One from the bucket list
For many years my running was essentially a solitary act. I used to and still train with friends or sometimes run with a group, but once you have crossed that starting line you’re pretty much alone for the 42,195 metres of a marathon – apart from that voice in your head. That feeling changed a few years ago when I started running regularly with Ben, and this became even more obvious during our New York City Marathon in November 2013. This race had been on our wish list for a couple of years and was one of those special experiences in our lives.
Running with Ben not only kept me fit but added a challenge to my regular training. No longer would I jog along by myself listening to Queen, Steppenwolf or The Doors on my iPod, I had to start paying real good attention of where I actually went and point out every little cranny or uneven surface to Ben.
The first roadblock to get to NY certainly was Ben’s ‘fighting’ weight, and before we could even start thinking of 5th Avenue and Central Park, he had to take control of his nutrition and address his eating habits. My piece of help was buying Ben a talking scale, and combined with some serious pet-talks and regular encouragement, slowly but steadily he started to shed those kilos.
I am proud that Ben has shown real responsibility and kept his end of the bargain – five months of hard work had paid off and on the day of our departure Ben stood proud on that scale waiting for that voice to tell him that, for the first time in decades, his weight had dropped below 100kg and as a result he had lost more then 12% of his body weight. He certainly was ready for the Big Apple now!
After a long and frustrating flight for those sitting next to a screaming child (Ben), and a more relaxing one for others who enjoyed the upgraded Virgin Australia option (me), we arrived in an unusually warm New York with 21 degrees at 10pm.
On our first day we visited the marathon expo to collect bib #18878 and to receive some basic instructions for Sunday morning. Achilles International were hosting an event for over 300 disabled athletes participating in the marathon and they did the most amazing and wonderful job. In the afternoon Ben and I took a guided bus tour along the race route – this was quite an exciting and special sightseeing tour and certainly got us even more pumped about race. Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, Manhattan… names of boroughs we only knew from movies and books… finally we walked those streets and breathed that air.
Seeing those streets for the first time allowed us to talk about race strategy, fueling techniques and unique challenges along the route, and I was very confident that the flat and especially straight course will allow us to run a fast race.