NYC Marathon: Just One Goal

If you’ve been following along this year, you know that this training cycle has been different.  I haven’t been spending time breaking down each workout, or the ins and outs of my training…because that hasn’t been my focus.  Instead, my focus has been on raising as much money as possible for cancer research.  I’m happy to say I’ve raised over $16k as part of my training this year with Fred’s Team!

As such, it should come as no surprise that my approach to this race will be different.  I’ve gone through so many different emotions and thoughts as to what my “goals” were for this race.  Ultimately, it boils down to one goal: give my very best effort, soaking up the entire experience along the way.

I originally told my coach I wanted to run my second fastest marathon, but didn’t want to go for a PR because I “didn’t want to be disappointed”.  I marinated on that and realized that was silly.  If the conditions were right for a PR, why wouldn’t I go for it? Why wouldn’t I give my best effort, and really stretch myself to see what I could do? I’m running for those who can’t; now is not the time to live in fear, it’s the time to throw my entire self at the race give it everything I’ve got.  I will not be disappointed if I don’t run a personal best; I will be disappointed if I didn’t try to run my best race for that day.

The ONE goal @jessrunsatl has for the #TCSNYCmarathon: Click To Tweet

Is a PR possible? Maybe.  This has been a special (and strange) training cycle.  My mileage has been low, but the quality of my miles has been good.  I’ve been nailing my workouts, and my long runs have gone well.  And something really special has been happening over the last few weeks as my fundraising continued to grow.  We all know anything is possible on race day! But I am not going in with any time goals.  I truly want to just run a very strong, give-it-all-I’ve-got race, no matter what race day throws at me.  And I want to experience it in a fully present state – the highs and the lows – embracing both the lows of the pain and the highs crowds.  If I do that, I will consider this race a success!

In my uniform for Fred’s Team!

I’ll be pacing the race mostly by feel, but I have a general strategy based on the course.  I’m a little nervous about the later start (my wave begins at 11am), but besides that I don’t have a lot of concerns.  I’m very calm about the race itself, and I’m really looking forward to celebrating this incredible year.  I will NOT be wearing headphones or listening to music for the marathon (a first for me!).

I began this journey as two people who reported up on my team were impacted by cancer.  One was fighting it themselves and has since been declared cancer free, though is still dealing with a lot of residual issues.  The other had their significant other, who I will call “D” (to protect employee privacy), diagnosed with an advanced stage of cancer.  I remember the week before D got the diagnosis so clearly, because the employee, another employee, and I were on a business trip.  I have this image in my mind of the three of us in the car singing along to Mariah Carey, no idea what was about to happen.  It’s really struck me how quickly life can change, and how short it really is.  How we need to live with every ounce of our being, every single day.  I started the journey to raise money with just a couple of people in mind, and the stories I have heard along the way have just reaffirmed this lesson.
I thought of this employee, D, and their family constantly this year, every day…on every run.  Things are not going well for D, and hospice is in the picture in the near future.  There is nothing I can do to fix this, and I hate that.  I’d run a million miles if it meant that things would be better.  But instead, I’m going to run my race with my whole being, my whole heart, and really soak up every ounce of the race, in honor of D.  I am dedicating each mile of my race to someone who has been impacted by cancer, and mile 26 is for them. I will be posting the balance of the miles I am dedicating on Saturday night, so please check back for that!
Cancer is a horrible, awful disease and one that is far reaching.  This year has brought us closer to a cure, and I’m looking forward to celebrating with a weekend running one of the most famous races in the world!
If you want to track me on race day, my bib is 55189 and I will be starting the race around 11am Eastern.  Please also consider donating to my fundraising to help get me to $17k by race day!




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