A Kennedy Moment

In the first of a new, sporadically occurring series, I open my blog to a special guest writer. Yesterday, New York based architect Nicholas Kennedy completed the New York Half Marathon. This is his account of the experience.

All I could think about as I reached the six mile marker was how right my girlfriend had been. When I told her twenty-four hours earlier that I'd be taking my injured brother's place in the NYC Half Marathon she had called me “completely stupid”, possessed of an “ego like no other”. Apparently I wasn't fit enough. I had laughed at her then and said I'd be fine. Now I wasn't.

I could already feel that blisters had formed and there was a sharp pain in my right calf. If I'd been out running by myself I would have stopped by now but that is the beauty of an organized run like this one, you don't stop no matter how much pain you are in. I was probably paying the price for going off too hard in Central Park. I wasn't really expecting the hills between the three and five mile markers and now I was being passed at an alarming rate. It really wasn't good for my ego. I was going to come last!!

Suddenly I heard “Come on Nick!!” from my right. I looked over and saw Amber, Mike, Nicole, Scott and Jimmy cheering me on. Amber looked a bit worried but that’s probably because she knew she was going to have to look after me for the forty hours when I wasn't going to be able to move. Mike and Scott were laughing which was a bit harsh - they told me later that my shorts had ridden up - but it gave me my second wind and I managed to cover the next couple of miles with relative ease. The adrenaline had kicked in.

When I reached ten miles though, I was just about gone. Every step was pure agony; my legs were seizing up and the sharp pain that was in my calf now appeared to be all over. It's amazing what a difference a year makes. Last year I did the same event – having trained – and had a pain free event. Training really is key, it seems.

I had to hand it to those people in fancy dress, it wasn't the hottest day of the year but running a half marathon as Santa Claus can't be easy. That is how much I was struggling. I'd just been overtaken by a Santa Claus.

We hit the banks of the Hudson and I knew I was within a few miles of the finish. I managed to pick up my pace a bit and put Santa back in his rightful place - behind me. I was not going to be losing to him.

As the crowds got bigger I knew the finish was in sight. Did I have enough to sprint the last mile? Not quite. I did sprint the last 100m though, and when you have a few thousand people cheering you on it's a great feeling, no matter if you come first or ten thousandth.

I couldn't quite believe my time when I finished. 1:48:07, only seven minutes slower than my last effort. It had felt a lot slower than that on the way round but I guess that’s what it feels like when people pass you.

Having slowed to a walk after crossing the line my legs felt as if they were in traction. They couldn't quite understand why I was no longer running. My feet were trying to pop out of my trainers. No doubt they had swollen up during the race. As much as I wanted to take them off, I couldn't. I had to get back to Brooklyn and I wasn't doing it barefoot.

About twenty minutes after I had finished, my sister and girlfriend found me hobbling about. Nicole was proud of me, Amber was not impressed. She was not going to be looking after me. My ego could do that apparently.

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Marc said...

It feels rather strange commenting on my own blog using the comments section, a bit like being shut out of my own house.

I just wanted to say well done Nick. You may have been beaten by a girl, but you did manage to write a warm and engaging account of your experience. You also saved me from having to run the New York Half Marathon in order to blog about it, thanks.

Jonathan said...

That picture is haunting me. Wherever I go I see it. Grinning at me.

Nice idea Marc. I am a fan of the sporadically occurring series. And well done Nick. Amazing what happens when you use a bit of punctuation isn't it?

Aspasia said...

Congratulations Nick. This is no small feat and you should be proud of yourself. I run for 5 minutes on a treadmill at home and I think that if I run one more minute I will die. 1:48:07!!! Unbelievable!! Way to go!

Marc when you run the New York Half Marathon, I will blog about it.

Marc said...

Aspa, if I run a half marathon you will have to blog about it on my behalf.