By Running Divas Ambassador Lydia Palmieri.
Since the beginning of my running journey when I was 21 years old (I am now 36) I had my sights on one day running the New York City Marathon. How I was going to do this, I wasn’t sure. But it was a dream that sat at the top of my bucket list.
I moved into marathon running in 2014 after the birth of my first child. The slow and steady pace of a marathon appealed to me. I was never a sprinter and hated track work. I have run 4 marathons since 2014 and a decision to enter the New York City Marathon ballot turned the dream to reality.
Due to this race being my ultimate marathon, I took a different approach to my training. I kept a 20km long-run base over the first 6 months of 2017. I then began my marathon training with a good long distance base and fitness level. I used a Running Divas program that saw me running 30+ km long runs from week 5 of my 16 week program. This isn’t the conventional marathon program and the aim was to condition my body to a 30 km run just like I was already conditioned to a 20km run. It was a little bit of a risk, but I needed something to challenge me in my training, as I knew the New York Marathon wasn’t going to be an easy race to finish.
I completed my training program (available as part of the Running Divas membership program) and I felt the strongest and fittest I had ever been. My body was conditioned to the 30km distance and the strength component of my training allowed me stay injury free whilst pushing each week.
My nutrition was also overhauled and I could fuel well during the week and manage to only fuel my long run with water during, and good nutrition after for recovery. I didn’t have a particular way of eating, I just ate good quality food, stayed away from packaged food and made sure my protein and carbs were in line with my training load.
Arriving in New York City, the energy of marathon week left me in awe. The lead up to the race was amazing in itself. The opening ceremony where I represented Australia will stay with me for the rest of my life. A very nostalgic moment in my run journey.
Race day didn’t go to plan, I dreamt of this moment for the whole of 2017, but a runner’s worst nightmare happened… I slept in. With the time difference and travelling with two kids I was exhausted. I had just 10 minutes to get ready and get on the bus to the start line! It was not a great best start, but I got there. My body was not used the food in America as well, so I found this a challenge. My stomach cramped, and it really showed how imperative nutrition is.
The race itself was amazing, the crowds, the atmosphere, the 5 boroughs, showing off Manhattan’s delights. Each borough had its own flavour and the people that crowded the streets showed us just how New Yorker’s party. They call your name, dish out high-fives and have every supply you might need from bananas to band-aids.
My first 10km was a PB, just over 52 minutes and 1:45 min for 21km. I hit 30km in 2:40, but sever stomach cramping was taking its toll. In the end I ran a 43.4 km course (I just had to run from side to side to high five the crowd!), but I still ran my fastest marathon of 3.50:49. I felt strong, I ran happy and I enjoyed the moment.