Saturday, January 2, 2016


i found out in march that i was chosen in a lottery to run the new york city marathon. this is the third year in a row i've tried for the lottery, & i was OVER THE MOON when i found out i made it in...& promptly didn't really tell anyone i was running it, at all, until about a week before it actually happened on november 1st. i just felt awkward bringing it up?? keeping quiet about the marathon was just a weird thing that i wanted to have happen in my life. haha :)


anyway, now that it's happened i feel okay making a blog post about it.

sometimes when i think about how i ran the new york marathon this year i still have to pinch myself. & not in a congratulatory way, like, "i am SO AWESOME i ran a marathon!!1!" but because it was such a fantastic, life-changing experience i can't believe i was lucky enough--& it was TOTAL LUCK--to be a part of. 

going down to the big pavilion in midtown the day before the race got me really excited for the race. music blasting, crazy amounts of marathon running gear, volunteers and supporters as far as the eye could see, all these people gathered together who had trained so hard for months & flew in from all around the world to run in this race was exhilarating!

fast forward to the next morning, when i was up at five to catch a train, transfer to another train, & finally hop on a ferry to make it to the starting line on staten island. my friend stephanie, who ran the race last year, gave me some really good marathon advice, & the night before the race (the same day i picked up my bib in the photos above), i had four friends over who have all run the marathon before & we talked marathon THE ENTIRE TIME (well, almost the entire time. you know i can never get enough goss ;). anyway, they pretty much unanimously advised me to bundle up in old clothes i wouldn't necessarily mind getting rid of, because i could wear them up until the race starts & toss them in the clothes donation box that's right there near the starting line. so i did just that--i ended up donating a beanie, gloves, heavy socks, & a long-sleeved layer. i brought two bananas, two luna bars (lemon flavored is the best!), & a bottle of water (i tossed the water bottle right before). i also brought a book to read (something light that i wouldn't mind tossing in the donation box if i didn't finish it in time before the race started...but luckily i did finish it! it was cute) because it was a long trek out to SI & then lots of waiting & stretching before my corral's start time. 

look at all the people!...& this is just one out of, what was it, four start times (maybe more? i can't remember) over the course of several hours? just packed with people, but interestingly, no spectators at this stage of the game. we only ran on SI for a few minutes before quickly finding ourselves on the verrazano-narrows bridge, which brought us into brooklyn.

& here's all the gear that i kept on me while i ran: my phone, headphones, phone carrier armband, & waist pack carrying a subway card & a credit card.

moody skies early on in brooklyn:

& gorgeous foliage later on in brooklyn:

if you look closely in these photos you can see a multitude of spectators on both sides of the course. you guys. THE RACE WAS A NONSTOP PARTY! even after hearing from friends who've run the race before that it would be that way, i still was shocked at just how fun it was. there were live bands on almost every corner, huge crowds of people usually several rows deep, everyone was cheering or holding posters or ringing cowbells (MORE COWBELL) or cheering for me by name (that was another good piece of advice my friends gave me--somehow make your name visible while you run so the spectators can cheer for you. i taped strips of packing tape to my shirt & wrote "SHAYLA" in big block letters. i can't tell you how much it heartened me to have people along the course, all strangers, call out my name & cheer me on pretty much nonstop. i'm not doing it justice at all--it was the most amazing feeling, & i made sure to wave, smile, or call out "thank you!" to every single person who took the time to address me by name. 

...& speaking of cheering me on, look at these amazing friends of mine who came to say hi!!! I'm going to put so so many exclamation points here because i was so touched & happy to see every single one of them!!!!! meg, shauna, emily, lisa, kate, & marilee, who's not in this photo because she was the one taking it:

these pals were waiting for me as the runners came down fifth avenue--at about mile 20 or 21. i had already. been running. FOR TWENTY MILES. those friendly faces were exactly what i needed to see at that moment, because i had hit a wall at about mile 18 & was straight DYING. i had no idea how i was going to be able to run the next six miles, & while i still felt like i could dig up & use stores of energy within me, i knew it was going to be hard. marathons are hard, okay?? :):)

with the great difficulty level of marathons in mind, i was definitely a little loopy by the time i saw these people. i don't even really remember what i said, but shauna told me after i repeated, "this is so hard. this is so hard!" for a while. haha.

& here's a closer-up look at me in all my emotional craziness. ha! they also brought reinforcements, food-wise! a banana, water, smarties (which i DOWNED all in one gulp, i feel bad for whoever had to witness me turn into that new dinosaur from jurassic world who chomps up everything in its sight)

i love all these people. & as you can see, norah became a little overwhelmed by all the noise & commotion. there was a lot going on. sweet girl.

below is a snapchat i took of the LAST LITTLE BIT of the race. mile 26! it's hard for me to think back to the moment i took this photo. by mile 26, it was all mental. ALL MENTAL. just sheer willpower pushing me forward every step. i had just ran my way through central park, which is where i go almost every day for my runs & is incredibly familiar territory for me. but it didn't feel like my happy place like it usually does--i kinda just wanted to either die or just lie down, you know? :) at the same time, when i saw that sign saying "mile 26," & i knew i was so close, so close to being done, it was like...the promised land. manna from heaven! other than seeing my friends, & the several times i saw ben & norah along the course, it was the most welcome sight of the entire race.

after crossing the finish line, they make the runners walk for several blocks up through the park. someone was even sitting in a tennis judge-like chair telling us to KEEP WALKING DON'T STOP--i think it was to keep us from sitting down & passing out? or wandering off in our run-induced hazy state & getting lost? (which still happened, despite all their efforts? poor italian man) i literally DO not know how i'm managing a smile in these pictures:

so one of our little family's christmas traditions (along with seemingly every other family in america :)) is to buy an ornament for each family member every year that sort of represents a highlight of their year. i decided mine from this year is going to be my marathon precioussssssssss. especially since i had it engraved with my name & marathon time on it the day after the race. too often my race medals end up in a box on the shelf forever, so i says to myself, i says, why not turn it into an ornament for the christmas tree & behold its beauty year after year??!

snaps (actual snaps not snapchats, ha) to ben forever & ever for not only diligently schlepping around manhattan all day long, faithfully following my progress & cheering for me along the course with norah in tow, but for being the most crucial figure, other than my own two legs, in getting me through this race. for months we had to coordinate our schedules so that i could go for my runs (which took hours, there, during those last few months, yikes) while he'd watch norah. it was not easy. we're ALL glad this race is over--it was definitely a team effort.

marathon swag:

running a marathon is a lot like childbirth, & i know everyone says that but having done BOTH within less than a year of each other, i cannot emphasize enough how true it is. 

& i'm closing with this photo of norah because i love it, & i think it describes not only her personality but our family dynamic really well. "seek adventure." maybe she'll run a marathon (literal or metaphorical) of her own someday?? our adventurous, curious, nonstop girl:

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad you wrote this! I loved hearing your perspective of the events. You are amazing -- I have no idea how you accomplished a marathon less than a year after having a baby! What an unforgettable experience and superb accomplishment, congratulations again!!!



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