Four hundred and one miles. That's how much running I've completed since June 16, 2012. Since that date I've spent 75 hours in running gear. That's a little over three days of nothing but jogging. The goal of all this work was to run in the New York City Marathon on Nov. 4. Orange wave #4. Corral 65. Bib number 65195. And now I say to hell with it.
I found out I won the lottery for the marathon while I was in the Galapagos Islands. I was escaping the equator's humid weather, laying down on my hotel bed in a towel when a new email came in on my iPhone. I was in. I couldn't believe they chose me. Although, looking back, I think it had something to do with me registering two years in a row and getting denied. This being the third year in a row, they had to let me run. It was some sort of arcane rule that I believe they're doing away with after this year. Happiness and fear set in quickly. I realized immediately that I needed to get to work and train for this marathon better than my last two. Yeah, I ran in two other marathons: NYC in 2010 and Italy in 2011. I am now addicted.
I decided to buy the training program that the New York Road Runners provides on its website. It's a pretty great program. They email you every morning at 2 a.m. with how many miles you're supposed to do that day, a coaches tip and what pace you should maintain on your run. I followed this regimen for 75 hours and 401 miles over 16 weeks. Every single day I woke up and checked my email and read my mission for the day. After my workout, I would log my progress on their website. I did this every single day since June 16. I cherished the off days and, truth be told, where there was a Flex day (a day where the option was to run or take the day off), you bet your ass I took that day off. I'm not a skinny man. I have flat feet and tree trunks for calves, but I make damn sure to get off my ass and do my workout for the day. I ran 20 miles in one go, not once but twice during my training. My big toe nail is black and blue and a good friend who is a nurse says I will surely lose that during the marathon. It was a sacrifice I was happy to make, until today.
I'm a native New Yorker. I spent my first 22 years in Staten Island and the last 11 in Brooklyn. I love this town. I've seen the horror show of 9/11, the 2003 blackout, and the 2006 Mets season end with Carlos Beltran watching a curve go by him. I know pain. I know suffering. This storm is right up there. People are without power all over New York. My mother in Staten Island was unreachable for most of the day yesterday, and I didn't know if she was dead or alive. My employer is having me work from home because there is no power at the office. I don't work for a Fortune 500 company. I work for a small mom-and-pop shop in Manhattan, and they need the power to get online. They need it to survive or they will go bankrupt and I will need a new job. That's real. The worst part? That shit is nothing compared to the people whose lives have been lost or homes have been burned down or blown away. It's dark out there. It's scary. I honestly think this is worse than 9/11.
Now, I know there are thousands of runners who have trained all year for this event. They've come from all over the globe to get to New York and go to Staten Island and wait for the sun to come up and the marathon to start. Lots of money and sweat has been spent in preparation for Nov. 4, 2012. I know because I am one of the people that spent money and sweat. "Well you didn't travel from Kenya to run in the marathon," you could say. That's fair, but the New York Road Runners had ample notice about this hurricane. They had a whole week to evaluate the situation. When they saw that people were staying in hotels because they have no home to go back to they should have stepped on the brakes right there.
Furthermore, I don't want to have streets cleared along the marathon route unless every street has been cleared of downed trees and power lines. I don't want to be handed a free cup of Gatorade unless every single family in Rockaway has the same luxury. I don't want people cheering me on when nurses who saved thousands of lives did so in complete darkness. I don't want to reach that finish line before the city I love and live in crosses that finish line and cleans up after this natural disaster. I love the NYC Marathon. It changed my life. 75 hours and 401 miles later, I say to hell with it. Just postpone the damn thing.