It was a gorgeous day in New York City! We landed at 6 AM after a red eye flight…crazy, we know. After our adventure in a Super Shuttle (which meant our 45 minute ride turned into 2.5 hours) we finally arrived in Manhattan!! The streets were full of people speaking every language and everyone was buzzing around around in their running shoes – this was MARATHON weekend.
After making our way through the crowds at the Expo – I got my bib (race number), race shirt and a special Achilles wristband! Oh and a New York City Marathon race jacket!…I mean, how could I not???
It was an overwhelmingly exiting moment. I was bursting with excitement and marathon jitters at the same time. I was running the world’s LARGEST marathon.
That night I met my guides at an Achilles dinner. It was like we knew each other for years. We instantly connected and I felt so much more at ease about the race. Something lifted off of me and I knew this was going to be amazing.
During our conversation, I mentioned to one of my guides, Gisele, that I see BLUE the best. On race morning, she made these awesome BLUE stars and attached them to everyone’s shirts – and within close distance I could always find these amazing team of stars.
My guides were incredible. They were the best cheerleaders, support team, pace team and new friends I could have asked for. They were totally in tune with me. There is seriously a special bond I always get with my guides, and these four – Gisele, Nathan, Lisa and Charles were no different.
Race day was…AMAZING, exciting, LOUD, empowering, hill-y, loud, exhilarating…did i mention hill-y? The music and the loud cheering carried us through miles and miles – We would scream ” What’s up BROOKLYN?!” and the crowd would go wild!! Others would see the blue stars on the back on our shirts that said TEAM JESSICA and scream “yeahhh JESSICAA!” and we would cheer as loud as we could!! The music played louder and we were dancing to the music singing “Dont stop believing” as we ran through the Bronx.
Mile 6 – we are looking for my family in Brooklyn. Mom is cheering so loud and we listen for our signature “woot woot!” and we find them! Ahhh it puts pep in my step! Thanks Mom, Dad and Joey!
Then we hit the bridges…Ughh the bridges!!! – I struggled through the hills and wished I would have ran hills more often throughout my training. Our team would rally together – put our hands in the middle and then we were off running again. How did I get so lucky with this amazing team who pushed me when it got hard?!
My family hit Manhattan and were there at mile 18 and 23! My mom was out in the street, getting yelled at by New York Police, as she waited for us! We stopped and took a selfie. Mom gives us all a hug and says “YOU GOT THIS! GO!” Of course by mile 23 I am now crying of happiness! Ahh the emotions! I couldnt help it! Charles captured an awesome picture of me and my mom! Thanks, Charles!
Last 2.6 miles – we are in Central Park – the streets are lined and lined with people. I am trying to tell myself 2.6 miles is NOTHING – keep going!! my guides grab my hands and we cross the finish line – hand in hand. I was SO HAPPY! WE did it!!! – Thank you NEW YORK CITY for a marathon I will never forget.
To my DEDICATED family who went from subway to subway and all over the city to see me throughout the race – WITHOUT stopping for lunch! I couldnt have asked for better cheerleaders!! THANK you for being there for me and all your support!!! Love you!
To my AMAZING team of guides. You all have a special place in my heart and I will forever be thankful to have you part of this journey. I truly hope we are friends forever.
And to Achilles International – WOW, thank you for the great organization. You are helping those with disabilities conquer dreams of running in the New York City marathon.
New York City is a special city for me – Thank you for igniting my fire each time I come back!