I started feeling under the weather last week while traveling for work. Over the weekend, I only felt worse and by Monday, I was at the doctor waiting to get some relief. The doctor diagnosed me with a severe sinus infection with a worse ear infection on top of that, gave me some drugs and shed no shred of hope on my desire to run the New York City Marathon this coming Sunday. I gave myself until Wednesday to feel better. If I did, I would run the marathon. If I didn’t, I would have to defer.
At the same time, the people of New York, New Jersey and the surrounding areas were taking on the force of Hurricane Sandy. In her wake, she left a path of destruction and severely impacted the lives of so many.
I am no stranger to hurricanes; it’s part of Cajun life on the bayou. I am unfortunately familiar with how destructive they can be, how disruptive they are to “normal” life and how hard recovery efforts are. Thus, when the controversy over the continuation or cancellation of the New York City Marathon began to rise; I knew exactly how many must be feeling.
Hurricane Katrina was awful, and it took a huge emotional toll on me. I didn’t loose anything material minus my university for a semester. I was uprooted from my “normal” life but was thankful to be in the comfort of my family in a town nearby New Orleans. I kept my job in one of the New Orleans suburbs and for months, I saw how destructive controversy in the wake of disaster is to ongoing recovery efforts. If Katrina wasn’t bad enough, the sea of controversies that flooded the New Orleans area was equally hard to wade through. It’s hard to emotionally process a huge disaster to your home and then process your feelings over numerous controversies involving city leaders, politicians, etc.
Because I have been there in the aftermath of destructive storms – when I was old enough to truly feel the impact of finger pointing and the sting of your home state being the subject of the world’s scrunity and opinions – I won’t weigh in on the NYCM controversy. Sharing my opinion doesn’t help recovery; it hinders it.
I didn’t travel to New York today as planned to run the marathon that I have trained hard for over countless weeks and even more countless miles. I don’t view this as throwing away my training. Sure, the end goal of running a strong marathon with a new PR is gone, but I ended this training season injury free as a stronger, faster, smarter runner. The benefits of training haven’t been trashed.
I have been and will continue to pray for all those affected by this storm. Surviving a hurricane and picking up the pieces after its destructive path is a marathon in itself. However, the finish line is not as clearly marked, and it cannot be done over several hours. There’s no medal when you recover . There’s only the small sense of returning to a “new” normal.
If you are looking for ways to help the people of New York and New Jersey, refer to this great article. Prayers to all those in recovery.