It has been three weeks since the TCS NYC Marathon. I am finally writing my recap of that incredible day. I feel like it has taken the full three weeks to let all the emotions and experiences of the day fully sink in.
I just want to start off by saying thank you to Claire. I am so lucky to have shared this experience with my beautiful, strong, hilarious friend Claire. We have trained together, we have laughed together, we have cried together, we have definitely cursed cat hill and harlem hill together. We went on a journey together. It was tough, at times we wanted to quit, we helped each other, encouraged each other and questioned our sanity, but in the end we kicked ass together. I am grateful for her. “In a galaxy far, far, away… ” ;)
My marathon thoughts…
A friend of mine, also a runner, stated that running a marathon is a lot like a metaphor for life. During those 26.2 miles there are moments of pain, joy, excitement, despair, euphoria, disbelief, accomplishment- all the ups and downs. Tears and laughter mixed in. Much like life, you just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other and giving it the best you can.
The night before the marathon is a bit surreal. I feel like you have been training for months and months. Logging miles and miles waiting for the day to finally arrive. When it finally arrives it almost doesn’t seem real. I didn’t sleep well the night before. I worried that I would sleep through my alarm, that I hadn’t planned the proper clothing, that my food/fuel was wrong, I questioned my ability to actually finish the race and then I started panicking about where and how often I would be able to pee before I entered the corral… I am a nervous pee-er (is that even a word??!!) =) Of course, all worked out completely fine. I met Claire and Ashley and we took a taxi to catch our ferry to Staten Island.
It is really is hard to explain the frenetic, nervous, excited energy that exudes from the thousands of runners all crammed into one place heading to the start line. There are lots of comments, shared past experiences, nervous jokes and little acts of kindness. Everyone is bound together by their common goal of crossing the finish line 26.2 miles later. We all, all of us, definitely shared the same spark of crazy in our eyes!
I really shouldn’t have worried, there was plenty of time to visit the port-a-potty numerous times, stretch, take in the views, make sure the playlist was cued, calm the nerves, shed warm layers and make our way to the start.
I will never forget as long as I live the start of the NYC Marathon. Running beside Claire on the Verrazano Bridge with thousands of runners ahead of me and thousands behind me was worth all of the months of training. There really is nothing like it. The helicopters are hovering beside the bridge, breathtaking views meet you at all sides, the bridge itself is seemingly bouncing with the weight of the runners, people are taking pictures and the sound of sneakers hitting the pavement is mesmerizing. The first two miles flew by as if I was in a crazy running dream. I couldn’t believe we were doing this.
When our feet hit Brooklyn, the reality of the race set in. You run a half marathon in Brooklyn alone. It is time to sink in, let the training kick into gear and find your run. There were many times when I had to remind myself to reel it in a bit. The cheering crowds and other runners make it very tempting to pick up the pace.
I wish I could remember and break down my race from mile to mile but for me it really was about moments.
The cheering crowds in all the boroughs were unbelievable. Complete strangers yelling your name and offering support. High-fiving little kids, sharing a smile, a thumbs up or a wave. The different types of music playing, the creative and hilarious signs. The woman with the vaseline- THANK YOU!!!!!!
And then of course there were the friends and family that waited along the course so that they could share a quick moment with Claire and I. Each word of encouragement and warm hug was like a burst of energy. I am telling you right now thank you and you are all amazing.
It was pretty hard to not get choked up when I saw my two spectacular daughters screaming my name. They had so much faith in me and believed in me, it was everything!!!!
The marathon was a grueling race. At mile 20 I hit a pretty rough patch and I honestly wasn’t sure I was going to be able to finish. I started throwing up. Not so glamorous, but at least I managed not to hit my awesome sneakers ;) It was at this point that I seriously began to question if I was going to be able to finish. My mind wanted to go on but my body was struggling.
Claire was a rock and like a true friend and running partner extraordinaire she agreed to only leave my side when I was left in the care of some other pretty damn incredible people. At this point I met up with my Soul family and I knew just by looking at all that love and strength that I was going to be able to finish the marathon, even if I had to crawl across the finish. YOU GUYS… my heart, seriously.
Jessica and Rebecca jumped in with me and walked with me all the way to Columbus Circle! In case I haven’t told you two enough- YOU ARE THE BEST, sniff.
Even though I had to walk for a good 4-5 miles, the support and encouragement surrounding me was inspiring. Rena and coach Rachel, Chad, Heather, Lisa, Babette, Edith, Meilan… thank you. Those last miles were a struggle but seeing all of you made my heart swell.
I was determined to run the last uphill stretch to the finish line. Central Park is my park. I had trained, logged so many hours, too many miles to count… I was crossing that finish line. And I did. It felt amazing. It felt exhausting. It felt painful. It felt euphoric. It was a day to remember.
I get asked a lot if I will ever run a marathon again. Who knows? Never say never. Right now it is in the bucket. I am pretty damn proud of myself. This has been a tough year, maybe even the toughest. The marathon was and is a triumph.
I AM stronger than I thought.
P.S. Just wanted to say a BIG thank you to everyone out there for your support and encouragement over the last few months… the texts, calls, Facebook posts and emails encouraging me on this marathon journey touched me in ways that I will never adequately be able to express.