By: Caroline Bontia. Republished from bontiajewelry.blogspot.com on 11.7.12.
I’d like to thank everyone again who wished me luck for the NYC Marathon that was abruptly canceled but officially happened this weekend instead as the CAROTHON! Yes. You read that right!
No doubt I had a lot of trepidation last week and it continued to mount as we were flying into New York last Friday night. As our plane touched ground into JFK, passenger 17A to my left shook his head and was crestfallen: “Oh man. I just received a tweet that the marathon’s been canceled! I was planning to run because I turned 40 this year.” It was a shocking blow to hear and while I do support the marathon’s cancellation, I selfishly wished it happened a little sooner. My back-up plan had been to run a marathon regardless. Within a few minutes, I received an email from my friend Andy who suggested that I run the original NYC Marathon guerrilla style. I was in.
So last Saturday my husband, Kevin and I met Andy at his Upper West Side apartment across from the park at 9 a.m. As our race director, Andy took his duties seriously lending Kevin his mountain bike (aptly branded with “Kona”) as my support crew and coach, while Andy traveled by roller blade. My plan was to run around the park’s perimeter 4x. The weather was sunny, in the low 50s, carried by a crisp cold air. Perfect running weather. My finishing ribbon would be an elegant white made of the finest TP.
The park was alive with runners, many of whom were wearing their orange NYC Marathon shirts and others, their charity shirts. Indeed it was touching to witness others embarking on their own marathons. Several blind runners were running beside their aids, paraplegic participants on their hand bikes, and others ran in groups wearing their matching countries’ team jackets. All of this meant that as runners, we simply needed to run, keep moving forward and reflect on finding closure. The finish, mile 26 banners and bleachers silently taunted, but helped me visualize next year’s race. Fred Lebow‘s statue stood brimming with freshly laid flowers. At mile 18, I started to think heavily about the hurricane victims, the raw appeal of NYC marathon, and what it has meant for me to raise funds for and to better understand what it means to Livestrong. Then finally mile 26 chirped on my Garmin. I could hear Andy and Kevin cheering and holding that fancy TP! At 4:41, I broke my San Francisco marathon PR by over 30 min (stopping only a few moments to wait a red light and to buy water by a street vendor at mile 21).
What these past six months of training has taught me is that fear is a powerful motivator. Hard work can pay off if you commit to the challenge and improvise. And while registering for a race officially records your time when it assigns you with that bib number, it’s what you do anyway without one that can prepare you for any challenge and reset your PR.