Three years ago, I entered the lottery to run the NYC Marathon on a whim. At the time, I didn't even really understand how long a marathon was. I just sort of woke up one day and decided that I wanted to run it.
Luckily, I didn't get in. I say luckily because I was in no way, shape, or form capable of training enough to run 26.2 miles through the 5 boroughs of New York City in the six months I would have from getting in to D-Day. But I entered again the next year, for 2011. I was still not training like I should have been, but I didn't plan on getting in. By then, I did my research and decided I would enter, and lose, 3 years in a row so as to be guaranteed for the fourth year - 2013.
I lost the lottery again, as expected, and when the time came, I registered for the 2012 ING NYC Marathon lottery. This time, I started training. Sort of. I was running shorter distances, but at least I was doing something! And, much to my surprise, I was that 10% who got in.
I remember when I logged into my marathon profile, and saw that badge staring me in the face. The badge that said "I'm In. To Finish 2012". My heart started racing and a thousand thoughts ran through my head, from Oh my God, I'm in to Holy Shit, I can't do this. From visions of me crossing the finish line, to visions of me walking up the Verrazzano. At the time, I was only running 8 miles a week.
So I decided to buckle down and handle it. I started pushing myself, finishing longer and longer distances, even if it meant walking, and two months later, I finished 11 miles in Central Park. I did 12.5 in a training run in early September, and although I only had two months to go, I felt like I could really do it.
I could finish the NYC Marathon.
And then, of course, Sandy happened. My family was pretty hard hit by the storm, so whether they cancelled it or not, I wasn't going to run it. And my dream was deferred another year.
I was starting to get disillusioned with it. Would it ever happen? I signed up for guaranteed entry to 2013, and started training again in February. By April, I was running 4-6 miles 3-4 times a week. I was beating my PR's in time and distance (in terms of not walking). I had never felt better in my life.
NOW. NOW this was really and truly going to happen. I had a 10k in April, a half in late June, a 20 miler in August, and 26.2 in November.
And then one fateful night, just over two weeks ago, when I stepped outside to try to see the Northern Lights, I fell. I fell from a height of no more than 18 inches, but it was enough to break my right ankle.
That was April 13. The doctor said I won't be up and running again until probably July 4, and because of that, I won't have enough time to train to finish the marathon.
So last week, I was forced to defer again until 2014. What happens to a dream deferred? I can tell you, Langston Hughes, that it festers like a sore, AND it stinks like meat. Every day that I sit here, unable to walk, or even to drive, I eagerly await the day that I can get up and running again. Every person I see going for their jog, I get sad, jealous, anxious. The idea of starting my training all over come July is terrifying.
What if I can't even finish a mile? What if I never get the motivation back? What if I gain so much weight in this 10 weeks of inactivity that I'm too large to even start running again?
How do I get past this? After three years of having this dream so close, only to have it ripped away, I've become jaded with the idea. I want to give up.
But I put one (booted) foot in front of the other, and I keep trucking. I watch other people run and dream of the day when I'll be out there with them. I don't know that I'll be able to watch the marathon this November - I think it'll be too much for me, but I'm happy for those who can do it.
Keep on trucking, keep on running, keep on hoping...
Looking forward to Independence Day.