It’s been my tradition that each year in preparation for running the New York City Marathon, I try to come up with something to occupy my mind for each mile of the marathon course. Just in case the music and crowds don’t do it for me at that particular moment in the race. For my first one, I thought about 26 places and name that inspire me to run. The following year, I thought about 26 reasons that I was running the marathon, each beginning with that mile’s letter of the alphabet. This year, I think I’ve decided to make “People” the focus of my mental exercise during the marathon.
Although the choice may sound rather arbitrary, there’s actually a perfectly reasonable explanation for this selection. At the beginning of the running year, as I was still euphoric over my recently acquired BQ marathoner status, I was asked by a friend of mine, “Why do you have this almost religious fervor to run long distances at such blazing speeds? Is there something in your past that’s driving you to run so fast? If there’s some traumatizing event or cause that fuels your desire to run away as quick as possible, maybe it’ll be more therapeutic for you to find the root cause and deal with it rather than run miles and miles as a form of denial?”
For a while, I was shocked by his suggestion and was downright angry that he was using my passion for running against me. And for a long time, I really didn’t know how to respond. There was a part, albeit a small part, that wondered if he was right in his assessment. Was I running fast only because there was people and places and bad memories that I’m trying to get away from? It weighed heavily on my mind for a long time this year.
But during my birthday this year, somewhere in the late miles of the San Francisco Marathon at a time when I felt most vulnerable because of the hilly terrain, lack of crowd support and crampy legs, I found my answer. I realized that over the past year, because of running, I made so many friends and became acquainted with so many great people that I would never have known otherwise. Moreover, even among my family and old friends I’d known all my life, I’d grown closer to them because of this newfound passion. In essence, running has made me closer to people, rather than draw me away as my friend had suggested. This new revelation, discovered at the most unlikeliest of places, gave me the impetus to have a tremendously successful summer season of running and racing.
In honor of this momentous occasion, I’m dedicating this race to 26 people and groups of people that have helped make me the runner that I am today, and will think of them especially during this race.
People For Whom I’m Running and Dedicating This Race
- For my cousin JK, who thinks it’s pretty cool that I run
- For my friend RB, who was crazy enough to follow me on a second five borough tour after I coached him and gave him PFS the first time around
- For my cousin JY, who just had a baby boy
- For my friend EW, who’ve been head cheerleader since my very first NYCM
- For uncle Ben because he had 80% blockage in one of his coronary arteries and went through a double angioplasty in flying colors last week
- For my friend KC, who invited me half way around the world to show me the time of my life
- For my Flyer friend BS, who I secretly admire for being my real-life example of what a cancer survivor is capable of.
- For my mom who loves reading my blog even if she doesn’t understand half of what I’m talking about
- For my long distance Hawaiian friend, Frayed Laces, who inspires me everyday with her courage, speed and gutsiness
- For grandma who doesn’t understand why I have to run in order to be healthy and sane
- For my new friend JS, who admires my speed, even when I don’t think I’m worthy of such high praise
- For my diabetic patients, who can be so universally frustrating yet intermittently rewarding to deal with (not so unlike a marathon)
- For my brother, who thinks sub 3 hours will be like Kenyan speed
- For my Flyer friend BH, who is sitting this one out, but constantly challenges me without saying a word because he has more in common with me than even he knows.
- For my friend SS, who’s one of my oldest friends and will be making a kick-ass sign for me at mile 18
- For my cousin JS, who showed me great hospitality and even ran with me while I was out in San Fran
- For the Flyer bloggers nyflygirl and runner26 who share with me a kindred spirit where running and blogging go hand-in-hand
- For my dad who isn’t so supportive of my running…but then again he’s not so unsupportive either
- For all the patients to whom I’ve had the privilege of being called their doctor.
- For my friend MA, who started me on this journey way back when and is finally running together with me in this marathon
- For my blogger friends across the river, across state lines, and across the big pond, who keep me entertained, motivated, and excited to run each and every day
- For the rest of the Flyers who celebrate my victories even when I’ve only won against my former self
- For friends and family far away who can’t be with me this day but are always in my thoughts.
- For my sister with whom I share a special conversation at mile 24 of every single marathon
- For race directors, volunteers, and all those who’ll come out to support and cheer like mad for us runners
- For myself because once upon a time I was picked last in a relay race and was referred to as a non-athlete