sweetbitter

08Nov12

A sweet visit with my parents and sisters…

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The race was canceled. It was a good decision.

I had been in denial for those few days before, telling myself that the damage wasn’t so bad and that New Yorkers wanted us there as a symbol of spirit and resiliance. We double checked our hotel booking and made sure the Marathon was still on. We glomped-on to any New Yorker declaring themselves, “open for business!”, so excited for this long-anticipated trip.

It was confusing being there. We stayed in Midtown, which was largely functioning normally. The shops, museums and restaurants were all full of people. There were runners everywhere (easy to spot with their lean bodies and fast shoes). I picked up my race package and spoke with a number of friendly volunteers. I felt welcome and psyched…

Until the race was cancelled. Then I just felt awkward. Keen to make myself useful and yet stay out of the way.

Gas shortages, persistant power outages and more news of tragedy and destruction – It would not have been appropriate to run the race in the face of such stress and sadness.

So really, there was nothing more we could do but stay low impact and have a good time. I did look for volunteer opportunities, but found nothing at the local parks or soup kitchens nearby (there were lots of opportunities in Coney Island and Red Hook, but transit was bad and I was feeling that my ignorance of the area would make me less than helpful). A huge group of runners ran into Staten Island, hauling food, flashlights, prepaid cellphones and batteries. I literally missed the boat on that effort, but decided in the end that I was with them in spirit and would donate cash instead.

On Marathon day, we encountered two hundred and fifty joyful Italian runners on the apex of the Brooklyn Bridge. They had made a human tunnel with their arms and had all of their friends run through it as they whooped and cheered.

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Confusing, right? All of those months of training in stifling heat and on concrete… I was so disappointed, and yet forced to face the reality of real disappointment – people whose lives had been turned upside down by an actual natural disaster. Ultimately though, the Italians made me smile, happy and ready to make the best of it. Bless those endorphins!

So, that’s it! Tired, but fit. My first marathon was foiled by a sprained ankle, my second, hurricane. I am taking this as a sign to work on something else for a while. Did you know that I was going to win this one? Are you laughing?

Lucky to have enjoyed the sweetness with my family. Frozen hot chocolate, four sister straws:

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And best wishes for your recovery, New York!

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3 Responses to “sweetbitter”

  1. I was disappointed for you, M. So disappointed. But you’re right. Cancelling the race was the right decision. And it sounds like you made the most of your trip. Maybe this means we can plan a reunion run for your next marathon attempt? Eh, eh?

    • reunion, A! Pick a spot! Or, if you like your trail race this weekend, how about the Comfortably Numb race this summer? A weekend at Whistler!

  2. I just looked up the Comfortably Numb race. It’s 25 km!!! Which I’m guessing would feel like 35 km on a road or sidewalk. Yikes. That would require some serious training. But maybe. Just maybe. It’s a good idea.


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