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New York City Marathon: The Expo, My Costume, and Final Thoughts

New York City Marathon: The Expo, My Costume, and Final Thoughts

So, I ventured into the city to attend the New York City Marathon expo yesterday.

I think that kind of makes this whole thing real!

I can’t believe it’s almost here. In some ways, I feel like I’ve been training for this race forever…and in others, it feels like it was just days ago when I received notification that by some stroke of luck, I had been accepted to run the New York City Marathon. (And on my first try, no less.)

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Yesterday, Todd and I arrived at the enormous Javits Convention Center just as the expo was opening at 10am. After being ushered into a looooong line of runners to have my ID checked, I picked up my bib, shirt, and other race essentials, including the “No Baggage” wristband I have to wear on race day (no need to check bags when I’ve got my race manager to hold my stuff for me, haha). There were a LOT of people there, but the lines were moving efficiently and I didn’t have much of a wait to get into the main expo area.


We caved and paid the exorbitant amount of money for Todd to have access to the finish line cheering bleachers. After some discussion, we determined that since neither of us knows the city all that well (outside of the touristy areas, anyway), and he’s not exactly a seasoned NYC navigator, that he will plant himself at the finish line and wait for me there instead of attempting to see me along the course. Which is totally fine by me. My sister was also supposed to spectate at the finish line, but she can’t be there on race day — I’m disappointed and have been upset about it the past couple of days, but I’m trying not to dwell on it too much now.


I know there will be plenty of spectator support to help push me forward along the way, and at the end of the day, this is my race, and something I know I need to do — and CAN do — for myself.


We then made our way into the official Asics race merchandise area, which was MASSIVE. I gotta say, runDisney merch is better quality, IMHO, but the way they laid everything out definitely made the official race merchandise area MUCH easier to navigate than a Disney expo. I may or may not have purchased a few items — including my must-have New York City Marathon jacket — before we made our way into the main expo area.


After we stood in line to check out and finally exit Asics-land, I was honestly a little surprised because the rest of the expo didn’t seem quite as huge as I imagined it to be. There were tons and tons of the usual vendors, of course, and I hit up my favorite go-tos (gotta have an NYC-themed Sweaty Band!), but I think I’ve just been to too many race expos. Nothing seems to impress me anymore.

However, even though it was still in the early hours of the expo on the first day, there were WALL-TO-WALL people and we could hardly move…so I’d hate to see how it looks today and Saturday! We spent some time browsing an assortment of running goodies, including the official NYC Marathon Brooks sneaker which I convinced myself not to buy (they’re a support sneaker, so I can’t even run in them, anyway).


And then we headed upstairs, where there were some booths and more information on the race itself. And, if you “visited all 5 boroughs” upstairs, you got a free poster. Score!


So now I’m working on gathering throwaway clothes for the starting village and finalizing my costume — I know you didn’t think I wouldn’t be running in costume. ;)

I went with an obvious choice:


I won’t be running in FULL costume or anything, and I’m still debating whether or not I’ll be running with the torch (it’s a lot lighter than it looks) or saving it for post-race photos, but I did feel the need to put a little something special on the back of my shirt. Especially since I’m (already!) approaching the seven-year anniversary of when I first joined Weight Watchers and began my weight loss journey way back in November 2007. Plus, a little shameless self-promotion never hurt anybody, right? :)


If you see me, PLEASE say hi! I’m running alone and definitely wouldn’t mind the company. Especially in the wee morning hours as I’m huddled in the fetal position waiting outside for 4 hours in 30-something degree temperatures. ;)

Anyway, now I’m basically sitting around with my feet up for the next two days. I completed my final long run of 8 miles last Sunday, but other than that, I’ve logged all of 4 total miles this week, and plan to do a quick and SLOW shake-out run either today or tomorrow (not exceeding 2-3 miles). I’ve also skipped all of my Taekwondo and Thai kickboxing classes this week, especially since my lower back and left knee have been bothering me as of late.

I’ve been guzzling Emergen-C packets, drinking lots of water, going to bed extra early, and basically walking on eggshells to ensure that I toe the starting line on Sunday as healthy as possible. I’ve never really gone into a marathon fully rested before (um, hello, Dopey Challenge?!), so I’m giving this whole taper concept a real shot.

(And I’m LOVING it, BTW…I’m definitely not struggling with taper crazies as I know many of my fellow NYCM runners are.)

Now that I know what the weather is supposed to be like on Sunday — cold and freakin’ WINDY — that’s messing with me a little bit. Granted, I wouldn’t care if it was 20 degrees, because I perform much, MUCH better in the cold…but I can’t say I care for wind all that much (um, hello, Chanukah Chalf?!).

And, of course, I’m sitting here with my usual pre-race doubts…”I shouldn’t have skipped so many of the shorter runs,” “I shouldn’t have taken so many karate classes,” “I should have pushed harder on my long runs,” and blah blah blah.

I’m still aiming for a sub-five hour finish time. My “A” goal was originally around 4:30, but I know that’s likely out of my reach given the way my training ended up going and how I’ve been performing in half marathons as of late. But I do think a 4:45 is possible, and, honestly, I’ll be happier than a pig in you-know-what if I cross that finish line in anything under five hours. My training didn’t go perfectly, but I can honestly say that I did that absolute best that I could these past several months — and I do feel SO ready for this race!


No matter what happens on the course on Sunday, I know this is going to be a life-changing experience for me. I can’t possibly go from someone who was morbidly obese to a New York City Marathon runner and not marvel at how far I’ve come. To think back on the person I once was and to be able to sit here and feel so confident that I will conquer these 26.2 miles — honestly, my biggest race-day concern is missing the bus from New Jersey! — is an amazing feeling. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Except maybe a 4:30. ;)


Whatever my finish time is, I feel truly blessed to have the ability to run this race. I know this isn’t my first marathon, but in some ways, it kind of feels like it is. It’s my third 26.2, but the first I will genuinely be running for time/to see what I’m made of…and I know there is NO race like the NYC Marathon!


How do you deal with pre-race nerves/jitters/excitement?

Who else is running with me on Sunday?!


  1. Good luck. Have a great time.

  2. Good luck! I’ll be watching the race Sunday morning :-)

  3. Awesome! Love the back of your shirt and can’t wait to read your race recap.
    Good luck. I’m sure that sub 5 will be yours.

  4. I’m absolutely loving your race outfit! Its perfect for a NYC race! Good luck on Sunday!

  5. christi in ma says:

    Oh for cute, that outfit! Jennifer, I know you will rock this marathon.
    I can’t wait for your race report.

  6. I am so proud of you! You’ll have an amazing time and a great race.

  7. i was also surprised that the expo was the size it was. love your outfit for sunday!! will try to spot you! hopefully i will find you in the starters village, but if not good luck!

  8. good luck on your race-you are going to rock it! and I LOVE the costume!

  9. Good luck! I am so proud of you already. I know you’ll do great ( i’ll be cheering for you from my couch)! I think your race outfit is perfect! That is cool that Todd will be able to see you cross the finish line. Sorry your sister couldn’t make it. I’m sure she feels bad about missing it.

  10. Cheering you on from Phoenix!! I’m so excited for you. Best of luck!

  11. Good Luck Jennifer! You are going to do so amazing! And I absolutely LOVE your outfit, you always have the cutest race day clothes!

  12. HAVE AN AMAZING DAY and enjoy every minute!!!! The message you put on the back of your shirt says it all! You are freakin amazing!

  13. Love the costume and the text you put on your shirt! :)
    Hope the race went well, I’m excited to read your recap :D The NYC Marathon is one of my dreams so I’m kinda jelly right now haha :D

  14. I totally saw you running on the 59th Street bridge! You passes me and I was trying to yell for you but I don’t think you heard me (…I was the crazy person holding a Mike Wazowski balloon). Anyway, woohoo! Great job! Can’t wait for the recap! ;)

    • Aww, man! I didn’t see you! I was really struggling up those bridges, so it’s possible I was only focused on not dying at that point, lol. So sorry I missed you! But thanks so much for your support!

  15. I saw you come across the finish!!! Your costume was easy to spot :) I hope you had a great race!

  16. I saw you come across the finish! Your costume was easy to spot :) Hope you had a great race!!

  17. Awwww, what an amazing post – I really wish I had read this before Sunday, so inspirational!

    First of all, I LOVE your costume and I LOVE that you put that message on the back. I personally know when I see people with message like that on their shirt I am always in awe of their accomplishments!

    I’m interested to hear about Todd’s experience in the Grand Stand area and if it was worth it. And yes, I totally had Chanukkah Chalf flashbacks when I hear about the wind too! (So glad it didn’t end up being QUITE as bad as that!)

Mentioned Elsewhere:

  1. [...] vendors were missing, and I guess after experiencing so many runDisney expos and the New York City Marathon expo, this one seemed to be a little…underwhelming. Plus, one of the volunteers was extremely rude [...]

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