“Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” - Aristotle
New Jersey, 1979: I am a high school runner, captain of the cross country and track teams, at a small New Jersey prep school. Today, when I look back I see the makings of a future road runner. I routinely got up before sunrise to run through the cold, dark streets of my neighborhood as house lights began to click on, beginning a new day. This was not a common thing to do, at least not for a teenage girl, and I don't even know where, when, or how the idea occurred to me to do this. No doubt it was the early morning laps my father and sister and I ran around Cedar Brook Pond that began when I was 8 years old. Even today, 30+ years later, cold, dark morning runs take me back to those mornings. This is the year, 1979, that my father and I take the NJ transit train from Metropark to Manhattan to watch the New York City Marathon. Grete Waitz has returned to defend her title following her out-of-nowhere victory and world record setting run in 1978. We make our way to central park to get as close to the finish as possible. As I watch, Grete Waitz glides by, the crowd cheering a deafening cheer. The energy and excitement shooting through the air vibrates my skin into chills. Wave upon wave of runners stream past us and the cheering continues, on and on...
And on that day in November, 1979, I said to myself, inside my head, I must run this race. I will run this race...
I am the first to admit that I am not the most patient person when it comes to running: I want my running times to come down, now, and I take a dim view of situations that interfere with my running plans - in this case, that would be having to wait to register for the 2012 NYCM. Last year and the year before I registered for the New York City Marathon lottery a year before the race - the day after the current year's race - and then sat back and waited, feeling the anticipation grow as April approached, hoping that this would be my year. Both times my hopes were dashed among the excitement of others posting they're "I'm in" news. The green-eyed monster left me feeling sour and grim. Humph.
At some point this past year I decided to stick it to the proverbial NYCM-Man and qualify for guaranteed entry - You can't keep me out, you NYCM-Man, you. So there. Ha. I ran my qualifying race on October 9th, 2011, and a few days later, new qualifying requirements were released by the NYCM. Arggg. No fair, No fair, I whined like a four year-old who'd just been cut-off in line for the slide. I didn't read, until later that day, the fine print saying that the new qualifying times wouldn't apply to the 2012 race because the qualification period was already open. So I walked around that day feeling bitter and doomed. Ah, the NYCM-Man got me again. I was beginning to take this just a bit personally. Once I calmed down and regained my composure, I did indeed see that the new times applied to the 2013 race. Phew. The world was again a brighter place. Now, I not-so-patiently, waited for the day after the 2011 race: The day I would register for guaranteed entry into the 2012 NYCM.
November 7th comes, and there's no information about registration - nothing about the 2012 race - nada. I start franically searching the internet and posting questions on Facebook. I send the NYCM an email because the only thing I can find about qualifying guaranteed entries says: "please contact us by April 20 via email at email@example.com if you run a fast qualifying time." In return I receive an auto response about the 2011 race. Rumors begin to circulate on facebook. Everyone's wondering - What's up?
I guess I'll just have to be patient. And yet I will not relax until I have my registration in hand, so to speak. I begin to wonder, is "guaranteed" really guaranteed? Should I cover my bases and enter the lottery since this would be my third year in a row to apply - and no doubt be rejected - thanks NYCM-Man - which would then get me a guaranteed entry for 2013. Am I feeling just a little paranoid here?
Oh, the heck with it. Give me a reason to go after the new qualifying times. I dare you.
So hoping your patience of 33 years pays off for 2012! [Hmm...1979, I was doing a graduate internship and living in E. Harlem. Maybe I'll put my name in the lottery and see if I can go back again!]ReplyDelete
Great post C!!ReplyDelete
Have faith, if not this year for some reason, like you said you have a good challenge ahead and who knows it might help you with you puke goal :). You seem to be a really good runner and I have faith in you running NYCM 2012ReplyDelete