It has been almost one year since Courtney Manning’s first marathon. The experience was such a positive one that she is doing it all again. With just a few weeks to go before the ING NYC Marathon dominates the streets of Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Manhattan, Courtney is coming to the end of her training period and Woman Around Town is excited to catch up with her!
What is the biggest overall difference between this year and last year for you?
I am definitely more confident in myself and my ability.
What is the biggest difference between this marathon training season and last year’s?
I am less rigid with my marathon schedule than I was last year. I follow it as much as I can, but I have had to skip some of my runs or run shorter distances during the week. I just don’t cheat on the long runs because they are the most important in terms of building the distance.
How often are you working out?
I run two to three days during the week and run the long run on Saturdays.
What is the biggest difference between your nutrition now versus last year?
Like my training schedule, I have been less rigid with my nutrition, but overall it is pretty much the same.
What/who do you attribute to these changes?
I’m very lucky in that I have an amazing support system. My family still tries to show up to my races, and when they can’t make it, they are always excitedly waiting to hear how the race went. My races have become a big part of their lives. My friends have also been wonderful and help push me along. The time and effort it takes to train for a marathon can be exhausting and daunting. Getting through some of the longer runs can sometimes seem impossible. I think I would have had less interest in running the marathon again if I didn’t run with my run club, RUN NYC. While I do feel stronger this time around, the support I get from the pacers and other runners is incredible and something I am very grateful for.
What is your biggest regret from this training season?
I don’t think I have any regrets. I would like to run the marathon about a half hour faster this year, but I refuse to get caught up in that. For me, the most important thing about running is what it does for my overall health and that I am engaging in an activity I once thought was an impossibility for me. The training and crossing the finish line is what matters to me. I respect that everyone has their own goals, and sometimes that includes how quickly they run, but the training takes too much dedication for me to be anything but proud of myself.
What are you most proud of this time around?
I’m most proud that I wanted to do this again. I’m also proud that I am much more confident in my ability. That’s not to say that I still don’t get nervous before long runs, but I feel much more comfortable this time.
What thoughts cross your mind while running 13-plus miles?
I have just begun tapering, so 13-plus miles is now behind me until race day. I did struggle through some of the long runs. When I have struggled, sometimes telling myself that just because this mile is hard, it doesn’t mean the next mile will be hard, too. It also helps for me to visualize myself finishing the long run, and knowing I will feel accomplished and proud that I pushed through something difficult.
What gets you to the finish line when you get tired?
I don’t really give myself the option to not finish. I think if I didn’t finish a run, I would feel like I cheated myself. Sometimes it’s depending on the pacer or another runner to get me out of that head space where I just think I can’t go any farther. During my first 20 mile run of this season, I was in a lot of pain and thought I was done at mile 15. The pacer of my group saw I was hurting and slowed down to run alongside me, even though the rest of the group went ahead. It meant a lot that she ran with me when I was struggling and helped get me past that moment so that I could finish the run.
Do you think the marathon will be easier this year because you know what is in store or do you think it will be more difficult because you know what’s in store?
Knowing how great the crowds are along the course and how the cheers help will make it easier. What may be more difficult is knowing just how hard the Queensboro Bridge is. Knowing it is just waiting there at mile 15 is something I’m not looking forward to. Although, I do know if I did it once, I can certainly do it again.
Woman Around Town wishes Courtney the best of luck in her SECOND marathon!
If you would like to support Courtney’s marathon experience via her charity, click to reach her fundraising page
To read Kenley Ferrara’s entire series on Courtney, go to Courtney the Marathoner