You may or may not know that I accidentally signed myself up for the NYC marathon this fall. I put my name in the lottery without even telling Jay, thinking it would be pretty funny if I got in and surprised him later on. Well I did get in, and we were both surprised. After recovering from the initial shock, I got pretty excited about a) running such an epic race, and b) running it for a cause. It took 0.03 seconds to think of a cause–colon cancer–the disease that killed one of my dearest friends in March. I’ve already raised almost $2k of my $5k goal for the “Get Your Rear In Gear” organization, honoring my friend Aimee and her family that I love so. More on that here.
It just so happens that Get Your Rear In Gear had a 4-mile race in Prospect Park this weekend. A few weeks back we hatched a plan with our friends/teammates Josh and Tanya to run said race in our underwear. In other cities there are races where all participants run in their underwear to raise awareness of colon cancer and to promote the more open communication about… poop. Colon cancer is finding younger victims all the time. Since screening doesn’t usually take place until age 50, everyone needs to talk to the doctors about their bowels early and often.
And so we ran in colorful men’s briefs. It took more courage than I anticipated, but no one even flinched at our get-up. It is Brooklyn after all.
My goal pace for this race was 8:10-8:15. Jay, Josh and Tanya all ran with me despite their far superior speed abilities. Considering Jay’s IT band injury, I was grateful he could run at all. They let me set the pace and I went out too fast. Josh told me I was running 7:34 so we dialed it back. The second mile was the hardest with a big hill in the middle. Maybe the hill wasn’t too big, but it felt big after training on the flats of the West Side Highway. At the end of mile three, I was pretty much spent. Jay said, “One more mile. The purpose of this workout is to have nothing left when you cross the finish.” I told him I already had nothing left. He responded, “Make this last mile 8:05 or faster.” When I told him that wouldn’t be happening, he said I had to believe I could do it, at which point I said, “I love you, but I need you to shut up.” He did shut up, but he also 2-stepped me the rest of the way, resulting in a 7:48 last mile. I finished the race in 32:11 averaging 8:03 pace. My comrades’ efforts had carried me farther than I thought I could go. We were all pretty pumped.
There were several cool things about this race. 1) It’s great to know that my training (and Jay’s coaching) is paying off. I want to be in shape enough for the marathon to enjoy it. 2) To see so many people passionate about ending colon cancer was truly awesome. I had to fight back tears as one woman shared her story about losing her sister at age 33. Several times in the race when Tanya could tell I was losing steam, she’d say, “Remember your friend Aimee.” Jay and I both wore “Running in memory of Aimee” bibs on our backs. I miss her. 3) At some point during all of this I turned to Jay and said, “We have arrived.” To have friends in NYC who are willing to run in underwear and support me in this cause is a BIG deal to us both.
While we were quick to change out of our runderwear after the race, we did decide to hang on to our bright briefs just in case. You never know when you might need to run in skivvies. We’ll be ready.