Even after my first full, I still felt like a fraud and not a true marathoner. I resolved to run another last year in Ottawa only to have my butt break down on me. So after a year off and visiting an amazing physiotherapist, I was back pounding the pavement and ready to run the ING New York Marathon.
And I did this past Sunday. And now I finally feel like a marathoner.
The race was a fantastic experience for so many reasons.
- It gave me a chance to yet again run a full with one of my best friends, someone I admire for determination and strength (and also because she is crazy). We started together in the same corral but ran our own race. I waited for her at the finish line so that we could recreate the photo we took at my first marathon only this time she managed to pick up a Canadian flag from the crowd on the last mile. It made me smile to hear her tell of how she came by it and see her waving it proudly. Sharing the entire weekend with her was a blessing.
- It gave me a chance to finally have someone I love come out and cheer me on beyond the finish line. Hulk was able to see me at three different points of the race with the last one perfectly placed at a point where I really needed support (mile 25). Seeing his face light up when he saw me was a great boost.
- It gave me a chance to meet new people. Of all of the places, we ran into a fellow Canadian in our corral and she ran with me up to the half mark, something I am so grateful for as it kept me distracted but truly wish my legs could have kept up with her the whole way when I got into my head on the back half. We also had the opportunity to meet a fellow blogger, someone who I have followed since I began this blog in 2006 and is just one of the loveliest people you could ever hope to meet. We may have also made friends with a bartender who had a great sense of humour and made us feel home in a city so far away from ours.
- It gave me a chance to really see NYC. The course is really fantastic. Yes, even the inclines of the bridges. I can honestly say that the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge wasn’t that big of a challenge as I knew to start out slow, but the Queensboro Bridge did me in. Loved the views from them, though. And the crowds. My goodness! They were so fantastic and supportive. I was so thankful for them, even though I wanted to tell those who told me not to give up and keep running to switch places with me or STFU at times.
- It gave me a chance to have a real comeback. Being injured last year was so hard, both physically and mentally. Going from running long distances without much thought to wondering if you’re going to make it through 30 mins without wanting to cry messed with my mind and had me fall into a bit of a depression. Although I had a lot of pain while completing this race, it wasn’t related to the injury and will go away in time.
Now, my result was far from what I had hoped. In fact, I came in around the EXACT same time as my first marathon. I’m disappointed that a great race turned south after the half way point, but I am so thrilled that it was 5:25 considering how much walking I had to do just to cross the finish line.
The New York Marathon certainly isn’t an easy course, but it truly is amazing. It’s an experience that I wouldn’t trade for the world and is worth every penny I spent on it. I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to run (and walk) it, even more so now that I’m walking normally again :) .