I am going to admit it, when I was young, in Buenos Aires, I used to watch telenovelas. Yeah, really, what you call soap-operas. I should be ashamed. But I have no shame in me.
I just remembered that, because, these past 4 days felt like a huge soap-opera… Full of stoopidity and drama and hysteria for no reason. Meh. And there is a reason why I don’t watch soapies anymore. But I am moving on from that, as I said in my last post, because, you know, it is what it is, and it’s over. Saturday was good, got a lot done, and also managed to process and help others process.
I wasn’t sure how to start my Sunday, as, hum, I was supposed to do a marathon… My friend Elaine (cheeky.runner!) organized a run of the last 10 miles of the marathon as she had a bunch of international friends she felt responsible for. We had to make sure they had a good day.
But… all sorts of organized runs had started popping up everywhere in the last two days. People were still running their 26.2 in the park and telling everyone to come. And it was gaining some real momentum. I was not going to do 26.2 for no bling, ha, but I’d do my share to support the runners who had traveled for all of this.
I posted it on twitter, in case any runners wanted to join in, and, of course, got the backlash I expected, like “go volunteer instead”. I, never, throughout this bullying campaign, engaged in any of it. No matter how stooopid or hurtful it was. It wasn’t easy but I would have loved for these people to show me proof that they were also doing their part, all 24 hrs of the day, -seriously, why can’t I run AND volunteer? Can’t people do more than 1 thing in a day? Oh, I guess non-runners don’t?!?! Whatever. Rant over.
I even feared some of these “people” would show up to mess with us. Bring it. I am always ready. I heard from a couple of friends who were too scared to go to the park, or guilted into not running, because “they should be ashamed”. I won’t hide. I was wearing my marathon shirt (YES< I WORE THE SHIRT THE DAY OF THE RACE) and PROUD of it. Even though it’s such a running faux-paux!
We were gonna meet at 59th St and 1st Ave, so I had to run a mile there, on First. As soon as I set foot out, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Loads of runners on the (non) marathon course, running north on First Avenue. Doing the (non)course. I was already in love back with my city.
I met my friends, everyone sang their national anthem (ugh… well… I can’t sing!) and we took off at a relaxed pace.
We run up First Ave, then on the course… and yes, we got some flack. Twice. One … “person”… screamed “selfish” at us and I… you know… I am a combo of south american/newyorker, so I react fast, and I am not shy. I paused my watch, turned around and screamed right back… And you know I like to curse a bit too… Anyway, I think after all I got bullied online these last days, they got away quite unharmed, which is pretty good. Then an old lady was all confused looking at us, and couldn’t come up with anything so all she said was “Bloomberg said not to run”.
BUT… the rest… the rest of the people… were SO EFFIN AMAZING!!!!!!! We got many many cars honking at us, people clapping, people cheering, taking pictures and they all smiled. Yes, the run was as healing as it could be for me. Call me selfish, for not volunteering exactly those 3 particular hours or whatever you want to call me, but this is exactly what I needed. It’s not like there has to be a schedule to help out! Pfffft. You do what you want, when you want, live and let live!
Then we got to Central Park. Oh, before that, running up Fifth Avenue, George Hirsch is locking up his car and looks at us, and says Go Runners. George. Hirsch. I said, Thank you George. While I almost died of happiness.
Then we really got to Central Park.
Central Park too my breath away. I don’t even know how to describe this part. I am still crying over that sight. Part of the soap-opera. I cried. And then I cried some more. I went from the runner who was upset, to a big baby.
It was crowded, there was barely any place to walk. Not just runners. Also lots of people cheering. There were people with gallons of water and little cups, with water bottles, with fruit, with whatever they could hand out. I took none, I had only 9 miles in me, and though I was starving cause we started at 11 and ate nothing before, I had a lump in my throat the whole way. Go tell a runner not to run their marathon. Try.
It was so beautiful. Like, all of a sudden, we were ok. It was ok to be a runner and the city liked us again. We were going to turn left at Engineer Gate and do the last miles of the course, but instead, we turned right, and got to the Finish line the long way, along with the direction of the crowds. I have no words to explain it. It was magical.
It felt unreal to get to the Finish Line. It was just a made up milestone, but you know… you truck along and you might just get there… All roads always point to some kind of made up finish line, don’t they?
The marathon wasn’t mean to be this year. But what happened, was so unexpected and inspiring… and exactly what I needed to see.
People running because they wanted to fundraise, because they were already fundraising and felt they had to do the miles they promised, because we don’t stop at no, or because you can’t ever tear us down, or because we believe that our running transcends our miles and sweat and inspires everyone around us and creates change, because it brings some sense of normalcy, or because we get rid of the bad and because everything we believe is focused on moving forward and doing it together.
I am now a different runner. I turned into running to save my heart and my life. As of today, I am a runner because I know I can’t live without it. It makes me who I am, and I will stick with it no matter how much people can hate me for it. And because it makes my heart beat. .
And it makes it beat to the point of explotion at the sight of people who are told they can’t and they still do it, together, happily, to help others and each other cope, rebuild, and move on, always forward. You can all say what you want if you don’t like it. This is who I am, naked, a re-born runner.