The 2014 TCS NYC Marathon was a race to remember. Here are five things about it that I'll never forget.
1. I will never forget the 40 mph wind gusts that almost blew me into the New York Harbor.
Seriously, I am a munchkin! I stand about 5’1 and just under 100lbs. Last year, when I missed my goal, I remember my coach telling me not to be so hard on myself because it was a windy day. Hahahaha!! What a joke! This year, nothing could have prepared me for that first mile on the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. I was gasping for air hardly able to breath from the gusts of wind piercing my face! Tears streamed down my cheeks, mostly because of the wind, and secondly, because I wasn’t sure if I would be able to fight this hard for the next 25 miles. I turned my head and watched all the runners alongside me fighting their own battle too. I wasn’t alone! Then I looked out to my left at the glorious Manhattan skyline; my beloved city that I have called home for the past 6 years. I knew my friends and family were waiting for me to get there. I wiped my tears and said to myself, “Let’s go girl! It’s time to race home!”
2. I will never forget my Victoria Secret pink bathrobe.
Wearing my bathrobe to the starting line was the smartest pre-race decision I made. A guy on my running team mentioned buying a snuggie for the two hour wait before the start of the race. I thought my Victoria Secret pink bathrobe would be the better fashion choice. Last year, I did recall being extremely cold. Having your body fight to keep warm before a marathon is not what you want it to be doing. I had saved lots of old clothing from last year in anticipation of this year’s race. I have two bathrobes and as much as I hated to part with my pink one, I knew someone would love it just as much as I had. All the clothing that is left at the starting line is donated to Goodwill, it is estimated to be about 26 tons of clothing.
3. I will never forget almost missing my start time.
Every marathoner’s fear is having Mother Nature call during the race. I wasn’t going to let nature cause me any delays. As I was standing in a sea of people like a piece of cattle waiting for the slaughter, I also noticed that I was standing next to a row of port-o-potties. I couldn’t help but notice the stench of port-o-potties lingering thick as I was waiting for the corral to move. We were less than 20 minutes away from the cannon blowing off to signal the start of the race. With about 10 minutes left to the start we still were not moving so I decided to go in one last time because I wanted not one ounce of urine to be left in my body! At least when Mother Nature called, there wasn’t a line! When I opened the door to leave the port-o-potty, my heart dropped! NOOOO runners…where did they all go?…Uh oh.. ..I look to my right and officials were beginning to put up a yellow rope to close my corral. There I was in my bright pink terry cloth Victoria Secret bathrobe waving my hands screaming “Stop! Please stop!!” As I tried ripping off my pants I forgot that I needed to take my shoes off first. Seriously, I was a mess! While I aggressively took off my pants, I happened to also remove my second pair of socks that I wear over my compression running socks. I didn’t notice this until I started running towards the officials with the rope. I happen to look down at my feet and noticed that I was only wearing my compression socks. Yes, I was running in my socks with my shoes in my hands in a bathrobe! Where were my socks?? I ran back to my pants hoping they were still in my pants that I shed moments before. However, there were hundreds of clothing items littered all over the street. Luckily, I found my pants among the masses. I shook the pants really hard and my purple Experia socks fell out. I grabbed them and ran towards the bridge. My heart almost burst right out of my chest but I made it to the starting line!
4. I will never forget the spirit and camaraderie of New York City.
Honestly, what makes the NYC Marathon so very special is the spirit and camaraderie of the city of New York. All the signs and posters that fill the city streets, thousands and thousands of people cheering you on by saying your name, and little children extending their hands so that a marathoner can touch them as they go by is so precious! I would assume this is the closest thing to feeling like a rockstar!
5. I will never forget running my way to a Boston Marathon qualifying time.
Last year I missed the Boston Marathon Qualification by 34 seconds with a time of 3:35:34. It was one of the biggest heartbreaks of my life. Running is my passion. If it isn’t your passion you may not understand it, but if running is your passion, then you totally get it. This time I wasn’t going to let it slip through my feet. I trained harder and smarter this year. I also took the time to envision what went wrong last year, and how I would change the outcome this year. My dear mother, bless her heart, wanted to be here for the race but couldn’t make it. However, she did something so miraculous that she didn’t share with me until after I finished the race. She created a prayer chain of close friends and family to pray for me during each mile of my race. Pretty powerful stuff!! Knowing that I had someone praying for me and sending me spiritual energy for 26 miles was very humbling. I truly believe that is why I finished so strong without any pain or injury with a time of 3:30:40. Praise God, for He is my strength!