What a difference a year makes


On November 1, 2008, I backed out of the Philly Marathon. I’d been battling shin splints for about a month and a half. They’d gotten better, then worse. I’d gone to a doctor and a physical therapist, iced my shins, gotten new shoes, but it was too late. November 1 was three weeks before the race. I went out for a long run, having no clue how far I’d make it but knowing it was my last chance to get in a solid training run. I ran three miles in pain, then walked home and decided to quit and cried and felt like the biggest failure.

On November 1, 2009, I got up at 5 a.m., took a taxi, a ferry, and a bus to Fort Wadsworth in Staten Island. Shivered for 2 1/2 hours, then followed the great exodus to the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. Started on a bit-too-fast clip across it into Brooklyn, up Fourth Avenue, past the Bishop Loughlin High School Band playing the Rocky theme, the famed Emmanuel Baptist Church gospel choir a few blocks later… along Bedford Avenue… through boring sections in Williamsburg and Greenpoint, when I wondered it we’d ever actually leave Brooklyn… across the Pulaski Bridge and through a gross little section of Queens, then across the seemingly neverending, hellish Queensboro Bridge. Up First Avenue in Manhattan, where the crowds (including my mom, roomie, and awesome friends) were so amazing, it was almost overwhelming… past a bagpiper standing on the Willis Avenue Bridge into the Bronx, which was actually really great and full of adorable kids who cheered for me… across the short Madison Avenue Bridge, back into Manhattan and through Harlem, which was also packed with great crowds but which was at a point (mile 21) when I started wanting to die… up a long, sloooowww incline on Fifth Avenue until 90th Street, when we finally veered into Central Park. It was pack-pack-PACKED with people screaming, but I’d slipped into tunnel vision and stayed delirious down (thank GOD) Cat Hill, down the rest of East Drive and out of the park, up the incline of Central Park South, past the Jumbotron at Columbus Circle showing the finish line, past hordes of screaming spectators, up up up to Tavern on the Green, where I pumped my legs as hard as possible till I was crossing the finish line, yelling with delight, and then gasping for air because I was about to cry and my throat was so tight.

On November 1, 2008, I was a quitter.

On November 1, 2009, I was a Boston Marathon qualifier.

Have I mentioned my friend Laurel is DA BOMB?! Cause she is. Automatic reblog.

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