Well well well, I survived my very first marathon. Better yet, I survived the NYC marathon which is no easy feat. I'm not sure I can explain just how much I never thought I could do it before. As the queen of "I can't", this marathon was a huge victory for me and, while terribly painful, it was amazing at the same time. The entire day was full of such energy, joy, camaraderie, excitement...it truly was a priceless experience no matter what I had to endure in order to finish.
I've written about it before but I'd suffered through some big setbacks during training that had me really nervous. I also deal with severe ITBS and it's so painful at times. It definitely flared up and plagued me during the latter half of the marathon so it added a great deal to my finishing time. I honestly wasn't concerned at all with that, though; I simply wanted to finish. As the day began and we boarded the ferry to Staten Island, I finally felt more excited than nervous. I went into this race with a mindset of just crossing the finish line so I think I finally took pressure off myself that morning. My sister, Allison, and I started the race together which was so special and fun. The weather was clear, the sun was bright and the energy from the other runners was contagious. Running across the Verrazano Bridge was such a neat experience, especially alongside Allison. That's something I'll never forget.
For the most part, the race went well for me. Running up 1st Avenue was every bit as electric as people have told me. Having my name on my shirt was definitely the way to go since the crowd really carried me as I started hurting. Just as I passed mile 18, the pain in my knees suddenly hit and became nearly unbearable. I had to walk/run the last 6 miles but I tell you what, I still felt like a champion. I ran across that finish line with my head held high and that's all that mattered to me in the end. It was an emotional day and one that will remain one of the best of my life. I kept a smile on the whole way and, no matter what, I know what this accomplishment means for me.
Being an ambassador for New Balance was an honor and I felt proud in my gear. I'm so happy I was picked and I hope my fellow team members did really well overall. I hope, at the very least, everyone had as memorable of a day as I did. I'd love for anyone to check out my official photos here but I thought I'd share a couple below, as well:
Right before the knees crapped out on me:
All in all, what a wonderful memory and experience. I will never, ever forget it!