I ran my first marathon on Sunday.
The days leading up to it I began to feel really anxious and excited. At that point I didn’t know if I would actually do it since I missed some important long runs from being sick and the stress from my job/life/ect. had greatly impacted my preparation for the race. But with last years cancellation from Sandy I had been waiting 3 long years to run, so I decided to do it!! I went ahead and sent out my bib number to friends who wanted to track me and cheer me on.
Sunday morning Sam and I woke up at 4:30am and headed down on the subway to the Staten Island Ferry. The subway was packed with runners and despite how early it was everyone seemed excited and happy to be on their way to the race. As we were waiting for our wave to start we were freezing but super stoked to be running. The canon went off and everyone was yelling and hollering as we started across the Verrazano bridge. It was very windy and cold but as soon as we got into Brooklyn you couldn’t even think about how cold it was when there where people cheering through all the neighborhoods! And it was people shoulder to shoulder pretty much all of Brooklyn. There were bands and DJ’s even an all girl rap group! People were handing out waters, snacks and paper towels. I am getting emotional even thinking about the good people of Brooklyn. One of the most inspiring parts of the race was in the first 5 miles when all the runners merge and as far as you can see there are thousands running and crowds of people cheering on the sides, all different cultures and backgrounds brought together for this day.
^View from the 59th St. bridge^
As we headed through queens things were starting to get difficult for me, which was not good since we were only about halfway through. My right knee began to hurt badly, and Sam was being very patient and kept waiting for me but I started to think that I might not make it. As Sam was running ahead I was thinking about how foolish I was to come into something so hard with how unprepared I was. But then I thought of how hard this past year has been for me and all of the trials I have been through and that despite all of my setbacks in life physically and emotionally, I was still running. I was running a freaking marathon! At that point I decided to instead think of everything I was grateful for and finish the race. I thought of all the people coming to cheer. I thought about Sam and all of my friends and family rooting for us. It was one of the most memorable and emotional moments of my life.
Along the next few miles we were able see some of our friends who came too cheer us on and this helped us both get through the last grueling parts of the race. As we went through the Bronx (my knee pain was beyond bad at this point) I told Sam to go ahead with out me. “Only 5 miles left” I kept telling myself, “You do this all the time at home!” Despite my body screaming at me to stop I somehow found a way to keep going. Maybe it was the distraction I found as a juggling marathoner passed me while juggling 12 balls at once. Or maybe it was the man in front of me that had a sign on him saying he was running with a bullet in his brain. So many inspirational people running with every excuse not too, yet they still were! I was determined to finish.
As I came to the last 2 miles I felt hungry, light headed and my legs were giving out. A man on my left yelled “Keep going!” and when I looked up there was a sign that said “Break Through The Wall!”. I gave it all I had and ran to the end. Sam was waiting for me when I crossed the finish line and a volunteer smiled at me and said congratulations as she placed the medal over my head. I did it! I went the whole 26.2 miles!
Despite how bad my body was feeling I couldn’t stop smiling. I told Sam I was starving so we hobbled over to the nearest pizza place on 75th and Amsterdam where I proceeded to eat half a pie.
I really don’t know how to end this post. I just want to say that if you are even considering running a marathon, you should! It will change you and give you so much confidence in yourself. You are pushed beyond what you think you are capable of doing, and you do it!