Did you set a goal at the beginning of the year?
Where are you with that goal? Have you accomplished it? Congratulations! Are you still working on it? Keep going, you got it! Or perhaps you don't even remember what your goal was? If that's the case, the goal wasn't one you set with your heart. Set another small goal and work on it a little every day. Over time this practice will become natural and your goal will be achieved.
This year I set a goal for myself that ended up being more rewarding than I imagined.
Technically I set the goal in 2009. I was in my early 20's and decided to run the San Diego marathon. The main goal was to cross the finish line, but I thought I could do it in under 5 hours. I thought wrong. I ran that race, but the pain and defeat that occurred on mile 18 are forever etched in my brain. I also remember crossing mile 26 and thinking .2 miles... RUNNNNN! When I took the next step I quickly realized I had zero control of my legs and that last stretch of the race felt never-ending. It always sat in the back of my mind that I needed to run another marathon to check it off my list. This year 26.2 miles were going to be mine!
Now you know why I wanted to run a marathon, but which one?
If I could run any marathon which would be entertaining, FLAT, and get me pumped up? New York City was an obvious no-brainer.
SIDE NOTE - I read this 1 week before the race:
"It's also one of the most difficult courses of the Major Marathons. With deceptively hilly bridges (insert doubt here), a tough finish through Central Park, and screaming crowds that can make your adrenaline surge at the most inopportune times, the course can bring even the most elite runners to their knees." - Active.com
I was extremely lucky for the opportunity to run on behalf of the Brain Injury Association of New York State.
There were seven of us, two of which acquired their brain injuries the prior year. This left me speechless. The fact that within a year they were healed enough to accomplish a task that 1% of the human population ever completes is outstanding. It's common that people who acquire brain injuries may have cognitive issues and trouble staying focused. I highly respect them for having the ambition and drive needed to dedicate toward training. One of them finished in 3 hours and 24 minutes!!! I'm still in Awe! Thank you to everyone who helped me raise $2820.00 for the Brain Injury Association! These funds will help others like me get back on their feet.
How many times do you start something and a week in you start slacking?
On the topic of training; I dedicated 5 days a week for 7 months to train. These days, weeks, and months became a healing journey for me. I ran because it is a gift. A gift that at one point I didn't have. A gift of watching my physical strength grow week after week. My focus wavered in the last couple of weeks but my determination didn't. A gift of support which I received in so many unexpected ways, even as I was running towards the finish line (THANK YOU)! The biggest gift was self-confidence and knowing if I dream it, I can do it.
The morning of the race
I geared up at 4:45am (This was 1:45am PST). I carbed up with some muffins from NOGLU and caught a bus that took me to Staten Island. I wasn't sure what to expect from early AM November weather so I was layered up in style.
The Start Village
I spent the next 4 hours sharing stories with Stacey who I met on the bus. I continued to carb up like a true racer would with Pizza. (I had to hunt pretty hard for gluten and dairy-free and luckily found Stonebridge Pizza which carried me through the race like a champ!
When we parted ways, I had an hour before my start time.
I went over to the clothing donation area and heard "last call". I asked the girl next to me if that was for our group and she said yes and we both ran over. I thought once I got inside the gate I'd have the hour to stretch but we started walking towards the starting line. I quickly realized this was not my group and I was with the faster runners. I intended to hold back to stretch and warm up but at the last minute said screw it. It's time to run! I held to the back of that pack and headed out on my journey with a smile on my face.
For the next 26.2 miles I didn't stop with exception of stopping to take this photo and a restroom stop at mile 3.
Mile 6 and I'm still smiling
The energy that poured from the crowd the entire span of the city was like taking espresso shots. Thank you!
Smiles aren't dying at mile 8
The dreaded mile 18's got nothing on me! I'm past mile 18-20 which I feared and I'm Picking up speed entering Central Park at mile 24. The smile still hasn't faded.
The Finish Line
This is what seeing a finish line with 4:48 on the clock looks like...GOAL ACHIEVED!
This is my pace chart. I had an amazing support crew following along with my run that day. I received texts from them at the start and throughout the race. You can see my speed jump in the last four miles. I'm pretty sure this was a mix of seeing Ben, receiving a few inspirational texts, adrenaline, and pure drive not to step foot across that finish line at 5:01.
Thank you to everyone who supported me in my healing journey.
Thank you to everyone who supported me in accomplishing this goal.
Thank you to all of the other runners on the streets of New York that put your best foot forward that day and inspired me.