|custom shirt & sparkle skirt!|
I had Friday off, in anticipation of Marathon Sunday. That morning I went to Manhattan Ave and saw that overnight, the "No Parking" signs had been put up and the blue line had been painted down the street, which is part of the Marathon course. I thought "Wow, I guess this thing is really happening..."
|signs along Manhattan Ave warn drivers not to park along the marathon course or they will be towed|
|the blue line has been painted|
I rode my bike for the first time since the Hurricane. It was my first time over the Williamsburg Bridge since Sunday...
and my first time in Manhattan since Sunday.
|I never saw so many cyclists waiting to get on the Williamsburg Bridge from Delancey & Clinton|
Lower Manhattan had a very eerie vibe. There has been no power from 34th St and south since Sunday. Almost no business was open (how could they be with no power?), very few cars were on the road (with 4 hours waits to get gas, even those with cars can't drive), subway entrances were blocked off (tunnels are still flooded) and I saw people lined up along the streets waiting for supplies like dry ice, food and water. It was post apocolyptic and I felt like I was riding through a movie set.
|a lone sandbag sits on Clinton|
|hardware store closed on Ave B near Houston|
|L Train tunnels are still completely flooded "floor to ceiling, end to end"|
I took 1st Ave all the way up to 34th Street, turning west on 34th Street. There was absolutely no power that entire stretch of Manhattan.
|looking north on Lexington Ave from 34th St on a Friday afternoon. Normally this would be full of cars.|
|a familiar sight - the Empire State Building!|
|Life started at 34th & 5th|
|I passed a marathon window display|
|Macy's on 34th St|
I continued riding west on 34th Street all the way to 11th Ave to the (oh-so-ugly) Jacob Javits Center. That's where New York Road Runners holds a 3 day running expo, where vendors are set up and you can get marathon related information. It's also where you have to pick up your number for the race.
On my way into the expo, I had to get a photo of this guy. There are always so many hot dog carts outside the Javits Center, I don't know how any of them make any money. And although I'm anti-hot dog, I really like their carts and the characters that run them.
|On my way out this man kept telling me how beautiful I am. I blew him kisses. :)|
|she's digging for my number|
When they put it on the counter in front of me, I looked at it, then touched it slowly, taking it all in. And then I cried - something I didn't expect to do. I told them it was my first marathon and I couldn't believe it was really happening.
I had never been to the expo and was amazed by the sheer size of it. I hadn't planned on buying anything (seriously, I wasn't going to) but Asics had a huge selection of pink items so I ended up with gloves, arm warmers, two shirts and headbands.
My favorite part of the set up was, without a doubt, the wallpaper. They had what looked like EVERY single street we would be running on, in chronological order from what I saw, as wallpaper. I would love this wallpaper in my apartment!!
|Queens to Manhattan|
|Brooklyn, Williamsburg and Greenpoint!|
|self portrait in front of Williamsburg|
|What a sweet young woman! Katie it was lovely meeting you!!|
|I forget which country these guys were from but they look like quite the team|
|with super excited Gina from DUMBO!|
|I couldn't believe how many utility workers came to NYCs rescue! Thank you, everyday heroes!|
|Tekserve on 23rd St has no power, but they brought in a generator to charge power strips so that NYers could come here to charge their electronics. For free. Kudos, Tekserve!!|
|2nd Ave - NYC set up these water stations attached to hydrants around the areas|
that have no electricity and no water.
These are the same water stations they set up during Summer Streets.
|23rd St & 6th Ave - cops on nearly every corner directing traffic|
since no traffic lights south of 34th St are working.
|lower Manhattites lined up for dry ice|
|no 4, 5, 6 or L Trains for now|
|14th St by 3rd Ave: the free waffle line was LONGER than the dry ice line. Seriously.|
|Toy Tokyo on 2nd is closed, just like everything else on 2nd Ave downtown|
|hardware store on 2nd Ave is closed|
|this store on Stanton was open, despite having no electricity|
I made it home. And after seeing all of that, and realizing it was nothing compared to the really hard it areas, I was once again thankful for everything I have.
I tried to display my marathon goodies at home but the Professor decided to sit on one of my shirts. He's such a little diva.
|if it's pink, I will buy it|
Then I sat down to upload my photos and watch NY1 (our local 24 hour news channel in NYC). At 5:15pm, I heard "Breaking news..."
The second I heard those two words, I knew, in my heart, what they were going to say. The city had reversed their decision and decided to cancel the marathon.
It was official. The marathon, for the first time in 42 years, would NOT go on as planned.
At that moment and for the next few hours, everything exploded -- my facebook, twitter, phone, blog comments... Many were apologetic, sorry for me that I couldn't run. Some were surprised. Some were angry. Others were relieved.
Like I wrote in my previous post, if the run was canceled I would be ok with that, and I meant it. Though I wanted to run (of course) and could see reasons to keep it, I could also understand why canceling it was the better option. I didn't want to run knowing that we, the runners, didn't have the support of our city. Keeping the run on put the runners in an awkward and potentially dangerous situation, if the negativity online was any indication of the negativity we would have encountered along the course. I didn't want my first marathon (or any event!) to have that negative cloud hanging over it.
I tried to reply to every comment (but couldn't get to them all). Here's my reaction and thoughts to the cancellation:
- First of all, please don't be sorry for ME. I don't need any sympathy at all! I have the ability to run. I have my health. I have food, water, shelter and clothing. I am unbelievably fortunate.
- So what if I trained for it? It's not like I regret the hours I devoted to it or the sacrifices I made to keep my training schedule. That's all part of a healthy lifestyle and I had a great time, lots of memories from my training. This just means I get to look forward to more adventures and the anticipation period (which I enjoy) is prolonged!
- Like everyone else, I feel most sorry for the people of NYC that are affected by the storm, not for those that are affected by the marathon cancellation. Then I feel bad for the tens of thousands of people that drove in or flew in for this event. People plan for this a year ahead of time! If it had been canceled sooner, it would have saved all of them time and money. I know they understand the reason for the cancellation but it was not fair to cancel it after they were already here. On behalf of NYC, I apologize to those runners! (and in defense of the city, I honestly believe that they did not yet know the extent of damage and devastation when they made the call to go on with the marathon. It seemed every day we learned more terrible details)
What now? Well... I'm not sure if NYRR and the city can realistically pull off a full marathon before the next scheduled one in November 2013. If they can do it, great! I will be there. If they can't, well, then, we just wait 52 weeks.
Janet, a woman I met at #Fitbloggin with an unbelievably inspirational story of her own, was on her way to NYC when the news came in. Instead of coming to NYC for nothing, she decided to run a marathon in Delaware this weekend and invited me to join her. Then, there's another full marathon in Miami in January, which several people recommended I do, and one blog reader even offered for me to stay at her place! Another blog reader offered to house me for the Richmond Marathon next weekend. My dear friend Marcus suggested the Brooklyn Marathon in Prospect Park (the idea of 8 loops around that park is not even remotely appealing, ha-ha, but thank you!). And my crazy runner friend Mary Harvey, who it seems runs a full marathon every weekend (barely an exaggeration) invited me to "double" with her next weekend (whatever that means).
But the thing is this:
I don't feel like I *need* to run a marathon because I trained for it. In fact, it doesn't matter to me at all that I'm trained and ready. It doesn't matter because my goal is not simply to run 26.2 miles. My goal is not to run a marathon. My DREAM is to run the New York City Marathon!!! I want the memory of my first marathon to be me making my way through the 5 boroughs of the city I love and am lucky enough to call home. I want to feel the love and support of those 2 million spectators. There is nothing more magical than the New York City Marathon and it will be my first marathon. If that means I need to wait a year, I will wait a year. It just gives me that much longer to look forward to it. In the meantime, I will continue to train. And dream.
Finally, thank you all for your well wishes for me and for our city. New Yorkers are strong. We'll get through this. If you want to volunteer, you can register here. If you want to donate, you can do so here.