I Lived.

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Wow. Where do I even begin? I’m so blessed to have the opportunity to run the New York City Marathon!


The morning of November 2, 2014, I woke up to Frank Sinatra’s New York, New York to help set the excitement of the day. My first thought was “Today I become a marathoner. Not only a marathoner, but a New York City marathoner.” Something that, as of that day, just over 1 million people could say they had accomplished. Even fewer could say it was their first marathon and even fewer have a disability. But that was me. My much-anticipated dream was about to come true.


Since the race starts on Staten Island, with the first two miles crossing over the Verrazano Bridge, only runners are allowed at the starting line. So I bundled up and hopped on the official bus transportation to take me to the starting line.


Arriving at Fort Wadsworth seemed effortless. I followed the crowd through security where we had to show our race bibs to ensure it was runners only. I wasn’t set to start running until 10:40 (and I arrived at Staten Island around 8:15) so I had plenty of time to wait. My corral’s waiting area was a little confusing to find. There weren’t any signs directing the 50,000+ participants where to go. I later found out that the New York Road Runners planned to put out more signage, but the signs either blew away or weren’t placed to ensure runner safety. So it was definitely windy. But being from Lubbock, I’m used to the wind. So I decided I wasn’t going to think about the wind so it wouldn’t be a mental factor for me.

It was exciting when my wave (the final wave) was finally called to line up in my starting corral. Walking up to the starting line was the most surreal feeling. Seeing the Verrazano Bridge from Staten Island made everything seem so real! I was about to run the New York City marathon!


 The gun went off and runners began to cheer. Frank Sinatra’s New York, New York played over the speakers and we began to run.



About a quarter of a mile into the race I had an “OHMYGOSH! I’m running the New York Marathon!” feeling. 



Then I looked up and saw this…


The first mile of the race is uphill, while the second is downhill. But really, there’s so much adrenaline that the first hill is hardly noticed. The Verrazano Bridge has an upper level and a lower level. Thankfully I was on the top layer so I was able to see the beautiful scenery!


At the end of the bridge we turned and ran into Brooklyn, where spectators were electric. I swear I smiled for the first 5 miles. One of my favorite moments was when we ran past a group of soldiers who cheered for us… the runners. People who fight for our freedom and safety were cheering for me, just because I was running. I felt humbled and unworthy. So I joined the runners around me in cheering and clapping for them. Then I cried.

The crowd support really lived up to the hype. People lined the streets throughout almost the entire course (except when we were on the bridges) and had spirited, encouraging and hilarious signs. Bands played throughout the course, neighbors joined together and had breakfast on their porches while watching us run, spectators high-fived runners, and of course the New York City police department and fire department blocked off streets and stood sporadically and strategically throughout the course to ensure runner safety. I felt safe the entire time.

Running around all 5 boroughs and seeing NYC for the first time from the middle of the street was amazing. Most of the time I was so caught up in the moment that I couldn’t tell you what mile I was on, how much time had passed or what borough I was in. 












I knew that my family was going to be waiting for me at miles 4, 17 and 24, so I anxiously awaited those miles. It’s an incredible feeling being surrounded by supporters who don’t even know you, but it’s the best feeling finally getting to see your family. 






Because there are so many spectators, my family took a small Texas A&M flag (like one you see attached to cars when people drive to football games) to wave, so I would be able to find them easily. It totally worked. 


I cried again as I made the turn into Central Park. I was so overwhelmed with emotion thinking that my first time in Central Park was at the New York City Marathon. Plus, around mile 2 I stepped wrong on a manhole cover and hurt my foot. The moment it happened I knew it was going to hurt later in the race. Sure enough, at mile 18 it hurt so badly that it dominated my thoughts. All I could think was, “Don’t stop, just run to a medic,” mixed in with, “At mile 24 you can tell everyone to pray for your foot, so keep running until you get there!”

I was so encouraged when I finally saw my family at mile 24. I had such mixed feelings – joy that my family was there, but sadness that I had about 2 miles left of the experience, combined with horrible foot pain. When I saw them I kept repeating “pray for my foot, pray for my foot, pray for my foot,” as I ran past. I was so determined to have a strong finish that I was going to run even if my foot was broken.



Believe it or not, the finish line came too soon. The nicest people congratulated me as they handed me my finisher’s medal. I choked up at the thought of my accomplishment. 


It felt like the longest walk to the medic station though. Actually a nice man drove me to the medic station in his golf cart, but it took forever to walk to him. Yes, the finish line was as crowded as the starting line.


After the medics confirmed my foot wasn’t shattered or about to fall off, I slowly limped to a nearby restaurant to meet up with my husband. Thankfully he gave me his coat! I was freezing!!


Then together we walked (I limped) to a nearby Starbucks to meet the rest of the family. And my sister gave me her scarf 🙂


It was so great getting to actually hug them rather than run by and quickly acknowledge them!


As we were going back to the hotel they reminded me that I wanted to do a post-race dance party. We headed towards Rockefeller Plaza, by way of Radio City Music Hall where I had to stop for a medal photo op.


Then we arrived at Rockefeller Plaza.




So out in front of several ice skaters, shoppers and other spectators, and in front of the famous Rockefeller building and skating rink, my family joined me in dancing to “I Lived” by OneRepublic, just like I dreamed!



(note the Texas A&M flag my mother-in-law is waving… this is the flag they used so I could spot them while running!)


Even marathoners with a hurt foot need to jump and dance in celebration!


Then we walked (I limped) back to our hotel to get an AHHHMAZING deep tissue massage. Then got dressed to go out to eat at Lombardi’s, where the NY pizza was originated.



Who said carb loading had to end after the marathon?


Of course the race medal had to come too.



After dinner, I was still on top of the world. So why not go to the top of NYC?



The Empire State Building + my NYCM race medal. Incredible.



This was the one picture I took outside at the top of the Empire State Building. It was FREEZING outside! I took the rest of my pictures from inside as close to a heater as I could get 🙂


Did you notice the NYCM race medal photobomb in that picture?





Panoramic





Madison Square Garden is the circular building with blue lights on top towards the bottom left hand corner.


As we drove back to the hotel, I looked out the window at the beautiful buildings passing too quickly and I reflected on the outstanding day it had been. It will always be one of the highlights of my life and I’m so blessed that my family made the sacrifices to join me along the course. 

If you were to ask me what my favorite part of the race was, it’s not the starting line or the finish line, it was seeing my family along the course. It’s hard to be a part of such a monumental event but not be with your family the whole time. I really missed them. Their enthusiasm and encouragement pushed me those 26 miles. Especially the last 8 miles when my foot was trying to fall off. 


Through the pain, I focused on praying for those who couldn’t run… those that I represented as part of the Race to Stop MS team, all the people that I haven’t met but have heard stories about, all the people that have been impacted and disabled by this disease. 

I ran for them. 


I prayed for them. 


And my foot took a beating for them. My foot was a badge of honor, as if I shared in their disabling pain.


God truly blessed me with this opportunity. And by the grace and goodness of God I hope to do it again someday.


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4 thoughts on “I Lived.

  1. April Layne says:

    You didn't know when you posted this that a 46 year old wife and mom of 3 would be reading and recommitting to her goal of running the San Francisco Marathon for her first marathon and first visit to SF in 2016. But that just happened. My heart was racing just reading this. Amazing!

    Like

  2. Rebecca@Running.Food.Baby. says:

    YAY!!! Congrats!!! I'm trying to read all the NYC Marathon race recaps 🙂 It was such a great day, even though it was sooooo long! The village was definitely a bit confusing. I didn't get a bagel which is something that is (what I found out at KM 5) that I apparently need before a race 😉

    Like

  3. Kristen Runs says:

    Oh no, Rebecca! I'm sorry you didn't get a bagel! I brought my own, which was helpful, but one of my friends ate a bagel from the village and she nearly got sick on the course because it hadn't digested before she started running, so maybe that's an ironic silver lining for you! Haha!

    Like

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