The Next Big Race

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For the past 18 months, the United States has been consumed with politics via social media, news shows, telephone polls, snail mail and thankfully Saturday Night Live.  I took on training for the NYC marathon, my final hurrah (so I think), in my long distance running life.  Both were torture.

Living in Florida, my love of endurance training changed dramatically.  Negative cruel thoughts and words were my daily mantra.  Yes, move to the sunshine state, humidity, high temps, red tide, and flat terrain in 80 percent of the state -a perfect training mecca for mentally and physically preparing for 26.2 miles in NYC during November.

As for the political side, I saw Trump pop up shops, rallies for both parties, signage on every pick up truck, protestors on the corners (having to share space with the homeless), not to mention the daily banter of people discussing “tweets” across all borders.  No walls included.

So what parallels am I trying to draw between the election and a marathon?   Both have long hours of commitment to a goal, both require sweat on and off the road, both need family and friends for support and in the end, there is a Finish Line.

This year the NYC marathon fell two days before the presidential election.  Tensions were high with the pollsters and the people speculating from every angle who was going to be the next president elect .  However, for a brief snapshot of time, I was transcended to a different place.

It’s 6AM as I board the bus to the start line on Staten Island.  Police escorts flashing  lights of red and blue as if we were all celebrities being carried to the big event.  Each runner on a different mission. Running 26.2 for the first time, running for a charity, running with a friend, running for a Boston qualifying spot, running for 9/11 victims, running to lose weight or just running to prove it can be done at any age.

The weather was glorious!  Sunny, royal blue skies, light wind and crisp air.  Flags from all the represented countries were waving in the breeze. The loud speaker gave instructions for each wave.  Spanish, French, Italian, German -more than 11 countries were represented?  I only wish I had not skipped so many French classes.  All the hours and miles of training were being contained in one area.  The energy was contagious.  Not a   thought or word of the election was on the minds of the 51,000 plus people on Staten Island.

It’s 10:20, Wave 3A was corralled for release.  The double decker buses surrounded us with NYPD on guard.  The only visual in front and behind me were the endless number of runners ready to explode into a frenzy across  the Verrazano bridge.  As God Bless America filled the air with patriotic reward, tears flowed down the faces.  Not just from Americans, but from everyone in wait.  We were united by love of people, love of country and love of running.

The saying, “it’s all about the journey”, ran through my mind as I ran the streets.  After months of turmoil with police killings, mass shootings, election sensationalism and religious wars, I finally saw humanity on this day.  We were equals, we were happy, the crowd embraced our energy and injected us with theirs.  No barriers, no prejudice.

Run next to a blind person to truly get perspective on what they see. Run with a cancer survivor to embrace healing not just the disease.  Run with Black Lives Matter to understand the movement’s motivation.  Play witness to thousands of spectators from a melting pot of neighborhoods in NY.  We were all one nation under God!

I prayed past every church, I celebrated each mile with a smile and I pushed myself through pain.  Resilience helped everyone find their way to the finish line.  The very last unofficial finisher was a 96 year old man who fought in WWII (Runner’s World featured his story – worth the read).  The moments are immeasurable.

Two days post-race, our country elected a new president.   The finish line is not in sight as the road to answers is quite long and bumpy.  I’d like to think of this as our country’s marathon.  Weeks, maybe months of conditioning a new leading team.  Learning acceptance of what we can control and what we must accept.  Trying to build each other up without continuing to thrust negativity onto the course.  This calls for all Americans to release their convictions to find peace.  I witnessed it for one day, I’d like to see more of that in days to come.  What will you do to for America’s new marathon?

Cheers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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7 thoughts on “The Next Big Race

    Nemo said:
    November 17, 2016 at 7:05 pm

    Beautiful Patti, just beautiful. Thank you.

    Laurie Graham said:
    November 17, 2016 at 7:48 pm

    So very eloquent Patti. It brought tears to my eyes . What a journey you experienced and how perfectly you described the pain and endurance of so many. Thank you for sharing your experience. I too pray when I run and will continue to do so for friends family and country. God bless you and congratulations on a race well run

    Priscilla Williams said:
    November 17, 2016 at 8:45 pm

    Good stuff, Patti. xo

    Gail Straub said:
    November 17, 2016 at 9:37 pm

    Wonderfully written Patti. What a great insight into both the marathon & the election! Many hugs. Gail

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    John Graham said:
    November 17, 2016 at 10:28 pm

    Well said Patti.

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Paul Gooding said:
    November 18, 2016 at 1:36 am

    Hi Patti:

    A great write up on “The next big race,” – well put and thought provoking. We often think of you and hope one day we will catch up with you. By the way, how did you do in the marathon? Hope you were able to meet your expectations and goals.

    We hope to return to Hope Town before too long, but at the moment everything is on hold, as it has been found that I need a replacement aortic heart valve. Actually, I feel fine and am still just about as active as ever, except that I do become more tired these days. Anyway, I am still undergoing interminable tests, but hope to have a decision on how to proceed within the next couple of weeks, and I may then have the procedure shortly thereafter. Whether we can get back to Hope Town by Christmas this year is, however, looking somewhat doubtful!

    Hope you are well and settled in your life in Florida.

    With kindest regards, – Paul and Ann.

    p.s. Ann is fine and quite unchanged! Thank goodness! Paul.

    On Thu, Nov 17, 2016 at 12:46 PM, Edge 2 Fitness wrote:

    > edge2fitness posted: “For the past 18 months, the United States has been > consumed with politics via social media, news shows, telephone polls, snail > mail and thankfully Saturday Night Live. I took on training for the NYC > marathon, my final hurrah (so I think), in my long dist” >

      edge2fitness responded:
      November 18, 2016 at 3:41 am

      I am so very touched you responded. The marathon was so rewarding. I had a major foot issues that was out of the blue, but I still finished in 4.5 hours. I have been looking at flights to go to HT in 2017. I am sorry you are going through a heart issue. I have a couple of clients who have been through the procedure and they are back to all they love. I know Ann will take quite good care of you!!! I stay on top of the changes with the HT Sailing Club. Busy folks. Nothing compares to HT. I always reflect upon my experience and my friendships. Please let me know how you are doing and give my best to Ann. Kindregards -Patti

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