On Sunday, November 7, 2010, over 44, 000 runners registered for the ING NYC Marathon and amongst them was my friend Karen Lui and I’m proud of her. After her race I had to ask her a few questions that we might all want to know the answers to, I love her answers, even more motivation to start or to continue running. If you have any questions to ask Karen please leave a comment, but she seems to covered every question we might have:
How long did you train for before running the NYC marathon?
I trained for about 3 months prior to the race. I am not a hard-core trainer, I just train enough to ensure I finish and that I feel good throughout the race.
Have you done any other marathon in other cities?
Yes, I’ve done several marathons and half marathons, mostly Disney races and in CA. I’ve done races in Los Angeles, Anaheim, San Diego, Long Beach, San Francisco, Huntington Beach, Dallas, Las Vegas, Orlando, and now New York!
Is this your first NYC marathon?
Yes! But this is my 3rd time trying out for the lottery and I finally got picked.
Everyone has a reason for running, what’s your reason?
When I first started out running races, it was to do something fun with my girlfriends and to collect pretty medals. Now it’s more about the accomplishment and trying to beat your PR (personal record).
Would you run the NYC marathon again?
I would definitely run this one again. There were spectators throughout the course cheering you on to motivate you and passing out bananas, bagels and candy whenever you needed extra fuel.
How do you feel? Physically, emotionally and mentally.
Physically, I feel great. It’s the best I’ve felt after a full marathon. I got very emotional seeing my friend at mile 25 and I told her that I was going to beat my PR. I was so close to finishing under 5 hours that I’ve decided to run another race in February to try to accomplish that.
How long did it take you to complete the race?
It took me 5:08.
What advice do you have for those that want to run the marathon, someday?
My advice is not to feel defeated before you even think you can’t run a marathon. I don’t consider myself a runner, despite my many races. Start off with a 5K, then a half marathon, then a marathon and see how you feel. Always listen to your body to see how much you can take.
The morning of the marathon how did you feel?
I felt a little nervous. I knew I would not be starting the race until late in the morning and I’m used to starting races very early. I just made sure I stayed hydrated and nibbled on food/energy products throughout the morning.
How about the night before? I always get the jitters, especially with a marathon. I made sure I had my last chance meal-the carbo loading pasta meal. I made sure I stayed well hydrated and that I went to bed early. I woke up a few times to check the time, as I always do.
And the moment right after you were done?
This was the very first race that I had done by myself. Even though I felt so exhilarated, I wish I had someone with me at the end of the race to celebrate with.
Any special tricks, tips for conquering the 26.2 mile run?
Yes, definitely. It’s very important to pace yourself. During your training runs, you practice by going at a steady pace. I’ve learned in the past that using up all your energy in the first half will make the second half very difficult to finish and you will not feel good. It’s hard to slow yourself down when you feel you can go faster with all the adrenaline, but you just have to make yourself.
As an example, Chilean miner Edison Pena made it to the halfway point in just over 2 hours, but he finished overall in 5:40. I still think he did wonderfully and he should be very proud, but looking at his numbers, I’m thinking that he lost steam too soon after finishing the first half so quickly.
What sneakers do you wear?
I wear the New Balance 1220 series. It’s important to be fitted for proper shoes. It’s the most important piece of gear you will wear for your marathon. Specialty stores like The Running COmpany or Jack Rabbit will look at the way you run and land your feet and determine what kind of shoe is the best fit for you.
To breakfast or not to breakfast the day of the run? Small breakfast.You need energy but you don’t want to overdo it. Some people will eat a bagel or banana. If I don’t have a long wait before the race starts, I will just have an energy bar. If it’s a long wait before the race starts, I would eat something plus my energy bar.
Feel free to add any last tips.
I usually run out of fuel at mile 18-20. It’s usually called “the wall” for many runners. I made sure to take the PowerGels they were offering at mile 18. It’s good to take these while you’re training too, to make sure they do not upset your stomach. Don’t eat or drink anything you are not used to on race day. You never know what will upset your stomach. The NYC marathon passed out Gatorade and PowerGels along the course, so I’d try to use those products during my training as well.
Thanks again Karen!!