RACE REPORT: 2016 NYRR New Balance Bronx 10 Mile

This morning, I ran the NYRR New Balance Bronx 10 Mile race.

This race, for me, was particularly nerve-racking due to the setback that I had with my foot injury a few weeks ago. Somehow, I managed to run one of my best races in years.

I finished 10 miles with a time of 1:19:49. 

Again, I did not feel mentally or physically prepared leading up to it.

To backtrack, my weekend wasn’t off to greatest start. On Friday night, I had a stomach bug and was in bed by 9PM. The following day, I went for a short 2 mile warm up run in the morning, walked around the city all day, then hung out with my sister and a friend at night. When it came time to go to bed, I couldn’t get my head in a pre-race mentality. I ended up tossing and turning for hours and probably didn’t sleep until around 2AM (maybe even 3AM).

A few hours later, it was time to wake up. My first alarm went off at 5AM on the dot.

My sister and I left around 6AM and faced, what could have been, one of the worst journeys to a race that I have ever gone through.

The trains took forever, I had to pee entire time, and we thought we were going to be late.

Fortunately, we arrived with enough time for me to go to the bathroom, warm up, and even calm my nerves.

When the race finally started, my corral moseyed through the start line and we were finally off. The sun was shining and it was perfect race conditions with enough shade from the buildings surrounding to keep everyone from getting overheated.

My first mile was fairly quick and I only sped up from there. It wasn’t until mile 8 that I felt my speed impacting me.

The course was relatively flat with some slight elevation, but not overwhelming. It was my first time running this race and running in this particular part of New York, so I had no idea what to expect (even though they do provide you with the course info ahead of time).

The crowds were great and coming to mile 9 and 10 felt just like running during the New York City Marathon.

My sister was there to cheer me on right at the finish and I held my pace to get under 1:20, which was the unconscious goal that I placed in my head once I knew I was feeling good.

It was an amazing morning and a nice surprise. I honestly loved this race, not only because I was pleased with my performance, but the overall course, crowd, and distance. 10 miles is the perfect distance to know how much you can handle and know how to pace yourself properly. I’d recommend it to anyone who is interested at trying their hand at a longer distance race.

Refresh

I was introduced to a new friend at church this past Sunday who was visiting from another country. I learned that it was his first time visiting New York City – and the United States in general – so I ended up giving him a mini tour. Yesterday, we walked throughout the streets of Lower Manhattan, trekking from the Meatpacking District to Union Square.

It was one of those unexpected, special New York City nights.

Whenever I encounter someone who is visiting New York City for the first time, I’m elated at the chance of being able to show them how spectacular I think this city it. Because for me, it truly is a city that I am constantly in awe of.

After living here for nearly four years, I’m still discovering new people and new places every single day.

I recently moved to a new apartment outside of Manhattan nearly three weeks ago. It’s my first time living in a new borough and at first, I was slightly devastated to not be able to say, “I live in Manhattan.”

After guiding my new friend throughout Lower Manhattan, I realized how refreshing it is to look at New York City through a different lens; through someone else’s eyes.

Sometimes, if you’ve been in the same place for long enough, you become jaded, desensitized, and un-phased by your surroundings. It often happens to people in a city as large and ever-changing as New York.

New Yorkers are somewhat known for their ability to block out the loud noises, ignore the distractions, and go about their daily lives almost as if they never blinked; as if their eyes were never even open to begin with.

Similar to a young child who is excited about learning something new, it often feels that way for me when I’m talking about New York. I’m overjoyed for someone to experience something the same way I’ve experienced it – in awe.

The thing about New York City is that your experience is completely dependent on how you want to experience it. You can choose to see everything or choose to see nothing. The same goes for your life. And for me, I want to see it all.

New York, I love you, but you’re bringing me down

I haven’t felt many positive emotions towards New York City lately. This is mostly circumstantial, in light of the recent events that have happened to me, so I’m writing this with a slight bias. But in the last few years, I haven’t had the best memories to associate with this city and it kind of leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

When I first moved here, I set the bar really high for myself. I still had that post-graduate fire, driven towards a successful career. I envisioned a life that would weigh more on the fun and exciting side rather than the difficult and discouraging side. It comes in waves though, like anything in life.

There are moments like last week when I was reunited with a good friend from Australia whom I haven’t seen in over a year, which coincidentally brought together a group of friends in whom I hardly see anymore.

And I keep asking myself the question of whether it’s New York City or if it’s just me. As the great Sinatra once said, “If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere” Well, Sinatra knows his stuff. It’s true. There is no life like New York City.

So, I’m not sure if I’ve done my time and proved to myself and others that I can withstand a beating by living here. I’m not sure if leaving this city will change anything – If I’ll find a better job, or a boyfriend, or a cheaper apartment (I’d most likely find a cheaper apartment). I’m not sure if it’s the mental state that I’m in or the city that I’m living. A lot of people take the action of changing their environment for a better life. I’m not sure if that will work in my case. I’m not sure if I just need to figure things out still. All I know is that I don’t know.

If there is one thing that I’ve learned from New York City, it’s that it’s constantly changing. Change, ironically, is the only thing that tends to stay the same here. People come and go, jobs come and go, apartments come and go, relationships start and end. It’s a vicious cycle.

To me, New York City can be summed up perfectly in the words of E.B. White’s, in an excerpt from “Here is New York”:

“There are roughly three New Yorks. There is, first, the New York of the man or woman who was born here, who takes the city for granted and accepts its size and its turbulence as natural and inevitable. Second, there is the New York of the commuter — the city that is devoured by locusts each day and spat out each night. Third, there is the New York of the person who was born somewhere else and came to New York in quest of something.
…Commuters give the city its tidal restlessness; natives give it solidity and continuity; but the settlers give it passion.”

I’m the settler who is trying to re-discover my passion for New York City. I’m trying to get back to the place where I was filled with ambition and fire. I somehow lost it along the way.

Who you meet

There’s a quote from the movie “Love and Other Drugs” that meant a lot to me the first time I ever heard it and it still means a lot to me now. It goes like this,

“You meet thousands of people and none of them really touch you. And then you meet one person and your life is changed forever.” 

I’m writing this because I know that the person whom I’m writing about is going to read it. And I actually hope he does because this is meant for him. So, here it is.

I know that a lot of people may disagree with the idea of ‘love at first sight.’ To be completely honest, I still don’t exactly understand the mechanics behind it. People usually tend to call it ‘lust at first sight’ instead because how do you really know that you love someone whom you’ve never met before?

Well, I’m not sure if it was love at the first moment I saw him, but it sure as hell was something. It was something that, little did I know at the time, would change my life forever.

The first time I saw him, I was drawn to him. It was like I knew that something was going to happen between us. I wasn’t sure what it was, but I felt like I was supposed to meet him.

Living in New York City, people try not to make eye contact with others. Yet, we encounter hundreds of thousands of people each day just getting from one subway stop to another. How are you supposed to know who is going to impact your life or not?

Usually, it’s a small percentage. We often make it a point to reach our destination without a single encounter unless it’s with someone we’re already with. It’s funny how that happens in big cities. There are millions of people who are going about their lives, trying to avoid making eye contact with one another.

I always go back to that day when I first saw him and I try to ask myself, ‘What exactly was it was that made me look up from staring at the ground that day?‘ When I saw him, I just knew that he was going to be someone important in my life. Again, at the time, I hadn’t realized the magnitude of what our relationship would become. Little did I know how affected I would be him. And little did I know that he would become such a significant part of my young adult life.

But with that quote from “Love and Other Drugs,” I didn’t know that meeting that one person wouldn’t necessarily mean that you would spend the rest of your life with them. Some people come into your life to play a key role only for a brief period of time. Not all relationships were built to last.

I thought [and still think] that our relationship was short-lived. I wasn’t done getting to know him yet. I wasn’t done letting him get to know me. I still don’t know if it’s done or when it will end or if it will begin again. I’m not waiting, but I’m never sure.

Life works in an odd way in that sense – Not knowing who will leave you, who will come back, and who you’ll meet along the way. But when you know, you know. You just feel it. And that’s an important instinct to trust.

6 Days in Denver and Los Angeles

Since I’ve began this blog, I’ve always written some sort of monumental post on or around my birthday to reflect on the previous year because I like to see how far I’ve come, how much I’ve changed, and how much I’ve grown. It’s never a dull journey to get to where I am and thankfully, I have these blog posts to serve as a reminder that life doesn’t get any easier with age.

I just turned 25 about 2 weeks ago. A quarter-century old. A quarter-life crisis to come. Again, to no surprise, I have a laundry list of events that have happened in that previous year.

In the span of 1 year, I had 2 different jobs, lived in 2 different apartments in New York City, and broke up, got back together, then broke up (again) with my boyfriend.

When I turned 25, I was job-less, boyfriend-less, and at the border of a mental breakdown. It only seemed appropriate to take a trip to escape the realities of the environment that I was currently in.

On November 20th 2015, the Friday before my birthday, I was let go from my job – A “promising” position at a startup company that I had only recently started working at in September after being at a large Publishing company prior.

Clearly, it wasn’t a great fit for me.

The night that I got let go, after experiencing hours of complete and utter shock, I had decided that I needed to get away. I needed to travel. I needed to escape.

Please note, to fully comprehend what led to my course of action in taking this trip, I must summarize the events that took place prior. The following situations were brewing in the months leading up to my trip:

  • I left a stable job
  • I started a new job
  • I reconnected with my ex-boyfriend
  • I disconnected from my ex-boyfriend
  • I got into a 2-month long argument with my sister
  • I reconnected (again) with my ex-boyfriend in the wake of the Paris attacks
  • I re-disconnected with my ex-boyfriend
  • I got let go from my job
  • I turned 25

A person can only withstand so much before they reach their tipping point. And for me, I was just about there.

On November 21st, the day after getting let go, I spent 6 hours booking one-way flights from New Jersey, to Denver, to Los Angeles, then back home to New York City.

I left on Friday, November 28th, the day after Thanksgiving and just returned a few days ago, this past Thursday morning.

It wasn’t a long trip, but it was enough. 6 days in Denver and Los Angeles. It was exactly the right amount of time that I needed to process exactly what had happened in the past few months.

When I arrived at Denver International Airport, I hit the ground running, as I typically do when I travel. Whenever I’m in a different place, I always want to do anything and everything in order to take complete advantage of the time that I have wherever I may be. And boy, did I do that. To summarize the events in Colorado, this is what I was able to accomplish in 4 days (And these are only the events that I’m at liberty to disclose):

When I said goodbye to my friends on Monday, I was sad to go, but overwhelmed with excitement for the second part of my trip to Los Angeles. And here is a summary of the events that happened during my 3 days in California:

In the time that it took for me to emotionally breakdown, I was inadvertently able to revive myself through this trip.

Looking back, although this trip was much needed and an extremely pivotal point in my upcoming year(s) of growth, I must say that I am most grateful for the fact that it was such a safe and successful journey. On my last day in Los Angeles, the San Bernardino shooting also happened. I was an hour-distance from San Bernardino, California. I had no idea that was happening at the time, but I am now aware that I could have been and I thank God that I wasn’t.

You never know what’s going to happen in life. In a second, everything can change. Good things happen, bad things happen. You can never fully prepare for the obstacles that are thrown in your way. The best you can do is get through it and hopefully come out stronger.

At 25, I’m still alive. I’m still breathing. I’m still healthy. I still have much more living to do and I know I will come out of this stronger than ever.

Tracks

One of my best friends got married to her boyfriend of five years this past weekend. It was a profound milestone in her and her husband’s lives. Moreover, it was a huge milestone in my life as well because I have been there throughout the entirety of their relationship, from the very first time they met to this very day. To witness their relationship grow into what it is now is truly a remarkable thing.

As more and more of my friends are moving further along with their lives and taking those next steps of life-changing decisions such as getting engaged, getting married, and relocating, it really puts things into perspective for my life. As happy as I am for my friends, it also brings me great sadness to know that things will never be the same again.

Last night, I was looking through old photos, reminiscing on memories, and replaying those moments in my head. I tried hard to soak up as much of what I remember as I could, but I know that living in the past is no way to live.

I’ve never been one to settle for less than I want or deserve and I’ve always wanted more in my life. I’m not sure if that makes me greedy or ambitious, but as I look back at my life decisions, I’m starting to question whether or not I should have just stopped on one of those tracks and taken my life in another direction; a more stable direction.

When I decided to take a job in New York City, pack up, and leave, I imagined an endless amount of opportunities and adventures. To no surprise, I received exactly that. I’ve had amazing times in this city throughout the past three years. I have encountered many unbelievable experiences that I wouldn’t have had if I just stayed in New Jersey. And for that, I am grateful. But at the same time, it’s hard not to picture what my life could have been like if I had made different choices. It makes me wonder what would have happened if I had stayed put and grew with certain people instead of left them behind.

Of course, I’ll never know now. Even if I try to go back and re-live certain situations, it will never work out the way it would have if I had just ran with it during that time. I have already grown and I can’t unlearn the things I have learned. I can only hope for new doors to open and to finally find the person that stops me on my tracks in order to create a new one together.

It’s a special bond you create when you grow with certain people, not only romantic relationships, but in friendships. As I realize and greatly appreciate the people who have stayed by my side throughout all my years of ups and downs, I am thankful to have never left them behind even during those times where I was straying too far.

As you get older, life seems to be moving quicker. It’s important to make sure you don’t let go of the people who have helped you get you to where you are now.

When the Miracles Happen

There are moments when you should throw in the towel. Those moments when you just need to call it quits like if you’re terribly miserable at your job or if a relationship just isn’t working. At times like these, it’s okay and perfectly reasonable to give up; those times when you’re compromising your happiness.

But then, there are times when you need to hang in there. There are times when you can’t give up even if life is throwing its worst at you.

2014 is over and a new year has begun. Close your eyes and just reflect on how far you’ve come and how much has changed.

And here we are.

We made it through another year. Of course, it was not effortless.

Looking back on this past year, there were many defining moments that tested my strength, patience, and tolerance for struggle. I can’t say that it was easy, but I can say that it was all worth it.

This past year, I came across a quote which I would call my definition of 2014 and I greatly appreciate it now more than ever. The quote is:

“The moment you’re ready to quit is usually the moment right before a miracle happens. Don’t give up”

It may sound like this quote contradicts the opening to this blog entry, however, I’m using it in a different context.

Every challenge that I faced this year made me feel completely defeated. I wanted to crawl into a corner, stop trying, and claim myself ‘a failure’. Yes, this is a little melodramatic for my age, but I know people would feel the same way.

I’m thankful that I didn’t crawl into that corner because if I had, I may not have accomplished the things that came later on in the year.

The beginning of 2014 wasn’t pretty. It was a reality check.

Even now, I still don’t have it all figured out. It will take years upon years. But with each year and each defining moment, I’m getting a little closer.

Miracles happen. They don’t necessarily happen at the same time for all people, but eventually they do. Sometimes you have to give up the good to go for the great. You have to leave something behind to go after something more. You have to rediscover yourself.

This past year, I got a little closer to doing just that.

I fell in love, I explored a new country, I became part of a band, I got a new job, I got a new apartment, I got a boyfriend, I ran the New York City Marathon, and this past Tuesday, I finally got published in Elite Daily for the first time.

I wouldn’t have experienced these miracles if I hadn’t kept it together.

My advice to you is to hold out for your miracles and know that they will happen. It may take time, but the time will be worth it.

“Word is Bond”

I often think a lot about words versus actions. I go back and forth, debating which is more important. Lately, my loved ones have been enlightening me on the importance of actions and I know that they’re right.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “The more you say, the less”? Well, in my interpretation, it means that talking too much is useless. Words mean nothing if you don’t put them into actions. Take this from someone who does a lot of talking. I often have a lot to say and when I don’t say, I write (Thank God for this blog).

Another phrase that you may or may not be familiar with is, “Word is bond”. This is a phrase that I often hold true. Unfortunately, not many people have this same mindset.

Living in New York City yields a lot of opportunity for disappointment. There are always distractions and no one can ever really commit to one plan because frankly, there are just too many options. A Saturday night can start off as a regular dinner at a Thai Restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen and end up as drunken karaoke and disco dancing in Williamsburg. You just never know where the night could go. People in the city are always running around, partially committing to several things, and attempting to cross off every item on their agenda.

Yet, when it comes down to meaningful promises, you have to be more careful.

The promises you make to the people you love and the promises you make to yourself are the ones that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

With the New Year just around the corner, I’ve begun brainstorming the list of goals I want to achieve as some of you may also have done. I know that if I write this, I am more inclined to fulfilling it because as they say, word is bond. I’ll never make a promise to myself that I cannot keep and I try desperately to do the same with the people I care about as well.

So my goal for 2015 is to try to say less and do more for the sake of my loved ones and for myself.

After all, in the end, “It’s what you do to the people you say you love. That’s what matters. That’s the only thing that matters”The Last Kiss

What’s it Worth

The other night, I had a dinner  with a friend whom I’ve know for well over ten years. We talked a great deal about how far we’ve come since we were younger. We talked about how much change has happened since the last time we saw each other. There’s something special about re-connecting with a friend who has been around for a majority of your life. They know you before you became the person you are today. They’ve seen you evolve, struggle, and overcome obstacles through a long period of time. At the end of the day, those are the people that you really need in your life – The ones who will stay with you even when you are at your worst.

We both grew up in the same town and went to the same schools. Now, we both work in a similar job field in New York City. We related on our current lifestyles and the choices that we’ve made since we graduated college. We related on the fact that the life we lead seems so much more difficult than those who are still back home. Everything about New York City is just more difficult.

After several hours of catching up, I finally arrived at the question, “Why did we ask for this?”

She replied, “Because we want more. We’re always hungry.”

I don’t regret the decisions that I’ve made since I graduated college. Frankly, I don’t regret any of the decisions that I’ve made in my life because they’ve lead me to where I am now (although I may not know exactly where that is)

Anyone who truly knows me knows that I am notorious for jumping into things prematurely. I just get too excited like a puppy asking for food. I haven’t quite been fully trained on how to wait. I have never had the patience. However, I am a very committed person. The problem with this is that once I’ve committed to something, it’s very rare that I back out. I will stick around to make it work even though the timing was never right in the first place.

I’ve always wondered why things were so hard for me in the beginning of any endeavor. I have the “Why wait?” mentality, but this mentality doesn’t apply in all cases. And I never learn. I re-encounter familiar situations time and time again, anxiously waiting for the day that things will work out from the get-go. But I’m doing everything backwards – Expecting great results without setting aside the time and preparation that’s needed beforehand. I must be a fan of self-destruction because many of my difficult situations that I’m placed in can be easily avoided if I had just been patient.

I know that I’m not the kind of person to settle for a life that is just easier, but it always makes me wonder if it’s all worth it.

It’s just good to know that at the end of the day, there are people in my life that can tell me it’s all worth it.

RACE REPORT: 2014 New York City Marathon

On Sunday, November 2, 2014, I ran my first New York City Marathon.

I arrived at the starting point in Staten Island, New York near 7AM after having little to no sleep the night prior. The nerves and anxiety kept me awake from 4AM on. I headed to the subway from my sister’s apartment at 4:45AM.  It was still pitch black outside and there wasn’t a soul was to be found anywhere on the streets. Thoughts kept circling in my head to convince myself that I was actually running this race and that there was no backing out now. I arrived at the Sheraton Hotel on 53rd and 7th avenue around 6AM and there was an ocean of runners flooding in and out of the hotel lobby. Right then and there, I finally knew that this was all real.

I met with my former co-workers from Runner’s World and was filled with joy to be on a bus with people I knew. As we were seated to depart for the starting point, I couldn’t stop mentally rehearsing how I wanted to run this marathon. In previous races, I’ve never had an issue with turning my thoughts into actions. However, this race was different. I knew I wasn’t physically prepared, so I had to try to put mind over matter. I was hoping that some spontaneous burst of energy that was stored somewhere in my body would arise and make me run the best race of my life (that was not the case)

My wave was scheduled to start at 10:05AM. It was still only 7:30AM as I was walking around looking for a bathroom to use. I kept thinking to myself, “I wonder how many times I can use the bathroom before I actually start running”

I was under-dressed and freezing cold as I wandered the parking lot near my corral. I was with my former co-worker from Runner’s World as we both searched for the best place to hide from the wind while we were waiting. We found a safe haven inside of a Poland Spring truck and sat on pieces of cardboard boxes with strangers who were also trying to keep themselves warm. It was approaching 9AM when I couldn’t handle waiting anymore. I headed to my corral and waited with the other runners who were just as impatient as me. I’ve never wanted to start running so badly in my life.

As the officials started letting us through the gates of our corrals, all I could think about was how cold my toes were and how I wished I brought gloves or a hat.

We slowly started jogging to the bridge where the race was to begin. My body started warming up from excitement. When the alarm went off for us to start, my mind went blank.

As we ran over the bridge, the wind was blowing so hard that I almost tripped over my own two feet. I tried to remain focused and find my balance. When we entered Brooklyn, I started hearing the distant cheers of neighbors who were all lined up on the sidewalk along the blue tape that created a barrier between the runners and them. As the crowds grew larger and the noise grew louder, I couldn’t help but smile. This was really happening. With each passing mile, I kept looking forward to mile 11 where my sister and best friend were waiting for me. My legs felt great and I was at a perfect pace to run a 4-hour marathon.

When I finally arrived at mile 11, I saw the bright, yellow Powerbar poster that my sister’s roommate made for me. I couldn’t be more ecstatic to see them. I stopped and gave them each a hug and finally felt that spontaneous burst of energy overcome me. From there, I thought “This is cake. I have this in the bag”

Once I hit mile 13, the tables started turning. Sharp pains were running up and down from my feet to my shins to my quads. By mile 14, I felt everything. My legs felt like giant cinder-blocks  and the pain became more intense. I wasn’t familiar with this feeling and I didn’t know what to do. Every step was more difficult than the last. I kept telling myself, “DO NOT WALK. WHATEVER YOU DO, DO NOT WALK”

I walked.

I walked almost every mile from 14 through 26 and I couldn’t be more disappointed. I’ve never walked a race in my life and I couldn’t understand how this happened to me. I began ignoring the cheers of the crowds as I ran through the Bronx and Manhattan. All I wanted was to finish with this race. At one point, I even considered just completely being taken out by a medic. I’ve never felt this amount of pain before.

Then, I thought about how much more disappointed I would be if I didn’t finish the marathon. After such a difficult year, I owed it to myself to earn that medal. Once we finally entered Central Park, less than 2 miles left from the finish line, I saw my sister and best friend at mile 25 and they were still cheering.

I cried to them, “I’ve got nothing left.”

“Yes, you do!” screamed a stranger in the crowd.

In my head, I just thought, “No. I don’t.”

I mustered up every bit of energy I had left to run the remainder of mile 26. As we approached the grandstand, I saw the finish line in sight and tried to speed up the snail-like pace that I was running at. When I crossed the finish line, I felt everything- All of the emotions, physical pain, memories, everything. But, I finished. I didn’t even care about my time. It seems impossible to really describe how difficult this race was for me. All I can offer now is advice for those who plan to run New York City Marathon or any marathon for that matter.

1.) Use a training plan

Train. Stick to a plan and don’t skip out on long runs. I was no where near the mileage that I should have reached for this race. My legs gave out because they were not used to running further than 10 miles. I now understand that wishful thinking DOES NOT carry you the entire way. Being unprepared for a race is the same as being unprepared for a test in school. The information doesn’t just appear out of thin air. Be prepared.

2.) Bring MANY layers

Whatever the weather is predicted to be, bring more layers than you think you need – A hat, gloves, a sweatshirt, sweatpants, a blanket, a sleeping bag, anything. You can always get rid of it before the race. It’s better to have more clothes than less. Bring things that you don’t mind getting rid of. This gives you an excuse to do some spring cleaning.

3.) Get enough sleep

I may have slept a total of 1.5 hours the night before, but thankfully got 10+ hours two nights before. (And I’m pretty sure that I was half-asleep from miles 16-20) Get in bed an hour or two before the time that you actually want to sleep. Trust me, you won’t fall asleep that easily. The nerves are real.

4.) Write your name somewhere, anywhere, on your clothing

The crowds helped A LOT. During the miles when I was walking, it felt amazing to hear someone still cheering for you even if you’re walking. Feed off of their kind words. It will carry you.

5.) Take the food that they give you at the finish line

All I can say is that if I didn’t eat or drink something afterwards, I probably would have passed out. You need to eat or drink something after your race. Your stomach will be crying for it and you need the sugar and protein to help your muscles recover immediately.

6.) Understand that anything can happen

Running a marathon is extremely hard. Running in general is hard. Despite your level of athleticism, you never know what could happen in 26.2 miles. Don’t get discouraged by pain. It happens to everyone. We’re only human.

7.) Don’t give up

When you want to give up, try your best not to. I was in an extreme amount of pain and was convinced that I was going to quit, but I’m so glad that I didn’t. The medal that you will get to wear around your neck will make you more proud than you’ve ever been in your life.