The Half-Marathon

A few months ago, hot on the heels of my fiance completing her 2nd FULL marathon – that’s an important distinction I’ve learned, I decided that I would venture into the world of putting yourself into horrible pain in an attempt to become healthier. The goal? To complete a half-marathon.

Originally it was intended that I would run the half on Long Island but myself and my fiance, Jacki, decided to both enter the New York City one. I was fairly certain I wouldn’t get in as there was a lottery to select those who will participate and if my life playing the lottery is any indication I don’t have a mansion and/or my own personal water park and roller coaster a la Richie Rich.

The Long Island half is taking place in May and that gives me plenty of time to train, fake an injury and enjoy Dairy Queen, or the much downgraded Baskin Robbins. I was fine with letting this all slide by me and look back in 20 years saying, “I probably should have done that.”

But this was not to be my fate as I received an email with the line “Congrats You’ve Made it in!”, clearly the person who sent that out never got into a half-marathon before because there was nothing to be congratulated for. Just as that happened Jacki received an email with the line “Thank you for applying, better luck next time.”

There must’ve been a mistake, someone must have clicked off the wrong person. How could I, a lazy, half serious entrant, be accepted and Jacki, a seasoned veteran in the competitive running scene, be tossed aside like a half eaten bologna sandwich wedged between the cushions of a love seat?

It doesn’t make any sense. The only thing that makes sense is that this is a well thought-out prank and someone involved the New York Road Runners.

Turns out that it was real and I found this out when I couldn’t get my credit card to pay me back the fraudulent charges that, in their words, I made.

So off I went starting my half-marathon training and, let me tell you something, that apparently isn’t an excuse to give half my effort. I was given a harsh wake up call when Jacki eventually got into the race and we went running together for the first time. That’s when I learned that what I call jogging most people call moving your arms really fast when walking.

It was rewarding giving full effort though and as we progressed in the mileage and eventually hit 10 I was proud of myself.

Finally the day had arrived! Sunday, March 16th at 8:10 am.

Ugh!

This was actually happening.

Suddenly we were thrown into a mix of 22,000 people who all immediately regretted their decision to run this race. I know this because what I do is apply my emotion to everyone around me and consider it to be the same across the board.

There were many stages through the race where I said to myself “WHY?!” to which Jacki would reply “who are you talking to?”

It was strange for everyone.

I eventually hit my stride and figured I looked like a gazelle or a beautiful bear running in an open field with dandelions and a splash of sun canvasing the area. I was immediately snapped back to reality when I started running into oncoming traffic because this is New York and a half-marathon won’t shut down midtown traffic, let’s be real.

As we approached the final mile I wanted to quit. I wanted to quit like I had done with so many things before this, but I couldn’t. I needed to prove a point to myself, I needed to finish this through. I’m proud to say that I didn’t stop at all during the race and finished at a balmy 2:39:19 which, if you’re keeping score at home, is a time that professional runners finish a FULL marathon in.

But the bottom line is I finished and completed something. It literally just hit me as I am writing this, but it’s proof that if you work hard at something good things will happen. Keep running for the finish line no matter how far away it is and no matter how much you doubt that you can make it. You owe it to yourself and sometimes, especially after a half-marathon in New York City, there is pizza at the end.

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