Hello from New York City! You may have noticed my absence the past few weeks, or perhaps not. I know that I have been pretty quiet around here lately. The reason for silence is because I have been busy working 7 days a week for the past few weeks at the ice rink in Central Park. I used to work there years ago. It was how I worked my way through college when I first arrived in New York and where I met my husband, on my first day of work.
Six years ago, we left New York and moved to Chicago and later to Michigan. We continue to work here in the spring and fall and last winter I got a text from a co-worker asking if I could work her maternity leave this winter. Knowing the struggles of becoming a mom and then the next struggle of being a working mom, I gladly obliged to a return to Wollman Rink for a few weeks.
The work isn’t easy. The hours are rough. I’m up well before the sun rises each morning and I run home to meet the girls after a few hours on the ice. I return to the ice later in the day to work some more, before running the 4 miles back to get our children fed and to bed. We’ve suffered colds, sinus infections, and ear infections. But we are finally on the mend and despite being exhausted, we are having a great time in the city. So please excuse my absence over the next few weeks, I have great plans for a big return after the holidays.
Until then, I want to offer a huge congratulations and thank you to all of the runners of the New York City Marathon. Anyone who dares to run and anybody who dares to train and finish a marathon is a super hero. It is an incredible process that requires months, and weeks, and hours of diligence. There are days of exhaustion and times of injury. But there is nothing more incredible than crossing that finish line.
I ran for many years leading up to the first time I really had a chance to admire the New York City Marathon. It is always hectic trying to get in and out of the rink in Central Park, as it is very close to the finish line. Most years I worked all morning and afternoon and missed much of the race. When I finally got my own apartment situated in East Harlem, right by the 19 mile mark, I had a sunny afternoon to myself and I went to watch the runners.
Spectating a marathon will change even the hardest of souls. You will witness humans at their absolute greatest. People are drenched in sweat and struggling. Some are beaming and smiling. Others are grimacing and crying. Along the sidelines you will find people of all backgrounds, coming together to cheer on family and friends, and strangers. It is amazing!
Watching those runners who spent months training for this big event, that year, touched me. I felt chills listening to a band up the street, and the cowbells ringing. There were dozens of languages being spoken around me and people were calling out names of strangers whose names were taped across their bibs.
The marathon was a uniting force!
I went home feeling like a changed person. I commented on what an incredible experience it appeared to be, but that I would never do something so crazy. Yet, that moment stuck with me, and was the reason I have run several marathons and helped hundreds of others cross their own finish lines.
There is something very special about the New York City Marathon. A city that can be so busy rushing to and from work and other occasions, finds the time to slow down to cheer for tens of thousands of strangers for one magical day.
This year was extra magical because I got to take my girls to cheer on the runners near that same place that forever changed me. Mary made a sign and was quite the hit waving and cheering on the runners. At one moment she asked me why people were “stopping.” I tried my best to explain to her how hard those last few miles are for so many of us. I choked back tears as I held her and watched people passing by and said, “You run when you can and walk if you have to. We all just keep going.”
Congrats to everyone who ran New York and Indianapolis this weekend!