What I Learned From The 2016 NYC Marathon

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Last Sunday I ran the 2016 New York City Marathon. My fifth quest for 26.2 miles.

I have to admit that I didn’t train this year. Getting married in June and my job occupied a lot of my time this summer. And with each passing week, I deducted a week from the 16 week training plan that I had earmarked.

And then the night of Friday, September 30, I quit my job. More on that another time. Sunday, October 2 was the first time I went for a long run. I thanked the Lord that October had 5 weeks this year. For five weeks I got serious about marathon training, which meant that I did a few long runs to make sure my body could handle the distance.

My body can.

The week of, I foam rolled, drank lots of water, watched what I ate and drank, and mentally prepared myself. I got a good 7 hours of sleep and took a number two which is alway a good sign for me on race day. There’s nothing worse than having to go number two during the marathon, in my opinion.

The stars were aligning. I did everything right and I felt really good.

I started the New York City Marathon at a slow pace. The Verrazano Bridge is the first 2 miles of the race and at an uphill. It’s not smart to use all your energy there. So I took it slow and steady. By the time I crossed into Brooklyn, my body was warmed up so I picked up the pace.

New York City Marathon pitCCh In Foundation

I was feeling good and didn’t stop. Couldn’t stop. I found my stride and wasn’t going to stop. Even at mile 8 when I saw my husband, I didn’t stop. I felt good. I felt strong. And I felt so confident that I yelled, “I’m going to PR!”

But my friends, I didn’t PR.

Sometimes, no matter how much we prepare the race doesn’t turn out the way we had anticipated. And other times, we need to look ourselves in the mirror and recognize that we’ve been lying to ourselves. The truth is while I am conditioned for long distances and was prepared, I didn’t train.

Training and preparation are two different things. Training is measured in months of hard work, weekly long training runs, and daily decisions to put your body and goals first above all else.

Running couple long runs does not mean that I trained. But just because didn’t do great, doesn’t mean that you can’t be proud. And I sure am proud of myself. I ran a good race in spite of not training, and despite not setting a PR. I ran the majority of the 26.2 miles and and shaved six minutes off my time from my 2015 New York City Marathon. Rather than dwelling on what I didn’t do, I refocused my thoughts on being grateful for what I did do.

Celebrate and thank your body for the tremendous work it does for you on a daily basis. Only then can your body do more when its asked.

Because I committed even a tiny bit of work, I ran better than I would otherwise have done. I am encouraged because it means when I do train for my next race, it means the work will pay off. My body will respond and work with me next year. And believe me, there will be a next year.

New York City Marathon Sabathia
photo credit for 1 & 2: PitCCh In Foundation – thank you for cheering for me as an honorary member!

The New York City Marathon is one of the most magical times of year where strangers cheer for strangers. If you have lost faith in humanity, which many of you did last week, go out and watch a marathon. New York is unlike any other. The streets are filled with kind souls cheering, volunteers handing out fluids, music representing diverse cultural neighborhoods, and fellow runners encouraging you to pick up your feet even if they feel like bricks.

And while I didn’t have the personal record-setting finish, the entire race was joyous.

Because it’s not about the finish line, it’s about the journey and the race to get there.

NYC Marathon recap

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