Friday, November 9, 2012

New York . . . New York . . .

"If I can make it there
I'll make it anywhere
It's up to you
New York, New York!"

I was starting to wonder whether we were going to make it to New York:  Hurricane Sandy, blown-out apartment . . .  When Mayor Bloomberg announced on Tuesday (or was it Wednesday) that the marathon was still ON, we all decided to head out to the wind-blown, flooded city and make the best of the race.  We had our plane tickets.  We had a new apartment.  Why not go?

When we disembarked from the plane, the chaos began.  How should we get to our apartment?  Should we take a taxi?  Should we take the subway?  Should we take the Air Train?  We headed outside into the wind and cold with our large suitcases and began searching for help.  Though we were utterly confused, there were two other marathoners from Logan that followed us around, hoping for answers on transportation.  It was the blind leading the blind.  A nice young man finally found us a 6 passenger mini-van, driven by another man named Carlos, who agreed to drive us to our apartment for only $20/person + tip.  That Carlos was a smart fellow.  He made $150 driving us to Manhattan.  Unfortunately, Carlos didn't have room for the other two Utahns that had been following us.  We made enemies during our first hour in New York. :(  We literally left them standing on the curb.

During the drive to our apartment, we found out two things:  1) Carlos had to drive all the way to Connecticut that morning to get gasoline for his mini van because New York and New Jersey were out of gas and 2) Carlos' mini van is in dire need of new shocks.  It was a VERY bumpy ride!!

We made it to our apartments and started unpacking when I suddenly heard Jason say something like this from the TV room:  "The marathon has just been cancelled."  I totally thought he was joking.  I walked into the TV room to laugh with him about his joke.  His face was not smiling.  He was staring at an alert scrolling along the bottom of the television screen:  "Mayor Bloomberg cancels New York City Marathon."  We had been in the city for a couple of hours.  The reason for our visit had just been cancelled.  It was quite a shock to the system.

We headed to the expo to try to get our gear.  We weren't leaving New York without our $250 race shirts.  We walked into the building, not knowing what to expect.  What we saw was hundreds of people standing around a television set in absolute silence, watching the announcement of the cancellation.  I don't know how to describe what the air felt like:  heavy, sad, somber, tragic . . .  People were devastated.  Some had traveled thousands of miles from other countries to run the race of a lifetime.

I actually understood WHY Mayor Bloomberg cancelled the race.  Many people had lost their homes because of the hurricane.  Many New Yorkers were angered at the thought of the police forces being taken away from clean-up to man the race.  I understood Mayor Bloomberg's reasoning.  I was still sad.

Over the next few days, we heard stories of suffering, hunger, loss of property and homes, children celebrating birthdays in homes without electricity . . .  How could I be sad about missing a race when others were missing far greater, more important things?

Jill, Marisa and I still ran our own race in Central Park on Sunday, the day the marathon was supposed to be held.  We have the 26.2 miles on our watches to prove it.  There were many other runners that ran their own race as well.  There was a feeling of community in the park that day.  Many runners came to New York to run the race of their lifetime, and in my mind, that is truly what we got.  Sometimes, when things don't go exactly as we plan them, we are forced to do things a little bit differently . . . Different is good.  Different makes memories.

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