A Marathon Deferred

As you must all be aware by now, the New York City Marathon, the marathon of my dreams, was cancelled last week. You might think I’d be supremely disappointed. I was, but I made the most of the situation and ended up having a fantastic time in the City!

Alana and I flew in on Friday morning. We weren’t even sure the flights would be landing at LaGuardia considering it was under water a few days ago! Everything went off without a problem and we made it easily into the city to check into our hotel. I don’t know if every hotel room in NYC is small, but our room was SMALL! (How small was it?!?!?) It was so small, we had to give up the bathroom privacy we have at home. While we’re at home, doors are closed, fans are turned on, noises are muted. In the hotel, every tinkle echoed through the room! The cool thing about the room was that with a push of a button, the bed slid up the wall into a modified couch. It was like having our very own Craftmatic Adjustable Bed!

After checking in, we walked to the marathon expo. This is where you pick up your race bib, timing chip, and free marathon t-shirt. That’s the easy part. You can’t leave the expo until you weave your way through all the vendors selling souvenir shirts, jackets, hats, shot glasses, gloves, you name it, they sell it. I spent a lot of money on my souvenirs because you only do the NYC Marathon once, right?

We then tried to find some dinner. You would think it would be easy to find a great restaurant in NYC. However, we were with our friend and fellow runner, Gina. Finding a restaurant that all three of us agreed on was the hard part! We walked up to a restaurant, read the menu in the window and said, “meh, let’s keep walking.” We found ourselves nearing Times Square when Alana and Gina started getting text messages saying the marathon was cancelled! My friends suck because no one texted me! I found out later that I received a ton of sympathy from my friends on facebook, so it’s all good. We didn’t believe the news at first. The websites we looked at weren’t updated in real time, so they didn’t have the info. Finally, we had enough confirmation to digest the fact that the marathon was really cancelled. We spent the entire dinner looking at our phones and texting people. The cancellation was soaking into my reality now. After the anticipation that started in April when I found out I was in, I now knew I had to wait another year.

So what would you do if you were in my running shoes? I’ll tell you what I did – we stayed and had a blast! Now that I knew I wouldn’t be running a marathon on Sunday, I used Saturday to explore Midtown Manhattan. I walked from our hotel at the corner of 10th Ave and 42nd Street to the Empire State Building and back again. I walked from the hotel to The Late Show With David Letterman studio. When I got there, the doors were open and they were taking lottery applications for Monday’s taping. I thought, “I made the NYC Marathon by lottery drawing, so maybe I’ll be lucky again.” They took my application and told me they’d call me on Sunday. I got the call and we made it into the taping! That experience is an entire blog entry all by itself, so stay tuned.

Sunday morning, Gina and I ran from the hotel to Central Park. We ran nearly 8 miles before we saw that the mile markers were still up in the Park. We ran from mile 25 to the finish line and took a few pictures. It was a sad sight to see what might have been. We ran back to the entrance to the park and saw large groups of people preparing to run their own marathon in the park. The original NYC marathon was four laps around Central Park. So, 100s of people were getting ready to do the “Run Anyway Marathon.” We soaked in the energy and headed back toward the hotel. I ended up running 10 miles, so I was kind of a slacker. I showered and headed back to Central Park to take pictures and video of the runners.

There were people on facebook who thought the runners should have gone to Staten Island to help with the recovery effort. I disagreed. I saw people from Mexico, France, Russia, and I don’t know how many other countries running together in the Park. I saw small crowds of people near the finish line cheering on the runners. I saw the world community coming together to make the most of a bad situation. Running is therapeutic to me on a regular day. Coming from Ohio was no big deal. I’ll come back and run it next year. If I came as far as they did, I would make sure to run in NYC as much as I could! If you feel guilty about not helping, do what we did and send money to the Red Cross. Run long, run free, run happy!

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