Be prepared this will be a long one…
Back in July, I announced my NYC Marathon plans and so much has changed since then. Over the last couple of months, we’ve been working through some big changes that include a new job for me in New Haven, CT and as a result, the sale of our current apartment and a move to Stamford, CT in a couple of weeks. With all the changes on the work front, my running took a backseat. I still managed to attend as many runs as possible to support the Athletes to End Alzheimer’s team and completed as many long runs as I could. At many points throughout this training cycle, I contemplated just canceling my entry. Even the week leading up the race, I thought about not running it. However, I am so glad I decided against that horrible idea.
Going into yesterday’s race, I knew I was prepared to run 26.2 but not up to the caliber and speed that I had in previous years. All along, this race was going to be a fun run and it was exactly that. I soaked up every minute of the big party that took me through all 5 boroughs of New York City. In some ways, this felt like a big farewell party for me (I have my entry to next year’s marathon but I know with the move, it won’t be the same). I high-fived strangers and kids all along the course, smiled at everyone who shouted my name, and hugged all of my friends and family. I smiled the whole way and made sure I enjoyed every minute of the grueling four and a half hours that I was out there. The race and distance are by no means easy, but when you smile and enjoy it, it is a blast.
I had no time goal but one of my teammates wanted me to help pace her to a sub 4:30 marathon. Her goal to was to aim for a 4:20 race for the first half, which is around 9:55 minute miles. We ran the first 10 miles together until she had to use the bathroom. I am so glad I had her with me for the first part of the race. Pacing and running together helped reel me in. In all of my recent marathons, I have started too fast and paid for it by mile 13. After separating at mile 10, I thought about putting on my headphones, but decided against it. I was having too much fun and didn’t want to miss a moment. It started to get a little warm by the halfway mark and after mile 16, coming of the Queensboro Bridge, I knew I needed to make sure I was drinking enough water and Gatorade. From that point on, I walked through each water station to make sure I stayed hydrated. At no other point along the route though did I walk – all the bridges, and hills especially 5th Avenue (at mile 22.5 – 24), I stayed strong.
I finished in 4:31 yesterday and that is far off a PR, even a course PR, but I enjoyed every minute, which is very different from most of my marathon experiences. I was mentally strong the whole race and while I was not physically at my peak, it didn’t matter. This was the race I needed coming off the London Marathon to prove that I had it in me to conquer the marathon distance again. I learned so much about myself and what I would do differently yesterday. The 2015 TCS NYC Marathon taught me many life lessons and I proud to call myself an 8-time marathoner.
My teammates are all incredible. I am humbled by the experience year after year. There were so many first-time marathoners yesterday, my cousin, Derek included and being surrounded by that accomplishment is inspirational. Our team fundraised over $600K for the Alzheimer’s Association and over $3MM in the last seven years. Together the group endured so many tears, sweat, pain, and glory. I am blessed to be affiliated with such a great group people. Thank you so much for an incredible 2015 TCS NYC Marathon season!
And thank you to NYRR for putting on such a great race and all of the fans and supporters on the course. Big thank you, appreciation, and hugs to my friends and family who put up with my crazy running schedule and stories year-round, my parents, brother, and cousins who were out on the course yesterday to shout at me from 3 different spots along the way, and Josh for his constant support of my running addiction. None of this would not have been possible without everyone’s support! THANK YOU for making #8 possible!