Today thousands of runners took to the streets of New York City to run the greatest marathon of them all–The New York City Marathon. I was honored to run it in 2011 for Team Healthier Generation, through the Clinton Foundation, to raise funds to end child obesity in America and to check “completing a marathon” off my personal bucket list.
As I reminisced about my 26.2 mile journey through the five boroughs of New York City today, I realized the lessons I learned during that 5 hours (30 minutes slower than my goal…sigh) are still important and propelling me forward today.
I remember getting hurt in mile 8. Mile 8….ugh. It was the slightest of pain in the beginning, but it only got worse as the miles crept upward. I kept going.
I remember the stench of sweaty runners and the way I could feel the slightest of sway beneath my feet while on the Queensboro Bridge. Fifteen miles in, it was the loneliest section of the marathon for me and it was on this bridge that I wanted to quit. I kept going.
I remember seeing my mom holding a sign that said “Run Amber Run” in a crowd of people along 1st Ave. Just the sight of her gave me the boost of energy I needed. She hugged me and told me not to stop. I kept going.
I remember seeing my friend Caron along the course and the aide she gave me. It was mile 19/20 and I was hurting and she knew it. I kept going.
I remember finding an aide station at mile 21 and how they advised me to stop because I was in such visible pain. I kept going.
And I remember crossing the finish line. It wasn’t nearly as dramatic as I had pictured it to be. I simply looked toward the sky and said thank you. If not for my faith, I couldn’t have kept going.
I find myself now in a marathon type situation on an issue at work. It’s something I care about deeply that will likely take the same kind of discipline to complete and conquer as the NYC marathon itself.
There will be bumps in the road, like mile 8.
It will probably stink at times and the ground will be unsteady and it will feel lonely like mile 15.
When I see my mom, she will tell me not to stop and her words will fuel me, like mile 18.
People will tell me to stop like mile 21. And I won’t.