A few months ago on November 1, 2015 I completed my second New York City Marathon! Running 26.2 miles is not an easy feat- some of you may be runners too and know that the time commitment needed to train for a race is a hefty one…but it is SO SO worth it. My first marathon was last year- the TCS NYC Marathon of 2014. I had such an incredible experience running that race and caught the “running bug” you always hear about…and I just NEEDED to feel all of those feelings again.
I haven’t always been a runner. I ran back in my high school days to keep fit, but I was doing low mileage and wasn’t very serious about it.
Actually, before training for my first marathon, I hadn’t really run much other than on the treadmill at bootcamp classes and maybe a 4-5 miler once in a VERY (VERYYYY) blue moon when I was in a pinch and just needed a good cardio workout. Before last year I didn’t consider myself a “runnner” and would have chosen an elliptical machine over a treadmill any day.
So why did I go from 0 to marathon? No real reason other than if I want to start doing something, I often go all in- that’s sort of my personality. My friend Kait, who was a new-ish friend at the time had ran her first NYC marathon the year before in 2013 and I was talking to her about it and I felt overwhelmingly inspired by what she did and how she felt doing it. She told me she started crying at the last stretch of the race…I immediately assumed it was because she was in pain, but-no-it was because she was SO happy that she was about to complete something so important to her. She was about to become a finisher, someone who did something physically and mentally challenging that most people don’t even try to do. I immediately wanted to feel those feelings- I wanted to experience something like that.
As adults, we don’t always put ourselves out there and try things that we know are going to be very challenging…because its uncomfortable to do that. There’s an unknown element, and that can be very scary. I know that I have definitely shied away from things in the past because I thought it would be “too hard” or “too time consuming” or “not for me”…but the reality is-we are all capable of amazing things- we just have to put ourselves out there and do it.
So I signed up for my first race and decided to run for a charity organization who offered a training group…because if I was going to do something crazy like decide to run a marathon out of nowhere, I certainly wasn’t going to do it on my own! That friend I told you about had run with Team in Training via the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society when she trained for her race and she LOVED it. I took her advice and started running with Team in Training. They helped me- a pretty novice runner- learn everything I needed to know and after a month of training I was running distances I never thought possible. The first time I completed a 10 mile run, I felt over the moon proud of myself, and I only kept going up from there. I also met so many friends along the way who I chatted with for hours on our long runs together as a team. I heard so many incredibly touching and inspiring stories from family members of cancer patients and cancer survivors who were running to raise money and awareness- many stories had me in tears and really proved that running this race wasn’t just for me, it was for others to…a way to give back in a very real way. The Leukemia & Lymphoma society is an incredible charity organization- all money raised through race fundraising goes to cancer research and helping people affected by blood cancers.
I finished my first marathon in 4 hours, 16 minutes and 20 seconds. I was pretty happy with this time! I maintained my 9:30 minute/mile pace the whole race and took my time to really take it all in and enjoy it. Yes, enjoy it… the energy from the other runners and the tremendous crowd support makes you feel like a super hero. The crowds feed your adrenaline and that not only keeps you going, but pushes you through at the most difficult parts of the race. I was lucky enough to have my husband and my mom tracking me the whole race and running all over the 5 burrows to meet me at 5 different predetermined locations- they ran their own mini marathon that day too! I stopped to hug and kiss them at all the meeting spots, and I even stopped to take a few selfies on the 59th street bridge, because there is ALWAYS time for a selfie when your doing something cool. When I finally got close to the finish line I felt so overrun with emotion- I was so happy and I also couldn’t wait to finish!
This years marathon went a little differently… I was strong throughout and on my way to beating last years finish time by 10 minutes…but I suffered an injury at the very end of the race. Its a pretty cool marathon story and I can’t wait to share it with you- look out for the full story next week!