|Inspiring view from our Team DetermiNation Pasta Party of the|
Empire State Building lit up for the Marathon
|I posted this photo on Facebook before leaving for the Marathon.|
|Many thanks to Scott for playing host to me & my|
parents for the weekend.
|With Melissa under the bridge after checking my bag|
|Posing with the "I'm Racing For..." banner in the Team DetermiNation Tent|
|With Kate, Alena, & Coach Ramon just before leaving for the Wave 3 Corral Start|
|Watching Wave 1 cross the bridge from just outside our Corral|
I was able to ride the crowd to keep a cool and steady pace through Brooklyn and into Queens, periodically relying on my random shuffle tunes to provide a little pick me up here and there. Then came that 59th Street Bridge. I had been warned about it. Several friends, including my Team DetermiNation coach, had explained it in detail. I had done all my hill training, but it was still tough. I tried to remember everything I had learned. I went to my race mantra - You + God = Enough - which was written on a rubberband around my wrist (thanks to a tip from my sister Naomi). But mostly, I just kept my eyes forward and thought of Joe.
Then, after what seemed like an eternity, I could tell that I was finally running downhill. As I could see the bend that would lead me off the bridge and into Manhattan, I heard the first few bars of Don't Stop Believin' come through my earbuds and there was just no stopping the tears. The timing could not have been more perfect for what that song meant to me and for that moment in the marathon. It wasn't just a good running song, it was my Joe calling at a critical moment and it played as I ran past the Team DetermiNation photographer and it continued as I waved at everyone cheering outside Memorial Sloan Kettering where Joe received care. It was one of those moments in life when everything moved in slow motion. I felt like I was the lead actress in my very own perfectly scripted movie. Running just doesn't get much better than that.
|Not sure exactly where this is, but one of my|
favorite photos from during the marathon.
About 20 blocks later at around mile 18 I came upon the first spot where my parents and Scott were waiting to cheer me on. All along the course, I had plenty of people cheering for me by name (thanks to my parents who helped iron my name on my shirt), but there was something really incredible about coming up on Mom & Dad and Scott yelling for me and seeing Mom with her neon sign that said "Go Anne". It was just the extra boost I needed to press on towards the Bronx.
Somewhere around mile 20 I got another much needed boost when I caught up with Melissa and Paul as they were running through the Bronx. It was so nice to see them and run beside them as I surpassed that 20 mile mark and ran what with each step became my longest run ever.
Once we re-entered Manhattan via the Madison Avenue Bridge I could feel the excitement welling up inside. Five miles to go and the crowds were awesome. I was starting to feel tired and I knew the difficult incline at Mile 23 was coming up. In my mind, I was counting down the streets until 91st where I knew I would once again see my parents and Scott. Somewhere along the way I walked through my first Gatorade stop, stretching out my legs a bit as I walked. Hearing spectators along 5th Avenue cheer for me by name kept me going throughout that very difficult Mile 23, but I knew that I would need an extra boost to finish strong.
As I approached 91st Street and spotted that familiar neon sign I made my way over to my mom and gave her a big hug. She was crying. I was crying. It was another one of those slow motion moments (and not only because I was exhausted!) I will remember hugging my mom during Mile 24 of my first marathon for the rest of my life and I'm sure that every time I think about it I will smile and tear up just a little.
|The special Mile 24 hug|
After the hug, it was into Central Park I went for some beautiful scenery and, yes, a few more hills. I walked my way quickly through one more Gatorade station and then somewhere around Mile 25, it was random shuffle to the rescue again as I was treated to a little Pearl Jam. What better song to round out my first marathon than Alive - with just enough grit to push me out of Central Park and onto 59th Street where I ditched my earbuds in exchange for the cheers of what seemed like a neverending throng of spectators. That final stretch was fabulous and as I rounded the bend at Columbus Circle I felt every emotion in the book well up inside me. Five months of training and fundraising and the finish was right there. People were cheering. Big signs counted down every 100 yards for the final stretch. And then I was there. A finisher of my first marathon - the NYC marathon.
|Crossing the finish line|
Thank you, New York City, and thank you to all of my friends, family and donors who have supported me on this journey. You were with me for every mile.
|The NYC Marathon version of "Where's Waldo"...where's Anne?|