It’s been a while since I last posted because of major life shifts and changes, but I wanted to take a moment to reflect on running the Berlin Marathon and traveling international for the first time in my life!!
This summer I was extremely dedicated to training - I woke up early at 5am to ensure I beat the heat, would never miss a day of running and ensured I ate healthy. I had to isolate a bit to ensure I was ready for this pivotal race…this means I had to say no to plans, go home early and not drink, all of which I do on a normal basis (LOL!!!) it’s just heightened.
I wanted to preface this post with: training gives me a bigger sense of purpose and meaning. I have something greater than myself to wake up every morning and work hard for. It’s not easy and no matter how many marathons you’ve ran, each experience is difficult (this is true for elite runners too!!!). There is a true postpartum that happens after the race. My friends joke ‘when’s the next marathon?!’ after a race because we hate the ending of such a feat. Running for me is a form of therapy. It grounds me but at the same time allows me to push the limits of my body and mind.
There are many mornings that I wake up and think, ‘shit, it’s 5am, I’m tired and I don’t want to do this’ but I get up and go for it. Once I am out there, I feel 10x better. I feel free. It’s just me, my mind and my legs moving one in front of the other. I honestly don’t think I have ever experienced the immense feeling of accomplishment than training and completing a marathon.
The Berlin Marathon was very difficult, I am not going to lie. I was broken up with about a week before and had just started a new job. Before leaving, I was sad, overwhelmed and I felt so alone. I honestly didn’t know how I was going to get myself through the race. My partner who had supported me, who was supposed to be by my side, was suddenly gone and I couldn’t event talk to him. It was truly a gut wrenching place (and even still feels that way as I write this two months later). I wasn’t sleeping, eating and my body wasn’t functioning normal. But I was determined and decided to look at the marathon as a moment purely for myself.
I always say marathon training is very selfish, but you need a true support system around you to lift you up in the moments that feel hard. You need those people to encourage you and to tell you that you got this, don’t give up! I thank my lucky stars that I wasn’t alone - my sister, and friends Meridith, Rachel, Ashley and Rachel come out for me and my dear friend, Selina, was running the race too.
The day of the race, I met up with Selina and literally hopped into her corral (the security there was a joke). We decided that we would run together. About four miles into the race, my body was on fire with pain. I truly thought I would have to stop. I was suffering from an knee injury earlier in the season, but there were parts of my body that hurt which never had before. Selina was a guardian angel, talking to me, distracting me and telling me to focus on the finish-line. She coached me literally through the entire race and didn’t give up on me. There was a moment at mile 20 that she started telling me to picture running in Prospect Park. She would say things like: ‘we are running past the lake on the dirt path, heading through the lush tree coverage to merge back onto the route’. The visualization of being somewhere familiar was a godsend. It made the both of us feel comforted and safe. Along the route, my friends were all stationed at various points to cheer us on. I must have seen them six times and told them that they basically ran a marathon too!! I honestly don’t think I could’ve gotten through the race without them. At a moment when my body was in pain physically, my heart was crushed and my future plans derailed, seeing them out there for me was worth everything. They were my fuel. Rachel and Ashley even ran with us for a bit, it was so amazing!
At mile 25, I picked up my pace. I thought my legs would break but I was so close. Tears were streaming down my cheeks and I began to smile through the pain. Like how fucking COOL! I am running the BERLIN MARATHON!!! Running through that finish line with Selina by my side elevated me somehow. I was out of body. I learned more about myself during the race than I did when I was training. This new sense of life was injected into my blood. Perseverance, dedication, pushing when you think you can’t push anymore - this showed me who I am and what I am capable of. Running Berlin was an incredible step on my way to healing my heart.
Running gives me life. It gives me hope. It makes me push harder, grow stronger and fight away negative thoughts. I can do this. I WILL do this. It’s all about perspective and dedication. Anyone is capable of this accomplishment if they want it. You just have to free your mind.
I wanted to thank Selina, Courtney, Meredith, Rachel, Ashley and Rachel for being my lifeline and support system when I thought I couldn’t make it. They are some of the best family I have and I couldn’t be more grateful.