The Race is Long

New York Calling

The New York Marathon is ongoing at this very moment; and my sister—lucky wench—is in a corral somewhere waiting for their turn to start.

We all applied for this year’s lottery, but none of us were fortunate enough to be selected. My sister came by her bib through unexpected channels, and naturally, she grabbed it.

I haven’t been running much this last couple of weeks. Mostly, I’ve gone on very short efforts due to my back. After the first bout of pain 2 weeks ago, I went for a run on Friday, Sunday, and Monday; and by Tuesday, standing up straight was becoming an issue again and the pain and discomfort was more constant.

That day too, I heard words I don’t like hearing, “you should stop running.” Even with the qualifier “for now” tacked at the end—after my brother saw the expression on my face as soon as he said it—it just did not sit well with me.

Thursday, I started doing yoga specifically for my back. I was desperate. I have to admit, right now, I’m too chicken to go to the doctor and I don’t know which doctor to go to. And, it’s not wishful thinking on my part when I say that after a couple of days of yoga, my back feels greatly improved.

I have noticed though, that with this current back problem, my stride has changed noticeably, even when I walk. My stride length is much shorter, like I cannot open my legs wider—even when walking! I take what seems like itty-bitty steps compared to my usual long ones. I hope that with the yoga and diligent stretching, things will get better.

This morning, I got myself out on the road mainly for two reasons. Yes, it’s Sunday and I have to have my Sunday run but, also because of the New York Marathon.

I have said it many times; I’m quite open about my envy over my sister’s opportunity but it is not something I begrudge her. I’m happy she got it. I know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of ungraciousness and I did my best not to do it to her. I’m sure I did not manage it as well as I wanted but I did try, very hard.

This morning as I got ready for my run, I knew I would not be able to do the distance I needed, although I was hopeful. Actually, I think I could have forced it. No, I know I could have. But, I’m pretty sure that would not have been the wisest move.

Running extra slow and extra easy and ever conscious of my back at all times, I got to thinking about the marathon and my other dreams. Three years ago, during the 2008 NYC marathon, I got to tick off one major item on my to-do. The marathon, particularly that marathon, was something I had thought of, dreamt of for so long. So, it got me thinking, how important is it for me to do it again?

New York City, I love that town. If I had to leave my home for some reason, and had to go far away, I would adapt quickly in that place. I’d welcome any opportunity to run the marathon there again but, perhaps I should remember to keep my sights open to my other dreams.

These dreams of mine are not only hard on the body, they’re quite hard on the bank balance as well. I need to pick and plan them wisely. The realities of my life and the size of my dreams aren’t always compatible or even within grasping distance of each other.

I’m forever grateful for the NYC marathon experience; it’s what has me hooked to 42.2 kilometers. I hope to one day go back and join the biggest, most fun, most wondrous street party again. For now, I have to be content running around my neighborhood and soon, other “dream” places.

One day, I’ll write an entry and I’ll put in a title in all caps “START SPREADING THE NEWS” that’ll mean I’m heading back, not just to visit but to run.


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