I am a NY Marathoner!

NY marathon

Dear Supporters,
Thank you for your encouragement the past months. We need supporters along the way, so you deserve a medal just the same as runners do. It worked! I did it! Thank you!!

2016, what a year!
A long traject full of enthusiasm, persistence, injuries, and dips. My preparations for the marathon were not optimal at all. Even during the flight and the days before the race, my back is annoying me.

Probably tenseness, but annoying anyway. The run freaks me out and I can't wait until it's all over. It will be such a relief not having to run against al fears and pain. To sense the joy of a Sunday run through the park. Just for fun. I would love that!

Raceday
Sunday morning I wake up at 4 o'clock, 15 minutes before the alarm… me.... and actually I feel pretty fine. Even the pain in my back has gone with the wind and I even don't feel that nervous. Well, I have to visit the bathroom a couple of times, but that's totally fine by me.
I can't do anything to change the past months, so I just want it all to start. I eat some yogurt and a smoothie. I can't eat more than that. Maybe I am a bit nervous. I take the bananas and bars with me for later.
At 5:30 the bus takes us to the start. It is still dark, so unreal that we have to run a marathon in a bit. When we arrive at the starting area it is still a bit quiet.

We find a good spot to sit and wait together, me and the whole group I'm traveling with. The toilets are still doable and there's no line for coffee. Time flies. It is cold, but when we move to the sun and I get a blanket and a poncho, I'm fine.
I find out where my wave is, visit the toilet again and force myself to eat something.
Someone in my team starts in about the same time at the same wave. She's in row D and I'm in C. I decide to wait with her. At least I don't have to wait alone in the last 30 minutes.
One more toilet-stop and we throw the last layers of clothes in the container – for charity.
And then I hear the national anthem. It gives me goosebumps all over. A loud applause and cheering and there we go!!

Verrazano-Narrows Bridge
The first bridge, which I've been so scared of. Within a few steps, I lose my teammate. I search for her but quickly decide: I have to do this by myself. I was afraid to do it alone, but now I'm here and I feel fine. And the views are stunning! Maybe I should just enjoy it like everybody recommended me to do.
With goosebumps up on my cheeks and a big smile on my face, I feel so proud to be able to do this. I am running here! And then I'm over the top of the bridge and i'm flying downwards. Into the first district, really exciting with the crowd cheering for us. The pace feels great, although a bit to fast to run 42k. I check my pace on my watch, but it's hard to reduce speed. I rather run at a pace that feels good, than run uncomfortable. I run at a steady pace, so I'll be fine. My pace is 6:20 instead of 6:50. I meet a lot of Dutchies on the road. I talk a bit with them to share my enthusiasm and to kill time. They warn me of my pace, but they have the same feeling.
I try to run a bit slower, but when I check my pace it didn't work out that well. Until that killing bridge at 25k. My pace is gone, I'm crawling up on the bridge, but I don't want to walk! It starts to get heavy now. I really need to reduce my pace.

NY Marathon

Support
My father and the whole support team (the family of all the runners in my travel group) are at 26k. While waving and shouting I run to my father. I get a big hug and two half bananas. I don't have the patience to let him take a picture. I need to keep running. And then I see him from the corner of my eye. He's running with me, stumbling on his feet while watching his phone and searching for me. Full of guilt I start screaming his name. He has been waiting there the whole morning. Why don't I just give him a minute. So we take a happy picture and then I continue.
I almost choke cause of the banana and my breathing is out of control. I give the other half of the banana to someone who's walking. I try to get myself under control. And it works. Just for a short while. This part of the race took a lot of energy from me.
At 28k a sharp pain stabs my back. Sh*t, this is going to be hard with another 14k to go! I walk a short while and take a painkiller. When I think of the nerve congestion and the nerve failure in my leg earlier this year, I get really nervous. I decide it's better to walk a bit then go to the first aid. I came so far, I want to finish.
Months after the race it's hard to remember if I was just tired and scared to run the whole race with pain or if the pains were really bad. You easily forget how pain feels.

This is gonna take a while
The 14k that are left are taking me so long. I'm walking more and more. I force myself to at least walk fast and to run downhil. At this point I completely lose my pace, my faith in finishing, my encouragment, I lose it all. My energy is gone. More often I stop to drink that disgusting Gatorade. And then I run for a bit. I'm not enjoying the run anymore and even the crowd isn't able to push me forward.
I'm searching for the support team. I don't exactly know where they are so I try to keep running. It would be a shame to walk past them, so I run and walk and run.
One kilometer before the finish I see the companies flag and I hear them cheering. I only see my father, although there's a whole team.

I'm gonna make it!
Now I know: I'm gonna make it! Fighting for the last meters and suddenly there he is. The finishline! I throw my hands in the air for the picture, but it's hard to force a smile. Everything hurts, but I'm so happy to cross the line. I hug the first steward in front of me, I guess he didn't mind 😉 and recieve my beautifull medal. I want to cry, but there's no one to celebrate with so I just keep on walking. It's still a long walk to the hotel and I'm happy to meet a teammate on the route. We talk about the highs and the lows of the past hours and stumble through the streets around Central Park. We're so happy to find a trishaw around the corner!

 

IMG_4783

I did it!
All the stress and pain is gone. Although it took me a long long time, I did it, it's done! All the hard work, all the time and energy I put in this race. All the training, all the pain, and stress. The weekly appointments at the physiotherapist and masseuse, the ice baths, salving, taping, it's done! I did it!
Back in my hotel I hear that my finish time is 04:51:43 and I guess after all I should be really happy with that!

Love,

xx

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