On Sunday night’s series premiere of Thicker Than Water, Brooklyn Tankard, in what came across as a contrived (and really stupid) storyline, sets a goal to run a half marathon in less than a week’s time. Utterly ridiculous because, from her choice of sports bra alone, we can tell Brooklyn is not a runner. The whole event; which culminated in her being unable to register the day of – in many races you actually can-and her being able to only run an absurdly titled 2.5 mile “mini-marathon”; was a poorly constructed storyline to illustrate that she is jealous of her youngest sister Cyrene.
Now, I may come off a little bit judgemental here, but allow me to plead my case. After nearly 20 years of running I’ve become a bit of a running snob. I’ve spent probably months of my life by this time on treadmills, tracks, and pavement. This snobbery is a right I have earned. I’ve had falls and injuries, yet I always have gotten back up and out there. It’s a need for me, a passion, I love it. I may even love it more than writing. It is by far the one thing in my life I truly own. It is subject to nobody’s rules, regulations, or opinions. I taught and trained myself and it has become my little sanctuary in this crazy crazy world.
And here is why the marathon craze is an extremely sore subject for me. I’ve run many races of varying distances including several 13.1 mile half marathons. However, the 26.2 mile full monty has and continues to elude me. Every year tens of thousands of runners from all over the world gather in New York City for the ING New York City marathon, and every year, I am not one of them.
Several years ago, inspired by a boss of my mother’s generation who runs it yearly and comes to work in high heels the following day, I began entering the lottery. The first year I wanted to be prepared and so I started training. I was up to 16 miles before I found out I didn’t get in.
The rule with the ING Marathon is that after three consecutive lottery losses you receive an automatic entry. By the time I reached that three year cut off I was deep in the throws of battling infertility. And then the email I had waited for came…the one that said I had finally gottten my entry (so long as I secured it with the $200 race fee) into the finest race New York City has to offer. Immediately I knew what would happen. “This is the year we finally get pregnant,” I called out to my husband in what must have been the most positive manner I had talked about the subject to date. “What makes you say that?” he asked. “Because I finally got in the marathon.”
And so my prophecy came true. Before I knew it we had gambled on a round of IVF and had come out winners with two little beans fastly growing in my once toned runner’s body. I made the call to defer my race number and vowed I would use the 2011 race to lose the baby weight. By summer 2011, however, I had been through six months of wound care due to a stubborn c-section incision that wouldn’t heal. By this time I had now spent over $400 on that stupid race, hadn’t run it, and hadn’t run at all for over a year. Not knowing what my condition would be the following year I gave up my entry.
2012 I was running again, but nowhere near the speeds or distances I once was so proud of. Then Hurricane Sandy hit and the marathon was canceled. Runners who had trained for months and traveled from great distances pitched in to help the victims of the storm. Then The Boston Marathon bombing took place and horrors that only those there can understand occurred. Two of marathoning’s largest events were marked by tragedy.
On November 3d runners lined up once again to take on the Big Apple, probably humbled from the previous year, and uneasy after Boston. But they were there to take running back. Having just recovered from surgery and cleared to run only two months ago it was yet another year I had to sit out.
Inspired by the recent race there’s now a lot of people I know wanting to run it in 2014. What irks me is that most of them aren’t seasoned runners who have achieved the years and miles that I have, but I’m angry at myself, not them. They will most likely run it and I, who post surgery have been hitting some of those old speeds and distances, will probably not. I don’t know what it is, but those 26.2 miles have now become something I’m almost afraid to try. That if I try it and fail my running, my sanctuary, will no longer hold the joy it has given me for so many years.
I guess you can say the ING New York City Marathon has become my White Whale. Call me Ishmael.
What is your “white whale”? What did you think of Thicker Than Water? Share below for a chance to win this month’s Housewife Hot Item prize.