She did it!!!! Penny Sheely, mom of four, pediatrican to many, and inspiration to all, ran the ING NYC Marathon, her first marathon last weekend. Not only did she finish, she finished those 26.2 miles in four hours, forty-one minutes and eleven seconds!!!! About the time it took me to get my kids dressed for church and go out to brunch.
We met Penny back when she was training and not sure if she would make it. Erica S. offered some great advice and encouragement here: 26.2 Miles? For These Ladies, the Hay is in the Barn!
Now, it's Penny's turn to look back at how she got to the finish line, and how she even mananged to enjoy each mile.
Read it and share, folks - what could you do in 4 hours that would be as much crazy fun?
My First Marathon, by Penny Sheely
This has been an amazing experience and I am really glad I did it. Reading Erika's story beforehand was so helpful because I had a different state of mind when I went out for my 20 mile training run. I can't say I didn't have ANY doubt, but I definitely had much less doubt that I could finish it and focused more on relaxing and thinking positively. That training run went really well and made realize that this was something I could do. But in that training run I was focused on getting to the landmark at mile 16, thinking that if I could get there I could make the last 4 miles. On the days leading up to the marathon, I decided that instead of focusing on just getting to the finish line or to a certain turning point mile, I would try - I hesitate to say it - to enjoy each mile.
Thanks to Erika (and to some wise person on the bus to the start who said that only about 200 out of 45,000 people did not finish the marathon last year) I knew I was going to finish right from the start. With that doubt out of the way I could pay attention to what was going on around me.
I think I quickly realized how much I was relying on the support of my family, friends and all my new BFFs lining the streets. The crowds in Brooklyn were super fun and tons of people were cheering for me by name, which my daughter had painted on my shirt. My brother in Texas got our family pictures up on the jumbo-tron at mile 8 by spending who knows how much time on the spectator website submitting pictures and messages.
I saw my husband and kids at mile 11 and even though I only waved and kept going it helped so much to have them there smiling. By mile 17 I was getting quite tired but I knew my family was going to meet me again at mile 18. My son ran with me from mile 18 to mile 22 and when I was lingering a little too long at the water stop at mile 21 he gently got me back on track.
I thought many times during the race "thank you so much" to the spectators out cheering people on, to my friends that wrote/texted/called me beforehand to say they would be rooting for me, to my kids who were being dragged through the city to stand in crowds for hours and to my husband who was doing the dragging. Every time I passed a tracking mat on the course I could feel my family and friends who were watching my progress on their phones. Every time it felt difficult, I came back to looking around me and taking it in, instead of wishing it were over. This is, after all, something I voluntarily signed up for!
When I did see that finish line it was pure elation! My time was 4:41:11. Thank you, everyone!
Of course, now everyone wants more. Penny's daughter asked her two days after the race: "Are you going to run it again?"
Penny said: "I don't know, maybe."
Her daughter: "You should. You could get a better time."