Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Human Spirit

 My experience in New York was certainly not what I was expecting.  It was a life altering experience. A lesson about the human spirit and my own spirit.   My previous post was written on Thursday after arriving in NYC.  I knew that the race was going to be different but I had no idea what this trip was going to be like.

 The trip began pretty great!  Chatting with Kara Goucher at baggage claim was really fun, she is so real.  We chatted about how the race was going to be different this year and how they were taking so much heat for having it.  Even though her race had been canceled she was very excited about spectating the marathon and it made me feel like I could get excited about the marathon.  Up to that point I felt guilty for even wanting to run the race.

 Friday we made our way to the expo :)  I love marathon expos, especially really big marathon expos.  Met up with Tyler ( my training partner, we planned on running the race together or at least staying together for as long as we could) picked up our race numbers, were interviewed for ESPN Deportes, chatted with Kara again (we are BFF's now), and left the expo feeling energized and dare I say even excited.  The expo felt normal but maybe that is because we were all runners there :)

 Then around 5pm as we were sitting getting hot chocolate because it was freezing outside my phone started going crazy.  Tyler called and told me the marathon had been canceled.  It was unbelievable and yet at the same time somehow I felt like I knew it was coming.  I had heard and seen the outrage that was going on all over the country because the marathon was going to happen.  I was angry although I felt like if I expressed that I was heartless because so many people were suffering.  So I tried to keep it all in and be brave.  I talked to a couple of my friends and family but was not really ready to talk much. My husband, brother and sister in law sat at the table in disbelief for about an hour.  I kept the tears in and tried to figure out what was next.  I texted my coach and after a few choice words about the timing of the cancellation and mayor Bloomberg she said, "Well you have a 21 miler tomorrow."  Direction is definitely what i needed and it got me through the next day or so.  Tyler and I made plans at dinner and tried not to think about what might have been.  So Saturday morning we met and ran 21 miles around central park.  It was great, hard, and cathartic.  My body was ready to run an amazing race and that made me happy and angry at the same time.  Seeing all the marathoners running was inspiring and sad. It was hard to see all the mile markers and marathon signs in the park.  We did 3+ loops having to go through the finish line each time.  The grandstands were up, the flags were up, and it was almost electric.  There were tears on lap 1 and 3 when we finished at the finish line.  21 miles at race pace made me confident that there is a great race in me.
Finished with 20+ miler #5
picture with our Team Athena shirts on, starting to freeze after our run
 The rest of Saturday was actually pretty emotional for me.  I tried to be happy and make the best of the situation but I failed.  I really just wanted to go home but was so torn because I could not help but feel that there was a reason that all of this had happened.  I wanted to find a way to help, to make a difference.
Why not go to a Broadway play since there would be no marathon in the morning, even if you find yourself crying in the middle of it because you have been holding it in for 2 days

5 layers on because I was freezing!!
 Sunday was spent walking across he Brooklyn Bridge and enjoying some NYC pizza.  We were also able to go to Lower Manhattan and see some of the damage from the hurricane.  It was surreal to see.  The 9/11 memorial was closed due tot he hurricane but just to stand where those towers once stood left one thinking about how many lost their lives and how blessed I am.

Finally on Monday we were able to help in the relief effort.  It was rewarding to be able to help people that had lost everything.  Again it made me realize how grateful I am for everything that I have been blessed with.  It also made me realize that you have to make the most of the time you have because at any point it can be taken away.  These people were pulling together to get through a huge disaster.  In times of great tragedy the true human spirit shines through.

Lessons from NYC-
-Life does not always go as planned, there is a lesson in every experience we have
-I am stronger than I think I am.  I can get through hard things.
-People are amazing and there is good in all people, sometimes it just takes a little effort to find it
-Things happen for a reason and sometimes we are not able to see the reason for some time
-I appreciate my life more now, I love my life more now.

So grateful to have Tyler to share this experience with.  We got each other through this.

I could not walk by a fire station and not think about 9/11.  This city has been through so much and its people are stronger for it.  I hope that I can grow stronger through my trials too!
Running in Central Park was amazing!  Next year I will be back crossing the finish line :)

In the meantime, whats next?  Well I am running the Seattle marathon on Sunday!  Aghh!!  It does not really seem real!  It is hard to get mentally psyched up for this race.  I have trained hard and am hoping for an amazing race.  This journey has been an interesting one and I am hoping it has a happy ending.  Lets hope the double taper is the key to an amazing race


  1. Good luck in Seattle! I wondered if you would sign up for another race. So glad that there was one you could get into. NYC will be a marathon to remember that is for sure. So sorry that you had to travel all the back there to have the race canceled. Glad that you made the most of your trip though and got to volunteer. My friend in Spokane did the same thing and said that it was really life changing and inspiring to him to be able to help. Proud of you for making the best out of a not so great situation.

  2. If anyone deserves to pull off the double taper, YOU do. Hope you have the best Seattle race ever!!