Sunday, November 4, 2012

The 2012 New York City Marathon - Race Recap

Today at about 2:15pm I looked at the clock and said, "I would have been crossing the finish line now."  I was sitting with friends, some who had no power just a day ago, others who have yet to hear from co-workers, others who were spared Sandy's wrath.  I wore my marathon shirt.  But this day was about 72 hours in the making. Well more like four months in the making but that is a different story.

I made no bones about my issues with holding this race. I was relieved when it was canceled. But that doesn't mean I wasn't disappointed.  I am trying to wrap my head around the entire weekend of events but I am having some serious trouble with it right now.  But this is what I am thinking now.

After picking up my bib and other stuff, with thousands of others, we came back to our apartment to do some work and relax a bit. The Twitter rumor mill was rumbling and it was a matter of hours until the race was canceled.

The SFRRC was slammed with media requests and I fielded a number of them. I was "a lot mad" at the mayor for his late game move but it was the right choice to make. However, he should have made it on Tuesday.

The interviews, one from the NY Daily News and one with the SF Chronicle, both stressed runners' frustration with Mayor Bloomberg for not making the obvious call earlier.  People around the city and on the social medias were talking about conspiracies about getting the people to the city to salvage as much economic benefit from the marathon as possible.  I have a hard time believing that but I can't say it didn't cross my mind.

We went to services on Friday night at our old congregation and ordered in Thai food for dinner, so I could be at home for the interviews.  And while it is hard to say when so many are out in the cold, Friday was the first good night of sleep I had since the storm.

In that I am still running another marathon this season, I set my alarm to get up and run but that did not happen. After checking in with the volunteer activities list from my State Senator, I saw that there was no longer a need for just walking up stairs but for people with cars, we left and got out to Brooklyn to check in on friends and spend some quality time with them and their baby.
Blog, this is Ruthie. You met last time we were in NYC. She is bigger now.
We exchanged some stories about the storm and were pissed at the Mayor together.  Walking around their neighborhood, you would have a hard time believing that just a few miles away entire sections of the city were destroyed.  It was surreal.

After a nice day, we took the train/shuttle bus home.  Again, it was like nothing was wrong and that was strange.  I came home and made a donation to a friend who is doing some grassroots work to get stuff into the hands of those who need it.  If you want more info, let me know.  She is trying to keep it small so it can be effective.  I do have to say it made me feel a bit better.  I do hope to help organize some "next week" relief efforts through our Synagogue and running club in San Francisco.

Marathon Sunday
The weather was perfect today. Cold. Crisp. Sunny. A perfect day for a marathon.  I went out to get in 17 miles for the CIM training and was joined by at least 10, 000 runners in the park.  It was strange.  I had a little trouble with it all but it was very powerful to see all those people out there getting something out of their trip.  Many, many runners joined a relief run, where they collected goods and cash for the worst hit areas.  But most were international runners who were just out for a run in their marathon gear.
This doesn't do it justice. (via Catie Becker)
My buddy Steve and I ran the last nine or so miles of the course together and met up with another guy in from out of town for the race.  The three of us went up First Ave into the Bronx.  We ended up flying along the course at about race pace.  I got to run my 5th Ave hill and got to the finish line.  It wasn't the finish I wanted but it did just fine under the circumstances.

Thanks to a nice Canadian,  I have this finish photo.
People in the park were excited, disappointed, and understanding. 

Parting Thoughts
  • I don't know how to feel.  I wanted to get my hands dirty and help but I didn't. I feel a bit guilty about that.  But I know that I would have been in the way for much of it and I know what most people need right now is money.  I have done some of this disaster relief in the past and honestly right now, hands on the ground can just be an additional burden. This knowledge doesn't make me feel any less guilty.
  • Mayor Bloomberg really screwed up here and the NYRR should have canceled this race with or without the Mayor.  In light of pushing off the cancellation, the organization should have written a better explanation, something like this would have been better.  
  • Not living in this city and being here this weekend made me feel like a disaster tourist. I believe that is part of the reason why I didn't volunteer during this trip. Perhaps next time we are here we will do something, you know when everyone has forgotten about Staten Island, Stony Point, The Rockaways and Red Hook.
  • Nearly 100 people died earlier this week in this city and many more throughout the region. Ten thousand or so runners were celebrating in Central Park today. It is a hard thing to get your head around these things.  But as our rabbi noted at services on Friday night, even in the face of such unimaginable tragedy, we still celebrate.  We did get to see loved ones. Babies and wish congratulations to expecting parents personally and open our (empty) apartment to friends. And thousands of runners did help out today and thousands of others celebrated their own accomplishments.
  • My automatic bid for the 2013 New York City Marathon may go unused. 

I still have no idea what to make of this trip and the race that thankfully was not.

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