Running a Marathon, Literally

November 6th is NY Marathon day.

It is one of the best days of the year in New York City. The day, regardless that it is freezing, is full of warmth, not just from the runners, but from the amazing amount of people lining the streets cheering the runners on.

The past four years, I’ve stood in various spots along the course cheering for friends. The past two years, I’ve gone to my favorite coffee shop in Brooklyn, Root Hill Cafe, to grab coffee, a bagel and stand in front cheering friends.  I’ve since learned that if I’m going to be freezing, I can at the very least be at one of my favorite places (plus they have a bathroom!), drinking warm stuff .

This year is a bit different.

This year, I AM RUNNING THE 2011 NYC Marathon!

Can you tell I’m excited?

I am.

But I’ve been unmotivated.

The past two months has seen me in such a funk that I have felt trapped. It didn’t help that my schedule this summer got out-of-control busy. Between late Friday nights working Celebrate Brooklyn, to taking little bro on the college campus road trip and then my mini-vacation to the beach, I have not been running like the marathoner, who has 6.5 weeks until the actual race.

That’s right, I only have 6.5  weeks until the actual race. That’s not true, I have a bit more, but we will be tapering for a week to two before and that means I will not be catching up on 18 mile runs.

I should also mention that I have Crafts in Chelsea on October 15th, which means I have another day that I’m not running with the team (Team in Training). However, I will make up the run Sunday.

The reason I’m sharing this marathon with you is because it’s a HUGE part of my life. It’s a huge part of who I am and how S2 Stationery and Design came to be. It is also a huge part of how I participate in volunteerism and do my best to make a positive impact in the world.

Last night, I attended my first Tuesday practice in a few weeks. I have no good excuse for why I haven’t gone the last two or three weeks, but I can tell you that last night was horrible weather wise- the rain never stopped and only got stronger and harder as I completed my two lower loops around Central Park. My run wasn’t that great either, but I have never felt better while out on the road. I believe I even cried a bit as the rain fell on my face.

My history with running marathons should be telling about me which is the other reason why I’m writing this posting today. In 2005, I was involved with a guy who would spend the following year running a marathon every weekend of the year. We won’t talk much about him because he isn’t that important to my story, but he was one of the reasons why I picked up some shoes and decided to give marathon running a try.

Growing up, I was not an athletic child. Yes, I played field hockey, but I did it because I thought it was “cool”. I also wanted to do something that would help me move away from the chubby girl I was.  When it came to gym, I was always the last to be picked and the worst at every sport-volleyball maybe being my worst sport of all.  I hated the mile-run test that we had to do- ugh, let me not get started on how my PE teacher, Peggy McCandless, would yell at me!

Which is why it surprised many when I decided that I would run the Anchorage, Alaska Marathon in June of 2006.  It is important that you know that even before I made this decision, I had purchased a pair of New Balance running shoes at a Nordstrom Rack to “start” my own running program. This program was simple-I wanted to teach myself to run longer than two blocks without stopping. Then one day after returning home from a run in my neighborhood, I found a Team in Training flyer in my mailbox. I attended an info session and signed up even with the $4500 fundraising amount. I was terrified and yet, I knew I could do this.

It is now 2011 and I don’t think I’ve quite perfected my long-distance running, but I’ve come a heck of a long way and I’ve completed three marathons-Anchorage, Alaska, Rome, Italy and Paris, France.

I’ve trained for all three with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training program and I’ve raised $17,000+ for live saving cancer treatment and research. I have also made countless friends, many who continue to run and who I stay in touch with as life continues.

While each marathon and each training experience has been different, I have never felt what I have felt the last two months. I have never skipped out on a run or practice, unless I was deathly ill, or on travel. Even then, I’d run on my own, or make up the time. Last year, I ran the day after getting food poisoning! I was dehydrated and needed extra sleep after, but I went.

Which is why yesterday, I decided that it was time to MAN UP. It was time to lace up my shoes and get to practice even if it was cold and raining. That’s exactly what I did- I fought my feelings of nausea and not wanting to go and did my best to finish the course. I am so glad I did!

During the course, I noticed a few things about my technique to running – I lack patience. Duh!  There were moments where I went really hard and fast on the course and just as those, I had moments where I’d have to scale back and slow down to catch my breath.  In those moments, I’d get mad. Mad that I can’t run as fast as I want to.  Yet, I’d remember that getting to that pace requires practice and determination. Nothing less than what I am putting into having a stationery company, or learning something new, like a new dance or sport.  Even though I logically understood this, I still had moments where I just wanted to be done with running, leave the park and not return. Yet, I did not. I ran to the end and then I talked to my coaches and felt better about my training, or lack thereof, this season.

The reason I did not stop was because of the small pebble in my mind that kept saying, “no matter what, you can not stop”. Because I’m committed. Because I don’t stop or give up on things just because they’re too hard, or I’m tired, or any other excuse you can insert here.

I have been feeling this way about life and where I am in my life in general. It’s part of the reason why on Labor Day, I finally cleaned and organized my room. I MANNED UP!

It takes a strong person to decide to learn or do something new. It takes a strong person to face their fears and follow a different path. It takes a strong person to face their failures and keep pushing. These are all things that stop us, that limit us from shining or moving forward.

As I felt the cold rain hit my face and soak through my clothes, I also realized that my fear is not that I’ll fail at running, but that I’ll be an amazing runner. While I know I can’t stop, I know that I can take walk breaks – a mechanism that is helping stop me from being an amazing runner. Why?! I’m working on figuring that out and when I do, I’ll let you know.

I’m also trying to see where in my “work” life I do the same thing-look at facebook instead of completing an order, respond to email instead of organizing my papers.  Not only can I crack into my reasons, I can crack into my solutions. I don’t promise to change completely, but I do know that the minute it makes sense, the reaction will result in changes here and there.

Running is clearly not something new for me, but I’m learning a new approach/technique to run this particular marathon and I am excited, even if it is a bit delayed. I’m also excited to see how it will shape the remaining months of 2011 and future for myself and S2 Stationery and Design.

If you’d like to donate to the cause you can view my donation page. If you’d like to sign up for Team in Training on your own, I completely encourage you to do so. They offer an amazing program and you’ll meet some incredible people.  If you’re in NYC, I highly recommend you go out on November 6th and cheer those crazy runners (like me!) on. You’ll be greatly appreciated.

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s2 stationery & designs

A rule-breaking designer, artist & entrepreneur who's passionate about paper and handcrafting stationery. I also write, travel, and focus on eco + social good.

2 thoughts on “Running a Marathon, Literally”

  1. Hooray and good luck! With hugs from me, a fellow creative soul and lover of Team in Training (I’ll be getting certified as a cycling coach in Tucson in November!)!!!

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