Saturday night I did something unbelievable (as in I still don’t believe I did it): I walked a marathon. 26.2 miles. I did it to raise money for a great charity, but I also did it to prove that I could. This was the first ever MoonWalkNYC Marathon. (My registration fee was covered thanks to a sponsored post I did about the walk a while back.)
The unique thing about this fundraising walk is that you’re supposed to walk it in a bra. A bra that you’ve decorated in some spectacular way. Frankly, the bra decorating frightened me more than the walking part. I’m to crafting what Michael Jordan is to…crafting. I couldn’t even find my glue gun (I’m shocked that I even own one).
I ordered some supplies from Amazon I thought I could do something with, and let them sit in the box for a week. By Friday night I couldn’t ignore them any longer, and dove in. Part of my race package included a Maidenform bra, which fit very well. and was very comfortable during the entire race.
I had a couple of false starts sewing on some tulle. Bras stretch a lot more than I though they did when you put them on, and no matter how much slack I left it wasn’t enough. I needed a mannequin but didn’t have one! Finally I got the tulle pinned onto the cups (which don’t stretch) and started sewing.
Adding fringe to the bottom of the bra was harder, but essential – it would cover up a few inches of my stomach. I didn’t really mind the trial-and-error though – I was trying to stay up all night to prepare me for the all-night walk. I made it to 5:30am and slept about 6 hours, then took a nap in the afternoon. I put on my bra and packed my stuff. I was ready.
I arrived at the departure point on Randall’s island at about 9pm and met up with my friend and marathon partner, Ellen. (Ellen is the person who got me thisclose to Stephen Colbert a little while back). I mentioned that I probably should have prepared for this in some way. The last time I’d really exercised was about six weeks before. Oh well, no point worrying about it now!
There was entertainment while we were waiting for the 10:30pm start – some singers as well as these crazy people on stilts.
Mostly, though, we just watched the amazingly-decorated bras go by. I was tickled by how many men were walking in bras with their wives, and once again lamented my husband’s complete lack of whimsy (I’ve been begging him for years to run the Disney Princess Half with me, dressed as a prince; it ain’t gonna happen).
As Ellen pointed out, all of those guys were gettin’ some after the race.
Ten-thirty came and we were ready to go! The first five miles sped by as Ellen and I chatted and enjoyed the scenery.
Ellen even spotted Brandi Chastain walking among us – dribbling a soccer ball, of course!
We took advantage of all the rest stops, which had fruit and other snacks.
My one huge complaint though: the bottles of water weren’t cold. Cool would be fine with me, but these were actually warm! Gross. We stopped at a gas station and bought our own cold water. It also didn’t occur to me at the time (I blame exhaustion), but some kind of Gatorade-like drink would have helped. Duh. I could’ve picked some up at the gas station! I guess I’m just used to running races, where those drinks are available on the route.
In the first few miles of the walk, when there were hundreds of us bunched up together, walking through late-night Manhattan didn’t seem that weird. It was obvious that there was some kind of organized walk happening, even to the really drunk women hanging onto sleazy-looking men outside of clubs. But after a while we all spread out quite a bit, and Ellen and I were just two weird women walking around in their bras. Some people asked if we’d just come from a race, and when we said that we were actually walking a marathon right that moment, we usually got cheers and claps.
By the half-way mark I was getting tired, but getting to that point really helped mentally – it was all downhill from that point, at least figuratively. But blisters were starting, and each time we stopped at a rest stop it was harder to get going. Still, there was no question that we were going to keep moving. We were perfect walking partners, because we’re both really stubborn. We were in this to finish it.
There were even fewer of our fellow walkers around us now. A lot of people had signed up for the half-marathon route, and those people had broken off long ago (and were most likely done and on their way home). We trudged on. There were volunteers every couple of blocks cheering us on, and making us feel safer as we walked through some sparse and sketchy neighborhoods. There were also a lot of cops posted along the route.
As the sky started getting light, the volunteers started asking more and more often if we wanted to bail and get a ride back to Randall’s Island. Our response was basically “Get away from us, we’re finishing this sucker if we have to crawl it.” We did see other people drop out though. It was really sad, because they were so close to the end, but they really looked like they couldn’t go another step.
Making it back onto Randall’s Island under our own power was a huge mental milestone, but we still had a few miles to go. The route took us around the island and away from the finish line – so close, and yet so far! When the volunteers asked if we needed a ride we practically laughed in their faces at that point. To go all that way and then quit in the last hour? There was just no way! We kept telling each other “We’re so close!” and “Just keep swimming!”
The sun was completely up now, and after a comfortable night, it was starting to get hot. More reason to keep going and get done quicker.
Getting to the 26 mile mark was such a victory. As Ellen said, “I could have kissed that sign with my mouth open.” We knew we would finish. At that point, if we had both twisted our ankles we would have held each other up and hobbled to the finish line.
Just a few steps from the end, Ellen jogged past me! I somehow got my feet moving, caught up to her, and we fake-fought and pushed each other over the finish line. I can’t wait to see those pictures!
We finished in just over ten hours. Ellen said that now she understands why people run these things – you’re done six hours sooner!
When we went to get our checked bags, we couldn’t help but notice that there were only about half a dozen other bags left. We really were just about the last to arrive. But the volunteer working the bag check told us that a lot of people bailed on the full marathon, which made us feel a lot better about our lack of speed. We were only last in the group that saw it through to the end. There was a whole other group that technically finished behind us. I’m very curious about just how many people finished.
Getting home was not easy. The subways were doing their usual weekend dance, and it took me four trains to get home when it should have been two. And at one point I fell asleep on the subway platform, waking up to see my train pulling away. I could barely move my legs and wanted to scream every time I tried. Somehow I made it home, ate, and crawled into bed for about five hours.
I feel a bit more normal today – still in pain and very stiff, but able to fake a normal walk if I absolutely had to. I ended up with just one blister, on my little toe. Ellen, however, has some impressively huge ones on both feet. After seeing those I was even more impressed that she’d made it to the end.
Ellen asked me if at any point I’d thought that we wouldn’t finish, and I can honestly say no. I knew it would take more than blisters and aches to make me stop. Besides, people had donated money based on me walking a marathon, not walking for a while and quitting. I took that seriously.
Thanks to my amazing friends and readers, I was able to raise almost $700 in donations! There’s still time to donate, and now that you know I’ve finished, and how much I went through, you know that you’ll be getting your money’s worth.
Originally posted on Selfish Mom. All opinions expressed on this website come straight from Amy unless otherwise noted. This post has a Compensation Level of 1. Please visit Amy’s Full Disclosure page for more information.