But running the TCS New York City Marathon, a World Marathon Major in the biggest, baddest city in the world? Pure prestige, baby. Pure prestige.
And naturally, FIT was there in abundance to take part in the 2015 race. As such, we are continuing our ongoing coverage of Travelling With FIT with a special multi-part blog, in which our various participants get the chance to tell their story, share their experiences, and allow all of us to live vicariously through this monumental achievement through them!
We’re kicking off our coverage with two reports, from our friends Robyn and Yasmin!
Gosh, where do I start? This race was so much to me, and no matter how much it hurt and how much I said I was never running again in the last 3.2 miles, it has left me yearning for more.
I worked hard, really hard training for this race. After my first marathon in January I was convinced I could get a much much better time. So in June after a couple months off due to injury I started training, I followed my training plan to a T. I never argued with my coach, and listened to every word he said. I was convinced I could run NY in 4:59:59 easily. I was very lucky to have my good very speedy friend Mishele run NY with me as my pacer, so this furthered my confidence of my time goal. I was also convinced that I wouldn’t feel the pain because I would be so happy that I was running NY.
Well as they say most things don’t happen according to plan, but what did happen was so much better than a time goal.
When we started the race on Sunday I felt great! Coming into Brooklyn off the bridge and seeing the first few people cheer us on gave me butterflies of excitement because I knew what was coming in the next few miles. They say 1 million people come out for the worlds biggest block party to cheer on the runners in NY. That figure is correct, and maybe even a bit more … I’ve never had so many people say my name in my life, I felt what celebrity feels like. Not many people can say that.
As we started cruising down the course I knew my husband and kids were just past mile 8. I would find myself choking up as we got closer, because it was the first time to have my kids cheering me on at a race. Let’s just say I was beyond excited. When I finally did see Paul and the girls I was so overcome with emotion. There were my daughters holding a sign that says “Go Mommy Go” After a few really big hug and plenty of kisses we were on our way again. “Wow, that was the most amazing moment ever!” was all I could think for the next several miles. It definitely took my mind off the ebb and flow of the miles.
After the halfway mark we marched over the Queensboro Bridge and then onto 1st Avenue in Manhattan. Around mile 17 I started to feel it, that dreaded wall started building up brick by brick. I was almost caught my surprise because it was still really early. However, this wall crept up on me around the same time at the last marathon I ran. Back then I was able to break through it around mile 22. This did not happen in NY. Around mile 22 and all the way until the finish line I felt like my legs weighed 100 lbs each, I could barely move. I cried for the majority of those miles because the pain was so bad. My poor running partner Mishele did everything she could trying to help me break through but it just wasn’t happening. I cried, I pushed, I wanted to get down on the ground and crawl. For a long while I even cried for my Mommy. I was in a very bad bad place.
However, somehow we made it. As we crossed into Central Park and came up the hill (YES HILL) into the finish line I was so incredibly happy and emotional. My family was in the grandstands and were able to see me finish. I was so overcome with emotion that I didn’t stop crying until 15 minutes after we finished. The next day I woke up and I felt so defeated and beat up. As my friend Rosa said the NYC Marathon is “No Mickey Mouse” — it is a HARD race. The New York Marathon will chew you up and spit you out. It took me a few days to digest everything, and really think about what happened. I was overcome by all the love and support I had received on social media. Through that support I realized that this race was never destined to be a time goal race, this race was about the kids. It had always been about the kids: my kids, to show them what you can get with hard work and determination, as well as the kids I raised funds for through the charity Team for Kids. My hope is I inspired many children through the funds I raised to want to the run the marathon one day.
I will never forget my first NYC marathon. First with raising money for Team for Kids with 10 of my amazing FIT friends, to traveling to NY and making such awesome friendships, my amazing running partner Mishele for helping me push through and putting up with me, and for my family for being there to experience it and celebrate it with me. I say it’s my first one because I am almost certain I am going back again next year. How quickly we forget the pain! However, I thought about other races and nothing can compare to running New York for Team for Kids, it’s just so special knowing my miles will inspire so many kids to run and create that same passion that I have for the sport.
I joined FIT last year with no expectations other than to RUN. I had always been active and played soccer for a number of years, but running gave me peace. I started in Group C with Coach Cass and Bruce and it was great. I began making friends and running more, especially with Cass. Fast forward a few months and she did NY and was talking about NY in 2015 — I was in! As you know I’m a single mother of 4 and my oldest was going away to start his first year of college. I didn’t know how I was going to get there or much less how I was going to pay for it, but I was in.
The day before the race was relaxing. I took my first train ride by MYSELF! It was nerve wracking, but I made it! I went to see the NJ Devils vs NY Islanders with Kari Klein and Sonya Brown! They were suppose to run NY too, but because of injuries had to defer. I had my usual burger and fries pre race meal and headed back to the hotel to chill.
The morning of the race was quiet. I got up and ready and walked to the bus about a 3 blocks away. The lines were long, but flowed flawlessly. As I took my place I looked up and there on the building read GRACE. It gave me chills. I grew up singing Amazing Grace. I hummed it to my children when they were little. The bus ride in was quiet. There was traffic, but we steadily moved closer to the Staten Island. I sat listening to an old woman in front who was talking about doing the Berlin Marathon and how she lives in Germany now, but came back to the states to run NY.
I could go on forever… but let’s talk about The Run.
I started with my FIT and Team for Kids ladies Jeanne, Robyn, Rosa, Mishelle and Inelka. We were the last corral, but we would start together. We took lots of pictures and hugged each other and we were off! It was a gorgeous day, overcast, but cool. As I began all I could do was look at the city and the people. I was born in NY and most of my family still lives there. However seeing the city as a runner was completely different. My parents lived in Pelham Bay, Bronx and met at Roosevelt Hospital. My uncle played inner city basketball and every summer after I moved to Florida, I would go to NY and stay with my family. The people cheered, the kids smiled and had their hands out waiting for a high five from a complete stranger and ALL the volunteers were smiling!!! The cheers were endless!!!
At mile 8 I saw Mare and Richard Castro and was happy to see familiar faces. I felt strong taking it all in and smiling and high fiving through the first half, but my legs started to get tight. I began to have spasms in both my knees and power walked and pushed thru as best as I could!! At mile 17 I saw my cousins and got a BIG hug and some oranges! I love oranges!!! My mouth was full and I was off again. I was slowing down and stopped to take a picture of the sign that let me know I was entering the Bronx. Then I heard the familiar sound of Salsa music I had grown up with and I started to cry and pump my fist in the air!!! I had a combination running salsa moment and I picked up my pace. My cousin would tell me later she was tracking me and noticed I had picked up speed, “what was that all about?” she asked.
As I got closer to central park I was just shuffling, walking and running when the spasms would stop. I saw Kari and Sonya yelling at me and gave them a hug, cried and kept going. It was brutal; where was the end already?! Then I saw a familiar face: Bruce from FIT! He too was struggling, but pushing through. We laughed and wondered too where was the Finish LINE! We walked, we ran, we finished together — priceless!!!!
Thank you for allowing me to recap this in words and relive the happy tears that only a runner can understand! xoxoxo
Thank you for your stories, Robyn and Yasmin! What an amazing experience that must have been. And gentle readers, thanks for your time and be back for Part 2 of Travelling With FIT: The New York City Marathon!, coming in a few short days!