Saturday, November 6, 2010

Spirit of the Marathon.

Tomorrow is the first Sunday in November and that can only mean one thing, the running of the ING New York City Marathon. I'm a little sad that I won't be there to cheer the runners on in person, but I will certainly be watching through my Slingbox and the marathon app I downloaded for my iPad. 

I had the opportunity to run this marathon last year and also in 2007, and let me tell you it is quite a show. Tomorrow morning they'll be about 44,000 runners standing at the base of the Verrazano Narrows bridge in Staten Island waiting to the conquer something not many people get to do in their life. They will run 26.2 miles, tough miles may I add through every borough in New York City. Crossing bridges and going through so many of the cities unique neighborhoods, to get to Central Park and capture their dream.

Every runner shares at least one common goal and that is to finish. Marathons are by no way, shape or form easy. You have to train sixteen weeks in advance for one race, to some that sounds crazy, to a marathoner that is being prepared. I've run five marathons and everyone has been totally different and New York is by far the most intimidating one out there. 

To start a race crossing one of the largest suspension bridges in the world is intimidating enough, then you are racing with the skyscrapers staring down at you watching your every move. Just thinking about the moment you come off the 59th street bridge onto 1st Avenue gives me goosebumps, the cheers from the spectators are so loud your body can't help but want to go faster. Then there's the infamous Bronx and "The Wall", crossing the Willets Avenue Bridge is no picnic and to see grown men stumble is nothing short of a nightmare, but make it past here and you know you are going to finish. 

Now you are on your way chugging through Central Park, and you have a million things going through your head, "Why am I doing this?" "I'm going to finish this?" "Damn this mile feels long." "Why am I doing this?" "I'm a beast." "Is that a rock in my shoe or a toenail?"" I can't wait to have a beer." "This is so not normal." "Enjoy the moment." "It's almost done." "You are a rockstar." When you finally round the corner out of the park  onto Central Park South the finish is less then a mile away, all those thoughts fade and at that moment you are taking everything in. This is your moment, 1200 meters to go. Nobody and nothing is gonna stop me, 800 meters to go. I'm going to complete the New York City F*cking Marathon, 400 meters to go. Oh crap am I crying? 200 Meters to go. This is it the moment I've been waiting for, I did it, Finish Line. 

I always tell people the minute you cross that finish line you are changed forever. Not only is a marathon one of the more difficult things to accomplish physically, what you go through mentally I feel is even tougher. It's a huge test of oneself and I encourage everyone to try and do it at least once in your life. You'll learn a lot about yourself and you will most definitely test your limits. 

So good luck to all the runners out there, after tomorrow you've earned the right to brag. You will carry your achievement with you for the rest of your life. So don't be afraid, test yourself, push and fight for what you've trained and worked so hard for. And most importunely be proud, smile and enjoy the moment. 

Take the road less traveled.

I've learned that finishing a marathon isn't just an athletic achievement. It's a state of mind; a state of mind that says anything is possible."
-John Hanc, running writer

Good Luck and Livestrong!

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