I raised my tired arms like a "V", high in the cold November air, as I ran through the finish line with every ounce of juice I had left. Breathing heavily through my cottoned-mouth lips and hearing every thud of pulse as my heart starts to ease, my pride was completely soaring above this blue planet. Glancing at the crowds of families and friends, I reminisce. Exactly a year ago I was one of these amazed onlookers. I saw the damped joy plastered on the proud runners' faces, and I could not help feeling envious of their terrific achievement. Inspired and awe-struck by the diversity; from the young and modern to the knowing veterans, from the missing limbs to the ones with illnesses running for the cure; I decided I can and want to accomplish this titanic self-challenge. Now, looking in front of me is a river of achievers wrapped in metallic silver blankets, and I am very happy to share that this year, I am part of it.
The night before the big run, I lay in bed thinking of what a good friend, a fellow runner, had stated about the big day. "The difficult part (training) is over; this is the victory run." What a terrific statement, for it is true. Putting in at least 20 long miles a week, and the aching joints and muscles, makes a person eager to get the race over with; but the training has definitely improved my mental and physical discipline. I had three goals for this astounding event: never stop and/or walk with the exception of using the john or tilting fluids down my throat; have a completion time of less than four and a half hours; and of course the most important, to finish. I fell asleep tingling with nervousness and excitement. The hard work is over and the fun part is here.
The brilliance of the cheerful sun perfected this bold day. When the boom of the canon was heard by 38,000 participants, a roar of liveliness filled the small land of Staten Island. Shortly after crossing the start line on the Verrazano Bridge, many, including myself, felt the need to use the water closet. Fortunately for the masculine sex, they were able to temporarily stain along the side of the pavements with miniature brooks. Aside from this, the view of the Hudson River's magnificent glisten of dark olive gave me a fresh breath of awe. While thinking about the path ahead, the parade of strides stamping is all that can be heard. As each mile was proceeded, from a small cluster of observers grew to a massive encouraging applauds and cheers from each boroughs of the great Big Apple. Even though distracted by live, upbeat music in every few blocks; from Latin to rock and country to hip hop; along with the boisterous public's wonderful support, the stench of powerful perspiration cannot be ignored.
Just as I am approaching Central Park, four miles to go, my mind starts to acknowledge how exhausted my body has become. The soreness of my knees and ankles, which I twisted during training, throbbed like a pounding hammer. I reminded myself that I have trotted this park's loop many times before, preparing for this moment. Eight hundred meters to go! This provokes my fire of loving the finale with every race I have entered since I began this sport. My numbed legs kicked like a powerful feline as I pumped my heavy arms ever so rapidly, filling my lungs with tired swallows of air. As the end is peering, I felt the electricity of joy while the spell of the finish line is pulling my weary being.
With my head held high and a tired smile, I slowly limped my way home with a bagel on each hand. I ran for a long 4 hours and 35 minutes straight, but time melted the day quickly. I reached 2 of my 3 goals; oh, how surreal. This awesome act rewarded my body with soreness and blisters, which lasted for days; but it has tattooed my pride with an unforgettable memory of self-accomplishment.
4 November 2007