Sunday, November 4, 2012

Making the Most of the Marathon Sunday that Wasn't

For the past month, Jordan and I have been planning to travel to NYC for marathon weekend. Though we didn't have any official race or expo duties, there were several media meetings to attend on behalf of Karhu. Plus, Thursday happened to be my birthday and we knew there would be plenty of friends in town for marathon festivities, so not unlike last year we were looking forward to making a long weekend of it.

Then, Hurricane Sandy hit. Actually, even before landfall she was screwing things up. I ended up marooned in Texas until Tuesday afternoon, only to arrive home and find that the storm's devastation had left the marathon and everything surrounding it in question. But it seemed as though the show would go on, and so we traveled down as scheduled on Thursday. Instead of spending my birthday at a Cracker Barrel off the Mass Pike like last year, this time around--for the first anniversary of the 29th anniversary of my birth--we had drinks at the Marriott Marquis and took in an evening showing of "Once" on Broadway. (It was so good that Jordan didn't even fall asleep!) The next morning we met our favorite news producer for a run around Central Park--literally "around," as the park itself was still closed in Sandy's wake--and heard his insider's view of how Sandy and her aftermath were impacting the impending marathon. We attended our one remaining media meeting, grabbed lunch with Tarpy, then headed back to our hotel to relax a bit before meeting up with friends at the Runner's World party for a fun night out.

Then, they canceled the marathon.

Enough news articles, editorials, blogs, interviews, podcasts and tweets have already reported, dissected and over-analyzed this decision; to do so here would be both redundant and inadequate. On a completely superficial level, however, one positive result was the opportunity to spend more time with friends. Jay, who had spent months preparing marathon coverage, suddenly found his weekend wide open. Same with Jon, who'd planned to spend his time interviewing elites and listening to emo music while writing for several running publications. (He also profiled each day of his NYC trip on The Trailer. See if you can spot my incognito cameo in one post. Hint: it's Friday.) Heidi and Sarah and several other NYAC girls who'd been training for Sunday were now free to join me for an easy 10 on Saturday and a hard 20 on Sunday, the same day as would've been their marathon debut. And despite the absence of an official sanctioned race on marathon morning, or maybe because of it, the sheer volume and energy level in the Park were like nothing I've ever seen before in NYC, nor anywhere else for that matter. It was electric, and overwhelming, and something truly extraordinary to be a part of.

So the marathon didn't happen, and all our plans changed, and the trip turned out drastically different than it was supposed to be. And I wouldn't have wanted to be anywhere else.