To most, Tuesday was just another average weekday. I, on the other hand, looked forward to Tuesday with all of the anxious anticipation of a small child counting the days until Christmas. Tuesday was the NYC Marathon lottery. I have been waiting for this day since the moment I crossed the 2015 finish line in Central Park, and by the time it finally arrived I had all but blocked out the possibility that I might not get lucky again this year. Simply, when you want something so badly, it is almost unfathomable to think that you might not get it.
On Tuesday, 23% percent of the applicants won a spot in this epic race for 2016. I was not one of them.
I recognize that it is just a race, and that there are real world problems facing individuals and nations, and that a dose of perspective might have been good. But there was no getting around it on Tuesday - when I got the news I was painfully, heartbreakingly, and undeniably sad.
For me, the New York City Marathon was more than just an amazing bucket list race – it was a life-altering opportunity. My re-discovery of the sport of running and this marathon prompted me to start writing again, and served as the impetus for this blog and my first tentative baby steps into broader publications and media. In training for and writing about the race, I found myself connecting with a network of runners and writers – both new acquaintances and old friends – in ways that I never would have but for New York. Privately, my long training runs provided a quiet opportunity for me to continue to heal after my father’s passing, and a happy excuse to run with my husband and family as I chased this dream race. There was so much emotional build up going into the marathon, and it surely did not disappoint. Last year was simply one of the best years, and November 1 one of the best days, of my life. And when you’ve experienced something so great, and a year that was so impactful, it is hard to let it go. Even for a little while.
I spent the better part of Tuesday wallowing, and giving myself the same pep talk that I have given my kids a hundred times when they have met with disappointment: It just was not meant to be. Another door will open. It did not work out this time, but you can try again. You cannot change it, so the best thing you can do is accept it and move forward. I know it is hard, but it will get better.
What I have come to realize after some bit of reflection is that getting into the 2016 NYC Marathon would have been the easy route. Running 2016 would have been plug and play, almost guaranteed to be great. However, I also have discovered that with this door closing, a whole world of possibilities has opened up for me as I start to explore my options. It is truly exciting. And it is what keeps life interesting.
New York: I will be back. You have me hooked. But this year, I will cheer you and your runners on from a far while I chase new goals and new experiences. As much as Tuesday hurt, thank you for the nudge to move me in a previously unexplored direction. Wherever it takes me, I have confidence that it also will be great.
To be continued ...