Today I woke up and ate breakfast. I reset my clocks. I had a cup of coffee. Want to know what I didn’t do? I did not rise at the crack of dawn. I did not take a ferry to Staten Island. I did not run 26.2 miles.
As most of you probably know, this has been a rough week. On Monday, New York and New Jersey got pummeled by a massive storm. Parts of the city flooded and many homes lost power. The subway system was totally out of commission for days. Initially Mayor Bloomberg said the marathon would still take place. But many runners, residents, and city officials thought that holding the race while some parts of New York lay trashed and dark would be disrespectful. As the backlash mounted, I worried that the route would be lined with protesters. Or, worse yet, no one at all.
Finally, on Friday afternoon, Bloomberg and the New York Road Runners made a last-minute decision to cancel the marathon. Here’s what my face looked like . . .
Soren’s parents were already here. My parents, who were set to fly in on Saturday, decided not to come. The news was especially heartbreaking because I’ve been looking forward to this day for months. I did all of the grunt work, but got none of the glory.
After the shock wore off, I sank into a deep depression and decided to drown my sorrows. Luckily we had plenty of wine. Wine and Korean food. But at midnight, I got indignant. No one gets to tell me whether I can or can’t run! Certainly not Mommy Bloomberg. Then, an idea! I had heard that the Prospect Park Alliance was holding a 5K race on Saturday to raise money for the cleanup of the park. I’ll run that goddamn race, I thought drunkenly.
I woke up at 7am, put on my racing clothes, and biked to the park. Soren followed close behind. We froze our butts off waiting for the race to start. But finally it was time to run.
I have no idea how long it took me because the race wasn’t timed. My feet felt like logs of frozen beef for the first half. Then they began to thaw. A couple of kids passed me, but I didn’t care. Soren, who was waiting at the finish line, told me a man in tiny American flag shorts won. But I felt like a winner too. This is what winning looks like.
Then we biked home and Soren made me bacon waffles. I may not be running a marathon, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to give up on carb loading.
I also didn’t want to give up on my marathon t-shirt. So yesterday afternoon Soren, his parents, and I made a sad, sad pilgrimage to Manhattan to pick up my race bib and t-shirt. The subway still isn’t back to normal, so our trip consisted of a 20-minute walk, a train, a walk, another train, another train, and then a walk. It was an epic journey — all to wander the somber halls of a half torn down fitness expo and pick up a t-shirt for a race I won’t be able to run. And I can’t really even wear the shirt. Because I’m not a marathoner. Not yet anyway.
Today I should be marathoning. But maybe I’ll have a martini and a cigarette instead. There’s always next year.
[Don’t despair. I still plan to run a marathon. The race organizers haven’t yet told us exactly what’s happening. I presume the race is cancelled rather than postponed, and I imagine my entry will be deferred until next year. So watch for me in 2013. I’m in it to win it, baby!]