2018 New York City Marathon what an experience


I spend some of my summers with family in NYC. I have fond memories about those times and the family. I was so impressed with the architecture, the tall building, and bridges. One bridge, in particular, was the Verrazano Narrows bridge. The impressive bridge that connects State Island with Brooklin. When I saw the iconic pictures of the marathon, especially of the runners on the bridge, I knew I had to run this event. Also, it does not help that people when you tell them that you run long distances always ask only about two events NYC and Boston Marathons. Figures, I guess you are not a marathoner until you complete at least one of those two, lol.

Carlos Candelaria, Mike Hernandez and Lou Hernandez

I spend the Friday and Saturday with my family and friends. Friday I arrived a little bit late in the day and Mia, my cousin Mike’s wife, was able to pick me up from the airport. As soon we got to their house, it was a full family house with their kids, my uncle, aunt and my other cousin Lou, Di, and their kids. One missing of my cousins was Darren, that I was unable to see during this trip. We had some great NY Pizza, it was delicious. We talked for hours about family, current news, the marathon, logistics, running, college, school, work and about everything else. I was keeping a really good eye on my sugars before, during and after dinner, to make sure they remained within the acceptable range during this time prior to the event.

Panoramic view of portions of South Beach Staten Island


On Saturday morning I was able to go out for a shakeout run with my cousin Lou.Lou Hernandez and Carlos Candelaria We started very slow and he was telling me the story of the area and all the viewpoints. I was breezy but the temperature was perfect for a morning run. People were running along the boardwalk at South Beach. Time flew and we ended up without realizing it covering around 6 miles. It felt great and I was very happy that I was able to spend some running time with Lou.

Carlos Candelaria and Jorge DieppaAfter breakfast, we head out to the Expo. Very nice Expo with plenty of exhibits and products. I grabbed my bib, quickly browse the area for key products and headed out. I was very fortunate to meet with a good friend from College that I had not seen for over 20 years. We grabbed a quick coffee and talked for a little while about the marathon, our families and the city. It was great to see and catch up with Jorge. Carlos Candelaria and Carolina MoralesI was also fortunate to see my niece, Carolina, after graduating, she has been living in the big apple for some time and she was very eager to show me a few key areas in the city. We talked and walked for a little bit. I was also great seeing her and how great she was doing.

Hernandez family pre MarathonBack to my cousin Mike’s house for some more great food with the family. For prep race dinner, I had a little bit of pasta with red sauce, some garlic bread, and water. In addition to the great conversations, it seems that we can’t run out of topic. It was so great to remember all the summer adventures and who can’t forget the “safe” adventures at Action Park. Actually, I do not know how we survive riding those, basically, unsupervised attractions. Once again keeping a close look at the CGMS to make sure that I did not have a spike in my sugars

Race day morning, woke up early got ready, had my oatmeal and latte and we were set to head out. Lou, Mike, and Mia were taking me to the start area. That in itself turned into an adventure, due to traffic. We got stuck in a very slow moving traffic, almost standstill traffic. So many people trying to head out from Staten Island to cross the bridge since they were going to close it for the race. Also, the busses and vehicles trying to drop over 53,000 runners at the start area. Everyone in the car became a logistic, orienteering, and strategist to make sure I was going to make it in time to the start area. We turned left, we turned right at the next light, we turned once again and also we had to turn around too after missing a street entrance. It was a great adventure.

I made it to the start with plenty of time, since we had to wait about three hours for the second wave to start. The runner’s villa was divided into three area, Blue, Green, and Orange. Each area hosted runners from each wave. The waiting area was very nice, they had a medical station, they had plenty of water, coffee, tea, bagels, energy bars, energy gels and more. TCS NYW Marathon with Carlos Candelaria Dunkin Donuts knit capThey also had Dunkin Donuts head covers (knit caps) to keep us warm. There was a line of UPS trucks in each area for the runners to drop the check bags. In this marathon, there were two options at sign up. You could either have a drop bag or get an NYC Marathon Poncho. Since Lou was receiving me at the finish, he told me not to do the drop bag and get the poncho. The big charity teams had their own areas as well in the runner’s villa. Plenty of porta-potties, I basically used them three times and waited less than 5 minutes each time. NYC Marathon comfort DogI was in the green area, found a stop to sit and talked to other runners waiting. One unique thing, other than the free food at the start, all three areas even had a comfort dog area, where they brought dogs for the runners to spend time with them and calm their nerves. Do not know if it was calm the dog’s or the runner’s nerves.

After the wheelchair, Elite Women, Elite Man, Local Elite and fast male and female wave it was time for our Second wave to move to the start area. After my wave, there were 3 other waves of runners that were starting 15 minutes after ours. As I move in closer to the start I realize that my green corral was going to lead me to the lower deck portion of the Verrazano Bridge. I had to, at the last moment, while walking toward the start line to switch towards the right and got in the Orange corral, to be able to run in the upper level of the bridge. It was worth it.

2018 TCS NYC Marathon start line


Mile 1-3: This was an iconic and amazing start. Crossing the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, from Staten Island to Brooklin borough. The incline is not bad, just a long 1 mile uphill. Adrenaline is running high, the view to the city was amazing. I had to move to corral that was going to run on the upper deck to really maximize the awe and majestic view. It was sunny, but not windy, I was not expecting that being in the bridge, but just a little bit chilly. The second mile, of course, is going downhill I made the mistake to increased my pace too much and paid the price in the later portion of the event. Once off the bridge, an AMAZING crowd receives you, so much cheering, sounds, music and excitement and you really forget you are running and running too fast.

2018 TCS NYC Marathon runners at 45th streetMiles 4-8: Weather was amazing, during these miles you can see the sea of runners. Just a portion of the 53,000 runners in the event. Everyone is having fun. Around mile file, I had the privilege to run in the neighborhood that I spend a few summers with my cousin. I knew they were going to be around, so once I was getting close to the area I started paying attention to the people cheering on the street.2018 TCS NYC Marathon with Carlos Candelaria and Lou Hernandez I moved to the left side of the street and my uncle Lou father, aunt Gloria and Lou Jr. were there at 45th Street receiving me. I stopped and gave them a huge hug. It was so great to see them there. Quickly said goodbyes and headed straight towards Queens.

Miles 8-14: Very uneventful miles, feeling the legs a bit but sugars started to get closer to normal levels. Almost every mile or so, there were water stations and Gatorade. I took water most of the time and once in a while, I took a sip of my E-fuel drink that I was carrying. I checked my time around mile 14 and I was just a tad ahead of the planned time, but I was slowing down already. I knew the Queensboro bridge was coming and I was warned about it, so I slowed down a touch more to tackle the bridge.

Miles 15-19: The bridge was just ahead, there was an overpass that I thought for a second was the uphill they were talking about since I started to see many runners walking the uphill. But it was not, once we got into the actual bridge, I was feeling good so the uphill was fine, long one but it was good. My mom texted me at this time asking how was the event since I was still between mile 15 and 16, I decided to while running, take my phone out and record a video in Spanish for her, so she can experience a bit of the marathon. While crossing the bridge, there was peace and quiet. Just the sound of footsteps and the heart and effort the runners were pouring into the road. That changed quickly after get got close to the city. The crowds once again welcomed the runners very loudly, giving every single runner energy and excitement to continue toward the finish line.

Medtronic CGMS display from NYC MarathonMiles 20-23: My sugars are behaving perfectly after being high the first few miles. At this time I am drinking Gatorade from the stations and started to walk a bit once I got the cups. We quickly got in the Bronx and returned back to the city for a final long stretch to get to Central Park where the finish line awaited for us.

Miles 24-26.2 (Finish):  There were a few runners that I recognize from earlier. They pass me and I pass them. Tons of runners walking as well, by this time we are physically tired but the excitement is in the air. Once in Central Park, there was this guy trying to run in a white shirt that was wobbling and about to trip. I quickly move to the left and helped him out. I asked him to see if he was ok, he was not. He was still trying to jog, I offer a gel since he was still about 20-25 minutes away from the finish line at the pace he was trying to run. He declined, I hang a bit with him, asked him if he wants it something, help, or company. He declined that too. I decided to keep my pace and went ahead, I saw a policeman about 250 meters after I went ahead and told him about the guy just in case he needed more attention.

TCS NYC Marathon finish with medal and runnersThe finish line was just ahead. I could hear the crowds and for the first time in all the 50+ events that I have done, I was actually feeling very emotional. I took out my phone once again and recorded a video of the last segment to the finish for my wife and family, it was very hard to get words out. They have always been so patient with me and the time I spend on the road and on the trails. They really deserve a shout out, this event was for them.

TCS NYC Marathon post finish runners walk to exitPost Finish: After the finish got my blanket and snack bag. There is a very long walk to anything, I was going to pick my poncho and then meet once again with my cousin Lou. Legs were really tired and stiff but kept walking. It was about more than a mile later (It felt like even longer) that I was able to meet with him. It was an amazing event, the people, the course, the city, and the distance were all perfect. Although no PR today, that was not the intention and not under 4:00 I have to say that the NYC Marathon is now one of my favorite events by far.

With a heavy heart, I am saddened at the passing of my Aunt Carmen who supported me in this event. She will be greatly missed and always remember for her kind and loving ways.

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[vtftable cols=”{0}0:c9daf8;{/}”] Event Highlights; Learning Points;nn;


Course: Great ample road right of the start, some rolling hills that you will forget they are there due to the amazing crowds. With the exception of a couple small hills during the bridges, at the start, 1-mile long hill and then turning into the city around mile 15-16 other than that is mostly flat.

Venue: At the start the runner’s villa was awesome, there are three of them stock with plenty to drink and plenty to eat. At the finish, good snack bag, plenty to drink but there is a very long walk to the exit and family meet area, be aware and be patient.

Expo: Huge expo plenty of vendors and things to see, try and also plenty of swag.

Weather: Clear crisp skies, great 50º with just 46% humidity.

T1D: Sugars were high at the start and the very few early miles. Did some minor bolus adjustments to control it better. After that, they leveled down into a good range all the way to the end of the event. 

Fueling: Pre-Race: 1 serving Hot Cereal and Latte. A banana and 3/4 of a bagel about an hour and a half before the start.

Race: Water at the water station early miles. A Gel every around mile 14, Carried and used fluids with E-fuel.

Post: Slice of Pizza, protein shake and water.

Learning Points:

  • Be aware of the time you will be waiting at the start. It can mess with the blood sugar levels compared to the normal start running about an hour/half hour from eating.
  • Large event and large crowds are easy to get carried away and run faster than planned.
  • Scenic routes make the experience of running amazing.



2018 TCS NYC Marathon bib and medal