Model Candice Huffine completed one of the toughest races in the world on Monday. Here, she gives us a behind-the-scenes look of her journey to the finish line.
They say “Boston will change your life.” They told me for months. They told me how to prepare, how to hydrate, how to eat, how to push through the hills, but “they” never told me how this road race changes lives. They just kept repeating that it would. Then I crossed the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday and knew in an instant: I’m different now, and not because I joined some marathon finisher club. Training for this race, pushing myself and refusing to quit has altered the way I approach my goals from this day forward. I crossed that line and vowed I would never again tell myself I can’t do something.
VIDEO: See the First Woman to Run the Boston Marathon
The days of doubt are gone. This race got me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to prove to myself just how strong I am. They were right. So, here’s to the hobby that motivated me to set a goal that turned into a dream that changed my life. Find your marathon, actual or otherwise. Find the thing that makes others think you’re crazy for trying and makes you feel like the most powerful version of yourself yet.
1. Legendary Run-in
Legend Katherine Switzer signed my bib right after this, upside down in case I needed to look down and see her there. I tapped that signature once during the race when I felt like I would never finish. If she didn't quit after an attempt to physically drag her from the course, I would not quit. She changed the sport of running for women forever and it was an honor to stand beside her. #261Fearless
2. Rite of passage
Where did this "bite the medal" tradition come from? Why does it always feel so victorious!? I don't know but put on around your neck and tell me you don't do this.
3. Pit stop
A stop at Blackbird before we head out, naturally.
4. All Smiles
Running, above all, is about having fun. Don't do anything that doesn't make you smile.
5. Ready to Run
Day before mood. Actually whole weekend mood.
6. Big (Bird) Moment
At the 5K on the Saturday before the marathon—told him I loved him in the 1985 classic Follow That Bird. ;)
7. Follow the Blue Triple Line
These three lines appear on the road about 400 meters from the finish. I let them guide me home.
8. Relaxation Required
You're supposed to rest your legs leading up to the race, so Alison Désir, Mary Wittenberg and I chose to do so on the finish line. ;)
9. I Saw the Sign
That out of focus Citgo sign in the distance seems so meaningless in any other town, but in Boston it signifies the homestretch to the finish line. It means there is one mile left. I saw it and well...emotions took over. I knew this impossibly large goal that once seemed so far, was around the bend. I don't mind sharing my cry face because to me it symbolizes strength. I worked so hard for this and in a moment it was all mine.
10. Moral Support
Thanks to everyone at Mile 18 for the lift I needed! Have you sensed yet that the running community and all around vibes of Boston are one big family!?
11. Clutch Cool-Down
It was HOT out there and I was prepared to hydrate any way possible.
12. Power Panel
Days before the marathon I had the absolute privilege of speaking on a panel hosted by Strava about how we can positively impact the future of running. I was surrounded by women who inspire and empower me and I was so happy to have the chance to do that for another runner in the crowd and remind them they are unstoppable. (Left to right: Alison Désir-founder of Harlem Run, Kelly Roberts- blogger "Run, Selfie, Repeat", ME!, Amanda Nurse-fatest female marathon PR and qualifier, Kaitlin Goodman-Olympic qualifier in 5K, 10K, and marathon)
13. Grand Finale
This was the exact moment I heard them announce "Candice Huffine, Brooklyn, NY" as I crossed the finish line. Chills.