The 2015 NYC Marathon has come to end. I’m not quite sure where to start, but the beginning always seems like a good spot. So here we go…
All marathons should be the day of Daylights Savings since the extra hour of sleep was glorious. I fell asleep watching Gilmore Girls (Eric was out with his brother, and I can’t fall asleep by myself because night shift problems die hard) probably around 10pm (taking the time change into account). My alarm was set for 5am, which wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Eric and his brother were still sleeping, so I tried to be as quiet as I could while making coffee and getting ready. Like a good marathon runner, I had laid everything out the night before, so I just needed to put everything on and head out.
I put KT tape on my calf on Saturday just for the hope that anything might help. I did a two mile run on Friday, and it still felt terrible. My calf was achy and I don’t think my lungs were quite ready to go. Some foam rolling on Sunday morning, and I was as ready as I was going to be. I took my breakfast of two Honey Stinger waffles, a banana, a container of Nuun, and homemade coffee in a Starbucks cup I made Eric keep for a day and headed out the door.
Although I usually take the ferry to the start of the marathon, the FDNY had a bus, so I figured I would try that. I walked out of my apartment to take a taxi to the hotel in midtown, but of course plenty of other runners were out looking for taxis as well. It seems as though a few other people were still out in their Halloween costumes, so I hope they had a good night! I upstreamed a few people (oops…) and it didn’t take too long to get a taxi. A quick ride and I was at the hotel by 5:45am. The bus was supposed to leave at 6am, but apparently they just tell you that to get you there on time. We hung around in the lobby until about 7am when the buses actually left.
I was on the bus with other people from the Burn Foundation, and I was happy to have some company. Mostly it was nice to have access to a bathroom (despite it being a bus bathroom…) for the morning and to just be able to sit. I even pondered taking a nap on the bus – it’s a long morning! The bus dropped us off at the FDNY/NYPD tent, which had food, coffee, and Gatorade. I just wanted some water, but I ended up filling up with some Gatorade after I finished my Nuun. Otherwise, I used the bathroom a few more times (nervous peeing, I’m sure) and we hung around. I had the earliest start time at 9:50am, so about 8:35am I said I wanted to make moves up to the start. Mainly because I wanted to find some other people I knew were running, but also to get up to the corrals.
It was good we left when we did! It easy super easy to walk through security (having the FDNY wristband helped…) and then we walked up through the start area. We headed toward the blue wave section, and about halfway to the start I heard, “The first wave corrals will be closing in five minutes!” over the loudspeakers. Enter panic mode! Not being sure how far away the corrals were, I started running toward them, forgetting to say bye to the people I had spent the morning with. (Sorry!) I had to dodge a bunch of runners who were either in later corrals or were not as panicked as I was, and I got to the entrance to Corral D just as they were saying, “This is the final call for Wave 1!” I showed them my bib and breathed a sigh of relief.
Both Dougie and Allie were in my corral, and Jocelyn was in the corral behind mine. I found Dougie immediately and chatted for a bit before sighting Jocelyn. Once you’re in the corral, you still have about 45 minutes until the start, so I sat down and chatted with Jocelyn for a bit. Her plan was to quality for Boston, so she said something about running with me – I advised her against that because I didn’t think that was in the cards for me. (Despite what I said in my race plans, hahahahhhh.) We planned to go to the bathroom one more time since they had port-o-potties in the corral, but right when we got in line they started moving us closer to the start line. Dougie was laying on the ground seemingly napping, so I woke up him so he didn’t get run over, oops. I lost Jocelyn in the crowd but got to hang with Dougie so that was solid.
We walked up to the start and it was quite crowded, still with about 30 minutes to the start. Everyone around us was taking off their throwaway stuff, but I’ve learned from years past to keep it on as long as possible. Not that it was that cold (right around 60 degrees), but I’m a cold person so I kept my pants, long sleeve, and sweatshirt on. At this point, I spotted Allie a few people ahead of me, so I yelled her name (with my quiet voice it took a few times to get her attention) and we wished each other luck from afar. After some introductions and the singing of the National Anthem, the start was near, so I ditched my throwaway clothes (thank you to Dougie for throwing my bundle over everyone’s heads, as well as to the guy next to me who held my stuff so I didn’t fall over). I threw on my arm warmers and gloves, we moved up a little closer to the start, Petter Ciaccia gave the final announcements, and with the cannon boom, we were off!
Marathon – Brooklyn
Well, we were kind of off. We did a little shuffle to actually get to the starting line, then continued the shuffle onto the bridge. It was quite crowded, and somehow we even came to a stand still at about a quarter mile into the race. The start of the race always seems to be crowded, but I have no idea why that happened, especially since the road widened right after that. Who knows. Dougie and I were right near each other and did a little weaving to get around people. Mostly I just looked around, spotted Coney Island (we were on the south side of the bridge), tried to get a view of Manhattan (I’m not very tall), and just looked at all the people around us. Dougie and I joked that we just needed to get to Manhattan and that we could see The District, the bar we were meeting at after the race. So close, yet so far. (The hilarious part about all of this is that I live only a few blocks from the finish line – go so far away just to run home!)
Our first mile was a bit on the slow side (8:49), which I attribute to the crowds, the bit of an incline, and the fact that my legs were going to be a bit stiff. It’s really fun when you come down the other side of the bridge, as it’s a nice downhill that your legs don’t really notice, but the pace drops. I also think it’s really fun to see all the runners in front of you as you head down. Our pace dropped to an easy, easy 7:26 (ha). Other things that dropped once we got over the bridge: our gloves. Definitely didn’t need those! I kept my arm warmers on until about mile 3 and ditched those as well.
Once we got into Brooklyn, Dougie and I seemingly went into cruise mode. It got a little dicey at some of the merges, but it worked out fine. He was running without looking at his watch, but I had mine on to hit my mile splits. I didn’t have too much of a plan for how to pace the marathon, and the pace we were running at seemed comfortable but not too fast, so I felt fine sticking with that. We chatted a little bit, but mostly just ran next to each other. We’d get separated at some of the water stops, but we regrouped after the race. I describe it as a zen running experience, and running with him definitely helped keep me going.
Somewhere in Brooklyn. That is Dougie’s half body to my left.
The crowds in Brooklyn are some of my favorite – not sure if that’s because I’m always in a good mood there or if because they’re really the best. I didn’t know who all would be out there, so I kept a little bit of an eye on the crowds but otherwise you need to pay attention since the running route is still quite crowded. Every once in awhile I headed off to the sidelines to high five some kids, which is always fun. People had some great signs including the usual, “Worst parade ever,” and some people who had giant pictures of runners’ faces, which made me laugh. Otherwise one of the funniest things I saw was a giant punching bag of Donald Trump – and runners actually ran by and punched it! Made me laugh.
The first person I knew I’d see would be Betsy at the 10k, and I was so excited when I saw her! Pretty sure I just threw my arms up and yelled, “BETSY BETSY BETSY!” I remember wanting to hug her, but I can hardly run in a straight line without hurting myself, so that wouldn’t have been so pretty. We continued on and it seemed like the route was doing some slight inclines and declines, which I could definitely feel. I loved when we could look ahead and see everyone in front of us – the roads were jam packed with runners and lined with spectators. Around mile 7, I noticed a spectator with a fancy camera taking a picture of me, so I made a weird face until he put the camera down – it was a nurse I used to work with, and he got a great shot!
Photo credit to Ben.
Oddly enough, Kelly was right behind me, although neither of us noticed! Later at the bar, she said that she was actually following me because she saw me and thought, “That girl looks strong, I’ll follow her,” even though she didn’t realize it was me! Too funny. Dougie and I pressed onward, and soon enough we hit the turn at mile 8, which is fun just to mix it up a little bit. I always remember there being a little bit of a climb through Clinton Hill (starting to feel it!), then turning into Williamsburg. Williamsburg is always a mix of the quietness of the Hasidic community (some people cheering, it seemed!) and a big party in north Williamsburg. I felt pretty good through mile 10, and we were holding right around 8:00 miles. After mile 10, the pace definitely dropped to 8:25, and I was starting to feel it. Dougie and I were still holding strong together, but the 3:30 pace groups passed us in these miles. (I hate getting passed by a pace group, not because I’m slowing down, but mostly because runners get really caught up in staying with the group and tend to run you over.) Pretty sure I saw Kelly ahead of me at this point, so she must have passed me somewhere between mile 7 and mile 12. Go Kelly go!
Things are looking a little more tough here.
We entered Greenpoint and I saw a sign that said, “Welcome to Greenpoint! Now get the hell out!” haha. Not going to lie – I was really ready to be out of Brooklyn because that would mean we’d be at the half mark. I commented to Dougie somewhere between mile 10-12 that I was starting to feel the race and that I felt quite the positive split coming on. He commented something about a ten minute positive split and I chuckled to myself, thinking it would be a bit more than that. (Oh, how right I was…) I also mentioned to Dougie that he was free to go ahead if he wanted – I had no idea how long I was going to hold on for.
Although I was feeling the pace in my legs, I was actually holding on quite well. I didn’t feel a single thing in my left groin, which is what I’d been protecting my entire training session. My calf, which has been bothering me for a few weeks now and basically put my training to a stop, loosened up after a few miles and felt fine. However, right at the mile 12 mark, I felt a twinge on the outside of my right knee. All I could think was, “With every other injury I’ve had, WHY IS MY IT BAND HURTING?” I felt pain with every step on my right leg, a familiar feeling from about six years ago when I had IT band problems. I focused on not bending my leg as much (not the best way to run…) and getting into Queens. Eric, his brother, and Danika were to be in Queens, and I was excited to be seeing them.
Marathon – Queens
We crossed the Pulaski Bridge into Queens, and I kept my eye out for a nurse I work with – he was right on the bridge where he said he would be, so I shouted to him. The half mark is right on the bridge, and we crossed in 1:46:37 – not too shabby, although I could feel the positive split coming. Eric and the cheer crew said they would be somewhere from mile 13-14, but we didn’t know what side they would be on. My eyes darted from side to side, and eventually we hit mile 14. (Slowing down to 8:35 here.) I was convinced we missed them, as we passed mile 14 without seeing them. Dougie and I kept saying, “Where are they? Did we miss them? Did you see them? I didn’t see them!” At some point, Dougie heard Eric yelling, “THERE THEY ARE! I SEE THEM!” I didn’t hear it, but I did see them – we waved and they cheered and then we were off.
Still looking good and hanging with Dougie.
We rounded a couple corners and the Queensboro was in front of us. I was excited to get to it because mile 16 is just over the bridge and then only ten miles to go! I was not excited to be on the bridge because it’s a tough bridge. We started climbing, it was quiet, it was dark. My leg was still hurting. All I wanted to do was stretch. As the bridge kept going up, I gave it. I pulled over to the side to walk for a few steps. I didn’t fully want to stop to stretch, so I just walked. I saw Dougie going ahead of me – in hindsight I probably should have said something about needed to take a break, but I hate feeling like I’m going to hold someone back. So away he went, and I walked some steps. I didn’t quite want to stop fully to stretch, so I just walked for a bit, then started running again. Then my IT band started hurting again, so I finally stopped to stretch a bit. It was really hard to bend over to reach my toes, so that was rough.
I wanted to get to the part of the bridge where we stop going up and start going down. There are numbers on the bridge – I’m not sure if they’re tenth of a mile markers or just a way to count. I lost signal on my Garmin so I wasn’t sure how much I slowed down or when the bridge was going to be over. A little more walking and stretching, then back to running, and down we went around the end of the bridge. I was looking forward to First Ave and to only having ten miles to go. (Only ten miles – ha!) Mile 15 was in 9:37, then mile 16 in 9:58. We shall call this the beginning of the end.
Marathon – Manhattan, Part One
We headed up First Ave, and I kept my eyes on the crowd – I wasn’t sure who would be out there, and any pick-me-up would be much needed. My legs weren’t feeling great and I just wanted to push onward. I believe 96th and 1st was the next destination for the cheer squad, so I wanted to get to there. I knew I was slowing, but I was still moving along (mile 17 was 9:12, so a little better than the bridge…). My friend Molly was in the 70’s, so I was happy to see her and I believe I gave her a high five. As we moved along, I remember thinking that 1st Ave was quieter than I remember it being. Maybe it was all in my head or maybe I was just starting to head to a bad place, but I thought 1st Ave was louder. Brooklyn was so great, and it seemed like the crowds in Manhattan were just looking for their people. Not to say I didn’t get some cheers – definitely a few “Go Susan!”s, but that is my thought.
I knew a sponge station was coming up right around mile 17 – a woman from my improv class said she would be there, as well as Alisha, who I had dinner with on Saturday. I spotted Helen and yelled her name, but she was turning to grab another sponge. Alisha was right after her, so I yelled her name and got a sponge from her – hooray! Mile 17 is right around 77th St, and I started really looking forward to getting to 96th St. Mile 18 and hopefully Eric! I started doing more of a run/walk situation, but I still had a fair amount of running in me. More like a shuffle, but I was moving. I think it was somewhere around here that my friend Alyssa’s parents were cheering – I was walking along and didn’t realize it was them yelling my name. (When you have your name on your shirt, sometimes it’s hard to tell if it’s random people are yelling for you or if you know them.) Luckily they yelled my name a few times so I turned and realized it was them – thank you for cheering, sorry I was aloof!
My run/walk combo continued, and I got to 96th St. I looked for Eric and the crew and couldn’t find them. I looked for the black and yellow balloons Maura said she would have. I didn’t see those. Luckily, I did see Maura (not sure where the balloons went, or I was just delirious and missed them!), so I was happy for her cheers. But I didn’t see Eric and the crew and for some reason it felt like a huge mental letdown. (For me, not for them, cheering was great.) This was the beginning of some very, very dark miles.
I told myself to cheese it up for the cameras. I was not actually this happy.
I started much more of a WALK/run instead of a run/walk. Somewhere around mile 18-ish I heard/saw/no idea what actually happened Kevin and Tim. I remember they had talked about making some glorious signs, which I didn’t see, and about a block down the road I thought I should have asked where they were – I suppose I used up all my quick thinking (and glycogen stores) at my improv show. Back to the road head. I moved over to the right side of the road, possibly subconsciously to get away from cheering people. (The dark, dark miles.) I walked a bunch. I tried to run. I walked much more. I saw Jocelyn heading for a bathroom, so I went over and tapped her on the shoulder. She said she felt dead, and I told her to come find me, I’d be walking. A guy nearby said, “Me too! I ran Marine Corps last weekend!” I, however, had no excuse, and eventually got moving again. I spotted Celia and tapped her on the shoulder. She was helping to pace someone and said they were on pace for about 3:45 and encouraged me to run with her (or ahead!) and I told her I’d be happy if I went sub-4. I tried to keep up but eventually they pulled ahead. It was a struggle to get myself to start running again, and I just saw the finish slipping away.
Marathon – The Bronx
Mile 19 was complete in 13:16 (oh dear), and the Bronx was near. Just get to mile 20. Just get to mile 20. I knew the time in the Bronx was short, so I hoped I could convince myself to just get it over with as quickly as possible. The Willis Ave Bridge was pretty quiet, except for a guy on the side of the road, yelling, “Welcome to the Bronx!!” which was nice. We crossed the bridge and then took a left – it was a wide turn with music playing, and one runner was really throwing it down dancing. It made me smile and I just thought about how I couldn’t move like that then – or ever, let’s be serious. A few more turns in the Bronx – I did more run/walking, but I managed to convince myself to keep moving. I was taking Gatorade and water at most of the stops, mainly just to have an “excuse” to walk, not necessarily because I needed it. I did worry about hydrating too much and getting hyponatremia…and I was just getting tired of Gatorade and water. People were handing out bananas, which didn’t seem appetizing at all either. Around mile 20.5, I spotted orange slices across the road. I pondered the effort it would take to get across the road and decided it wasn’t worth it. I saw Jocelyn again and hoped maybe we’d be running together, but she wasn’t feeling well so I moved on.
Marathon – Manhattan, Part Two
The Madison Ave Bridge was right in front of us – back to Manhattan! You would think I’d be excited about this, but I was feeling so rough. I was walking on the bridge and a guy near me said, “The struggle is real.” YES, YES, IT IS. Mile 20 was done in 11:00 and 21 in 11:41. See you later, Bronx.
I knew Danika was going to meet Abbe at 135th and Fifth, so I figured the cheer squad would be around there, but I wasn’t sure. I was in a massive WALK WALK WALK try to run WALK okay let’s run phase. I kept thinking about how much time I had left to the finish. At mile 20, ten minute miles would get me there in an hour. At mile 21, my 11 minute miles made me think I still had an hour left. At mile 22, 15 minute miles would get me there in an hour. You see where this was going.
It was bad. It was really, really, really bad. Starting around mile 18-19, I probably almost cried about 20 times. I remember just staring at the sky and wondering how this could hurt so bad and how I could be so unable to keep pushing forward. For some reason I never thought about NOT finishing, but I just keep thinking about how long it was going to take to finish and how much this hurt. I thought about how I was never, ever, ever going to do this again. And then I would almost cry again. I would try to run a block, then I’d start walking again. At one point, I realized I was walking about the same speed as I was running, so why not walk more? So much pain. So much not wanting to run. So much wondering when all of this would be over.
Not sure where this was, but this was definitely how I felt.
Eric and the crew were somewhere between mile 21 and mile 22. They started yelling and Eric started taking pictures. I pretty sure I put my hand up and said, “STOP STOP.” Because I was in a dark place and didn’t want any documentation of this happening. They cheered and I’m a terrible person. If anything, I learned that motivating people are only motivating if you want to be motivated. Not if you’re deep into the dark places.
Before I asked Eric to stop, oops.
We came around Marcus Garvey Park, and Amy (and Gotham City Runners) was out cheering. Pretty sure I looked miserable and made some weird hand gesture…I was not a thankful runner, for which I apologize. We turned onto Fifth Ave and headed on that lovely incline. I was still doing more walking than running, and I don’t think I cared. I couldn’t make myself move any faster, and running only lasted for a few steps at a time. Some lovely people were handing out pretzels, so I grabbed one then realized I didn’t actually want it except to eat the salt off of it. So I did that. I saw Jocelyn one last time. I wondered if I needed to go to the bathroom and found a port-o-potty because WHY NOT. I was still walking just about as fast as I was running, so I kept walking. I was still too far away from the finish to make myself think that forcing myself to run faster would be better than just continuing to walk. And that march up Fifth Ave is rough.
Miles 22, 23, and 24 were 14:30, 14:45, and 15:23. Dark, dark times. So much pain. So many people yelling my name and telling me I could do it, and me wondering if I actually could do it. (Still never thought about not finishing.) Watching people run past me. Almost crying so many more times. A couple runners physically ran into me, which was a surprise and just felt like blow after blow to my already low running spirit.
This is my “Is this over yet?” face.
We turned into the park and it was mile 24. At my current pace, it was going to take me half an hour to get to the finish. I gave myself a pep talk. Only two more miles. TWO MORE MILES. You’ve been running for years upon years, you can do two miles. Finally my brain realized that the end was actually near. I convinced myself to get into a run walk pattern if for no other reason than to pass the time faster. I started with a one minute run, one minute walk. I felt good running at one minute and would make it thirty more seconds. Or I’d be going downhill. Eventually I would walk for a minute, but then I would start back up after the minute was over. But I was moving – not fast, but running. It still hurt, but the finish was getting closer. I told myself I had an advantage because I run there all the time. Just get around the park and you’re done. Run 1-2 minutes, walk one minute. Please, just get this over with.
“You can do this. You can do this.” Immediately followed by…
“OMG Are we done yet?”
We went up that little bump at 72nd St and started to head down toward Central Park South. We passed mile 25 (12:30 pace – we’re flying!!). I saw Michelle cheering and feel like I was in a little bit of better spirits. We left the park, which I kept thinking looks so different than on a regular day. Onto Central Park South. And so many potholes. I tried to find a part of the road that was more flat. I wanted to keep running, but I did a little more walking. A guy shuffled by me and did the whole hand-on-my-back-keep-moving-with-me thing that I really wish would work. I did start running again and just wanted to get back into the park. We hit the 800 meters to go sign. If I picked up the pace to a ten minute mile (SO FAST), I’d be to the finish in five minutes. We turned back into Central Park. I almost cried because it was almost over. Just keep running. Just keep running.
Just checking my watch….again. Central Park South.
Oh no no no, I can’t keep running. One last walk break. You can do this. 400 meters to go. GET THIS DONE. I pushed myself to run until the finish. Up that hill. And then, it was over.
Hey look – happy to be finishing!
It was over. Four hours, twenty minutes, and twenty-six seconds after I crossed the starting line, I finished. 4:20:26. Most likely the longest 4:20:26 of my life. But then the longest walk started. Luckily at this point, I was really good at walking. I’d had a lot of practice over the last few miles. I got my medal (hooray!) and just wanted to get out of them. I decided to not be THAT person and went to take a finisher picture.
Then we continued on the long, long walk. I bypassed the heat shield because I wasn’t cold at all and figured I’d get my poncho soon. I got the food bag and realized the last thing I wanted was more Gatorade or water. Then the bag felt really heavy (I’m so dramatic) and just wanted out. I weaved around runners to get to the poncho exit. The post-marathon march is only made worse because many people who do the marathon march are also looking at their phones, and it’s just a huge mess. Although I really just wanted to sit down, I more so just wanted to get my shoes off. That’s all. I thought about walking through the streets of New York in my socks. We finally exited out 77th St, walked back south along Central Park West, and got a poncho. I finally saw the exits – I only live a few blocks from the park on the west side, so I shuffled home.
My emotions weren’t quite done yet, and I almost cried a couple times as I headed west along 72nd St. (My apologizes to the police officer who I asked if I could exit along 72nd St, I didn’t mean to be nearly in tears.) I was upset about the marathon, how much I hurt, and how much I just wanted to take my shoes off. I spotted a bench and thought about sitting down, but I realized I probably wouldn’t get up for awhile. My stomach was weird, so I headed to Duane Reade to get a ginger ale. (Seems to be my new thing.) I got a couple congratulations from people walking by and got my ginger ale (but not before someone cut me in line, oops). I then made it home and promptly sat on my couch. It was done.
Eventually I showered and headed back out with Eric to meet up with the running crew at The District. I hobbled down the subway steps. A man on the subway offered me his seat. We enjoyed some beers – I got the Coney Island Sea Salt Ale mainly because it had the word “salt” in the title. Eventually I got a burger, which was beyond delicious. We rehashed the marathon. Kelly and I laughed about being right near each other and not realizing it. Dougie and I fist-bumped over our newfound running buddy status and the great things we think we could accomplish together. I heard about how it seems like everyone seemed to get sick at the race (seriously – why was everyone vomiting??). I heard about people who had great races. We had an engagement in the group (way to one-up your own first marathon, Brian!). We just celebrated accomplishing a marathon.
Some of the crew!
Numbers and Splits
4:20:26, average pace of 9:56.
And the thoughts/feelings.
This was the toughest, toughest race I’ve ever run. I have never been in so much pain for so much of a race without being able to push myself forward. I’ve hit the wall before. I’ve been in pain before. My legs have hurt. I’ve been able to get myself to the finish in a somewhat respectable manner. This was a totally different level.
I can’t say I’m surprised. I stood on the starting line wondering what this marathon would bring. How far I would make it before the hurt. My training for this marathon mainly consisted of “just do what won’t injure you.” I ran four days per week, max. I didn’t run if I had any feeling of pain. I kept the pace super slow. No speed work. I maxed out at 18 miles about a month ago. I ran a half marathon two weeks ago, but that was it. I’ve barely run in the last three weeks. Although I hoped my years of marathon and running experience would help me out, the truth is that the marathon is a humbling race and is not to be messed with. Having fourteen marathons under your belt doesn’t make mile 22 any easier. The difference is that I knew the pain would come and I knew what was waiting for me.
I do think my past experience helped me actually get to the finish, no matter what the pace. Never along the way did I think that I wouldn’t make it. I didn’t have injury-pain, I had my-legs-are-dead pain. People asked me what my goal was for the marathon, and my main goal was to get to the finish line in one unbroken piece. My legs are sore (oh so sore), but I didn’t break anything. Oddly enough, my groin feels the best it’s felt all year. My IT band hurts a bit when I bend my knee, but I’m sure that will go away.
I’ve never been so emotional during a race before. I’m surprised there aren’t pictures of me trying to cry. I’ve run really great races where I’ve flown through the last few miles. Or where I’ve struggled through the last few miles but still pulled out a great time. This marathon is my personal worst by far. My previous personal worse was 4:12, which is from Chicago 2008 during the 95 degree heat wave. With the exception of that disaster, my next slowest time is 3:51, which was Marine Corps 2006 – my first marathon. I felt like I knew a personal worst time was coming around mile 19-20-ish. I wasn’t necessarily upset about that. I do pay attention to the time on the clock, but it was more painful to be unable to move myself faster. I think it is so much harder to push through a race where you’re doing terribly than one where you hurt but are rocking it.
It’s hard to be too down on myself when I realize that I actually RAN A MARATHON. Before the race, many people said to me, “Well you’ll be okay, you’ve done them before.” They don’t get easier. They certainly don’t get easier if you haven’t trained well. But I still did it. I could have walked off the course and I don’t think anyone would have blamed me. I remember thinking during the race that this is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. That I’ve never been in more pain. And despite being in a dark, dark place, I had to laugh at myself. The hardest thing I’ve ever had to do is run a marathon I signed up for? How lucky I am. I thought about the cause that I raised money for – for burn victims who don’t choose to be in their situation and how they have to choose to push through. And here I am almost in tears because I chose to run a marathon. Somewhere around mile 22-23, when the going really got tough and I was averaging 15 minute miles, a man ran past me. (Many, many people ran past me.) I looked up and realized he only had one leg and then a prosthetic leg. I have two good legs, and here’s this guy running with one leg. Pull yourself together, Susan, you have a great life.
I could feel bad about what happened on Sunday. I’ll admit that I wish it turned out better, that I at least ran a little faster. But I think I did the best with what I had. I hadn’t trained well. I didn’t set myself up for success in terms of what the clock would say. But I did what I could. I knew signing up for this marathon might not have been smart – I started from scratch in June and wondered if I would be setting myself up for injury. But I didn’t injury myself. And I helped raise money for a great cause and one that I will see the benefit of every day I go to work. Not every marathon is about lowering the time on the clock, and I think I hit my goals for this marathon. I raised my goal amount for the charity, and I’m not injured. Sometimes that’s all we can ask for.
I swore during the race that I would never do this again. That I wouldn’t subject myself to this pain. I’m not sure what’s next for me, but I don’t actually think this will be my last marathon. (But I will train better, that’s for sure.) I learned a lot about myself and pushed through some really hard times out there. And you know what? They still give you a medal. It’s great.
Thank you to everyone who cheered. Everyone who tracked me. Everyone who followed along with my training. Everyone who ran with me this training cycle. Everyone who wished me luck. And special thank you to everyone who donated the New York Firefighters Burn Center Foundation. Running for charity gave me a new reason to run, and it was new motivation for me. It was an honor to run for a cause outside of myself.
I will be taking some time off running, and I’m excited about it. I’m also excited to actually get back into racing shape (I’ve been saying that for a year, it’s fine), but that will have to wait for now.
And lastly – thank you to everyone for reading. It means so much to me that people want to follow along with my journey. Marathon #15, signing out.