“There is no need to search; achievement leads to nowhere. It makes no difference at all, so just be happy now! Love is the only reality of the world, because it is all One, you see. And the only laws are paradox, humor and change. There is no problem, never was, and never will be. Release your struggle, let go of your mind, throw away your concerns, and relax into the world. No need to resist life, just do your best. Open your eyes and see that you are far more than you imagine. You are the world, you are the universe; you are yourself and everyone else, too! It’s all the marvelous Play of God. Wake up, regain your humor. Don’t worry, just be happy. You are already free!” ~Dan Millman
I don’t know where to begin, so perhaps I just need to start. This theme of not knowing but also moving forward became a thread that ran through my entire marathon journey, so it’s no surprise I find myself feeling the same way 4 Days Post Marathon. Don’t search. Just go!
This journey started with a simple yes! When a friend I’ve always admired asked me to join her at the New York City Marathon during her chemo treatment, I screamed yes. Would I fundraise too? Yes! Every time she asked, I said yes. It lead me here to this place of pure joy and satisfaction.
This weekend was magical. Every moment. Every detail. Every mile. It was all magic.
But how do you explain magic? You can’t. You have to see it and you have to believe in it. That is what this race has been for me. Seeing and believing in team, in community, in dreams, in friendship, in myself, in a cure, and in achieving. What started as a dream of a friend conquering cancer ended as a dream come true. She did it! We did it! I see and I believe!
The way the details unfolded can only be described as magical. My job at J&A Racing granted our team Race Director credentials. We were given VIP race bibs, VIP transportation, and access to the VIP pre and post race accommodations. Karen’s story of survival allowed our team to be invited to walk in the parade of nations. We shared dinner with our favorite Olympians, Ashton and Brianne Eaton. We were invited to run the first 10K of the race with the Eaton’s in the first wave of Runners.
When you defeat cancer you deserve every ounce of magic. Karen deserved every bit of happiness that was showered on her this weekend. As her supporter, I ran beside her in disbelief that this experience belonged to me too.
In all my weeks of training, I felt insecure. My running has slowed down. My team mates are fast. Every time I heard them say they wanted to run as a team, I secretly wished they’d run their own race. I didn’t want to hold them back. I didn’t want to be the weakest link.
They wouldn’t let me run alone. That wasn’t what this weekend was about. We are a team. We are friends. We are unit. We got to New York together, and they would not let my insecurities get the best of me. We were running together.
The race cannon went off. A few minutes later we were running across the Verrazano Bridge. It was magical. Our group of 20 Team In Training member were running with the Eaton’s. We ran together for the first 10K at a pace that was faster than I have run all season. I didn’t care. I felt alive. My pace dropped into the 9s. I felt alive. Karen, Steve and I kept glancing at each other. Our faces all said the same thing. This is really happening!
Go Team! Go Kristy! Go Karen! Go Steve!
We were flooded with cheers!
My race plan was simple. Run the first 10K with the Eaton’s. Cool down for 20 Miles. Have fun. Share the miles.
The first 10K flew by. We said goodbye to the Eaton’s. We didn’t slow down. The energy on the course was like nothing I’ve ever experienced. It propelled me forward.
We hit the half way mark. I couldn’t stop smiling.
Our friends were at mile 17. I couldn’t stop smiling.
There are very few times in my life that I’ve felt so alive.
Those fast early miles and my lack of training caught up to me around mile 18. I didn’t care. I didn’t want the race to ever end.
Running through The Bronx was the toughest spot for me. I was in a lot of pain, but for the first time ever I didn’t doubt myself. I knew it would be tough. I knew I would hurt. But I also knew I could do it.
There is no joy without pain.
For the last few miles I experienced both at a magnitude that can only be described as magical.
This journey was for Karen. Every mile, every dollar raised, but I was rewarded with a priceless gift. I was given magic.
I got to witness the magic of conquering cancer.
I got to witness the magic of team.
I was given the magic of friendship.
I gained the magic of belief. I saw my strengths. I saw my teams strengths. I saw our strengths magnify as we worked together.
This journey isn’t over. In my heart we haven’t crossed the finish line yet. We are just beginning. There is so much more magic waiting for us to see it. I don’t know where to begin. All I know is I’m getting started.