There are many firsts in life…First kiss, first job, first car. And then there is your first marathon. The experience doesn’t really compare to anything else I have done in life. I hate to sound cliché, but the New York City Marathon was one of the best experiences. Not only do I feel like I accomplished an incredible feat, but I’m excited that I pushed myself beyond my expectations and met my goal.
Here is a re-cap.
“We Should Get a Medal for surviving the wait.”
I arrived at the starting line for the marathon around 6:15. I knew it was going to be cold, but I had no idea just how cold it was going to be. My wave didn’t start running until 10:10. So for four hours, I sat on the pavement curled into the fetal position trying to keep myself warm. It was so cold that I couldn’t even feel my feet. As I was sitting with my fellow runners under the tents, someone remarked that enduring the cold was more difficult than the actual marathon.
“Brooklyn we go hard!”
Once the race started, the first few miles were amazing! I loved the support that the fans in Brooklyn showed. From mile 2 to mile 13, there were tons of people lined up on the streets cheering us on, and it really helped to pass the time. On a side note, I loved the support for the black community in Brooklyn. All of the “go head sistas” and “check out the black girl” made me feel great!
“Help me Jesus”
The marathon course was pretty challenging. It started out in Staten Island, crossed into Brooklyn, and then headed over to Queens. Queens was relatively flat and wasn’t very challenging…until you have to cross back over into Manhattan via the Queensboro bridge. “Help me Jesus,” was all I could think as I ran the bridge. Not only was it long, but it was also a steady incline. If I could do anything differently, I think I would have walked part of the bridge or atleast slowed down like a lot of the runners. Instead I was determined to “defeat” the bridge, and I think that strategy hurt me in the long run (no pun intended).
As I told you guys in my earlier post, my longest run before the race was 20 miles. And I definitely hit my wall at this point during the race. I was actually running about a 10:00 pace up until this point. So, when I hit the wall, I felt as though I literally hit a wall! Seriously, my feet felt like they were going to fall off and my body was in pain. The only motivation I had was that I was expecting to see my roommates and my boyfriend at this point, and I didn’t want them to see me walking. I literally shuffled for about 2 miles looking for my friends. Once I ran past them, I took a long walk break.
“The Final Stretch”
Once I got to Harlem, I was only about 5 miles from the finish line. At this point, I was completely exhausted and in pain. I remember turning onto 5th Avenue and thinking, “Yes, I’m in the final stretch.” However, what I didn’t realize is that 5th Avenue would be a steady incline until I reached Central Park. At this point, I had to turn on my Joel Osteen podcast and pray. I still don’t remember how I got down 5th avenue. I had slowed down considerable. I even had to stop myself from looking at my Garmin because I was getting frustrated that my once strong pace was destroyed and I was now running 15 – 16 minute miles.
“The Finish Line”
Once I reached Central Park, I decided that I had to meet my goal and run a 5-hour marathon. At this point, I decided to ignore the pain and just start running as fast as I could. Once I got the 26-mile sign, I started sprinting and ended up sprinting across the finish line.