Every year we travel to New York for marathon weekend because my husband, Chris is a Streaker. Streakers are people who have run 15 or more consecutive New York City Marathons. This year was Chris’ 21st. It’s incredible. I’m continually amazed by his abilities and drive.
The streak is SO important to Chris, he even ran and finished the race 5 months after breaking his hip! (You can read more about that here.) It’s a story his orthopedic surgeon shares with pride, and now his hip doc can add qualifying for the Boston Marathon to his story as Chris ran a 3:37 this year.
After I completed the Imogene Pass Run in early September, which is a legendary mountain pass race here in Telluride, Colorado, I asked Chris if I should run New York. I ran it twice before in 2005 and 2006 (that’s 12 & 13 years ago for those that don’t like math). It’s been a WHILE. Never before had I turned to him and asked that question. I literally had ZERO desire to run let alone run a marathon, but somehow this year was different. I thought, well, I’ve already been training all summer, and we are already scheduled to go since Chris is running…so WHY NOT?
Let’s talk more about why…
“Why?” was one of the funniest signs that I saw along the race course. The young, bearded guy holding it up has a solemn look on his face, and simply shrugged his shoulders when we made eye contact. I started laughing.
Why? is also the first question my mom and good friends asked me.
I used to run as a form of therapy, to run through pain. I ran through a mountain of childhood crap, dysfunctional relationships, the death of my dad. But, why…now? I’m not in pain. In fact, maybe for the very first time in my life, I’m REALLY happy.
I wanted to run this race to show my sweet son, Gage and daughter, Elizabeth, that mommies can do amazing things too. I wanted to run this race to prove to myself that I could still do it. I wanted to run to reconnect with the inner athlete and make sure she was still there somewhere. I wanted to run to revive my relationship with running, in a more joyful and positive way.
Right After Crossing the Finish Line… a Very Emotional Moment
From Disbelief to Relief to Joy!
My Incredible Race Running Partner, Patti!
My goal was not to run fast, but to truly enjoy the experience…the bands, the fans, and high fives. And, I really did. I high fived all the kids I saw, read all the hilarious signs. I laughed and cried. At a couple of points while running, I was overcome with emotion and felt tears streaming down my cheeks. The race is just that special. There is also something so powerful about setting a goal, working hard to achieve it and then realizing you are actually doing it. It’s the ultimate runner’s high.
I felt AMAZING until about mile 23, then I hit the wall. I didn’t implode or have to stop and walk, but I was digging REAL deep to finish. It’s kind of like having a baby, you conveniently forget how hard it is. I forgot how hard the NYC course is… SO many hills, especially on the back end of the course. 5th Avenue before you turn into Central Park is a sneaky killer! It doesn’t seem uphill, but it is a slow and steady incline for sure. I just wanted to save up enough energy to smile for my kids who were waiting patiently by the finish line.
Mission accomplished, when I saw those little faces in the grandstands, I knew that every grueling run, the 20-miler from Santa Monica to Redondo Beach, the 18-miler at 9,000 feet where I lost a toenail and accrued 2 blood blisters, the daily battle to carve out enough time to run while trying to juggle everything else… ALL WORTH IT!
The first thing the kids said to me, “Mom, you looked so happy and great. It looked like you could keep going.”
Why This Race is Special
There are other marathons all over the world, but in my opinion, no race is as amazing as the New York City Marathon.
The course is special because you run through all five boroughs. You literally feel like you are traveling around the world. It’s hard to pick a favorite area of the course, but if I had to… I think I would say running through Brooklyn, and running onto 1st Avenue from the 59th Street Bridge. It’s pin-drop quiet on the bridge, and then you slowly start to hear the crowd roar on 1st. There’s nothing like it.
Let’s talk about the fans. They are UNREAL. In some spots the crowd is 10-deep! Even the notoriously quiet spots were not quiet this year. The support and the way New Yorkers come together for race day is nothing short of incredible.
Sharing This with Chris
Since Chris was running a fast race, and my plan was to take it easy, we didn’t run together, but we rode on the bus to Staten Island together and I got to hang out with the superhuman Streakers before heading in the corral.
He reminded me to have fun before one last hug, and then we went our separate ways. That’s exactly what I did. I had a BLAST! It was an experience I will never forget!
Special thanks to the incomparable Patti for running with me.
Have you run the NYC Marathon? Or do you have questions? Share your stories and questions in the comments below.