by Christine Myers
Often the best things in life are those that are not foreseeable. If you told me two weeks ago that I would have run the Hartford Marathon instead of the Hudson Mohawk Marathon, I would not have believed you. If you told me that I would have won the Hartford Marathon, I would have thrown my head back and snorted from laughing so hard at such a hypothetical.
After much thoughtful consideration, I decided three days before marathon weekend to change races. I opted to leave the familiar, friendly bike path in Albany and packed my bags for the intimidating city streets of Hartford. The night before the race, I walked the barricaded streets with my coach, Mathew Nark. I stood beneath the bridge that loomed over the finish chute, which was littered with colorful artwork and flowerpots. My body was covered in goosebumps, and I remember thinking to myself: This is huge. I have never run a race this big before. There are so many talented women here, I am going to get my rear end royally handed to me on a silver platter. The anxiety was real. The fear was real. The self-doubt was real. What was I doing, abandoning the race I had dedicated the last five months of my life training for, with just a few days’ notice?
During the race, it took me fourteen miles to close the 400 plus meter gap between first place and myself. In fact, upon catching female number one, I did not pass her right away. I sat on her shoulder for approximately a mile to read the situation: Was she slowing down? Was she maintaining? Did I have it in me to make a move at that point? (It is always better to be the hunter, as opposed to the hunted). Once I propelled forward, I knew there was no going back.
Winning races still feels abnormal for me. The former teenager within me who aspired to be in the front of the pack is still very much alive. She is the underdog; all she knows is defying the odds in the face of adversity. Winning is not a term she is acquainted with at heart.
Although I have pushed myself to the point where my once-elite idols have become my relevant competition, it does not mean I am content. To place myself on the pedestal of being “elite” signifies the notion that I am complacent, which could not be further from the truth.
The truth is there will always be someone working harder than me, and it’s that person who I must catch next. In running, there is no settling, only temporary highs and temporary lows. Whether your fall marathon resulted in a huge personal best or a DNF, it’s all temporary. Onward and upward.
2021 Race Results – estimated 7,000 ran the race