The wind was the headline story – sustained winds of 20 mph, gusting to almost twice that. When I share stories with other runners, it’s the wind we’ll talk about. The way it pushed us sideways on the Verrazano bridge; the unnerving, rattling sound of our bibs straining against their safety pins; the hats, garbage bags and other debris whipping past us; the unexpected, energy-sapping blast when we turned west into the Bronx in mile 20.
When I think about the race in personal terms, though, it will always be “the race I ran while C was dying.” I wish I could say I thought of her with every step, but that wouldn’t be true. In the selfish way of the non-dying, I thought about a lot of things. I took in the spectators and my fellow runners, slapped a few hands, said a few words of encouragement. I looked for members of my running club. I blew a kiss to my husband. I debated when to toss my water bottle (around mile 5), my gloves (mile 12), my goofy hat (never).
Where my thoughts tended to settle on C was in the tough parts, when I used her name as a mantra to maintain my cadence (“C” – foot strike – “C” – foot strike). And yes, I can’t write that without again confronting the fundamental selfishness of the non-dying and the non-immediately bereaved, and acknowledging the chasm it opens. We’re sad, but our lives go on – foot strike after foot strike, mile after mile, day after day, season after season. Theirs end, or have a hole ripped out of them. That selfishness may be necessary (how could we endure otherwise?), but it’s still enraging.
Here, then, is my race report. Continue reading