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November 5, 2012

What a Week

Friday morning, I made my way to the Javits Center to pick up my race packet for the New York City Marathon. 

I walked into the Javits Center and saw thousands upon thousands of runners taking pictures in their shirts and race bibs and tried desperately to absorb the hustle and bustle of the Expo and get excited to tackle 26.2 miles on Sunday over the course of the world's largest marathon.

It shouldn't have been easy for me to to get excited for a race that I started preparing for almost 2 years ago to the date...but the excitement at the Expo was somewhat muted. Everyone was conflicted over where the marathon should go on...but here we all were...just 2 days away and trying to psyche ourselves up for a marathon that none of us were sure we should run. It was easy to see - just in catching someone's eye - that I was very much not alone in how I felt about this race.

I left the Expo, met up with Emily for an easy shakeout run and started to mentally prepare myself to run a marathon on Saturday. No less than an hour later, the news broke all over Twitter and the major broadcast stations that the ING New York City Marathon had been cancelled for the first time in the event's history.

 
A rush of emotions flooded over me - frustration, anger, sadness, grief...and an overwhelming sense of relief.

Friday night, I did what just about every other runner in New York I know did. I drank.

On Saturday, Emily and I headed out for a run in Central Park. Just after we had hit 4 miles, she asked me how far I wanted to go. I almost started crying. I felt like she was asking me what the meaning of life was. How far should I go? I'm not even supposed to be running today, I'm supposed to be running a marathon tomorrow. I felt good so we kept going. Around Mile 8 or 9, we came across the New York City Marathon Finish Line. We immediately started sprinting, hoping to cross the line but it was closed off. We walked to the other side of the Finish and I just lost it. I completely fell apart. 

It was completely and utterly unfair for Mayor Bloomberg and the New York Road Runners to cut the cord on the marathon on Friday night. Yes, it was the right decision, but it needed to be made 3 days before. 

The worst part of everything though was the backlash that came from the city of New York. It was absolutely appalling. It's impossible to not take it personally when it isn't just Facebook commentators but major news outlets like NBC that are calling runners insensitive, selfish, narcissistic and unsympathetic. 

It got so bad that my dad called me from Texas to tell me that he feared for my safety if I were to run this race. People threatening to throw garbage at the runners, saying that they hoped runners would drop dead mid-race, threatening protests...Tell me: How would any of that have helped New York to recover?

How is it that all of this backlash was targeted at the runners who weren't at all responsible for making the decision to hold the race -  but were already making commitments to help. In the wake of disaster, New York City decided to turn their attention to the marathon instead of to the relief efforts. What makes anyone think that runners AREN'T doing everything they can to aid in relief efforts? What makes anyone think that runners couldn't have run the marathon AND assisted in relief efforts?

I came across these two posts this morning and I couldn't agree with either of them more: 

I spent Saturday night looking for marathons to run. I couldn't let all of my training go to race. I had always had Dallas in the back of my head but the idea of running a race 5 weeks from now would have brought my training cycle to 21 weeks...with 3 weeks of base training...the idea of training for that much longer made me nauseous. 

I looked at some other options. Ally offered to come to Tulsa if I ran Route 66 and The Pilot would have been able to make it but I took too long to decide and the race sold out before I knew it. I desperately wanted to run Philly...I could get really excited about running my first marathon again but Philly seems to have no interest whatsoever in allowing bib transfers for deferred New Yorkers. There's a race in Fort Worth next weekend, which is wear my dad lives, but it doesn't seem like a very good one. Almost everyone I knew who was supposed to run New York registered for Richmond and when it became my only option, I went ahead and registered yesterday afternoon. 


I'm trying to get excited to run a marathon this weekend but it's been tough. I know that there won't be a cloud hanging over me or the race this weekend. I won't have my mom or The Pilot out on the course cheering for me but I will have Katie there to spectate and a slew of other New York runners running alongside me and it's that camaraderie that I think is the only thing that didn't shut me down from running another marathon this year at all. 

So, this weekend I'll be running the Richmond Marathon. I'll spend yet another week carb loading and getting excited to run the race I've been training for for the better part of this year. Just writing this post, I'm already starting to get excited about the race. I really hope this race goes well for me because after everything else this week...I need to have a good race. 

7 comments:

  1. I was sad to hear that the race was cancelled. I think it could have been something good for NY, and I do feel like it offered hope to others. Wishing you the best of luck in Richmond!

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  2. I feel lucky that I didn't experience any of the animosity toward marathon runners in person last week.

    I'm sure you'll rock Richmond! Can't wait to track you all and virtually cheer you on. :)

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  3. And LPT is running it too! Oh honey, I've been thinking about you all weekend and wondering how you were doing. You will kick ass this weekend in Richmond and though it won't be the same, you'll still have all the love and support from all of us that love you and are pulling for you!

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  4. I live only 45 min from Richmond, I would have loved to meet you!! But I won't be back in the US until NOv 16. Good luck with Richmond., I heard it is a great marathon!!

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  5. I feel very sorry for you to be in that situation. I had really REALLY hoped to be there for this, trying 4 half marathons last year to qualify, as well as the lottery, and none of those shots worked. I was not supposed to be there. I think God knew I couldn't handle it, but I could handle Ironman instead.

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  6. Hugs to you, and good luck in Richmond! I don't really know what I would have done if I had planned to run NYC this year rather than last. I know my feelings would be as mixed as yours.

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  7. I cannot even imagine how it must feel to live in New York and see everything happening around you, and THEN feel the impact of the marathon decision. I know you are going to ROCK Richmond this weekend, and I cannot wait to see your recaps! Best of luck, lady!

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