Friday, April 15, 2011

Who do you run for???

Gi Wings- Gianna's hairbows & signed and decorated by nieces & nephews.
This morning I ran my last 5k trail run before Boston Marathon. Mentally preparing on the race, and visually seeing myself through the race. This is the last race where I will be wearing my Gi Wings. After this race they are retired, and will be beside Gianna's crib at my sister's house. Below is a brief of the race report of the NYC marathon I recently ran in November, how the sneakers came to be.
Looking to make Gi Love made proud with a PR this weekend.

Race Report: 2010 NYC Marathon: Plaid shorts & Polka dot bows.

I’m inside a porta potta on Staten Island with over 50,000 people outside in the “start village” and on the back of the door; I see a big pink heart with a John Lennon quote across it reading:
 “Love is a promise. Love is a souvenir. once given never forgotten. never let it disappear.”
I read it once, felt a flitter in my heart, and knew its Gianna. “Gi Love, you’re here”. Then I read and repeated it out loud to memorize the words, noticing that the letter “L” in love were the only letters capped in this phrase.  I knew that was a moment, I had to remember. Reporting back to Team Plaid: Meredith, Michael, and Brian, I quickly told my team about the pink heart, heart-felt words… and told them it’s “Gianna”. Meredith and I had a laugh about how she reached out to me “in the lieu”. A bit embarrassed sharing the moment with the boys afraid they thought I was bit coo coo for cocoa puffs; my team was so supportive and listened attentively as I told them about the moment.  Each one of us was sporting tiny hair bows that Gianna once wore, on our sneakers for the marathon.  A little while later, Brian & Michael went to use the portas and came back to tell Meredith “there wasn’t any poetry in their portas. It was a sign from Gianna”. I lost my 2 (and a half) yrs old niece, Gianna, to the angels in heaven on November 1, 2010 and had attended her funeral the day prior to the NYC marathon. She was “our girl” and nicknamed her “Gi Love” because she communicated threw her love and affection. She talked to us with her eyes.
Team Plaid came together over plaid lululemon shorts, men’s wool scotch plaid pants, and shared memories of our dads. Our dads were well- known to “rock the plaid”. Although they did not know each other while living, we are sure they bonded in heaven as did all Team Plaid members did in NYC! 
I started in wave 1, and the rest of the team started an hour later in wave 2.   I am standing at the beginning of the Verrazano bridge with about 20,000 runners around me, and I am thinking of how many times I drove over this bridge in the past 10 yrs, and now I am finally trekking it on foot. I hear a man next to me compliment me on the bows on my shoes; he called himself “Red Dawg”. I told Red Dawg they are my niece’s hair bows, and then he asked me “which mile will she be cheering for you?”  I told him “every mile”, then turned my head away from him and looked in the air trying to hide the tears that built when I realized what I said, and the reality of it. He didn’t press me for further information, and the gentleman next to Red Dawg took out his camera and took a picture of my shoes.   I told the photographer, Josh, about the girl behind the bows, and how all my nieces and nephews signed the shoes and helped decorate them to support me on the run. There was never a discussion on whether or not I was going to run the NYC after the funeral with my sister (Gianna’s mom), it was more on what time will I be able to pull off.  My sister and I would’ve liked to see a 3:20something… but knew it’s a toss up- and let’s just see if I finish it.

Miles 23-26 Central Park. During the entire run, I felt like I was running into the wind. As we headed toward Central Park, I thought of my dad, and how sometimes looked like a 6ft tall Irish leprechaun in his plaid pants. He had a pair of plaid for every season, every color.  I thought of the Irish saying “May the wind be at your back and may the road rise up to meet you”.  We turned into Central Park, and so did the wind. This time, it was at our back, and the man next to me asked me, “Do you feel that wind pushing us?” I looked at the clock at 40k and it read 3:33. (My Dad’s birthday is 3/3/33)
Mile 26-26.2 Finish.  “Lets get this done” and then a man ran out and grabbed me by the arm, pulling me off the course. I was in disbelief and asking him what the bleep he was doing! He told me I need to exit the course. I pulled him along side of me (I am not about to stop) and told him to let go- He said I didn’t have a proper number. I told him I did (there were TP stickers on it) and to look at the chip on my shoe, to let him know I was a legit runner.  ..there was no crying as I crossed the finish line, just the question of “did that really just happen?” and well… you can take the full week prior to this point, and to this very day and that is the question I keep asking myself “did that really just happen?” And when the reality does set in about it, I go thru every emotion as I did in the marathon. Marathons are not about speed, but how to efficiently move through the pain of pushing my limits. “Just keep moving forward – you will do this!” is what the lady in the Bronx should shout to the runners! 

I ran 3:36 in NYC, I ran 3:36 in LA with the Gi Wings' - I never planned or tried to time it.. I just ran (forrest gump style)... but I have a goal this Boston Marathon: to run my fastest marathon time wearing Gi Wings.