The inspiration for this entry arrived around mile 4. It was at this point where I felt bold enough to ask you, the reader, to consider this neglected blog once again. It seemed like a good idea at the time; I was on an emotional high while running the streets of New York City on marathon Sunday. The sun was shining, the crowds were cheering, and everyone and their brother, sister, uncle, grandmother, neighbor, bellman, and so on, was sporting a bib (yes, it was that crowded). At mile 4 I was feeling great. After all, I had already accomplished my first victory of the day; reach the starting line.
You probably already know this but getting to the start of this fabled race is a marathon in itself. This challenge goes something like this: Board the subway at 6am. Walk to the Staten Island Ferry Station. Board ferry at 6:45. Float leisurely past the Statue of Liberty. Dock. Exit ferry and walk to the bus. Board bus. Arrive at starting village. Do whatever it takes to get some coffee. Get in line (again) for the port-a-john. Enter corral. Stay in corral until summoned to the starting gate (which moonlights as a toll plaza) before the gun fires at 9:40. Now go run 26.2 miles.
A few miles after #4, I remained positive that enough carbohydrate, caffeine, and fluid would negate the fact that my longest training run had been 19 miles. By mile 9 I was still naïve (i.e. arrogant) enough to assume that a well-designed carb load would make up for the fact that I had wimped out of almost every long run in the prior weeks. But at mile 15, reality set in. While walking though the water stop, I came to the harsh realization that if you don’t put in the work, fully loaded glycogen stores are not going to carry you to the finish.
Four gels and 19 miles later, I found myself moseying along, contemplating pulling a “Rosie Ruiz”. The voice in my head reminded me that you don’t travel all the way to NYC to quit. And you don’t put in 4 months of training (regardless of how laughable the training may have been) to come home with a DNF. And, most of all, you don’t drop out simply because you are TIRED (injured, yes, tired, no). It was at this point that I leaned on the crowd support. With over 2 million spectators lining the streets, it was difficult (read: embarrassing) to slow the pace down to a crawl. So I began to run, every step painful, but one step closer to the finish line.
Like thousands before me, I crossed that line in Central Park and said prayers of thanksgiving. Thankful for the thousands of race volunteers who handed out fuel, fluids, sponges, and support. Thankful for spectators who lined the streets for a solid 26.2 miles. Thankful for the family and friends who were sending happy thoughts, prayers, and energy my way. Thankful for my husband who is also my #1 fan. Thankful that I lived to cross another finish line and run another day. Onto the next Challenge!