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TCS NYC Marathon 2018

I’ve oft told the tale of how I started running because of a fateful brunch, and then escalated from there. From that Bronx Zoo 5k, I felt the desire to keep running, using it to challenge myself as I pushed to further distances until I set my sights on a marathon. It wasn’t until my friend Carolann called to tell me that the American Cancer Society had extra bibs for the 2011 NYC Marathon that I even dreamed of running such a prestigious race.

After my first taste of that marathon finish line, I knew I wanted to do it again. It wasn’t until 2013 that I decided to attempt any of the other Abbott Marathon Majors, and after running the Chicago Marathon, the idea to run all of the majors began to formulate. Eight years later, after completing all six marathon majors and eleven marathons overall, I knew it was time to stop running marathons, but I had to do it at home.

While I had talked about London being my final marathon, there was no place to finish it except at home. After a summer of training hard, November arrived and on an unseasonably warm Sunday morning, it was time to run my final marathon.

The early morning arrival at Staten Island brought me to Fort Wadsworth with a little time to prepare before my corral began to line up. I could feel my nervous energy building as the canon went off and we began to leave the island and head up the Verrazano Bridge. From there it was a 5 mile stretch of Fourth Street heading north through Brooklyn to a turn on Lafayette Avenue to Greenpoint Avenue.

At mile 13, we crossed over for a two mile stint in to Queens, which lead to the Queensborough Bridge. Many runners find the Queensborough Bridge to be the toughest part of the course because it is a steep hill and there are no spectators around to keep the energy going. The hill was challenging but I pushed through to crest the hill and enjoy the downhill that led to the most rewarding part of the course, the entrance to Manhattan.

The roar of the crowd could be heard as I left the bridge and headed towards 1st Avenue. People were packed in to cheer and see their friends and family run through the streets of New York City. The crowds continued to be energetic as the three mile journey up to the Willis Avenue Bridge and the Bronx – our fifth and final borough. Like running through the largest of neighborhood parties, the Bronx was a two mile celebration that was a large U turn that returned us to Manhattan.

We ran down Fifth Avenue, where the party continued, but it is always a mentally taxing part of the marathon. Fifth Avenue is a gradual uphill over the two miles that lead to the entrance of the park, which is on the right for almost the entire two miles and the entrance to the park feels like it’s just moving further away until 90th Street. At 90th, it’s a run down the east side of Central Park to exit back onto Fifth Avenue to run a mile across 59th Street and back into Central Park to head up the west side of the park to finish outside Tavern on the Green.

I still love running and look forward to continuing to run, but I’m retiring from running full marathons after 12 marathons. As much as I loved running them, the time and intensity required for all the training leading up to the actual marathon are more than I want to commit anymore. So my 4:50:54 is a good way to send off my marathons, and I look forward to running more in the future – just at shorter distances.

And a big thank you to everyone who helped me along the journey – from coaching to cheering to traveling with me across 12 marathons, 8 years, 4 states, 4 countries, 3 continents, and 1 hell of a journey!

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