The NYC Marathon

by Lisa Rosen on November 5, 2010

The annual running of the New York City marathon will be held this weekend. It’s one of the biggies, attracting upward of 30, 000 runners. Admission is by lottery; some people try for years before they get in. The course takes runners through all five boroughs of the city, ending in Central Park. Some stretches of the route are famous for the “wall of sound” created by millions of cheering spectators. It’s truly a peak-life experience for any long-distance runner.

I ran it in 2004. I hated it. This makes me sort of an oddball, I think–people love that race, remembering it wistfully years later. I, on the other hand, remember it as one of the more miserable experiences of my life.

I got my period. My stomach was upset. It was 70 degrees. New York is a lot hillier than you’d think. I was elbow-to-elbow with 37,000 strangers for 26 miles. By the time I got into the later miles, the water stations were surrounded by a treacherous carpet of wet, sticky, slippery paper cups. I was afraid I was going to slip and fall in all that nastiness. When I’m exhausted, my senses are heightened. New York was loud (so loud–I felt trapped by the noise) and smelly and miserable.

I like to run in the woods, with pretty trees, and birds singing, and perhaps a nice babbling brook. Silly me–I’m so spoiled.

But last night I heard a piece on the news that made me think maybe I’ll run New York again one day, just to remind myself how lucky I am.

One of those Chilean miners will be lining up at the start this Sunday. I’m not going to link to all the news reports; you can just google for it. But it’s a pretty amazing story.

The man was marathon training the whole time he was down in that mine. He was running six miles at a time, in the dark and the heat, wearing his heavy work boots, not knowing if he was even going to be rescued in time to run the race. Not knowing, for sure, if he was going to be rescued at all.

If that’s not dedication (and persistence, and hope, and faith)–I don’t know what is. I am in awe.

As I write this, I’m about to head out the door for a 20 mile training run. It’s a beautiful day–the sun is shining, the temperature is a perfect 50 degrees. The trees are showing off their fall colors, and autumn camellias are in bloom all over town. It will be a lovely run. When I get home, I’ll have some chocolate milk and a sandwich, and I’ll spend the rest of the day reading and writing and being vexed by my children.

I will remind myself to be grateful.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Lala November 7, 2010 at 12:54 pm

THIS — choked me up a bit. I had not heard/read about this and I’m happy to read about it on your blog. I miss you friend… thanks for sharing this.


Lisa Rosen November 7, 2010 at 8:25 pm

I thought of you when I was writing it, actually–YOU have that kind of persistence and strength and faith.
Good to hear from you; I miss you too.


Amelia November 8, 2010 at 8:42 am

If/when you decide to run NYC again, I wanna go. 🙂


Lisa Rosen November 9, 2010 at 12:10 pm

Deal. 🙂


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