Sunday, October 20, 2013

Double Header Weekend: NYRR Staten Island Half Marathon

Finally!!!! I get to finish my blog about the amazing Staten Island Half Marathon that took place on Sunday, October 13. I've been sick for too long, preventing me from sitting at my blog and clearly writing my experience.

As part of my new year's running goals, I wanted to complete the 5 borough series. So without a doubt I needed to finish strong at the last race of the series. In order to go strong a lot of training and miles needed to happen. I started my training in mid-August. I was even more serious about training this time around. I put in a lot more long runs then I did for the Brooklyn Half. 

Since it was double header weekend I had to wake up at 4am for the second day in a row. I was not happy about this. 
After I got dress and taped, I sat on my sofa and felt completely overwhelmed with the thought of 13.1 miles ahead of me. I started to tear up. I stopped myself from crying. I couldn't cry nervous tears. I needed to save those tears for happiness. I wanted this day to get's what? It was time to get to the start line.  
Alnardo, @Serious06, and I travelled to Staten Island in the dark. We need to find parking before the massive crowds showed up looking for the same spot we were. We lucked out and got a spot very close to the start. We waited in the warm car as the wind whipped around. Gosh it was cold!

So what do we do while waiting for race time? Why we film commercials for the products we use. HA! 

We watched the sun come up over Manhattan in the distance. It was beautiful. 

It was time to get out of the warm car and find our way to the start with the masses. Brrrr!

Next we found Jeanne, @HeyJdubs, and Joseph, @Jomak_ny. Jeanne had been in the start area hours before we got there. We were texting each other the whole time we were waiting. 
Since meeting Joseph at the Percy Sutton 5k in August, he and I have become very great friends. BFFs even. He and I share a lot of the some outlooks on many things. We are big dorks and have major issues with ADD that syncs up. HA!

After that we met up with a bunch of IG-runners aka #nycinstarunners. It was so great to meet so many runners that share their stories on Instagram. This made me very hyper to get going.

While waiting at our starting corral an older lady tapped me on the shoulder. She asked if I was at the Brooklyn 10K the day before. I said yes of course. She remember me and my group. We were making a lot of noise that's for sure. She share with me that she was 2nd in her age group for that race. That is amazing. She will be completing her very first NYC Marathon. I told her that she needed to find me so that I can give her her medal.

It was go time!

Alnarado and Jeanne ran with me as long as they could. I was running very slowly because my body was just tired. The crowd started to pass me by. In no time I was left with very few runners around me. I kept moving slowly. I focused one listening to my body. No music until I hit the loop around. That's when I run with Miguel, @LL_MJ. He will be running the marathon with Team JDRF, advocated for type 1 diabetes.

Around mile 3 was when I started to see the elite runners on their 9th mile. This is always my favorite part of any race. I started cheering for those that race to place. This making the miles pass by quickly. I had my eye peeled for the #nycinstarunners that run in the first corral, Mario and Dave. I was able to spot them quickly as they jetted by.

As the crowd moved by I heard my IG handle screamed out a hand full of times. The runner next to me laughed and said, "You are a poplar one aren't you?" I told him, "No, I am famous." We both had a big laugh with that one.

As the last runners and I approached the loop around I started to cheer for us. There was no one there to see us turn so no cheering. I couldn't let that happen. I cheer loud for us. When I realized that another #nycinstarunner was behind me, Alexie, @Misterutah. He is also running the marathon. I first met him on my birthday race back in April.  When he passed me by it was music time.

When I turned on the tuned the next two miles went quickly. In with those two miles I saw....

Yep...those are the sweep vehicles. I was no letting them pick me up. I focused on my steps, on the hill at mile 9 and just keep going. When I saw the mile 11 sign I started to feel emotional. I also noticed that a few races ahead of me kept looking behind them. This is one of my biggest pet peeves! Don't look behind...keep going forward. They way they keep looking I knew the sweep vehicles were right behind me. I didn't look.

Around mile 11.5 the head van of the sweep with right by my side. He kept his van at my pace. I tried not to walk and jog slowly to keep up with him. When we reached mile 12, he asked me if I was ok. I told him "I was ok as long as I kept up with you." He said, "Don't worry. You got it. I am not letting them pick you up." I got so choked up when he said that. I check my run time. I had reached 2hours and 50 mins. I wasn't going to make it to the finish line in time for my sub 3 hour goal. I was one with that.

Out of no where I rude police officer screamed to me and another runner get on the sidewalk and get off the street. That was a huge blow.

Then I hear my name! It was Saville, Sheryl's friend. He was encouraging me to keep going and that I was not going to run on the sidewalk. He gave me that lift I needed that the police officer took away from me. As I approached the turn for the finish line there were tons of people there cheering. I looked up and saw the guy in the van I ran with for two miles. I thanked him for helping me as he made a u-turn.

As I made the next turn I realized I was almost finished. I couldn't breathe. I couldn't feel my feet. I couldn't progress anything anyone. Then I saw orange. It was Joseph. He ran with me across the finish line. Of course I couldn't hold the tears back anymore. I heard him talking but I didn't understand what he was saying. I was too emotional to process what was happening around me.

All I know is...I finished. I reached for my phone to check my time. I finished in 3 hours 12 minutes and 29 seconds. I set my new personal record.

Reflecting on this racing I never had that "I want to give up" feeling. Not even once. That's the biggest difference between this half and Brooklyn and Manhattan. During both halves I wanted to give up but didn't. I never doubt myself in Staten Island. I knew I will finish. That is a huge feeling to overcome.

I completed 19.3 miles over two days without injury. I am no way a fast race but I am a focused one. I set a goal, put my sneakers and complete my goals. I am able to complete these goals because I no longer use excuses. I have three beautiful children, a husband, a household to run and a full time job. There is no excuses strong even to stop me from being successful at all of the above and be a successful runner.

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