This past week was filled with last-minute planning meetings, volunteers’ meetings and another awesome, but difficult, long run!
I have realized through the process of training for the NYC Marathon that I have a passion for running. It is something that I look forward to, want to learn more about and share with others. For these reasons, I approached my local legislators to help me organize a 5k run/walk and health fair. It all started with a simple idea–to make people aware of what is available in the community. If people are more aware of all of the great options they have and the companies that do offer options that cater to healthier lifestyles, people just might choose to incorporate the healthier option into their lives.
The day started off dreary and there was an 80 percent chance of scattered thunderstorms, everyone was so nervous that the weather would deter people from coming out. We had approximately 515 people sign up for the 5k, but only 450 people participated (while we were planning we only expected 250 people). It was an amazing turnout! The day started off with a 5k run/walk and the proceeds went to the Bethpage Educational Foundation. It was a great feeling knowing that I was able to help create and provide a first-time experience to so many people who have never run/walked in a race. I hope that my passion for the sport has caught on with others and that they will now seek out more races.
What I love about running is the sense of community that surrounds it. The race director of the 5k always says you either race, cheer or volunteer! It was great to see how many people came out to volunteer and help make the event a success. After the run, the community, the race participants and their family and friends were invited to attend the health and wellness fair. The fair consisted of healthy food stores, chiropractors, nutritionists, gyms, Pilates studios, yoga studios, karate centers and hospitals all within the surrounding area. It was a great way of bringing everybody together and I feel confident that my goal of making people aware of what is available in my community was reached!
The next morning after the race and fair, I did what I loved to do, run. As I was out on the path, my running partner noticed that a female jogger was wearing my t-shirt from the race and a few miles later another man running says to us, “awesome job with the race and fair, way to give back!” These small gestures gave me that extra push as I was feeling sluggish towards mile 16. What I realized from planning the race and fair was that all the stress and anxiety was worth it to ultimately have that experience and feel a sense of accomplishment, knowing that it all started with a single idea that I had and I believed in myself. And, this is exactly how I am going to look at the marathon. Training is stressful at times and I have a ton of anxiety about what I will eat, wear and drink. But, that morning, when I am standing with 30,000+ runners about to cross over the Verrazano Bridge, I will for sure know that this is going to be an amazing experience. I’m just going to relax and enjoy every single step… even the ones I might struggle to take!
Want more updates from Tara Costa? Follow Tara on Twitter or become a fan on Facebook. You can also follow Tara’s progress on the New York Road Runners website or TaraCosta.com.