Point Two

26.2 A SERIES

Everyone has dreams. Since I was about 16 years old, one of mine has been to run a marathon. When I cross the finish line in NYC on November 5th, I’ll likely do so with a recorded time of between 4 and 5 hours. In reality though, it will have taken me much longer to get there. There are things inside and outside of us that bring us closer to our dreams. There are also things that delay us, that push us so far away from our goals they are sometimes out of sight. If we are lucky, little by little, we are often able to transform those stumbling blocks into building blocks–they become the foundation for our strength, resilience, and ultimate determination. This series aims to uncover my long journey. Each week, I’ll share the people, places, and things that have brought me to the place I am at today, and that I hope will carry me from the starting line in Staten Island, to the finish line in Central Park. Mile by mile–this, is my 26.2.

Miles .2- To Keeping Our Dreams Alive, Even When it Hurts

In February of this year, I was sitting alone at my desk trying to pull myself together. While I normally have office mates, at this particular time I was wrapping up the end of one show solo while my boss and supervisor took on a pilot during our hiatus. I was spending most of the day by myself.

Overall this was a tough time. Trump had just been inaugurated. I felt like our country and our world was falling apart. I had so much I wanted to say but I couldn’t get any of it out on paper. I was barely writing at all. I began having some breathing problems and was sent to a few different doctors, none of whom came up with any other cause but anxiety. I felt stuck. Compressed. Heavy. On top of all this, I was waiting. I had entered the lottery for the 2017 NYC Marathon and as the day of the drawing drew nearer, I felt sick every time I looked at the calendar.

I kept debating whether I should pull out of the lottery and not risk my credit card getting charged the $255 fee. What if I actually got in and then I couldn’t run the race? 

There were a lot of reasons I thought I might not be able to run a marathon:

  • I had gotten bad tendinitis in my knees that side-lined me for four months and I hadn’t taken on a distance over 8 miles in almost two years. Those four months were some of the hardest of my life and I was terrified of re-injuring myself and perhaps even doing permanent damage that would keep me from running even longer.
  • My sudden respiratory problems seemed like an obvious impediment to any feat of endurance.
  • I had applied to several internships at my local NPR station, and if I got one of them, my schedule would be erratic and I wouldn’t have time to train. (Spoiler: I never got an internship, they were looking for someone with a little more youth!)

The main reason though, seemed to greet me first thing every morning when I opened my eyes–the thought bubble would appear over my head even before my big toe would hit the ground:

I had wanted to run a marathon since I was 17 and I had never gotten close to a starting line. I had never even dared.

I kept asking the Universe if my husband running the year before was it–maybe that was the fulfillment of my dream. Life can be mysterious–it’s always offering up a different angle or a different perspective that I was previously blind to. It’s happened enough times now that I stay on the look out for it. I thought it could be that my hubs crossing that finish line was my dream being realized. After all, watching him felt wonderful.

Back to my office. Like I said I was by myself most of the time. This made it easier for my spontaneous bursts into tears to go on quietly for a few minutes each day at my desk. On this day though, my boss walked in to chat with me about something. She started talking and then looked down at me and stopped. At first she asked if I had allergies. I thought about saying yes, but then in one second, we both knew the jig was up. Immediately her tone changed. “What’s wrong, what’s going on?” She was there to listen.

I told her about the breathing problems I was having. I told her how I had not been able to write for a long time. I told her that I was terrified of getting into the marathon and actually having to try to run it. I told her I was thinking about pulling out of the lottery.

Right away she offered a sensible, reasonable approach–that’s very much who she is. She said, “You don’t have to stress about this now. What if you don’t even get in, then all of this worry was for nothing. Just wait, and if you get in, then you can figure things out from there.”

I knew she was right, but as soon as I heard her, I knew that “getting in” was not the issue. I cried harder. The thought that really scared me, that was standing on my chest and breaking my heart, finally slipped out of my mouth. I told her, “I am so terrified to try for this, but I think I am even more terrified to give up on it.” 

Full on SOBS.

I continued, my voice shaking. “If I give up on this, I feel like I am telling the Universe that I am giving up on ALL my dreams–I’m not going to run a marathon, I’m not going to live abroad, I’m not going to write for a living–if I let this one go, that’s it, I’m no longer a dreamer–I’m a “realist” who will go on to live a sensible, practical, perfectly fine–but smaller, life.”

I think she thought this was pretty dramatic. But she was kind. She told me I didn’t have to give up on anything. We talked for a while after that. Eventually weaving our way through different subjects that meant something to both of us. The whole time I thought about how grateful I was that my boss was a strong woman that I could cry in front of. Not everyone has that.

When she left me to my work I felt a bit better. My breathing had improved. It seemed I finally had some clarity. The issue wasn’t nerves. It wasn’t getting in or not getting in. It was bigger. It was a turning point. Every once in a while, the Universe calls up and asks what kind of life I want–and I have to answer. This was one of those calls. It felt familiar. It felt like when I made the decision to move to New York City. I had never liked New York when I had visited before and I had no idea what I was going to do here or how I was going to make a living. But in that short time that I had to decide, the fear of staying in the same safe place that I knew somehow became greater than the fear of venturing out into the unknown. I knew I wanted my life to be BIGGER. Walking through fear was the only way to that.

I would stay in the lottery.

The day of the drawing I was a bundle of nerves and excitement. I sat at my desk and started googling marathon training plans. Both my boss and supervisor came in to my office to work on something at the other computer and one of them remembered it was the big day. “Are you nervous? What are your chances of getting in?” One of them asked. I told them I was nervous–but not about getting in. I was terrified that I was actually going to try to run the damn thing. I knew that technically my chances of getting in through the drawing were about 1 in 7. I also knew that chance had nothing to do with it. I knew my name would be picked. I knew it was my time.

I think they started the drawing around 10AM. At 10:07, I got a pop-up on my phone that my credit card had been charged $255. I was IN.

I had doubts from the beginning. This process has transformed most of those doubts into beliefs. It’s been a journey whose awesomeness I’ve yet to be able to completely describe. I’ll attempt that later. But for now, I will say this: When I finally had the willingness to try, the Universe was right there to give me a shot.

Being practical has it’s place. Being realistic about life is a necessity. Still, don’t give up on your dreams. The ones that live inside you and won’t go away. The ones you try to bury deep down, but always pop up in front of you or around the corner. That ache is not for nothing. The Universe would not let it persist if there wasn’t truth in it, if it didn’t believe in you. That nagging is need, and the world is calling on you to give in a way that only you can. It’s your gift. I know it’s scary. But take the first step. Trust that you will be guided the whole way through. You can: try for that better job, or travel to that faraway place, or be a single parent, or open up that bookstore, or run that race. 

I started dreaming of running a marathon when I was 17 years old, galloping around the 8-lap track at the local University’s gym as men past their prime played pick-up ball down below. Today, at 34 years old, at 10:40AM, I will finally make it to the starting line of my first 26.2.

When you get to that place where the fear of NOT trying is greater than the fear of failing–seize it–don’t let it get away from you. Believe that the plan the Universe has for you could be even more wonderful, and more beautiful than you could have imagined. Believe in yourself. Believe in your dreams. Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.

After 26 long miles, .2–the last few steps, go to me, and to you. We own these strides, and also the unbelievable pride that comes in not letting our dreams die.

 

This series was like a marathon in itself. I doubted it many times and feel an enormous amount of pride that I made it all the way through. For those of you who have been with me and following along the whole way through, I thank you with everything I have. Your support through all of this has been incredible. I have literally been carried through this whole thing by people all around the world, and my heart could not be more full. My legs are ready. And thanks to you guys, my mind is as well. Like I said earlier, I will cross the starting line at 10:40am this morning. If you care to track me, there’s a really easy NYC marathon app that can be downloaded and deleted when you’re finished. My bib number is 41441. Feel free to whisper or yell things into the little dot moving along the map–I’ve got a good feeling I’ll hear you somehow. So much love to everyone. Thanks guys. x

 

85 thoughts on “Point Two

  1. You’re an inspiration chick! Following your heart and making it happen, so pleased to have been along for this journey. I’ve been sending good vibes as much as possible as couldn’t quite get my head around the time difference 😂 As I’ve said before you’ve earned that medal and the support of the crowds, the buzz in your head and heart. Epic achievement, look forward to the recap, and to what your next adventure will be. Big love 😘

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Big love from one of strongest and most inspiring ladies i know. Thank you for hanging with me all of this time!! I can’t believe it’s all over. Any way you can let me know what the next adventure is?!
      Lots of love lady. x

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      1. Girl!! I’m still wrapping my head around all of this—I don’t think my body is made for making this too regular a thing, but we shall see! I admire the hell out of your fitness and mental strength, that fitting in marathons is just another day. You’re pretty amazing my friend 😍.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much!! I love how you have phrased this: “knowing better” than to give up on my dream. I think it speaks to this belief I have that we all have these sort of divine things we are supposed to do inside of us—they are not there by mistake. Thanks for being here, hoping to have more to share on Sunday, please stay tuned 😍.

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  2. Congratulations! I just came across your blog and this is the first post I’ve read in this series, and it felt like you were writing directly for me. I’ve been toying around with the idea of a half marathon (and eventually a full) for years now. This is just what I needed to hear. Thank you for sharing your beautiful journey! Never stop writing, girl. You’re truly inspiring. You should be so proud 🙂 Looking forward to following what’s to come!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Saying you felt like I was writing directly for you kinda makes my heart burst. That’s the dream. So glad you could connect to this. Get after that half—you can do it! Just one step at a time. Thanks for all the love, so so glad to have you here! x

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Congrats! But please don’t let this be the last post in this series . . . you write so vividly, I would LOVE to read your report on the race itself. (And while I don’t know if I saw you on Fourth Ave – or in Greenpoint – or along First Ave in East Harlem – I like to think that I did, without even knowing it.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you lady! I like to think that I saw you too-I’m sure you gave me some energy each place that you were, god knows I needed it!
      So “point two” is the last post in the series but for sure there is a recap coming. Been trying to get my head together enough to write all week. It’s coming around I think! Appreciate you looking out for it. Thanks for the support—it helps the running, and the writing. x

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  4. qplourde

    This post definitely got me right in the gut – I’m at my computer a little choked up. You did it! You are a marathoner! I was able to track you – I saw you pass my friend on the map, LOL. I’m having some of these feelings right now because I just put my name in for my running club’s lottery – they usually get bibs for Boston and we have a drawing every year. My odds are not super high since so many people want the opportunity, but I go back and forth on this – do I want to do another marathon right away? And it’s Boston – am I ready? Terrified of getting in, but will be so disappointed if not chosen (which I have to keep telling myself is very possible). Great job on your first marathon and can’t wait to hear all about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey—you’re at that exact point! Afraid to get in but more afraid to not go for it-i like it! I’m glad you put your name in, when will you find out?
      Girl, I did it, but that shit was so hard! Still trying to get my thoughts together on all of it. It seems like so many people cross the finish line and know they want to do it again-not sure that’s me.
      Can’t wait to share more with you. Thanks for being there with me every step of the way Q. x

      Liked by 1 person

      1. qplourde

        I’m supposed to find out November 15, although there seems to be a delay with the bib vouchers, so not sure what’s going on. It was really hard! I’m also not sure I want to jump into more training right now. I have other running goals that I kind of want to focus on. At the same time, it would be good to do it when I’m better conditioned for it, which feels like now. We’ll see what happens. You accomplished a lot – never forget that. Even if you never do another marathon again. No one can take away the fact that you are a marathoner. Thanks for being there for me too – I’ve stepped away from my blog even though I have more to write. I’m hoping to find some time for it soon.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. You did it Cat! You are a marathoner. Once again I loved reading this post, you have such a lovely way with words. As we were flying back from Spain yesterday I was thinking of you and wondering how you were doing. Can’t wait to hear all about it x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I did it Ali 😇. Didn’t go as “planned”, but I did it. Can’t wait to tell you all about it. Hoping I feel like writing sometime soon. Right now a lot of sleeping is going on! Hope your vacation was wonderful, thank you for thinking of me 😍.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. You SMASHED it!!!!!!!!!
    I’m so sad this is the last post of the series ( I have loved every one) but cannot wait for a post on your marathon!
    Amazing achievement, Massive Congratulations Cat, I hope you enjoy celebrating and are rocking that well earned medal xo

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh girl. Idk, if I SMASHED it. But I did finish 🤪. So much to share with you about the day. Still trying to get my head around it all.
      Thank you so much for all your love and support through this whole process, and also great advice for race day. Most especially though, thank you SO much for encouraging me to keep going with the series when I had so many freaking doubts about it all the way through. You always gave me that extra inch I needed to keep going 😉.
      Couldn’t have done it without you lady. For real. Lots to share-hopefully soon, just waiting on this brain to settle down. 😍🙈

      Liked by 1 person

  7. … and you did it! Hooray! Weirdly, you and the one other person I knew doing it came in within 12 minutes of each other. Can’t wait for your race report (but take it easy, sleep, stretch, relax).

    If you see this: the best bit of advice I had for my first mara was go for quite a long walk the day after. Slow, coffees, but a long walk (4 or 5 miles). This has really helped my recovery both times.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Liz!! What would I do without you? You came in near the end of my journey and I like to think you were a huge part of my push to the finish line. I did it! Man, that was something! Can’t wait to share the day with you. For now, just wanted to pop on and say how grateful I am for all of your support–really could not have done it without you!! Thank you!!
      PS–Did NOT follow your advice yesterday–sat on my ass the whole day. But feeling pretty good today so i think it went alright ;).

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Proud of Cat. Your post really struck me in the feels and really inspiring. I’ve had some life changes and taking the first steps have been hard for me. But you reminded me of the higher powers that will take care of us. Can’t wait to read your marathon summary. Prayed for you and your well-being for today. And thank you for carrying me in your heart while you ran. I promise to carry you when I run in a couple weeks. Proud of you Sister.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Petey!! OMG you were with me, especially there at the end!! It was crazy!! Can’t wait to share everything with you. When you run in a few weeks–save me for miles 18-20. You’ll need your closest people for the last miles–they will carry you through. But you will need someone for the 18-20 spot–trust me, it’s a tough one. Save that one for me, I will get you through. I’ll be there!!
      Thanks for being proud of me, it means a lot!! x

      Liked by 1 person

  9. suzykoeppcake

    Mazal tov! You did it! I tracked you during church and lunch and damn, woman I am duly impressed! I had no doubt that you’d make it. Looking forward to your posts about the marathon and the days after. “I am woman, hear me roar…”

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I can only imagine the feeling you would have felt when you saw you were in for the marathon. What an emotional journey you’ve been on to get there though. Pretty sure I found your unofficial results and neat to read through the above comments. Enjoy the feeling!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Aren’t these comments thrilling!! I cannot believe I had all this support the whole way–hard to even comprehend how lucky I am. I know you just joined the journey recently but just wanted to say thank you for all of your kind words. I really am so happy to have you around the blog, such amazing, positive energy. Thank you for your encouragement and support!!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. LOVE!! Ahh! Omg I can’t wait to share everything with you. Idk why but i keep thinking when i write about my experience you specifically are going to be shaking your head like “yep i get that”. Always feel very lucky I have a Dublin girl that gets me!!
      LEDGEBAG!! Had me bawling Sunday night girl!! Thank you so much for the support and love. Details soon!xx

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  11. If my tracking app is telling the truth then you, young lady, are a sub-5 marathon runner!

    I’m absolutely thrilled for you. A wonderful achievement that you truly deserve to savor. Fantastic, fantastic stuff – this has absolutely made my day so I can only wonder at what it’s done for yours!! x

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Ah Nik! Yes, I did it! Not the time I wanted–not close. Not the “plan”, but I did it. That shit was so hard!! Why didn’t you tell me?! LOL, just kidding.
      But really, seriously tough. Can’t wait to share the details of the day with you. And please get back to me–are you running Saturday or Sunday of this week? Can I track you? I hope so! Let me know!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Time is irrelevant – only the finish line matters! Mine is on Saturday – very low tech and no tracking available but will let you know how it goes! Gonna go crazy and try for a sub 3:30 but it’s highly unlikely!! Can’t wait to hear about your day and well done once again – finishing any marathon is a brilliant achievement and I’m so, so happy for you 🙂 x

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Steph!! I have not had my celebratory pizza yet–glad you have though! I will get to it this weekend I think :). I am still getting my thoughts together after this crazy emotional weekend but I just wanted to drop in and say that when I got home from the race and finally showered and had some food ordered and was on the sofa with my hubs, i opened my blog and totally bawled when I saw your comments all day. You were really right there with me the whole way. I think i am still processing the feelings of all the support–it was really incredible. Thank you for being you–and thank you for being a part of my world and a part of the most epic weekend of my life. Can’t wait to share even more with you. x

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for the update, Cat. I was very pleased to note all the support coming your way when I posted. Clearly you have a fine team. Keep taking it in! I’ve been very touched by your journey, and your ability to not only be aware of your process, but to also communicate it in such an engaging fashion! There’s a book there, I think. Keep on integrating!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. And one more thing, I imagine you laughing as this crazy older woman is sitting in the pizza shop, cheering for you as you finish your race and I eat! Although if they’d asked, they would have celebrated with me.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Tim. I came home and read your comments, and others, and sobbed like a baby. I am not sure if you can know what this felt like to have your support and to see that you were right there with me the whole day. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

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    1. YOU made me cry like a little bebe!! It’s so funny, I have never heard your voice before, but I felt like i could hear it in these comments. Meant to much to me that you were right there with me every step of the way. Thank you thank you!! Ahh!! Amanda! It was so fucking hard!! Ugh, OMG. I know you’re gonna kill this thing though–you’re made for it. I am not, lol!! Can’t wait to tell you all about it!! thanks again for hanging with me! x

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    1. Dawn, I am not sure I can really express to you how much all your comments meant/meant to me. I read them when I got home from the race and finally got settled and each one made me bawl like a baby. Thank you for staying with me. I struggled enormously out there but I feel like it was people like you that somehow kept me moving. It wasn’t me!! I wanted to quit–I had doubts. Thank you for believing in me and for your out of this world support. I seriously will never forget it. Can’t wait to share about the day soon, but just wanted to say thank you!! x

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Michele! As soon as I read your “with you girl” I lost it. Alright, you see all my comments– you all made me cry!! But really, every person had their own way they totally got to me. I feel so lucky to have the most amazing people in my blogosphere. Can’t wait to share how everything went with you– I will get to it eventually!! Just wanted to drop by and say thank you!
      Oh–and dedication and stamina can be built/grown– you know it!! Whatever you want, it’s yours!!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. You’re doing it RIGHT NOW and I’m tracking you and the one other person I (actually) know doing it, my friend Hannah from Kings Heath Running Club (come on, Universe, have them cross paths!). Go go go, strong lady. You have got this and I am a super cheerer (I just did a double marshalling stint at our junior parkrun and a charity 10k this morning) so I’m right!

    Hope you are enjoying it; I can’t wait for your race report.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Girl! That shit was so hard!! Why didn’t you tell me?! LOL. Just kidding. (Not about the hard part, but about you not telling me.) Can’t wait to tell you all about it. Thanks for all the support!!

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      1. YAY!!! OMG, like I would ever think that!!
        Funny aside that I have to tell you now just cause you’re reminding me. I had a coworker tell me recently that she reads my blog all the time but she didn’t follow it cause she didn’t want me to think she was a creeper. I was like “um hello!! I want people to follow, it means the world to me to know you’ve read and maybe enjoyed something!” Idk, just make me think about how weird the digital way we live is.

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    1. Rach!! Thank you so much!! Taking some time to get my thoughts together but just wanted to send you a big thank you for the love and support!! I needed it every step of the way!! Can’t wait to tell you all about it!

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  13. tim

    Enjoy it and don’t waste energy worrying about how it will go, what will happen next etc. Just stay in the moment and suck it all in. As the singer Tom Jones once said (I think) “Turn ‘what ifs’ into ‘so whats'”…
    I’m thinking of you as you run today. Tim

    Liked by 1 person

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