It’s been a little over two weeks since the Mohawk Hudson River Marathon. It wasn’t my first, it’s not my last, and it definitely wasn’t my fastest. But, what I lack in speed I made up for in a well-executed and perfectly fueled race experience. Everything came together in a neatly wrapped package on Sunday, October 12th. It was one of the few times I ever felt true satisfaction after crossing a finish line.
It was one of the few times I didn’t think to myself, “I could have done more. I could have pushed harder.”
I was grateful and my heart was full.
I lined up at the start a little nervous, a bit under-trained, and full of hope that I could cross that finish line with a smile as my family cheered on. I did not want them to see me struggle after I have been telling them how fun marathons are. It turns out that I got a little more than I bargained for.
I met two women around the first mile who changed the course of 26.2 miles for me and I hope I did the same for them. We were all strangers to one another. Them? First time marathoners. Me? Just out enjoying the day (more or less).
Over the course of four hours we shared stories, got to know one another, laughed, and told jokes. While I’d love to recount every mile, I cannot even begin to – they flashed before me in the blink of an eye. I felt very comfortable through mile 19 when the normal marathon aches and pains began to set in. My pace was steady, my fueling was good, and I was on track for a 4:30 finish all according to plan.
The three of us remained together until one of the women decided to push herself to a sub-4:30 finish. We cheered her on to run ahead. Remaining comfortable, myself and the other woman decided to maintain our pace and let her go.
Together, we finished in 4:31:53, holding hands, smiling wildly, and hugging. Now, THIS is what the marathon is all about.
The three of us reunited at the finish, met up with our families, exchanged contact information, and then departed ways.
Looking back, I experienced what the spirit of the marathon is all about. This time around it wasn’t about beating the numbers – or each other. It was about camaraderie, sportsmanship, and a genuine feeling of happiness in watching others chase down their dreams and succeed.
Onto New York City…