What NOT to do on race day

Happy Sunday! I had big plans for today – wake up before 7am, practice my race day breakfast, warm-up for a few miles, and then run the Poland Spring 5-miler at race pace. However…I somehow managed to turn off THREE alarms and sleep way late. When I finally woke up and glanced at my watch, it was 8:14am (race start was at 8:30am). %#$%^!!!

I threw on my running clothes, chugged a glass of water, and hailed a cab outside my apartment. 20 minutes later I was making my way to the starting line in Central Park. The gun had already gone off, but I was able to hop into the corrals and begin the race anyway. Since I was so late, I was with the 10:00/mile pace crowd and had to do a LOT of weaving for the first mile or so.

  • Mile 1: 8:14
  • Mile 2: 7:34
  • Mile 3: 7:32
  • Mile 4: 7:09
  • Mile 5: 6:55
  • Total: 37:24 (7:28 pace)

Huzzah! I’m pretty proud that I averaged marathon pace exactly despite my hectic morning (no warm-up, no breakfast, eek!). I treated today’s run as a microcosm of marathon race day – start out slow, focus on goal pace, finish strong! All things considered, I felt GOOD today. I have a teeny bit of calf tightness that I’m trying to work out (phantom pain alert!), but with some rest and compression socks, I think things should be fine.

I found Kelly at the finish and I was able to run some more miles with her. I ended up running a total of 10 miles for the day.

Today concludes my 18th week of marathon training. The days leading up to the marathon will be pretty relaxed. I have plans to take at least 2 rest days (Monday and Friday) and run an easy 3-7 miles on the other days (Tues, Wed, Thurs, Sat). Earlier this week (Thursday, Oct 28th), my coach assigned our final workout of the training cycle – a basic 5 mile tempo run at 1/2 marathon pace. Here’s how it went down:

  • 2 mile warm-up
  • 1.5 mile cool-down

5.19 miles at 6:54 pace – I’ll take it! My goal for 2011 is to run a sub-1:30 half marathon which would be 6:50 pace. I think this workout suggests that might be possible. But that’s a goal for a few months down the road…Now it’s time to rest, carb it up, and strategize for next Sunday.

Speaking of carbs, let’s bake some cookies! I have plans to make pumpkin pie with gingersnap crust later in the week, so I baked up some homemade ginger cookies to use as the base. These cookies are a bit softer and larger than I expected and I think some tweaks need to be made before I’d bake them again. Nonetheless, they taste really good!

Gingerbread Cookies (makes 2 dozen)


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 12 Tbs (1.5 sticks) butter, room temperature, cut into pieces
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 Tbs grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 cup demerara sugar


  • In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, spices, and salt
  • In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, molasses, and fresh grated ginger.
  • On low speed, add in flour mixture, just until combined.
  • Refrigerate dough for at least 30 minutes.
  • Pre-heat oven to 350 F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Fill a shallow bowl or plate with the demerara sugar.
  • Roll the dough into 24 balls and then roll in bowl of demerara sugar. Place dough on cookie sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes, rotating halfway. Cookies are done when they are dark golden brown.
  • Cool on a wire rack and then enjoy with milk!

Notes: Next time, I would decrease the butter a bit (maybe use 10 Tbs vs 12 Tbs) and chill the dough for longer.


Have you ever slept in on the morning of a race?

Favorite kind of cookie? I think gingersnaps might be my new favorite….

  • Dani Sturtz

    Oh Meg. I know the feeling of oversleeping the alarm. You still ran a great race despite the late start! I don’t get to eat a lot of cookies these days being gluten free and vegan (although there are some great ones out there), but my favorite cookies used to be black and white cookies and rainbow cookies. And there is something to be said about standard chocolate chip cookies. You are ready for the marathon and you WILL have a great race 🙂

  • oh no! that is seriously my worst nightmare come to life! i’m so ultra paranoid that (back in my racing days) i could barely sleep the night before a race in fear that i wouldn’t wake up. good for you for getting to the starting line anyway and running a fab race!

    i flippin’ love gingersnaps/ gingerbread cookies. they’re my favorite. i love all this baking lately – as soon as i finish school in may, this is gonna be me. i always feel guilty taking the time to bake when i *should* be doing homework instead…. like riiiight about now. sigh.

    PS we have to make butter lane plans stat!

  • i’ve definitely slept in before on a race morning but that was because i could due to how close i was to the start and the race starting later. way to get to that race though! i might have just buried my head under the covers 😉

  • your morning is my biggest fear for race day! well, actually, so is getting on a subway train that doesn’t go anywhere and missing the start! I really miss living in walking distance of central park! Congrats on such a great race!

  • Wow, stressful pre-race morning! That would definitely freak me out — it speaks volumes that you managed it so calmly. I am loving the sound of that gingersnap pie crust… ginger snaps are VERY underrated as a cookie. They rock.

  • mmm, cookies.

    Thanks for waitin’ for me at the finish! Your experience is indeed one of my real nightmares! Luckily I wake up early regardless of alarm on most days 🙂 And for serious, I will call you like 10 times next Sunday morning if you need me to! One week AHHH one week!

  • Jonah

    Slightly different (and I think I may have told you about this already), but the last race I did was a college XC 6K (supposed to be 5K but we were misdirected) in Queens with Maddog. The race ended up starting five minutes early, and Maddog missed the gun and started out 45 seconds behind everyone else. Needless to say, it was hilarious tragic.

    Also, those are so mighty tasty looking cookies.

  • Yikes! That is a crazy race morning. At least you made it to the race. I’ve never woken up late for a race because I usually get myself so worked up the night before that I wake up before my alarm or spring out of bed as soon as I hear it. But I bet you will definitely NOT oversleep for the NYC Marathon now.

  • Growing up I was always SO afraid of sleeping through the early morning wakeups before fencing tournaments. I would set 3 or 4 alarms. Also, if you feel like bringing some of those ginger snaps to the expo I wouldn’t be disappointed…

  • I did it this morning! I woke up at 8:16, decided I’d never make it and went back to sleep. Oh well. Great job!

  • Happy Halloween!
    I’ve slept through a race before! eek!
    so glad you made it in time! my favorite cookie is the classic chocolate chip! I hope you have a great sunday!

  • I’m so worried for that! I usually set 2 alarms. The biggest race day screwup I’ve had was the frigging MTA’s fault .. taking the 4 to the Bronx Half Marathon. I had to start 12 minutes late and weave through a lot of slower runners (some of whom were walking already?!)

    When I first saw your result above, my ego grew a bit since I ran faster than you today. But then I see you were doing marathon pace :p
    Awesome job!!!

  • Holy crap – what a way to start the day! Well, better this weekend than next, right?

    I am totally craving peanut butter cookies lately. Mmm, salty cookies….

  • Shirley

    OMG, that was exactly my dream Sunday morning, that I woke up late to the start of the NYC Marathon (this is my first) and I missed the bus, the ferry and never was able to get to the start. I woke up to breathe a sigh of relief to know it was October 31st and not November 7th.

    Love your blog and love all the yummy food pics and recipes!

  • Oh my God. Seriously, woman, living on the edge much? Props for actually racing – I would have just called it a day! I don’t think I’ve ever slept in for a race, but I’ve definitely been super late. Thankfully, I have a pretty good internal clock. Need a wakeup call on Sunday??

  • good tempo run RK! Have you ever slept in on the morning of a race?

    I would say 3-4 hours max; hence would need over 8 hours 2-3 days before the race.

  • First, new to your blog and love the running/cooking combo. Second, I think many people, my anal self included, would’ve rolled back over or cried realizing they had overslept. You did not do either and kicked ass. I think, rolling with things, is a key for marathoning. I just ran Chicago in 85 degree weather which meant tossing months of plans out the hot window. It was still worth it. As for cookies, I have to go with macaroons, the coconut kind. Ginger is great for you as an anti inflammatory though, may be a real “smart cookie” choice for you and phantom pains. See if you’re up for the Nov Challenge on my blog…

  • I overslept on Saturday too but unlike you, had no desire to do my run. Now I feel guilty for not doing it!

    Those cookies look amazing! Def worth it after your run this weekend! 🙂

  • I think chocolate chocolate chip cookies are my favorite. I’m too scared to sleep in on race day. I usually, somehow, wake up about 20 minutes before my alarm. I also have my hubby set his alarm (he can’t sleep through anything). Good to see how well you did with your hetic am.

  • Oh no! I’ve never slept in the day of a race, but I imagine it would be a sinking-of-the-stomach type feeling! I usually don’t sleep well enough to sleep through alarms because I’m so paranoid about getting up on time. That’s awesome that you still made it to the start and ran the race!

  • Ohmygosh! I guess you needed the sleep! Good for you though for doing it and even getting the pace you wanted. Wow. And I agree, I think gingerbread cookies are my new fave too. Especially when they are extra-crispy 🙂

  • That is the worst feeling!! Great job on the run! You were sporting some serious weaving skills.

  • Waking up late like that is the worst! I hate feeling crazy rushed. Luckily I’ve never done that before a race. At least it was this week and not the morning of the marathon.

  • Wow great race!!! I hate sleeping through my alarm, but you did a great job!!

  • I love my cookies soft, so I bet I would love those! I would count the alarm fiasco a blessing in disguise- now you definitely won’t have any issues waking up for the marathon! 🙂

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  • I don’t think I’ve ever slept through a race, but I’ve been in the port-a-potty when the gun sounded for my wave at a triathlon! I literally sprinted out, put my goggles on mid-stride and leapt off the dock into the water. Not a bad way to get some momentum lol.

    Favorite cookie..oatmeal with butterscotch chips, or white chocolate chips