This Sunday (March 16th 2014) I ran the New York City Half Marathon. There were over 20,000 runners…yikes! I had never run in New York City before so I was pretty excited (and nervous!). This fall, I ran the Baltimore Marathon 50 minutes slower than my PR. To say that I was disappointed in myself is an understatement. There really was no excuse…I was healthy, I had time to train…I just didnt train well at all…mostly because I lost the desire to run. Anyway- since that day, I told myself that I was going to take a break from the marathon distance but that I needed to get my ass in gear and get back into shape. So I signed up for the NYC half marathon and started literally at square one again with running. I followed a mix between the conservative and moderate half marathon 10 week plans on the nyrr (new york road runners) website. I did not follow the plan to a “T” but I stuck to most of it….most importantly…I got my long runs in and got my speed training in. I also started lifting more (I was training to get my cert in Body Pump), exercising in general more, eating better, and within the last few weeks I started to implement Pilates into my workout regimen (more on that later…starting to do it to help with strengthening my core and flexibility in order to better my running). Going into training for this race, I had lost all confidence in myself…I just felt like I couldnt do it anymore…I didnt feel confident in my body, in my strength, in my running, in myself, etc…but I was determined to get back into gear and put my best foot forward for this half.
Before I get to the actual race recap…. I have to say that NYRR did an absolutely fantastic job putting this race together. I liked the presence of law enforcement, etc. at the race…it made me feel safe. They also only allowed you to check clear bags in at the start and they examined the bags before taking them from you. They made you go through metal detectors before racing and didnt let you into your corral/wave unless you had a bib that said that you belonged there. There were plenty of first aid stations and water/gatorade stations along the way and the actual route was great…we started in Central Park through some hills and then went to Times Square which was closed off (they only close it off for this race and NYE…so that was absolutely amazing/breathtaking/made you choke up a little…haha), and finished off the race by the Hudson. As soon you finished the race, you got your metal, a bag of goodies and immediately got your bag that you checked….literally had my bag in my hands within 3 minutes of crossing the finish line…. now thats good. haha
Going into this race I didnt know what pace I was capable of but in the back of my head I knew that I wanted to try to run sub 8 minute miles. Usually in races I tend to go out way too fast and then slow down tremendously towards the middle/end of the race. This time around, I was able to hold a semi steady pace for the entire race. I was tempted to go faster at times….especially when people pass you, when you hear a song that just pumps you up, when you see people cheering you on, etc. but I tried to block everything and everyone out of my mind and focus on the task at hand. I pushed myself to a pace where I felt completely out of my comfort zone but at a pace where I felt solid and strong and where I knew that I could hold it for 13.1 miles. I ended up finding a guy in a neon yellow Chicago Marathon Jacket that I paced off of for the majority of the race…at times we were running side by side, other times I pushed ahead and other times he pushed ahead. I ended up running a little ahead of him for the last couple of miles of the race but he really pushed me to keep my pace for the whole race…I wish I saw him at the finish line to thank him for not letting me slow down (I think we both were silently pacing off of each other haha).
I usually have one of my sisters next to me to push me through but this time I was all alone and it was up to myself to get it done. I started getting tired at the half-way mark…mentally and physically…I just wasnt confident in myself that I was going to be able to keep it up for 6.5 more miles. and this is going to sound corny…so I am warning you before I start saying this…but I started talking to myself in my head. I have ALWAYS been self conscious about my legs…I call them my soccer legs. I put on muscle very easily and my legs have always been “thick” as I call them. I always envy those girls with the long lean dancer/pilates/yoga legs. It’s funny because my boyfriend always tells me that my legs are his favorite part about me (well besides other things that boys like haha). and here I am self conscious about my legs/body. Additionally, I have recently gained weight and that is another factor that goes into my self-consciousness. It’s a constant battle for me to feel comfortable/confident in my body. I know its not a good way to think/view yourself but I’m being honest here with myself for a moment and letting you in on my insecurities. Anyway- so when I started getting tired and doubting if I was going to be able to do it…I started to think about all of this stuff. and I looked down at my legs (literally, I did this haha) and I thought damn, Tina…you are STRONG. your legs ARE big and that is awesome. they are all muscle. How blessed are you to have the ability to physically use your legs to run and not only that…but you are so solid and so strong and are killing this right now. Why are you self conscious about a stupid weight gain, some muscular legs, etc….you are strong and fast and are doing amazing right now. Love your damn legs, lady! Love your muscles. Love the fact that you got your ass from square one after the Baltimore Marathon…to this. You worked hard. And got muscular and got faster and healthier. Anyway- that’s really the only motivation I needed to convince myself that yes, you are good enough. And then I saw my sister, Danielle, and her friend Jason on the sidelines cheering me on at mile 9(ish) and that pumped me up even more. I was so close to that finish line- 4 miles to go and was NOT going to let myself slow down even for a second. And I didnt. I am so proud of myself…not only for the physical accomplishment of my time and getting back in shape but for having that ah ha moment on the course where I dismissed all my insecurities and got over them. The end. End of corniness.
and when I was coming through the finish the announcer said “and here comes Christina Ponzio…now that is a PONZI scheme if I ever saw one…” …. haha. made me laugh a little.
What would a post be without a picture of Riley?