The race that wasn’t

The race that wasn’t

What I wrote to my running group tonight, as I was sitting on a friend’s bed in Brooklyn:


Greetings from Brooklyn (Williamsburg)!  This is long; hang in there.

So yeah, suffice it to say things were a bit odd earlier.  I got into the city somewhat adventurously (by way of Newark plus two trains, one of which was repeatedly cancelled… then it showed up after being cancelled…) and just went straight to the expo from Penn Station.  I picked up my stuff, and the volunteer told me that the SI ferry was back in business–news to me, which was great bc that meant I wouldn’t have to catch a 4:30 bus in Manhattan–so I got all of that stuff figured out.

Maybe 20 minutes later (and 20 is probably a stretch) a woman in the group said that she had to “grab” her shirt out of a volunteer’s hands bc the volunteer was instructed not to give out anything bc the marathon had been cancelled.  That was especially bizarre bc we all whipped out our smartphones and nothing was on the NYRR site but other places, like ABC, NBC, ESPN (what John sent), etc all were saying as much.  What’s even weirder is that the ENTIRE time we were in the expo, there wasn’t any sort of public announcement.  In fact, the expo was still party central with music pumpin’ and everything.

Of course it’s disappointing to not be able to run (and you all know this, you know what training entails and all the timing, sacrifices, choices, whatever you have to make) and to “lose” the taper, but it’s perspective, right?  One woman in the group of people I was in cried; my reaction wasn’t (isn’t) that visceral.  I’d be lying if I said that I’m bummed I couldn’t do this on my birthday this year (btw, happy birthday, Guerline!!!!) or experience the city, but really, a) there are always other races (we all know that), b) there will always be future NYC marathons, even if they are horrifically expensive, and c) honestly, I still felt conflicted about the whole thing.

This is silly, but I think it’s an appropriate example of the “weirdness” of what this day has been.  Leaving Midway this morning for Newark, I was tryin to size up who else on my Newark flight were runners.  Of course, I was wearing a Boston pull-over from 2010, and when I was working on teaching stuff, I pulled out my laptop with my “marathoner” bumper-sticker adorning it, but I don’t know, it just didn’t feel right.  You recall what it’s like to fly to Boston, and all the marathoners are checking each other out, and people are all intrigued that you’re running and stuff… none of that existed this morning.  It was just… different.  Even though I knew that I, personally, of course had nothing to do with the hurricane or its deleterious effects on the city, I still felt almost guilty– or really, perhaps even ashamed–that I was entering into a city that already had so many issues to deal with.  Sure, my presence, as well as that of the other 40k runners they were expecting, could still bring in the $350mil revenue to the city, but I still felt like I was out of place being here… or rather, COMING here when my presence wasn’t going to do much.

I don’t know why I’m even still thinking about this… probably because I’m conflicted still… but I think it’ll be interesting to see what type of damage control the NYRR will do in the coming days.  Initially, we had until Saturday at 11:59pm to defer to 2013 and have a guaranteed spot.  Now, I don’t know if that will still be the case (or even how they’ll try to handle it).  It’ll be interesting, and no surprise here, NYRR isn’t saying anything on their website right now–just that announcements will be forthcoming.  Whatev.

The silver lining to all of this is that I’m coming back to Milwaukee early on Sunday to make ALL of my friend’s wedding (not just half of her reception), so that will be awesome… and it’s likely that I’ll hook up with a friend and her bf tomorrow and volunteer with some of the relief efforts.  And hell, it’s no 26.2, but I’ve got my running gear… might as well take a running tour of Brooklyn tomorrow.  I’ll just try not to get lost.

Thanks for all the encouraging emails and thoughts over the past few days.  I don’t think I’ve been a basketcase necessarily, but I also know I’ve been thinking about the implications of me doin this marathon FAR MORE than I think about me doing other marathons.  You guys are the best.  Houston’s really not THAT far away at this point (1/13), but we’ll see.  Maybe I can find something relatively local and low-key between now and then for a test run, much as I was going to treat NYC.  We’ll see.

Thanks guys, and talk to you soon.  Sorry for the rambling.

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