Wednesday, November 16, 2011

NYC marathon 2011

After two years of disappointing my parents (by not keeping them updated via running blog), I have decided to return to this blogging community. Why? I was reminded last night (while having dinner with my friend Carly) that people care about my passion for running, and I would love to share it.

It has been a difficult journey. The day I fell in love with the sport was my first New York City marathon in 2010. Before that day, exercise was always an important part of my life- but was used primarily as a means of social interaction, weight loss, self torture, or some combination of the three. On November 7th, 2010, however, I let go a little bit. I allowed myself to take in what was happening around me, and really experience the incredibly satisfying feeling of my feet in contact with the pavement.

In general, my instinct is "flight" rather than fight, and for the firset time I allowed running to help keep me in my body and in the moment. The result was discovering happiness from within myself. This ecstatic transformation was not only apparent to me, but was also visible to my close friends and family who were overjoyed to witness me experiencing this true happiness.

Since then, my training has changed- for the better. I have found that although running with music may "pump me up," it is no longer necessary to get me through a marathon. I have also found that some of my best and most intimate conversations with friends have occured in motion- staying present in my body in this way allows me to speak honestly and with vulnerability. It's like a much healthier version of tequila (and usually, but not always, doesn't conclude with uncontrollable crying or vomiting. Although that is probably the sign of a good workout).

The 2011 NYC marathon (which occured November 6th) was also a truly amazing day. This was the first time I'd trained alone. For the most part, my long runs were done all by myself with and without music. I felt an intense feeling of satisfaction enjoying (kind of ) each 20 mile run without outside distraction. Maybe I just really, really need more "me" time in my life :)

The worst part of this season was the taper period. The taper occurs the two weeks preceeding the marathon, and allows the body to rest and absorb the hard training before the big day. All of a sudden, my "me" time was gone, and was replaced by eating ridiculous amounts of pasta and cookies because I wasn't sure what else to do with myself. Maybe by this year I'll learn to really value "rest." Maybe I'll learn how to sleep at night. Maybe I'll learn how to not rely on movement when I feel like running from myself.

November 6th 2011 was a magical day. I am in complete awe of this incredible city I live in. I am honored to call myself a New Yorker.

I am also so lucky to have such amazing friends and family who supported me, cheered for me, and even ran in with me for a few miles! For me, it was just a long run to test my limits and my passion. But to be able to share that with all of you, changes me.

The worst part of the race? Getting my powergel packets all over me not once, but twice. The stickey hands were uncomfortable and distracting (gross).

There were many best parts. Seeing my fan club at mile 21; the amazing brunch I got to enjoy afterward; singing and dancing to "New York, New York" at the starting line at the Verezzano bridge; running with my roommate Evan in Brooklyn; running with 5-months pregnant Lauren (my running soulmate) in Manhattan. And the attention seeking side of me also loved having my name sharpied on my bright red shirt- there were many cheers for "Rebecca."

There is NOTHING like entering central park- my park- at mile 24. And is it cliche to mention crossing the finish line? :)