Why Here? Why Now?

Simply put, this seems like a fun, creative way to express myself. And at 16 weeks to go until the TCS NYC Marathon, my 5th marathon, what better time to start than now?

It is also a motivator to push me to dig deeper into my training and fitness, which is quite scary to do on a public level. My first marathon – Philadelphia in 2012 – was my fastest – 3:44:27. Since then I’ve run the NYC Marathon in 2013 (3:46:12), 2014 (3:56:56), and 2016 (3:47:28). I’ve run consistently, but in a downward trend (2014 was an outlier as I could barely touch my toes stretching all year), and it’s time for that to change. Now you know my goal. And so that means I have to work harder. Or, maybe this blog will never pick up traction, no one will hold me accountable, and I can continue on my slow decline. But hey- let’s just go ahead and give this thing a try.

How’d I get into running anyhow?

This man:
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I wasn’t even school aged when he had me lacing up my Velcro running sneakers on our way to Flushing Meadow Park where a lovely foreign couple incentivized running by giving out prizes to children who ran just 50 meters.

At 5 years old, I won my first race (even beating the boys!), the Pee Wee Run at the Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point:
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I continued to excel, doing hurdles with City Sports for Kids on the weekends and P.A.L. Track on weeknights. But it got to be too much for me and at age 7, I retired.

Years passed. Many weekends were spent at races as my father and brother continued on with their passion. I hung with my other brother as he collected cans for entertainment. And then, something shifted. At 14, as I was gearing up for freshman year of high school, my friend and I got the crazy idea to start running… 5 miles… at midnight. This led me to being a three season athlete and eventual captain of my school’s cross country, winter track, and spring track teams.

Here I am living out my high school glory days with my power quads:
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After a lackluster winter track season with no improvements and a brief bout with mono, I became stronger than ever and peaked in the 1500m race at age 16 with a time of 5:06. But then my coach unexpectedly left, and my steam started to run out. I continued to run, but I was never again that fast.

Into college and after, I maintained my leisurely love of running – doing it when I wanted, for as long as I wanted. These were the days before GPS watches, where I’d run freely with no real certainty of the distance and [wrongly] estimating my pace to be 10 minute miles.

In 2012, I decided to get serious again. I was wrapping up graduate school after taking night classes for three years while working full time, and the relationship with my live-in boyfriend was going downhill fast. Running was just what I needed. That was the year I signed up nervously for a 6 mile race, until my friend convinced us both to sign up for a half marathon (!), and ultimately to enter the lottery for the NYC Marathon – which I got in (!!). Of course Hurricane Sandy happened, but we’ll leave that story for another time. Anyway, that is how my running renaissance began, and here I am 5 years later, ready to share it all with you.

Xx
Monica

 

11 thoughts on “Why Here? Why Now?

  1. Running isn’t about being the fastest. It’s all about challenging yourself to overcome fears. It’s about finding an inner strength you never thought you had, or that was hidden by other things known as life. Your journey has helped illuminate that for me. Every one of our high school teamates who challenged herself proved this as truth for me. Every obstacle I’ve been faced with (and to label those as a few would be a monumental understatement), I’ve been able to relate my development as a runner to because of my experiences with my fellow runners. May this “running renaissance” (a lovely term, Mon) be a renaissance for so much more in your life. I hope you use this experience not only to cultivate a passion, but to acknowledge all your strengths of character. We want to be good at our passions, but our passions must always bring us joy and meaning. Good luck, my friend. Hopefully I’ll get a glimpse of you on November 5th,

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  2. Love you Monica! Continue to run strong! Super brave to put your journey public. Most people are afraid to show their failures, hardships, journey and only post when they succeed. I am rooting for you! If you need any help you know I am here for you as a friend and teammate!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Too bad you aren’t here anymore to directly train me– I’ll need to start referring to the videos we made together to keep on with my strengthening. Hope you’re loving your new life abroad!

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  3. Iris told me of your blog so I just read it. First, the Sunday races at Flushing Meadow Park were sponsored by Sri Chimnoy and were 200 meters for 4-6 year olds and 400 meters for 6-8 (or was it 400 and 800 meters), so you ran at least 200 for your prize not a mere 50 meters. Also, I think the woman was Polish and the man, American, and they were not a couple but both Chimnoy adherents. When you were in elementary school, you like to write stories but then in high school you stopped. I am glad you returned to writing just as you have returned to running.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Google Sri Chimnoy. He was an Indian guru who was a proponent of long distance running and was based in Queens when we lived in NHP. He died 10 years ago. He sponsored many ultra marathons where one could die of dizziness because there were so many repeats of small loops. He was a remarkable man who inspired lots of followers including the ones who made your Sunday runs palatable by giving you fun trinkets. They were the start of your NYC Marathon odyssey.

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