Let me tell you how shocked I am that I just completed a half-marathon this weekend, and ran the entire 13-miles. I didn’t even stop for water—well I got my water, but I took it to go! Nothing was stopping me from running past that finish line. Let me remind you that about eight weeks ago I had decided to do this half-marathon, and following an eight week training schedule is one of the shorter ones to do. Most people give themselves three months to prepare for these races. However, two weeks into my training, I had a disastrous fall on the treadmill and tore my rotator cuff of my left shoulder. Not only was my body hurting, but my confidence had taken a big hit. I always say that my mind is my strongest muscle—some people attribute this to their quads, biceps, or abdominals, but I really think that when I set my sight on something my determination is so strong that I can achieve anything. But then my confidence flags and I’m completely burned. This is what happened during my half-marathon training, and weeks went by before I got back on that treadmill. I kept the idea of maybe still competing in the race in the back of my mind, but not really taking it too seriously. Then last week, with everyone in the office chattering about the upcoming race I thought, how could I not just try? I already had a number and my registration all filled out—since these races are so popular, it’s hard enough to get in—how could I just give up my slot? Besides, the weather forecast for Sunday was in the 70s and beautiful so I figured, why not just go for a run? This was my attitude heading into the race.
The morning of the half-marathon I woke up early (an alarm clock failure almost caused me to miss the race; thankfully, Dino’s internal alarm clock got him up—and he got me up on time) and I got ready to go as if I was heading out for a morning jog. I didn’t even get nervous when I saw thousands of people warming up and stretching at the starting point at 85th street and Central Park. Actually, I didn’t start getting nervous until I realized I must have accidentally placed myself in the third tier (which is one of the fastest groups). Not only was I starting with the faster runners, but because I hadn’t trained I was going to run a little, walk a little, run a little, walk a little, so that I could make it through the entire 13 miles without dying—but now, I was going to be stampeded by the crowd! However, as I waited for the starting gun to go off, I chatted with a friendly man in my group and he gave me some sound advice. He said, “You’re a runner. It takes a certain discipline to be a runner and to be able to listen to your mind as much as your body.” He advised me that I shouldn’t make myself stop running once I’ve started, and to keep on running as long as I paced myself properly. At that moment I thought, you’re right—all my life I’ve compared my running self to that of a turtle: slow and steady, steady and slow, that’s the way you need to go.
By this mantra, I watched the mile markers go up and up—and kept on going toward the finish line. The most exhilarating part of the race was running down Broadway through Times Square (how cool is that?) and hearing the crowd cheer all us runners on along the way. I loved watching the parade of people running ahead of me and behind me (over 15,000 people participated!) and at mile 11 when I felt like I couldn’t go on anymore, I picked up a racer who was walking on the side. I needed someone to push me to the end because I really felt like I may have quit. Without this woman, I wouldn’t have ran across that finish line—she ran with me the remaining two miles of the race and gave me the support I needed to get through it. (Thank you!)
Although I wouldn’t recommend doing a half-marathon, or any race, without the proper training, accomplishing this really showed me how in shape I am and how much you can make something happen if you have the will to do it. Now I want to indulge in a big dish of Nachos! Mmm!