It was more than just a race


I began my training on June 6, 2014 for the NYC Marathon, which was on November 2, 2014. Calculated, I ran 345 miles in training, cross trained 3x a week, which consisted of light weight lifting, elliptical, stationary bike, or some form of water cardio. I incorporated yoga, healthy eating (I cut out adult beverages, fried food, red meat), and I was hydrating all. the. time. I challenged my body to go the distance and conquer the ridiculous hills in Bloomington, IN in ridiculous heat and humidity. I spent  a lot of my time at a chiropractor and took many ice baths. And time flew by and before I knew it, November 2nd was here and I finally got to run my marathon. Oh and with all of this going on, I also had to raise money for Boston Children’s Hospital and while the minimum fundraising goal was $3,000 — I raised $4,310.

Here are some things that you should know:

1. I woke up at 4am and my mom drove me to the Meadowlands (Izod center.. whatever) to catch a bus at 5am.

2. I waited in 45 degree weather with wind gusts up to 40mph — for 4.5 hours before I ran. Luckily, there was an endless amount of coffee (DUNKS!) tea, and bagels. Also, I was in the charity village, so I had access to the better port-a-potties 🙂

3. When you begin on the Verrazano bridge, they shoot a cannon and they play Frank Sinatra’s “NY, NY”

4. I was on the lower deck of the Verrazano, in which the wind was blowing from my left, pushing me to the right.. at about 65MPH.

5. Brooklyn by far won for the best crowds and energy. Queens and the Bronx were the worst.

6. The 4 bridges, which connected the 5 boroughs, are deceptively difficult.

7. I wanted to throw in the towel at miles 15, 16, 18, 20, 21,22, and 23.

Yes, I really wanted to give up. It was on the 59th street bridge when I felt absolutely miserable.  Every time I thought Bostonshoesabout giving up, I remembered that I’ve faced things in my life that were more difficult and challenging. In my mind, I kept this image and saying:  We will finish the race.

This mantra is what got me through. The donors that helped me reach my fundraising goal were on the back of my racing singlet. They were with me while I ran and helped me to finish the race. At times, I did have some doubts about finishing, but again, I had to finish the race.

While running, there were so many wonderful people helping others. I vividly remember these two women, both charity runners, stop in the middle of 1st avenue in Manhattan and embraced each other. One was struggling and the other was there for support. The one that struggled broke down and cried while the other consoled her. They began to walk up 1st Ave to the Bronx, and they held hands. They were going to finish the race. Marathons bring out the best in each other as far as the running community.

A marathon isn’t just a race — it’s so much more than that. Running/slogging/walking in  a marathon is an experience. And with every metaphor I’ve hear about comparing life to a marathon — it’s so true. Yes it was a struggle, and yes, I wanted to quit — but I didn’t and I overcame a challenge that I set for myself.

Life is all about overcoming obstacles and challenges. Sometimes, the journey isn’t pretty or full of joy — and it doesn’t go your way and sometimes you just want to quit. But what I’ve realized that as long as you have perseverance and support, any challenge can be conquered.


  • Tray B.

    I’m not gonna lie, I totally shed some tears reading this, Val. Dude, you are my shero! I will never run a marathon. I really hate running, lol. But you’ve inspired me to do other things and to not give up. Like I said before, you’re awesome and I’m unbelievably proud of you! xoxoxo

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