This week, it's been hard not to have thoughts turn time and time again to the battered, bruised, besieged East Coast, especially the NYC tri-state area. Our hearts and prayers go out to everyone affected by the distaster. And, as runners, we also are thinking about the nearly 50,000 folks who had been dreaming about running 26.2 miles through New York's five boroughs this weekend. As crushing as the disappointment must be, it felt like the right decision was finally reached when the Mayor Bloomberg cancelled the ING New York City Marathon.
Having the rain and wind lashing at an athletic event transported me back to 1996, when I'd poured my heart and soul into training for the Head of the Charles Regatta (HOCR). I'd worked my tail off to be one of four rowers selected from my Bay Area rowing team to race at the HOCR, the most prestigious endurance rowing race in the U.S. (In an SAT-worthy analogy, the Head of the Charles is to rowing what the NYC Marathon is to running.) Throughout the months of training, my first marriage was crumbling like a sand castle, amplifying my emotional investment in the rowing race. It seemed as if all my happiness and fulfillment depended on our boat surging to victory. My teammates and I flew from San Francisco to Boston to participate, relishing the history-steeped glory surrounding the event festivities. It had all the trappings of a triumphant success that would fill a void in my life.
But on race day morning (this event is now spread over two days, but back then it was a single day of races), a nor'easter hammered eastern Massuchusetts: Heavy winds fiercely drove massive raindrops sideways, while the Charles River jumped beyond its low banks. Whitecaps skittered along the surface of the water. Undaunted, hundreds of long-limbed, unisuit-wearing rowers huddled under a massive white tent, awaiting an official announcement. Mud squealched under our feet. Then it came, the words I can hear in my head as clearly now as I did on that soggy October morning: "The 1996 Head of the Charles Regatta has been cancelled; it will not be rescheduled any time in the coming year." I was devastated. In what I realize now was an overly dramatic gesture, I walked alone the three miles back to the house where my teammates and I were staying. My torrent of tears mixed with the deluge of rain.
But, you know what: I sprung back, emotionally and athletically. The next year I once again qualified for the 4-person boat, and we placed 5th out of close to 50 boats in our event. And whether they find another marathon to run in the next few weeks or postpone their 26.2-mile victory lap until November 2, 2013, I know all those dejected would-be NYC marathoners will rebound as well.
In the meantime, let's announce our winner of the 110% Overdrive Kit, nifty compression socks with an over-sleeve for holding specially designed ice packs. Whether you suffer from shin splints, plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, or simply overworked calves, these two-in-one garments will ease your pain. The compression improves blood flow, while the ice relieves swelling. The winner, and her recent nifty move or work-around, is:
Scarlett Truong: "It’s not fancy, but I made a checklist for my two older boys and put it on the door to the garage so it is the last thing they see before they walk out the door for school. No more forgotten homework, lunchboxes, or morning medications. It also means we don’t forget to brush teeth, brush hair or feed pets."
I might have to put up one of those on our back door. Scarlett, please email us your mailing address at runmother [at] gmail [dot] com. And don't despair, we have a consolation prize for everyone else: a link to a Word document of the 10 Short, Challenging Workouts that are in our November newsletter so that you can get your fit on even as the days get shorter.