Almost a week separated from crossing the finish line and I’m still wrapping my head around the fact that I ran 26.2 miles through my favorite city in the world only to learn that it’s an even better place than I originally thought.
And trust me; I was already head-over-heels in love.
Back in August my friend Kerry presented me with an opportunity I couldn’t refuse: a chance to run in the TCS New York City Marathon without having to qualify, win a lottery or raise any money. I joined #TeamULTRA and represented Michelob Ultra amongst 50,000 other marathoners scampering across the five boroughs.
Despite my love of running and my consistent schedule of hitting the trails, I knew this wouldn’t be easy; when I started training, I never ran more than 7 miles at a time. Furthermore, I have an erratic work/life schedule and I knew that eventually I’d be moving – a task that in itself is a full-time job here.
But running the marathon here was something I’ve always wanted to do. This was too good to pass up and short of a severe injury or traumatic life event, there was nothing that could stop me from pursuing this.
I could go on to document the training schedule I created for myself, the run itself and the aftermath but instead, here are a few frequently asked questions that I’ve fielded since crossing the finish line on Sunday.
“So, how was it?”
Physically and emotionally overwhelming in the best way possible. The experience far exceeded my expectations and is something I’d recommend to anyone.
“What was your favorite part?”
As far as overall, having my family there to cheer me on was special but I sobbed like a child after I finished as a result of the love I felt throughout the five boroughs. People cheering, making noise, offering food and drinks, holding signs… it was incredible. And Sunday wasn’t the nicest day weather-wise; it was colder than expected and the rain really never let-up. You wouldn’t have known that based on the crowd’s spirit.
I have to mention as well that multiple people told me I’d hate the Bronx. If you look at my mile-by-mile breakdown, I ran some of my fastest miles up there. My playlist synced to my run perfectly so that just as I was crossing the Willis Ave. Bridge I heard The Tramps’ “Disco Inferno.” Of course, it was on my playlist because I’m a diehard Yankees fan and those overtures of “Bern, baby bern!” brought back a lot of great memories from Yankee legend Bernie Williams.
— Ralphie Aversa (@ralphieaversa) November 7, 2017
“What was the most difficult part?”
Overall the mental game you play as you attempt to overcome physical shortcomings. I cramped and tightened up quite a bit during the run; while it slowed me down once I never stopped and I escaped injury-free.
“How are you feeling?”
Great, thanks! I bought a new pair of running shoes and should be back on a treadmill this weekend. I think not over-training and eating clean helped me to recover quickly.
The best part of this week had nothing to do with my excuses to wear joggers to the studio or pick up new running kicks (which I'm breaking-in because I plan on reuniting with a treadmill tomorrow). The best part of this week was the texts, calls, comments, likes, messages… so many people reached out. Some congratulated, others felt inspired to begin their own running journey… and like the marathon, I have felt overwhelmed in the best way possible. Thank you.
“Will you do it again?”
Never say never but probably not. It’d be tough to top this experience, one which despite still attempting to fully process I am extremely grateful for.