This Sunday, November 5th NYC Marathon: No Expectations?

Marathon Motivation from Sophia:

"Mommy, are you going to come in first?"
"Are you going to come in third?"
"Are you going to come in tenth?" "No" "Mommy! (sigh) are you going to come in last??"
"Mommy, How will I see you with all these people running?" "Well, I will stop and look for you."
"No Mommy! Then you will lose! You have to keep running" 

Where did she get this competitive streak from? 


1998:  I was 20 years old, a junior at Cornell, and planning for a semester abroad in Florence.  My mother- a two time NYC Marathon runner- told me "If you can run three miles, you can run a marathon."  Not really understanding the correlation, I still took her up on her theory, applied for the NYC Marathon, got in and ran it.  I did train- albiet my longest run was 16 miles beforehand, often after a night out until 3am- and I did no cross training whatsoever.  While I finished, I had developed tendenites in both knees, a stress fracture in my left tibia, and had my slowest time to date as it took me about 53 minutes to run the last 3 miles due to the pain in my knee.  
Time: 4 hours 35 minutes.



2007:  I was 29, studying International Affairs and Middle East Security Policy at Columbia University.  My close friend, Lindsay from college, wanted to do a marathon and asked me to join her.  Cautiously, I agreed.  This time, however, I cross-trained with yoga twice a week and strength training.  While the marathon started with me losing my cell phone on the Verrazzano Bridge and quickly trampled by- at the time- around 35- 40,000 people all starting in one wave- it was an incredible run.  The only time I had "negative splits"- running the last 13.1 faster than the first 13.1- when I finished I felt almost too good; like I could have continued to run which means I could have run the marathon faster. 
Time: 4 hours 17 minutes.


2010:  I was 32.  I was focused, determined.  I WAS going to finish the NYC Marathon in under 4 hours.  Working in the then-Intelligence Division of the NYPD- I was not on my feet during the day, training other people or teaching classes.  I was yet to be a mom so I had what now seems like all the time in the world to workout as I needed, run when I wanted, and be focused.  After a training run, I had time to rest, recover and not run to the next client.  I got my 22 mile run in, my 20 mile run in and my two 18 mile runs in, and as I trained it seemed as though there was an outside chance for me to Boston Qualify with a time of 3 hours and 40 minutes.  A few days before the race, I emailed those who wanted to track me and estimated I would finish between 3:40 and 4 hours.  Race day came and I split the difference.  And when I crossed the finish line, I was done. 
Time: 3 hours 50 minutes.


2015: I was 37, a mom of an almost three year old, a fitness professional teaching 20 classes a week.  My close friend, Courtney was running the Houston Marathon in her hometown.  Seven weeks out, I decided to join her and started training. Training was more challenging as time was limited, but since this was my first winter marathon, the bulk of it was done in cooler weather and in the middle of the day.  The Houston marathon is- in many ways for me- the complete opposite of New York.  The course is flat whereas New York is a sneaky beast with the last 7 miles on a steady incline including the last .2 which is on a killer steep incline. However, Houston is hot, humid, and a city- while everyone was super nice- I know 5-7 people.  New York is my home town. Net-Net probably everything equal.
Time: 3 hours 53 minutes


2017:  I am 39 years old, 8 months and three weeks (to be exact!) on race day.  I am a mother of a 5 and a half year old, an owner of a fitness company which includes a physical location, instructors, and a team.  It is virtually impossible for me to get a break; where I could carve out a solid period to run, not get a text that is either business or Sophia related, having to stop, immediately answer and then get back into the head space to continue my run.  Many of you have been following my journey which means so much to me, so you know that I had taken a year off from consistent running and only picked it back up this May, have struggled with "not stopping" during my runs, have dealt with a potential marathon-ending injury, and unseasonably humid weather.   Yet, when I circle back to my intention, remember the reason I am running in the first place, focus on just the moment, and think about those who have been supportive, I am able to push through and keep running.

This is what I intend to do Sunday.  I will be wearing a shirt I made in honor of Lindsay's parents to remind me, a headband made by Funky Shredz which is Sophia's favorite, and I will be looking for all of you in the crowds.  

Do I have any expectations for myself for this particular marathon? It would be dishonest for me to tell you that I don't; however, I am doing my best to just enjoy the journey, be thankful that I am healthy and able to be present and take on these 26.2 miles.


See you on the other side.