First I just wanted to mention that I set up a link in the bar up top (below my header image) to my race recaps so you can get to them easily.
Today I did my volunteer shift at the New York Road Runner’s headquarters.
I gave out race bibs to runners who are running the Poland Spring Marathon Kickoff 5 miler this weekend. All the volunteers have one purpose which is to complete their 9+1 and secure entry into next year’s NYC Marathon. The 9+1 is a way for New York Road Runner members like myself to gain access into the marathon without qualifying by time or getting in through the lottery or charity. Basically you have to run 9 of their scored races in a given year and volunteer 1 time that same year and that will give you guaranteed entry into the marathon for the following year.
With the marathon only 10 days away I got really nostalgic today thinking back to my first ever 26.2—the 2011 NYC marathon on 11-06-11— which I used the 9+1 in 2010 to secure my spot.
I won’t ever forget the 16 weeks of training culminating in tears of joy when I crossed the finish line late that afternoon. I was slower than I had hoped to be (5:28) but I had accomplished something I never really thought I was capable of. I always said to my full marathon friends “I’ll just stick with half marathons.” But then something clicked and as my friends encouraged me I found that I was starting to get excited by the idea.
I remember my first long run over 13.1 miles. A distance PR! I ran 14 miles while struggling with remnants of an ankle sprain. (Tip: don’t run a mud run while training for your first marathon!)
And then I reached 16 and then 18 and finally, my 20 miler. All that was left was for me to keep it together and complete 26.2 miles through the boroughs of MY city!
My brother and niece and nephew came to see me on the course at mile 3, mile 8 and then at mile 23!
I started off conservatively just as I had practiced in my mind for months. And things were going well until somewhere between mile 9 and 10. First it was stomach cramps, then my back started to spasm. Perhaps it was nerves. I’ll never know. But boy did it mess me up mentally! I was walking by the halfway point over the Pulaski Bridge.
I basically spent the second half of the race running a bit, then walking a bit and eventually just shuffling. This video that my nephew recorded of me at mile 23 is priceless! You can see how much I was hurting.
I surely wasn’t going “fast like a bullet train” as my nephew asked me to do. LOL.
But i did it! I crossed the finish line that day and became a marathoner.
I won’t ever get to run my first full marathon again. And that is why I will always remember that day and what an impact it’s left on me. I got to run NYC again last year and shaved 31 minutes of my time. I’m really excited to cheer on my friends next weekend and know that I’ll be back again next year for my 3rd NYC Marathon and (if all goes well) my 7th full marathon and hopefully I can finish a few minutes faster. But regardless, there’s something so special about NYC. I guess it’s plain and simple. I’m a “native new yawker”.
Do you remember your first marathon (or big race?) What race and when? Did you cry when you crossed the finish line?