post-run hair is BEAUTIFUL.

Good thing I had help.

Opening champagne: not easy

I live right off the marathon course, so we were able to hang out in my toasty apartment, doing some drinking and watching the coverage on TV, until it was time to head outside to catch the runners.

Cheers to 26.2!
Sorry my TV is so small...

We made our way to 1st Avenue just before the elite women came through, which was incredible. Honestly, the entire day was incredible. The elites were so fast, and if you watched the women’s finish you know just how exciting it got. They were racing their hearts out. It was a gutsy, thrilling finish.

I could keep up with them. Sure.

I’m thrilled to report that on the spectating end, we PR’d.

Spectating is hard work.

We spotted each of the runners we were hoping to see from the 9:40 start wave, and successfully made eye contact and screamed loudly. We did not make any friends in the crowd. We were loud, obnoxious and overly enthusiastic.

Necessary spectating accessories.

To all the runners who tore up the course yesterday: Congratulations! It was an honor to cheer for you.


I’m officially inspired and ready to run my next 26.2. Good thing I have runner friends peer pressuring me into a spring marathon…

Emily can be very persuasive with a drink and a laptop...

Oh and NYCM 2012? I’m coming for you. And I won’t be on the sidelines. I’ll be kicking your ass.


Happy Monday!



0 Responses

  1. All this hype has me sooooo excited for NYC marathon 2012!! I’m applying as soon as registration opens! So jealous you got to spectate. Looks like the PERFECT marathon day!! Any ideas for a spring marathon other than Boston (one day)?? I feel like the fall has so many great ones…NY, Chicago, Marines….I need a good spring one!

  2. I LOVED seeing you on the course. highlight FOR SURE!!!! Thanks again. I pretended you said something to me like “you are awesome, you love sweat.” I’m not sure if that was exactly it, but close, right?

  3. wow what a fun weekend! I am so in love with Apolo Ohno, I wish I could have been you for those few hours lol! (don’t tell my husband! 😉

  4. great spectating recap! wish i had seen you on the course – not sure how i missed the sparkles, haha. umm totally love the water bottles of mimosas. just my style. i’ll be back on the course in 2012. see you there. we have 364 days to go 🙂

  5. Two things:

    1 – Can you come to Chicago next year to cheer me on?? I am pretty sure you’d be the best cheerleader EVER at a marathon. LOVE the spirit!!!

    2 – nicely done on the mimosas, healthy pours all around, hehe 🙂

  6. thank you SO much for being such awesome cheerers yesterday! You guys picked me up when I needed it. Visions of sparkly skirts, leg warmers and I heart sweat shirts were in my head for at least the next couple of miles. can’t wait for you to experience the race next year!! Non-run date soon!

  7. i am so jealous!!! i love my BK apartment, but i do not like that it is so far from you and all the Manhattan fun. Harumph. Also, you can have Apolo Ohno, but Mario Lopez (aka AC Slater) is mine. I will fight you for him.

    p.s. damn girl, those were some speedy long run splits. pretty soon, you’ll be leaving Mary Kittany in your dust. or at least Apolo…. 😉

    Le’ts play soon!!!

  8. I was there running yesterday, and it was an amazing experience! It was my first marathon, I figured why not start with the best one? =)

    I just found your blog a couple weeks ago, I’m really enjoying it, especially as we run in the same areas (I’m in Brooklyn). I look forward to cheering for you next year!

  9. I know you will totally kick the NYCM’s ass next year. Your post makes me want to come and cheer you on! It sounded pretty awesome and exciting!
    While I am no where near ready to run a marathon, I am considering joining Team Challenge and running the Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon this spring. 🙂 Which marathon are you considering PR-ing this coming spring (because let’s face it, you will totally PR! Those splits were awesome!)?? Can’t wait to hear about it!

    1. Still looking at two potential spring marathons. Stay tuned!

      And YES, do Team Challenge! It’s a fantastic way to get started with half marathon training. I really loved the experience.

  10. Wow, Apolo had the hots for you? that is AWESOME. At least a story for the grandkids one day lol. That looks like SUCH a fun weekend. I’d love to watch the NYC marathon one year…maybe next year when you kick ass and take names 😉

  11. Possibly one of your funniest entries 🙂 Thanks for making me crack a laugh on such a blah Monday! Hope your day is a good one!

  12. Like, watching the elites run by is almost surreal. I don’t understand how its possible to run that fast FOR SO LONG. I could hardly snap a pic of the elites running Chicago last month! Also – I can’t wait to cross the finish in NYC either. Although, I think I’ve posted that in my comments on your blog like 50 times already.

  13. I hope to either run or spectate NYC Marathon one day, mostly after reading this recap!
    What a fantabulous weekend!

  14. Love this post! Inspiring me to make the transition from half marathons to full marathons! I’ve never ran a BIG race like this and now I’ve got the bug to do it!

    And you met Apolo and AC? You lucky girl!!!!!

  15. Not going to lie, it was weird to watch yesterday and think “umm, that could be me?!?!!?” This made me giggle. a lot. or maybe that was just the “happy to be alive” coffee…….

  16. I can’t believe you met AC Slater. I am so jealous.
    Also! I had no idea how much fun New York is for marathon weekend. I also watched on First Avenue and got kinda sad but mostly excited. I love your outfits!

  17. Ohhh I’m so jealous that you were able to cheer at the sideline yesterday!
    I was lying in front of my TV and my heart truly stopped at the finishing fight.
    Such a great atmosphere!!

    I secretly tried to watch out for you. But there were a few people standing and cheering. So I wasn’t able to see you. Shame!

    Cute outfits. But wasn’t it a little bit cold? 😉

    I also saw your birthday in this post. May 6th right?
    BEST date ever!! 🙂

    All the best from Vienna to lovely Ali in NYC!

  18. I can’t even IMAGINE how awesome it must have been to be so close to all of the excitment. A friend of mine was in the city from Saturday to Sunday.. and she “avoided the marathon madness like the plague.” It is NOT a plague> I would have gladly traded places with her.

    I am in for NYC 2013. 2012 has too many commitments rightnow that will take up lots of time and I want to be able to fully commit to training. Silly wedding 🙂

  19. JEALOUS. This is the most fabuloso blog post ever. And I didn’t realize you knew so many famous people.

    What is your spring marathon? I’m still deciding…DC is currently winning…but then I think why not do the JFK 50? [What is the MATTER with me]

    PS Totally ordered the b.r.a. you suggested…waiting impatiently by the mailbox every day after work. I will keep you updated, lol.

  20. Ali! First, we share the same birthday – May 6 in the house! Sorry if this is a creepy question, but will you be turning 27 too? If so, maybe we are long lost sisters. I mean, probably not, but, I wouldn’t be mad about it. 🙂 You are so adorable and I love this post! Can’t wait for next year when you’ll be RUNNING IT!

  21. Excellent post, what a blast!! I inadvertently planned a trip to NYC this weekend and was lucky enough to be able to scream my face off at the runners from Prospect Park! It was a blast, I’m totally hoarse, and I’d love to do it again someday. Maybe next year I’ll head up to cheer you on.

  22. Those spectator photos are fantastic. That’s what I hope I look like when I over-enthusiastically cheer at the Chicago Marathon.

    And I totally know what you mean about watching your city come alive with a marathon that you are not running. I get all itchy when I’m at the Chicago Marathon and occasionally start to convince myself that I could just hop on the course and finish. No, Lauren. No you can’t. You need to train for these things.

    So what’s the spring marathon?!

  23. I looked for you but didn’t get to see you. Probably for the best, I was not looking so hot at 1st ave. I want to hear more about this spring marathon!

  24. Awww this makes me SO sad I missed the marathon this weekend! I was back in Nebraska watching a football game, drinking beer and making lots of unhealthy decisions ;-).

    I saw AC Slater in Vegas. Can I just say? The man has aged WELL. What a looker! Great recap of the weekend!

  25. I love it! The NYC Marathon is so inspiring! I will definitely join you and do it one day.

    Glad to hear you may be doing a spring marathon…I can’t wait to see what you will be doing next!

    P.S. You are intriguing me with those leg warmers…I may have to get some for my winter races 🙂

  26. Dear goodness, I’m dying laughing over here. It’s very appropriate that you met AC Slater, afterall, you are quite the Saved by the Bell lover. I’m so glad he said he’ll be at your next party – I would hate to see what you would do to him if he said he couldn’t make it 😉 … uhm i’m still waiting to hear whether or not you snuck a kiss in on Apolo Ohno?

    I also spectated the NYCM yesterday – from the comforts of my couch while wearing neon pink sweat pants and drinking coffee (in Florida) . It was delightful! The last few minutes were very tense! I could have used a mimosa!

  27. 1) what did Jared order for lunch from Subway?
    2) did you ask Slater why he always called Jessie “Momma”? That always bothered me and really creeped me out. Also, you should have told him the episode when Artie died was one of the saddest episodes ever
    3) NOW do you understand how freaking tiring it is to watch a marathon? imagine if you had to walk to 10 different spots along the course!

  28. Yay! Looks like you guys had such a fun weekend. Supporting at the big races is always so inspiring (green-monster-envy aside) and I can only imagine it’s heaps better with awesome runner friends, sparkle skirts and leg warmers! And I’m so pumped for you that you’ll get to run NYCM next year.

  29. Love this post! It sounds like spectating was a lot of fun! I was definitely glued to the internet and TV yesterday watching:) It looks like you rocked the leg warmers, so great job with that too:)

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about ali

I’m the creator of the Ali on the Run blog and the host of the Ali on the Run Show podcast. I’m also a freelance writer and editor, a race announcer, a runner and marathoner, a mom, and a huge fan of Peanut M&Ms, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (way better than the first one!), and reliving my glory days as a competition dancer in the early 2000s. I’m really happy you’re here.
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