"I was lucky to earn a lottery entry into this year's NYC Marathon! I had spectated before and seen the excitement of the weekend firsthand, so I was thrilled that this would be my first experience running 26.2. I started training in earnest around Memorial Day weekend this year, slowly building my usual 15-20 miles per week up to a peak of 35-40 miles per week by October. Summer training meant running through humidity and also on vacation in Paris or the Cape, and occasionally I would wake up as early as 5:30am to get my runs in before it got too hot. My usual training was about 5-7 miles 3-4x per week, then a longer 10+ mile run on a weekend morning. I felt a sense of accomplishment checking off the longer runs - especially the 18 and 20 milers. Two weeks before the race I felt a twinge in my right knee, which made me get more serious about stretching and PT, but by race day I felt more than ready to tackle the course.
Everything that people say about the crowds is true - they really carried me throughout all 5 boroughs! I think my favorite sign was "The rats don't run this town, you do!" I was glad I knew what to expect on the course beforehand and where the bridges were, but there were a few random uphills that I was not expecting that were challenging. I felt great for the first 20 miles of the race then hit a wall and struggled through the final 10K (it was warm and sunny by mid-afternoon), but overall I was happy with my time of 3:46:59 for a first-time marathoner. In addition, I proudly got to wear the medal around town afterwards and for my coworkers the next week." ~ Ben Raphel with his sister Adrienne Raphel