On Sunday, April 15th, I completed the More Magazine/Fitness Magazine Women’s Half Marathon in Central Park in New York City. Having lived in Manhattan for 12 years, running in Central Park was nothing new. And I’ve been running races for 22 years, so running was nothing new. But, running this distance just five months post-surgery was something new and amazing! When I signed up for this race in late January, my goal was simply to finish. Ideally, I would finish feeling healthy, strong, and whole! As the months wore on, and my training runs got longer, I thought, “I wonder if I could break 2 hours.” For comparison’s sake, I last ran this race in 2007 and completed it in 1:52:37. How would I do, 5 years older with two surgeries under my belt (though technically, one was above the belt)?
As race day approached, I decided that I really wanted to break the two hour mark. I wasn’t sure if that was realistic or not; the race course is quite hilly and my training had fallen a little short of my hopes. But, with the proper rest, nutrition and perseverance, I was optimistic that anything could happen.
I had meticulously picked out my outfit, even doing a short 3 mile run in it four days before the race day just to make sure nothing rubbed me the wrong way. I decided to wear all black (much to Leland’s dismay) simply because everything was comfortable and fit nicely [ed. While her ode to Johnny Cash was charming, trying to pick her out of 8,000 other runners was not]. On race morning as I donned my outfit, strapped on my Garmin 910xt, my Amphipod water belt, and hooked up my iPod shuffle, everything seemed normal and familiar. I was doing something I have been doing regularly for the past 27 years…preparing for and competing in races. However, this time was different. This was my first race for this new phase of my life.
Last week a friend asked me, “Is your goal to do an Ironman distance triathlon?” (Ironman distance is 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, 26.2-mile run, for those that might not know that) I immediately answered, “No. I’m not sure I’ll ever do an Ironman. My goal is to be doing this for the next 20 to 30 years!”
I realized that staying fit and healthy has been my goal all along. Having two major surgeries in the past three years certainly tested me.
Crossing the finish line on Sunday was the first step towards ensuring that I can reach my goal of completing a race when I’m 75 years old.
And by way, I finished in 1 hour and 55 minutes and 47 seconds!