I don’t even know where to start. I’m still reeling from all the emotions I felt running the NYC marathon. Chicago was amazing, but there’s something about hometown turf that packed an emotional punch that hasn’t left me yet. I think the best way to do the post is not through miles but through emotions.
Pride: I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs living in NYC for 6 years, but there’s nothing quite like a marathon to remind you why this is the greatest city on earth. No matter where I live in the future, I don’t think you’ll ever be able to make me change that statement. I’m proud to live here and proud of my run. This city made me a runner and rewarded me with the best marathon experience someone could ask for. I finished in 4:09.59 - I’ll save sub-4:00 for another day. Suck it, Chicago time; Suck it, sub-4:10 - I owned you!
Joy: I ran with one of my best friends - the incomparable Andrea Ng (aka Ang…duh). I just felt so much joy running with her. She’s just a joyful person anyway. We did the YMCA, we danced to Robin Thicke the 1000s of times Blurred Lines was played along the course, we high-fived countless people and we teared as we discovered no street was less than 3 people deep of crowds.
Pain: And extreme pain at that. Someone asked me how NYC compared to Chicago. Fans aside, I described the course as Chicago’s PMSing older sister (no offense to my own older sister who is a delight) - it was intense and seemed to never quit throwing obstacles at you. That course is no joke. I’m generally ok with hills - but I’m generally not ok with hills at mile 23. Also, I’ve run Central Park a bazillion times and I never realized the uphills that happen around mile 24. Why are those there? Take them out, please.
Confusion: This feels like an awfully long 10K - this should be over soon, right? Wait, I thought we went into the park at 96th street? Why is that guy a cow? Is he a cow? No someone said he’s a dog, but wait he has horns. When did I eat my last Clif Shot? Should I do another just in case? Now my hands are sticky. How do they know my name’s Catherine? Right, I wrote it on my it’s on my shirt ::thumbs up:: ow, I can’t lift my arms like that anymore.
Anger: After seeing my dad then my friends before the Queensboro Bridge, I got mad all over again about the Boston bombings. I was fuming the entire bridge. How could someone do that? To take advantage of a moment in time when a city stops to support each other - I will never be able to understand. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to get past the anger I feel about it either.
Numbness: People say crossing the finish line is this amazing experience. For a lot of people I’m sure it is, but for me I just wanted it to be over at that point. The finish line was a safe haven, but I was in shock. I needed water, I needed foils, I needed hugs. I felt like a zombie. It didn’t really hit me what had just happened until I got out of the park and immediately started crying. Four months of training, two years of making sure Ang and I would run this thing.
Extreme Happiness: Seeing my friends, my dad and coworkers (they fit into the friend category too) along the route - it’s indescribable. I knew my friends were loud - but I didn’t know they were THAT loud. Any time I needed support they were there. Even when they weren’t there, I knew they were coming up. I’m tearing up thinking about it. You train and know it’s something you can do, but you just can’t do it on your own. I wrote my name on my shirt so the crowds yelled for me when I needed it, too. One guy said: “You all are beautiful, especially you Catherine.” He was lying. Lying HARD. But he picked me up when I was down and I started floating on air.
Thank you to everyone who made this day amazing. Even if you weren’t physically there, you were there.
I have to say - besides being sick a couple times during my 16 week training plan, my long runs have gone off without a hitch. Sure, some have been tougher than others, but for the most part they’ve been smooth sailing.
I must have saved the worst for last. Saturday’s 20 miler was horrendous for me. However, I feel oddly more confident than I did after my last long run before Chicago last year. Saturday, everything that went wrong involved my poor planning: substituting granola bars for my Luna bars, eating a crappy meal the night before (it involved bacon…a lot of bacon). Basically a bunch of rookie mistakes because I’ve been in the mindset that I’m untouchable. I’m not, and I did stupid things and it was a terrible run that made me want to slap the training groups along the Hudson that made it look easy.
One thing that was awesome is that I noticed how much my mental toughness has improved - even with my body wanting to quit, my mind never did. 20 miles didn’t seem like a long period of time either. It was great to realized that when I finished. Apparently my mantra is “Focus on finishing” because that’s what I said over and over to myself when I wanted to stop.
Anyway, I’m weirdly confident headed into my taper. I think I needed a bad run to get my nutrition back in gear prior to the marathon (and to realize how much it’d made me improve).