That is about how I will summarize yesterday’s run. One of my favorite quotes when it comes to social media is “never compare your behind the scenes with someone else’s highlight reel”. We often only post the good- the PRs, the weight loss, the muscle definition- and we exclude the bad – legs that feel like lead, the emergency bathroom visits, the muscle aches and more.
Two weeks ago, I had a perfect race. I felt strong, fast, and unstoppable. I hit all of my splits and I ran my goal time. Yesterday, I just wanted to make it to the end. This past week I’ve been fighting a bit of a cold, I’ve been running on less sleep than usual, and my stress level has been a little elevated. Not only that, but I had a killer week of workouts and my body was sore and tired literally from my toes up to my the top of my head. When my alarm went off I almost hit snooze. But then I thought “why am I doing this? why did I start?”. I am trying to push my limits to become the best runner I can be and to enter marathon training season ready to do work! I also really like shiny medals and collecting dry fit shirts. So I rolled out of bed, gathered my items, and headed out to catch the 7:06am train from Lynbrook.
It was smooth sailing to get to the race start. I hopped the E train from Penn to 72nd, walked over to the bandshell to grab my bib number, checked my bag, used the porta potty, and headed to the start line. Waiting in the corral I knew I just wasn’t feeling it. My body felt heavy and tired but I told myself it was only 6 miles and to take one at a time. The gun sounded and we were off for just over one clockwise loop of the park (which is the opposite direction that I am typically used to). My body felt so tight and heavy but I tried to settle in.
I knew that I was going to have some hills to climb and they wasted no time starting. It wasn’t until we descended Harlem Hill and we had the climb for what felt like the entire mile 3 that my body was like “I’m over this”. I wanted to walk to be quite honest but then I found these two runners in front of me. One was an older gentleman and one was a female around my age. They both had tanks with a slogan that I can’t quite remember but it was a program for addicts to become athletes. I’ll never know if they were running for themselves, a loved one, or just to support the cause in general, but the energy they gave off was contagious. The gentleman was being so motivating and encouraging and every time he dropped a one liner, I pretended he was talking to me. I ran behind them for at least another mile before I realized that I was officially “the creepy girl in the purple tank running behind them that looked like she was dying”. So on a downhill I ran up beside the gentleman and was like “hey, I just wanted to thank you both for being so motivating and inspiring today. I really wanted to walk back there but instead I hung onto your energy and I really appreciate it”. Then I decided to run in their vicinity for the last mile instead of right behind them to reduce the awkward level.
The last 800m is identical to the NYC marathon finish and it really brought up a lot of emotions. It allowed me to remember the big picture and that all of these tears, sweat, and calluses are going to be worth it come November. The duo ran up beside me for the last 400m and we kicked it up a notch. Suddenly, the girl stopped running and said go ahead without me. WHAT?!?! My new gentleman friend and I turned around and we were like no way- the finish line is literally 200 yards away. This moment is really engrained in my memory. Sometimes we fear success. What if actually achieve the things that we thought were impossible? What do we do once we have stepped into the unknown? What happens next in this unfamiliar territory? Watching her shake off her doubts and to cross that finish line together was the highlight of my day. I say it all the time but running is so much more than a physical activity. The memories and experiences I have shared on the concrete have been life changing. I’ll never know what their stories are but I know that they became a part of mine. My garmin says I finished the race with a 55:43 for 6.26 miles and a 8:54 average pace. Post race I grabbed my bag (which NYRR does flawlessly), a frozen orangeade, and I hopped the subway back to Penn with my shiny medal in hand.
This Wednesday I jet off to Miami for my fitness retreat with the Tone It Up girls so be ready for a 305 explosion.