I woke up this morning feeling that I should just cancel the whole thing and defer until 2013. All of yesterday I spent in a state of anxiety, partially for me, particularly for my mother and sister who I had not heard from since the night before, just as the storm was hitting, and partially for all the people who live in New York and New Jersey. I spent the first 18 years of my life in NJ, and even though I left there as soon as I could, I'm still a Jersey girl, and I always will be (as much as I hate to admit this). And so this whole thing is deeply personal and emotional on so many levels. I've been on the verge of tears for the the past 24+ hours. No one really understands why I'm in such a state. It's a bummer - but nothing more. It's out of your hands, I'm told. Let go of it. There's nothing you can do. And as soon as I realized that this isn't about me anymore I thought, but wait - there is something I can do - but the question is: Do I WANT to do it?
What's the right thing to do?? Should I stay or should I go? Does running this race harm or help? Should I just go to help my family? Do I really want to deal with flying to Newark right now? Blah blah blah...
But when I woke this morning feeling I should cancel, I dug a little deeper and realized that I want to do that for ME. I don't really want to go to NJ and deal with the mess. Colorado is beautiful right now - why go into that? I'm 1000s of miles away - I don't need to live through this. Why do it if I don't have to.
And so I went for a run...
I had big plans for this race. I feel in pretty good shape right now, and my sights were fairly high (for me). Yesterday I thought, maybe I could find another marathon to run. Why waste another season of training on another bad race (like in Boston). How many more races do you have in you? You can't waste them....and on and on...Me-me-me-me-me.
And then there's all the opinions and comments floating about on the interwebs - and the people who criticize anyone who would run as selfish - taking precious services from those who really need it - let the city heal and repair and don't do this - they plead. The runners will further drain the city's resources. The people of NY and NJ are tired and need to focus on getting back on their feet. But the vitriol directed at runners on the New York Marathon Facebook page is truly astounding. It's easy for those of us either far away or not directly effected by either the devastation or the marathon to get all self-righteous about the whole thing. We throw a couple dollars at the Red Cross (though we rarely do until the disaster du jour happens), and then we feel all virtuous. We've done a 'good thing'. And that is good, but that's not the only good to be done.
I understand these feelings and the ferocity of them, but it's not that clear cut - it's not always about the tangible things we do that make a difference. The New York City Marathon is part of the soul of that city and I believe that everyone who comes to run will be there for one reason - and that is to show solidarity and support for New York and New Jersey. For those of us who live far enough away, it's MUCH easier NOT to go. Let's be honest, this is not the NYC Marathon experience that I have been dreaming about since I was 15 years old. Every time I think of this I want to cry - but that's all about me. Once I started getting over feeling sorry for myself I knew exactly what I needed to do. Now I want to run for a different reason. I want to run it for the friends who are there, who live there, and still running. And to show that we do support each other in the ways we know how.
I can't even think of the marathon any more - but I thought, how can I just sit here in my comfortable little life while my family goes through this. I can go. I should go. I will go if that is physically possible. If the race is canceled that's fine. If the race goes on, I'll be there.
To be continued...