There wasn’t one moment that stood out among the rest.

The best part was experiencing it ALL.

The train ride into the city.

Picking up our bibs and info at the running expo.

Realizing the enormity of it all.

Laying out all of our things for the next day….  clothes, bib, layers and layers, wind poncho, GU packets, Garmin, iPod shuffle, disposable gloves…..

The Fred’s Team dinner that we attended at BB Kings restaurant the eve of the marathon.  The stories of those whose lives have been saved by the work of those at Sloan Kettering.  Learning about the importance of cancer research.   Getting pep talks to enjoy the race,  to run for and remember those who you love who have died from cancer, celebrate all who have been affected by cancer.   Sitting at that table and feeling SO much emotion.

Drew and I taking turns sleeping, tossing and turning, staring at the clock, wondering if it was time to get up yet.

Watching Drew get ready first at 4:30 am and leave to meet up with Fred’s Team.

Standing in the hotel room all by myself, knowing it was all me from here on out.

Getting ready, applying pace tattoo, taking pictures, looking around to see if I had missed anything.

Walking to the library for my transportation, worried I would get lost.   Seeing all the runners out and knowing that would be impossible on a day like today.

Boarding the 7am bus to Staten Island.

Sitting with a lady and talking about our training.

Realizing I was ready for this after hearing about her lack of training…

The bus slowly creeping up the Verrazano-Narrows  Bridge, seeing the Starter Village below,  so packed and full of life.

The security, everywhere.  So many check points.    Cops with semi automatic weapons in hand, strolling through the crowds.

THE WIND AND THE FRIGID AIR.

People laying on the ground, covered head to toe in garbage bags, attempting survive the wait and the weather.

Trying to stay warm, losing feeling in my toes.

Standing and waiting for my entrance time to my wave corral.   The crowds of people and the pushing.   The other people who wouldn’t stand for the pushing.

The shedding of the layers and the piles and piles of clothes in the corral that would find it’s way back to Goodwill.

The cannon going off and the walk to the start.

Taking that first stride  over the starting line, heading straight up the bridge.

The wind that threatened to literally  take me off of my feet.   The worry I could be blown over.

Staring at my watch….pacing, pacing, pacing.   Telling myself to go SLOW.   That not being a problem with these gusts of wind.

Coming down off of the bridge and away from Staten Island.  The crowds that lined the streets.

26.2 miles with a constant cheering section.   This was a party.

The anxiety that began to slowly creep into my head.   The deep breaths and the attempts to overcome my doubting mind.

The anxiety that would cause me to stop 3 times and WAIT IN LINE for a bathroom throughout the race.   Knowing this would hurt my time, and then not caring anymore about getting my goal time. (But not looking forward to telling Drew I had stopped…)

The marching bands, the singers, the party goers, the gospel choir, the church goers.

The running guides, tethered to a blind runner or someone who needed help.

The woman on crutches.   The many people who had physical limitations who were out there pounding the pavement without excuse.

The diverse group of runners, the huge variety of languages.

The man who ran in front of me for a while who wore a shirt in tribute to someone he lost from cancer.   The words on the back,  “Get Busy Living…”

Finally getting into a steady rhythm that would last the rest of the race.

Nearing mile 18, 19, 20- knowing my body was starting to rebel against this marathon idea.

Remembering my sister’s last piece of advice.  “It will hurt.  It just will.”   

Reminding myself that running is painful but quitting hurts more.

My feet that were on fire after mile 21-22.   The pain with each stride.

Digging deep and running those last 6 miles with strong people in mind.  Naming those people and thinking about them as I ran.  They do hard things all the time, I can do these last few miles.

Central Park.   Knowing this was coming to an end.

The crowds of people shouting my name (it was on my shirt) and the adrenalin that filled that last hour.

The finish line creeping up on me and then realizing it was right there and THIS WAS IT.

Crossing that line with my arms up- I was a marathoner.

My medal, the heat sheet, the warm poncho and the bag of recovery items.

The mile long walk and everyone limping out of the park.

Meeting up with Drew and catching a bicycle taxi.  Taking that first step up into the carriage and realizing I didn’t have the strength for steps.

The exhaustion.

The joy.

The pride.

The hunger.

The Bronx Pale Ale that the hotel gave the runners as we returned- amazing.

The best meal ever after a warm shower.

Bedtime.

Waking up in the middle of the night to use the restroom, standing up and wondering if I would even make it over there.

Not caring.

So happy.

Already thinking of when I can do it all again….

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