I earned this tattoo....
I know, I know, it's a temporary one but I earned the right to wear it. On Sunday, March 19th, 2012, I ran 13.1 miles in the NYC Half Marathon. I did this to raise money for the SLE Lupus Foundation and also to show that even though I'm living with Lupus, I can still accomplish an amazing physical goal.
My day started at 5:30am. Even though I prepared the night before by putting out all my clothes and carb loading at a pasta party my running group Black Girls Run threw, I still felt like I was scrambling. This endeavor had me more nervous than I've ever been, even at a show. "What could go wrong? Just finish. That's all that matters." I encouraged myself and checked my twitter & FB for encouragement from others.
Once the race started, I felt like an ant in an ant farm; there were so many people scattering in the same direction. My biggest fear in this race was the first 6 miles in Central Park. I truly felt unprepared for the plethora of random stupid hills all over the park. Due to my busy schedule over the last few weeks, I missed official Team Life Without Lupus trainings in the park, and man, by the time I got to the 7th Ave exit, my right foot was pissed at me.
People asked me if I stopped at all. Yes, a few times. To replenish at the gatorade/water stations, to re-tie my laces, once to use the port-a-johns (you don't wanna know why), and to stretch out random stiff parts of my body. At one point in time, my foot, lower back, left hip, and chest were all on fire. As I watched a one-legged man with a sporty artificial limb breeze past me (I was one part amazed, two parts embarassed at my slow pace), I sucked it up and focused on the end.
As I made my way down 7th Ave to 42nd Street to the West Side Highway, I was proud to be one of the people being cheered on. It was great seeing my BGR sisters waving banners along the route as well as the random folk giving high-fives as you passed them by. One sign stood out:
"Run like you stole something."
If that was the case, I'd have gotten caught. By the time I got to the 20s on the West Side Highway, I swore I was gonna need to be carried off course if I ran at the pace everyone else was. So I slowed down to a simple lil jog. Besides, everyone around me was running FOR a cause. Darnit, I AM the cause. No killing myself.
I was a lil jealous of the people who's families had cardboard signs with runner's names on it, but I remembered, I'm not running for anyone other than myself and people like me, many of which couldn't be there.
The last mile was gruesome. The final incline to get through the tunnel near the Battery Tunnel to the highway exit for South Street Seaport was murderous on my foot but I got through it, and jogged as best as I could to get to Water Street where the race ended. I crossed the finish line and almost laid out right In the street. My friend Gigi from college was there waiting for me. They gave all participants a medal, water, pretzels, an apple and a foil sheet to wrap around our bodies to keep us warm.
At the end of the day, I am able to say that as a person with Lupus, I reached my goal of running 13.1 miles to show that at the end of the day, LUPUS CAN'T HOLD ME! I did this while my friend Olympia is in the hospital, Adrienne fights every day for the energy to just get through work, Judith works to find new medication while creating a non-profit to help people deal with Lupus in Ghana, and while many others battle the same battle I fight daily with health insurance companies, medications, rest, complications, and more. I hope this run made someone who is battling Lupus smile. I did it for you!