- Don't walk around the city too much. You'll leave your best miles while sight seeing.
- Be careful with food and drink. It's easy to get distracted with the city lights and sights.
- Stick with the plan you made before the race. Don't let race day emotions get the best of you. Stick to the plan.
- Run the mile you are in. Don't get ahead of yourself. Don't think about the past. Just run one mile at a time.
Well. I botched all of that.
I didn't know it at the time.
I thought I was being careful. But in retrospect, I walked WAY too many miles in the city. I drank hardly any water (compared to at home). On race day, I threw away my water bottle at the start. I planned to carry water with me for the first 10 miles because I didn't want to fool with the water stations. But I got jumpy and tossed it. The last bit of advice I had to follow: run the mile you are in. Only during the last 6 miles of the race. Because I had no choice.
When you know you hate water stations and you don't really sweat in general, it's a bad idea to throw away a water bottle. And a really bad idea to not drink anything for the first eight miles of a 26 mile race. That's what I did. I was so focused and so happy to be running, I just RAN! And didn't drink anything.
|NYPD Police Helicopter just being bad a** and doing its thing. I had to stop and take a picture.|
I saw Matt, my sister and brother and the kids at mile 8 and was thrilled. The crowds were amazing! It was incredible. I was booking and feeling good! I left them and kept trucking and took a gu. It hit my stomach like a ton of bricks. I realized then I might be a in a little bit of trouble. I started looking for water stations and for people handing out bananas. My calf started cramping a little. Not a big deal. But worrisome.
I kept on going, started hitting the water stations and taking on gatorade.
We went through some awesome neighborhoods in Brooklyn, then hit Queens. Went across the bridge into Manhattan which I was so looking forward to. Mile 16. It was supposed to be the highlight of the race. Literally your "fastest mile".
I was crashing. I was looking for my crew of supporters and only saw them after I passed by. I was so sad. I saw the Inheritance of Hope cheer crew on the other side of the street and couldn't get over.
Any juice I had in me was gone.
I took on another gu and my stomach started cramping.
I made it two more miles to 18 and couldn't go anymore. My legs and lungs were fine. But I was bent over with back spasms. This has never happened before!
I walked for a minute or two and then people started yelling at me. "Leslie-let's go!" "Run for HOPE Leslie!"
|Yep. They got a picture of me suffering. And that guy NOT suffering.|
I picked myself up and kept going. But slowly. Everytime I came through a water station, it killed my momentum and I had to stop. Stretch out my back and take a minute. Then classic New Yorkers would start yelling at me again. I ripped off the pace wristband I was wearing to encourage me to finish in 3:40. That was long gone.
So I got going.
But then I hit Central Park. Mile 24.
I really thought I couldn't go anymore. I stopped. One girl running actually hit me on the back and yelled at me "You're a charity runner?! Get going!" I mean-New Yorkers are no joke on how hard they are on you.
Right after that, a kind man looked at me and said, "It's okay Leslie, walk up this hill. Who cares? You're going to finish."
That's when I started running again. I ran past a women who literally was passed out on the course and I thought, "That seems like a solid option right now." Sleeping instead of running with pile of bricks in my stomach.
I ran through the Mile 25 marker and saw my crew again and just stopped. Told them I was going to die. They told me that was ok. Then told me to go finish. One woman next to them remarked how I wasn't even sweating! This is a clue that something is very wrong with you.
I picked it up and just ran without thinking or even looking around. I just wanted to be done.
All of the sudden around Columbus Circle the magical signs started showing up 1/2 mile to finish, 400 yards to finish, 200 yards and everything was splayed in blue and orange and people were all running to the finish and I thought to myself, "What if this is what going to heaven is going to be like?"
|Kinda awesome with the motorcycle cops behind me.|
And it hit me:
You don't get a say in how your final days are going end.
My friend Amy didn't get to determine her end. Neither did our friend Jay Whitaker who died last weekend. This race brought me so close to understanding that it doesn't matter what those days look like. I was so disappointed to not end the race in triumph and joy and with ease like I had planned and hoped for. How much is that like Amy and Jay?
As I was rounding the turn, the Rolling Stones song "You Can't Always Get What You Want" was playing. Which has been my theme for this whole race. And it has never been more true. But I got just what I needed to finish.
With Jesus we all get to finish. We all get the medal. But we don't get to say how it goes.
That's the race.
Of course, when I get to heaven, I hope I don't throw up endlessly once I cross the line in a fit of dehydration.
|This was after I threw up a few times. I felt a lot better. Then I felt a lot worse. Then better after I threw up some more. Awesome. Finisher. 4:17:18. 30 minutes after I wanted.|