Tuesday, April 17, 2012

the nyc half marathon march 18, 2012

"the soul should always stand ajar, ready to welcome the ecstatic experience."
~emily dickinson

the route
a little more than three years ago i took my first running steps.  my zen-filled friend, vita, was trying to convince me to do a 5k and i griped with apprehension.  i could barely run a mile, never mind 3.1 miles. i had no sneakers, i had no running clothes, i had no running socks.  i had no endurance.  i had no confidence in myself that i could find a finish line.  i had no idea how to be a runner.      

i had no idea that three years later i would be running in the new york city half marathon.  thirteen point one miles.   i had an awesome pair of nearly worn brooks, i had trained in pretty cool nike t-shirts (compliments my artist friend, nicole, who paints my shirts), i had a pride-filled race day shirt from our team, American Cancer Society DetermiNation, and i knew i had the endurance and my balega socks were filled with confidence to find the finish line.  

mojo, peace, and adrenaline
we started out of the house on sunday morning at 5:15 a.m. with two of the three kids in tow so we could make it to central park to meet up with our team for some last minute pointers, information, and team picture.  my other half missed that picture because he so wonderfully ran back to the car to get my forgotten sleeves that i needed for the chilly race morn.  we made a much needed pit-stop at the apple store (it was already open at 6:30 a.m. on  a sunday...what?!?!?, but thank goodness), it was like walking into heaven itself with all its bright lights and happy people, and very clean commodes.  amen. 

American Cancer Society Team DetermiNation

our awesome friend, jessica, snapped this pic of us before jeff and i walked through central park to our corral.  

my three sips of pre-race water in that cup
we stood and waited for our turn to run.  and tried to keep warm. 
jeff took this with my phone as we waited

endless people and port-a-jons
my little photographer took this picture as she waited for us to start.

still waiting
14,000+ people had already started running before us.  as we approached the start point we watched the leaders running out of the park with about six miles behind them and it was only  about 27 minutes into the race.  those are some crazy numbers.  
 we started to make some strides and after jogging for a bit prior to the actual start point, we got to the official starting line where our d-tags started to clock us. 

jess did a terrific job of capturing her dad in blue...
running through central park was exhilarating, even on a chilly morning in march.  even with the "rolling" hills.  even with the hyped-up horrible harlem hill.  but it wasn't so horrible after all.  i tried to take in everything around me as i ran.  i felt calm and content and i was surprised people were stopping to use the port-a-jon's already.  spectators were cheering and ringing the cowbells and waited for their "people" to run by them.  i felt good.  i thought about how lucky i was to be running, how fortunate i was to have the ability to run, and to run in the heart of new york city.
great action shots, jess!
i was glad jeff was running this race with me, although he was off and ahead in no time.  cowbells a-ringing, i was excited to see my kids as i made my way through central park. 
the crowd was awesome, my music piping into my ears relaxed me, and the determiNation team members were set up all over the race route to cheer us on. 
i was one happy runner girl.

jeff giving the wave
running down 7th avenue was simply extraordinary.  i ran down the center of the street in awe.  there were dj's set up playing music.  tons of people lined the street, and there were team-cheering stations, and the collective energy and camaraderie of all those running with me.    and as i ran through times square i kept thinking that this one of the most amazing experiences i'd ever had.  i found running nirvana.

happy on the left
we continued down 42nd street to the west side highway.  more bands and djs were sharing their music and our awesome cheerleaders were waiting for us.  our dedicated team shook their cowbells and blew their whistles as we ran by and there were coaches from our team along the route to make sure we blue-shirts were ok. 
our favorite cheerleaders and my little photographer....

jess caught me as i ran through the hydration station.  she missed my running-ac/dc pose, so instead i look like i am trying to spread my wings and fly at mile 11. 
with less than a mile left, we approached the tunnel filled with cheering, ecstatic runners and their echoes resonating off the walls.  out of the tunnel to a small (really?!?) hill and then around the bend to our own cavern of fans cheering us to the end.  i put the pedal to the metal, crossed that line and exhaled.
they medal-ed me.
they wrapped me up.
they taped my wrap.
they gave me a bag of water, gatorade, and an apple.

and then i wandered the south street seaport with my weak mind and body...for almost an hour.  confusion fogged my brain and i forgot that my practical other-half gave me directions to go to the determiNation team tent on the pier upon finishing.  it was the movie ice castles, they planned the whole routine but forgot about the roses thrown on the ice when she was done.  well, i had thorns in my left heel.  my knees were sore and my teeth were chattering uncontrollably.

holding onto my still unopened bag of hydration with a death grip like gaylord focker when he is on the plane in the movie, meet the parents, i hobbled to the elusive tavern where the team was having the post-race celebration (another set of directions i failed to even give a thought).  i finally found my girls and jessica.

a few minutes later, my thoughtful other-half walked in with a warm finisher's sweatshirt for me.  i finally sat and those five minutes in a chair never felt so good. 

our amazing girls!!

off to the subway, we warmed up the whole way up to 59th street, and with the car sitting in the sun rather than the early morning darkness, we made it home for some breakfast (technically lunch), hot coffee, ice on the knees, and the replay of the race.
a little more than three years i had no idea i would be running the nyc half marathon.
and now i'm looking forward to running the nyc marathon.
26.2 miles.

the medal

the half shirt, determiNation shirt, & our numbers

the pull-over

my gift from my amazing artist friend, nicole

friday night before the half, the American Cancer Society Team DetermiNation hosted a pre-race pasta dinner for runners and their families, mentors, coaches, survivors, and staff.  what a wonderful evening.

jess & jessica

me & my other half

jessica & the fam outside the half pint

me & the fam outside the half pint

monica singing the beautiful song she wrote for her brother

simply amazing

at the dinner, survivors

jess & jessica cow-belling out the runners

team determiNation volunteers, coaches, staff

jessica & me

washington square park outside of nyu

looking north

my toes compliments of artist nicole
i want to thank everyone who has so selflessly made a donation to the american cancer society and supported me on my journey to the NYC Half Marathon and the upcoming Marathon in november.
 here is the link....

i truly appreciate all the words of encouragement from my family and friends, and my friends at the gym, HNH Fitness, who not only have supported me but also encourage me and ask about my progress.
i am truly blessed.


  1. You Are Truly Amazing!! Thank You Nicole for sharing your journey.
    Love You,

  2. You rock, Nic! You truly are BioNic!

  3. Hey Nicky & Jeff

    Very inspiring !!! Looking forward to you running the NYC marathon.

  4. I loved every single word of this Nic! (to say nothing of the pictures!)

    You inspire me!

  5. Pics are great & you keep inspiring me!! Great Job! Kathy L

  6. Thank you for sharing this big adventure with us so perfectly and poetically! At this point, I run vicariously through you ~ but I will get my running feet back and your posts will be the very thing to get me over the hump of recovering my mojo! Love it. Congratulations on one of many missions accomplished!

    1. you are a runner, deb....you will always have that fire... thanks for your wonderful words! xoxo

  7. Awesome race recap Nik!

    I remember when I first started running halfs and would ask you to do them… you always would say that you didn't think it was possible. I'm so proud of how far you've come that you are smashing the doubts and the limitations right out of your way!

    Congrats to you and Jeff both! Simply amazing.

  8. Super blog and site. The Diabetes Foundation Inc.as you may know from Roberta Schmidt our executive director, is planning to sponsor a team for Diabetes at the 2012 NYC Marathon. We hope you would us.The Foundation does important work for individuals with diabetes and could use your help.

    Kevin Heaney DDS
    Board Member Diabetes Foundation Inc.

    1. thanks, kevin.. this year i will be running for ACS but i would love to run for DFI next time... looking forward to "run the palisades" 5k in may to raise awareness for diabetes!


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