Hey gang! We’re back with our continuing coverage of FIT’s awesome tales of victory at The New York City Marathon. Let’s dive right in with two more buttkickin’ FIT ladies, the inimitably inimitable Inelka and Rosa!
I never thought I would be running the biggest marathon in the world until a year ago, when I met a great group of FIT ladies, with a heart bigger than the marathon itself. I joined them as soon as I knew we would be running as a team, raising funds for “Team for Kids” a charity that provides opportunities for healthy living for underprivileged kids. A great cause and opportunity to give running a deeper meaning, not only for me, but also for others in need.
And just like that, with a yes, lots of excitement and gratitude in my heart, my journey to the NYC Marathon started. Every day was a step closer to fulfilling a dream with a higher purpose in mind. What a great satisfaction it was! From garage sales to pasta dinners and trivia nights; hundreds of emails, messages and calls asking for donations (including a self-taught course of “How to overcome fear of asking people for money”!!!), we met our goal and I started dreaming of crossing the finish line and holding the medal in my hand!
Finally the day of the marathon came and my excitement was overflowing. At the start line I heard Frank Sinatra singing “New York New York” and I said to myself that the injury in my ankle was not going to stop me. Weeks of training had come to an end and I was ready to finally achieve what I had being longing for. For a moment I couldn’t believe I was there, ready to take off after a long year waiting for that moment. I held hands with my FIT ladies and prayed, thanking God for every minute of our journey together. I took off and I didn’t stop smiling during the whole race. Every mile marker made me feel good and alive. The energy of the crowds was incredible indeed, like nowhere else I have ran before. Kids and random strangers calling my name to cheer me up; loud music, incredible views of the Big Apple, challenging bridges to conquer, laughs everywhere, “power high five” with adorable kids and the best of all: My husband waiting for me at the finish line, with a huge smile in his face, telling me how proud he was.
I crossed the finished line and I felt the moment digging deep in my heart and memory. Not only had I become a finisher of the biggest marathon in the world but I had also contributed to a great cause for Team for Kids with a group of amazing FIT ladies, who will always be cherished in my heart for being role models and strong, great women.
I still hear the singing in my head: If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere!! It’s up to you, New York, New York!!!!
So, get out there and be positive and disciplined. Always think that you can do it and work for it! Walk, dance, run or just move, that every step may surprise you and show you how capable and blessed we all are to achieve anything we dream of when we really want to.
I used to live in New York 28 years ago. I lived there for 12 years, it was the first place where I lived when we came from my country (Guatemala). I have to thank my mom for bringing us to this beautiful country. We fell in love with it. Since we didn’t know the language, we started going to a church in Brooklyn, right by mile 8. The church there used to volunteer for the marathon and I helped as well. I used to think that people where crazy for running all those miles, but it was very excited helping and seen all those people running. I never thought that I would be one of those crazy ones myself one day! After Cassandra did her New York Marathon in 2014, several of us FIT ladies (Mare Castro, Inelka Quiros, Robyn Hamilton, Mishele Hubson, Yasmin Nava, Kari Klein, Sonya Brown, Jeanne, and of course your truly) decided to form a fundraising team to help Team For Kids.
For me running The New York Marathon was a dream come true, and doing it with a bunch of my running teammates was priceless. It was also very sentimental for me; my mom and my uncle (who also lived in New York) had passed away 15 days apart, one year prior to our decision to run the marathon. I knew it was going to be very emotionally difficult for me to run in the place where I lived with them, but it got more difficult when my sister-in-law passed away a week before the marathon. She was like my sister to me and a second mother to my kids. As a result, running through the streets on New York was an emotional rollercoaster: one minute I was crying and the next I was laughing, and all of that kept me going.
Race week came quickly! I had an amazing time planing and traveling with two wonderful ladies Mishele and Robyn, my roomies. The day of the expo I was very excited because I was going to meet my brother (“Team Jose”) that had won the New York lottery. He traveled from Costa Rica, and we spent almost all day together at the expo. Then came Race Day! I have to thank Robyn, because she wanted to be at the staring line one hour before our anticipated time. At the beginning I too was crazy (“As always”), but thanks to her we got there with no rush. I know some other people got there so late, my brother included — he started 90 minutes late! Phew I felt relief that we all got there on time.
We happily made it to the Start Line, made a short prayer, and then it was our turn to run. My super fast running friends were leaving me behind. My only request to them was to wait for me at the Finish Line. Meanwhile I kept running until I found the 5:45 pacer, and I asked him his pace. He said “I’m not STOPPING!” The maximum I have done is 3/1 but never for a 26.2 miles, but I kept running with him. I never stopped, because the New York spectators don’t let you give up, they are true fans, the best!!!!!
I was running, as well as texting and taking pictures. I to thank my husband for his support and I have to share the amazing moments with him. My kids and my husband are my biggest fans and supporters; they kept sending me text of how proud they were of me, and that for me is the best reward in the whole world, just knowing that you are someone’s hero is the best feeling. I called my husband and asked him what was my pace, and he said “Honey you are doing great, keep that pace!”
At mile 18 I stopped to get some Biofreeze for my knee. As I stopped I saw the pacer disappearing in the distance. I never got near him again, but I kept running. I was tired, and mad at myself for losing pace. At mile 21 I saw one of the Team For Kids coaches. She gave me electrolyte tablets and water, and that picked me up again. I don’t know if it was in my head or if the tablets really worked, but I kept running and leaving people behind me. At mile 24 I started giving up again. I was so tired, but people continuously cheering your name was such a good pick up! So was seeing Kari and Sonya at mile 25. Thank you girls for the support too!
I didn’t know I was just seconds behind Robyn and Mishele. Mile 26 came so slow, I didn’t think I could make it there. The last 200 meters felt so far, far away, but victory was here! I completed the 26.2 miles with a great PR! My others marathons finishing times were at 6:59 and 6:34. And New York was 5:47:39!
At the finish line I sat with Mishele and Robyn and I started crying even more. I couldn’t believe that I finished with them almost at the same time. Now I’m a real marathoner! Mo more Mickey Mouse marathons, I’m a New York Marathoner! The best race ever, the biggest in the whole world, and I finished it! It was a dream come true!
Thank you for sharing your stories, Inelka and Rosa. Tune in for our next installment, coming soon!