I’m a runner. That’s the first time I’ve ever said that. But, I am. I’m a runner. Wow, feels good to admit.
Next Sunday, I’ll be running the 2017 TCS New York City Marathon. Yep, I’m running 26.2 miles through New York City’s five boroughs: Manhattan, Staten Island, The Bronx, Queens, and Brooklyn.
This is the farthest I’ve ever run in my entire life.
My commitment to run the race began in April – six months ago. My colleague, Corey, more or less challenged me, “Why are you signing up to run another half marathon? You’ve already run a half. Go for the full marathon.” Me? A marathon?
When I said “yes,” to running 26.2 miles, I also pledged to raise $2,620 for Team for Kids, which is an organization of adults from around the world who are committed to running and improving the lives of children.
Marathon training and marathon fundraising at the same time seemed pretty damn daunting. But…yes.
Since April, I’ve run every week and almost every day. One mile, two miles, 11 miles, 15 miles…Every week, the running felt a little easier. Like auto pilot, my legs would just go. Sometimes, they’d run faster than other days. Sometimes, slower. Nonetheless, they took me to Red Hook, Prospect Park, Meatpacking, Central Park, Upper East Side, Midtown, Dumbo, Williamsburg, along the West Side Highway. I saw sunrises and sunsets and rainbows and rain. I saw bridges and parades and festivals and tourists. I found new running crews and made new running friends along the way.
During each run, something powerful would happen. I’d gain more confidence. I’d learn something about myself. I’d sort out my thoughts and accept my pace. After each run, I felt a rush of accomplishment. I was getting one step closer to my goal. One step closer to 26.2. I was really doing this.
It wasn’t too long ago when I was fairly vocal about how I would never, ever run a marathon. Why would anyone do that? Who would actually want to run that far? I’m not a runner. Not built for it. Yeah, nope. Not me. Not ever.
Why the change of heart? Because…yes. YES has me doing all sorts of things I swear I’d never do. YES has given me the ability to take it all back and do the stuff that terrifies me (like marathons). YES has me pushing myself beyond my limits, seeing fresh starts and discovering that I’m into doing the impossible, especially when it’s painful AF (like marathons).
So here I am with one week until the big day. I’ve given up alcohol for the past few months. I’m eating mostly plant-based foods. I go to bed early. I wake up early. All my conversations begin and end with “I’m running a marathon.” My weekends are no longer for brunch and late-night dinners. They’re for running. (Basically, I’m LOADS of fun.) I dream about where I want to run next. I’m excited about the next pair of running shoes I’m going to get. I’ve even considered entering the lottery for the Berlin Marathon…though I swore I’d only run one marathon in my lifetime.
Yep, I’m a runner.
Thank you to everyone who donated to my Team for Kids fundraiser: Abby Wentworth Joseph. Andrew Wong. Anita Chatrisa. Chic Henderson. Christina Richards. Dad. Rebecca “Eckabee” Gibson. Ellen “Jazzquatch” Sheppard. Erik Nordlander. Geoffrey Skoglund. Jake Peters. Jen Douglas. Jennifer Walus. Jenny Gomez Gervacio. Jesse Ortez. Joseph Nitz. Laura Hood. Manny Miravete. Marl Bullock. Mike Svasik. Nick and Erin Maulding. Rob Hubbert. Mom. Monica Wu. Vanessa Bilanceri. Jose “Stay FreSH…!!!” Wannie Wickman. Willie and Darrel.
You’ve each come from different chapters of my life. Texas, fashion, Edelman, Los Angeles, Sasquatch, Jazz Fest, Teach for America, Ketchum, friends of friends, friends of the boyfriend, Bedford Junior High, Brick Crossfit, Saint Laurent, Chicago, Bumble (heh heh), and my mom’s friends. As I type each one of your names out, I can’t tell you how incredible it feels to look back through the years, remember how and when we met and know that you’re with me on this pretty momentous experience of mine.
Because of you, kids across the country will enjoy fitness and running programs that promote a healthy lifestyle. Because of you, we’ve raised a combined total of almost $6 million dollars to support these efforts. Because of you, I surpassed my own fundraising goal of $2620. Because of you, I’m about to experience one of the biggest “yes” moments of my life.
I’m ready to run. #yes