I’m not really sure how to explain New York.
Let me go back.
2015 I had to defer. It hurt. A lot. I devoted to day to being there for someone I was sort of in a complicated situation with. His race blew up and I supported him through a five and a half hour finish. It hurt not racing. There were a lot of emotions with him too. I was honestly afraid the race would always be associated with this going forward.
2016 I ran the first 16 before a planned drop. I tried to wave at my friend from the 59th St Bridge to cheer him up. I was grateful that fivestarks had chosen that year to come up and cheer the race and graciously offered to trip me if I decided to try to finish. I was overwhelmed by all the support I got, people that checked in, well wishes and encouragement. I’m pretty sure that money changed hands when I actually dropped where I should have.
I just PR’d at Wineglass. No one needed my support. No one was holding their breath about my race. It was for me. No clock. No expectations. I was here to have fun and do what I wanted.
Not finishing the race the previous year had left it like an itch in the back of my brain. That feeling of a stuck sneeze. Or smoking only half a cigarette. I needed to finish it. I needed to cross that finish line. But that’s all I had to do. Everything else, between the start and the finish, was up for grabs.
Dr Whiskers had suggested that I run it in a costume which was an amazing idea. I quickly nixed the luchador because running with a face mask quickly becomes like waterboarding yourself. I looked at a few other options before deciding to just run in a tutu. I knew this race was going to hurt, I might as well not make myself to uncomfortable too. Plus, I looked cute in it.
So that’s how I found myself, running down 4Th Ave, high fiving every child, grown up, and teddy bear (I counted four) that put their hand out. It was liberating not worrying about my time. Brooklyn is in my blood. It's my favorite part of the race. I love soaking up the cheers of the crowds. People are there for YOU. They love YOU. And the streets are narrower than elsewhere so you get a lot more interaction with the crowd.
I let myself truly enjoy the day. If I started to feel like I was racing, I'd pull back. I walked through water stops, stopped for pics, stopped to pee, walked parts of the 59th Street Bridge, and just did whatever I felt like. I made sure to high five all the little ones who may have been getting overlooked. I don't think I ever realized how much fun relaxing could be.
It started to hurt around mile 18. That’s really when it stopped being fun. Or rather, when it stopped being just fun. It still had it's moments. I let myself walk the first minute of every mile and through every water stop. I briefly regretted the tutu because I was getting a lot of attention and every time I started to walk, someone would call out to me from the crowd with words of encouragement. I felt obligated to react even though I just wanted to be alone with my pain for a bit. After a few repetitions of this, I decided that I’d respond with a smile and/or a high five. I realized that it was actually helping to have to smile.
Yes, this hurts. Yes, I’m happy. Yes, this is fun.
I remember making it into the park and wanting to walk it in but also not wanting to make it take longer to finish. Everyone was really loud but I don’t remember a lot of it. Why are these miles always so difficult to remember? I thought I was on mile 24 when I was on 25 which was a nice surprise at that point but also shows where my mind was at. My garmin was pretty much useless since the bridge and was an entire .6 short.
The finish line is fuzzy. Somehow I crossed and got my medal. I was soaked, nauseous, in pain and I couldn’t stop smiling.