Today our Guest Blogger is Anne Delcastillo, Director of Development for the 14th Street Y. Besides being on staff, Anne is a 14th Street Y parent and an avid fitness fan. Autumn is such a great time to get inspired by Marathon runners! Read about Anne’s experience running the 38th Annual Marine Corps Marathon last weekend, and inspire yourself to go an extra mile!
This past Sunday, I ran the 38th Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, DC. It’s the second marathon I’ve ever run; the first was the New York City Marathon, which I ran the year I turned 40.
I am not your average athlete. In fact, I was never an athlete. I was usually the kid that got picked last for things like dodge ball.
I came to running because I knew I needed to do something to stay fit. My mother is a two-time cancer survivor. Heart disease and diabetes also run in the family; exercise traditionally has not.
I had been doing yoga for years, but needed some form of cardio. I could never get into aerobics workouts, and I found fitness machines intimidating. I did boxing for a while, which I really enjoyed, but the gym schedule didn’t always line up with mine.
I eventually found that running was the one thing I could do on my own time. I hated it at first. But once I got past the first mile, something shifted. I liked the freedom of heading outdoors and finding my zone. (I am not a treadmill runner.) It became meditative: running through the streets of New York City—without headphones—taking in the rhythms of the different neighborhoods in the early morning hours.
The leap from runner to marathoner was prompted by a “bucket list” deal with myself. After watching the NYC Marathon one year, I was determined to run it. My goal was just to finish. And I did in 5:17:20. It was exhilarating–the route through all five boros, the music, the crowds. The whole experience left me wanting more. A couple of friends suggested we run the Marine Corps Marathon together. But when it came time to register, I got in and they didn’t.
I arrived in DC determined to beat my NY time. I wanted to finish in under five hours. And I did, but something got lost along the way. I had been so fixated on time, running about a 10-minute-mile for the first 18 miles, that I hadn’t taken in much of the course. When I hit “the wall” at mile 20. I was forced to slow down. Rather than focusing on time, I could finally take in the crowds and changing the landscape, the clear blue skies overhead, the sound of my breath. I came in at 4:52:55.
In the end, I was reminded that, for me, running really is a metaphor for life. If I have a bad run, it’s usually because I didn’t get enough sleep or didn’t eat well or tried to push through an injury. On a good run, my mind is clear, my heart is open, and the road leads to new discoveries.
This weekend, I’ll be out at the NYC Marathon cheering the last runners in the race. Hope to see you there!
Need more inspiration for your workouts? Try any of our NEW fitness classes, which can be found here.