Monday Morning, October 29th – Hurricane Sandy is expected to wreak havoc down the eastern seaboard, doing major damage, flooding, power outages, in other words, nothing good.
This is not the headline you want to see 7 days before your planned New York City marathon date. While I was worried about the folks out there, I know how likely it was that the weather and news channels were again hyping up the weather, trying to create their own news. Nothing is going to happen to delay or impact the marathon right?
Monday Night – It appears the weather hype-sters got this one right, Sandy punched harder than they thought, the folks out there are going to be in for a very rough ride, but this is New York and New Jersey, they will be back in business in a few days right? Nothing is going to happen to delay or impact the marathon right?
Tuesday Morning, October 30th – The news keeps getting worse, more devastation and destruction, Sandy has brought New York City and New Jersey to their knees, people have died and the clean up is going to take longer than initially expected. Mayor Bloomberg issues a statement, informing us all that “The New York City Marathon will be run as usual on Sunday!”. Wow, this is great news, we are doing important things here: Jim, Sammi, and I have already raised a little over $27,000 for cancer research and we are set to fly out on Friday. Surely the people of New York will understand why the show (or run as it were) must go on.
Tuesday Evening – The News keeps getting worse, Laguardia is closed, and will likely be until Thursday, thousands of people are stranded in New York that want out, and thousands are stranded out of New York that want to get in. What a mess, by the way, lots of conflicting information but every minute the news gets worse and worse. Nothing is going to happen to delay or impact the marathon right? Running the marathon with all of this devastation around us is okay right?
Wednesday Morning, October 31st – Lots of conflicting information is flying around about the marathon, more news about the devastation in New York and New Jersey. I am now having second thoughts about running the marathon. Even if I go out to New York to run AND they hold the marathon, it will be a huge hassle, the entire trip will likely be a logistical nightmare, yet, we are doing important things here, raising money for cancer research, what do I tell the people that have so generously donated (AGAIN)? How do I broach the subject with Jim and Sammi that I am contemplating bailing on them? “Forget it”, I think, if the marathon is being held, I am running it, period, end of story.
Wednesday afternoon, Sue from Team In Training sends out an email confirming the race is still on, but if you choose not to go, you could re-position to a different event, including Honolulu in December. I am a huge history buff, Hawaii would be AWESOME, I would still be running a marathon to “earn” all of those donations, and it would make for an easy decision to cancel New York. Now to get Sammi and Jim on board with Hawaii…. Well that did not go well, Sammi AND Jim are adamant that they will running New York as long as the marathon was being held, period, end of story. I completely understood and agreed with their personal decision, the motivation to run it was high, this is important, what is a little chaos on the trip? We can run this thing and deliver on what we promised, end of story – I AM RUNNING NYC!!!
Wednesday Evening, I watch the news and hear the reports from Staten Island, they are still pulling dead bodies out of houses, just blocks from the starting line of the New York City marathon, I start to feel a little sick. Yet, they would cancel the marathon if it was going to have an impact on those people, right??
Thursday Morning, November 1st – 24 hours to my flight to New York, I am feeling uneasy about making the trip, I am almost sure it is not the right decision for me personally, but Jim and Sammi are going, TNT Alums Mike (Scheduled to be my roomate) and Carey are going, surely I should go? Right?
Thursday mid-morning – I am watching a Today show clip, since I heard Mary Wittenberg from the New York Road Runners was to be interviewed by Matt Lauer earlier in the day. The interview is horrifying! Matt Lauer tells Ms. Wittenberg that EVERYONE he has talked to thinks having the NYC Marathon is a terrible idea, Ms. Wittenbertg’s only defense is blame Mayor Bloomberg over and over again. She takes no credit or responsibility for the race being schedule as usual and very clearly is highly uncomfortable with the situation. At this point I am fairly sure I need to cancel the race, I know Jim will not be happy about it, but it feels wrong for me to go, thankfully Jim was very supportive of me making the right decision for me. I spoke to Mike (again) about potentially moving to the Honolulu marathon, and this time he was supportive of making the move (thank goodness!). I called Sue at Team In Training and asked to move to the Honolulu marathon. So say Sue was the epitome of efficiency does not do her enough credit, she was simply great. She moved me over, helped Mike move over (even though he was just an Alum) and then transferred me over to equally efficient Andrea . In an amazing hour, we were all set for Hawaii!
Thursday mid-afternoon – Flights seem to be running on time to Laguardia, the marathon is scheduled to go on, I am a complete idiot for making the move, I have a huge watermelon sized rock in my gut. I feel horrible, I abandoned my teammates, I should be running the marathon, what the hell was I thinking? (This conversation went on in my head for hours).
Friday Morning, November 2nd – I am ill, I am awake early and am aware of when my flight should have taken off, I am now fairly sure I made the right decision for me, but that does not really help.
Friday Afternoon – My phone rings, it is Mike – “They cancelled it, those idiots cancelled the marathon!!” I was stunned, I was not sure if I heard him right, “You are kidding me right? There is no way they cancelled the marathon on Friday!”. I Googled it, no kidding, they waited until Friday, gave the lamest excuse ever, and screwed over everyone that had already departed for the marathon, I was elated that I had moved to Honolulu, for about 4.3 seconds, then I felt worse than ever, Jim, Carey, Sammi, and most of the TNT Flex team were already there, in fact, they were likely on their way to the inspiration dinner, oh man, does this suck bad.
This week was a complete roller coaster for me, but it was also a weirdly zen like week (For those of you that know me well, zen really does not enter my vocabulary very often without sarcasm). I did think about myself and what I was doing and how I would be impacted, but I really spent more time thinking about the people of New York and New Jersey, my teammates, our donors, and the real victims in all of this, those people fighting with Cancer for their lives every single day, not just when a hurricane uproots their life.
I am SURE not going to New York was the right decision. I am SURE going to New York was the right decision as well. This was a horrible situation for everyone and there were no easy or right answers, only the best choices each individual could muster.
For me, all I can do is move on. Mike and I will be running the Honolulu marathon next weekend, Jim and Carey will be running the St. Jude Memphis marathon this weekend. We all have committed to running with TNT next season with Jim, Mike and I running the San Diego marathon next June. Jim and I have added Mike to the team, and we are going to keep plugging away at our $100,000 goal. Believe me when I say that we will meet our commitment to you donors, we only ask that you keep donating. This running of marathons is not really about us, it is just a good way for us to focus on raising money to continue to fight against cancer.
Thank you for your continued support!