A few weeks ago I ran the Brooklyn Half Marathon, a race I never thought that I would ever do. And yet I did and had an incredible experience facing something that I thought was out of my reach. But it didn’t happen overnight. Over the years I’ve gotten more into a running, slowing building up my speed–both hating and loving it with every new accomplishment. Something that seemed so impossible was slowly starting not to feel so, and as a full-time working mama with three kids, I found that it gave me with this newfound mental release that provided me with something that was just for me.
So I’ve been running more, pushing myself even further to do more 5Ks and even Half Marathon with Shape earlier this year. And then the Brooklyn Half. I was really excited for this one since it was a race through my hometown, doing something so different, so challenging, and yet so exhilarating! It also meant that I had to brave, strong and confident: a mantra that I profess on the daily to my own girls.
The day of the race was thrilling! I woke at 5am, made coffee and ventured to the Brooklyn Museum where a collection of other eager runners were waiting. It was freezing out but I tried not to think about the cold as I waited for the 7:45am start time. Once we were signaled to go, it was incredible to see all of the bodies in motion as we swopped around Grand Army Plaza, through Prospect Park, down Ocean Parkway and finally on the boardwalk of Coney Island. While the cooler temps made for the perfect run, it still was very hard, grueling and mental to get through There were times when I wanted to stop, take a break, but I didn’t. I had to push and be strong for myself. And what I did realize as I looked at the Brooklyn that I once lived in, is that running is hard and the people participating are all sorts of runners: some might love it, some might hate, or maybe some are like me and they have found something that challenges them and pushes them outside of their comfort zone. Or maybe they want to show their kids or family or themselves that they are strong, brave, and can do hard things. Because we can.
That was the only person that I was running for and against, and in the end the only person that I wanted to beat as I mentally challenged myself through the run to try to run under two hours. That didn’t happen for this race but I did reach 2:09 as I crossed the finish line at Coney feeling relieved, stronger and no longer having to pretend.
Get involved by running with NYRR. They have so many great mini runs, and of course, the big marathon coming up! http://www.nyrr.org/