How did it go?
First answer: it did not go very well. Each mile that ticked by was close to my intended race pace, but not quite there. The emergency pair of shoes I purchased the day before (note: the New Balance Fresh Foam Zantes and Boracay are very different) were causing hot spots on the bottom of my feet from the get go. And my stomach was a mess the entire time, culminating in a horrible side stitch that literally knocked the wind out of me at mile 12.
Having to stop and walk that close to the finish line was enraging. And the weather seemed to take notice as well – it started to pour just as I veered off the course to catch my breath. Somewhere close to the finish line I tapped into the last of the fight I had in me and painfully pounded across the boardwalk. I finished with my hands in the air, a grimace on my face, and a huge sense of relief for it to be over.
Second answer: I crushed it. When I decided to run this race so many months ago, I had two goals: (1) train and race injury free and (2) take all the chaos going on in my life and channel it into something positive.
With my grumpy left meniscus, I didn’t know if a half marathon was something my body would tolerate again. But with proper cross-training, rest, and care I am ecstatic to report that I completed 13.1 miles without a twinge of knee pain. A huge personal accomplishment.
But, in my opinion, the bigger accomplishment was fulfilling goal #2. Crossing that boardwalk finish line on Saturday was a moment of personal pride I cannot properly put into words. My move to NYC and the avalanche of change that came with it really knocked me off my rocker. In addition to moving to a new city where I didn’t know many people, I was juggling the ups and downs of a new job, meeting new friends, losing a grandparent, moving out of my childhood home, surviving my first New York City winter, leaving that new job, and starting a new one just a week before race day. I was physically and emotionally all over the place, and some days were an exhausting mix of feeling lost and frustrated.
Having this half marathon to focus on week after week, not to mention the friends that supported me throughout months of training, gave me the consistency I craved and pulled me out of my funk. It gave me the tools I needed to work through my emotional side stitches. It brought me to a happier place, one step at a time. And no goal time, race pace, PR, or clock can ever put a value on that.
I bring this up now because I think it’s important to recognize that there will always be chapters in life that aren’t Instagram worthy. I have them. And I know you do too. That’s life, that’s normal, and most importantly – that’s okay.
Not every race is a good one, but every race has a lesson to share. There will be tough and gritty days. The ones that shake you down and leave you feeling unsettled and unsure. There will be wonderful ones too. The trick is to focus on your own race, put one foot in front of the other, lean on those who support you, and dig deep to find the positive in every twist and turn of the course.
So how did it go? I’d say it went pretty darn well. The Brooklyn Half for me was so much more than race day – it was about the hard-fought journey to get there. And the finishers medal and post-race party were all the sweeter for it. Onward!