Staten Island Half
Staten Island is known as the Lost Borough, mainly because it’s so hard to get to. Until the mid-1960s when the Verrazano Bridge was built, one could only get there from New Jersey or by taking the Staten Island Ferry. I signed up to run the Staten Island Half Marathon months ago, in attempt to complete the NYRR Five Borough Challenge to qualify for the 2017 NYC Marathon. If it hadn’t been for the Challenge, I don’t think I would ever have signed up to run a race the Staten Island Half. By public transportation, Staten Island is over an hour away. And if it hadn’t been for the free ride provided by my friends Cherbrale and Nick, I would’ve made my way back to bed on Sunday morning when I discovered it was raining.
The Staten Island Half was my first race in a while. Conditions were ideal but needless to say it felt good to be back. I fought through the cold, the rain, the HILLS (oh, the hills!!) and the 20 mph winds from the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, and surprisingly finished in 2:36:02. That normally would have been a terrible time for me, but ego went out the door at mile one. This race was a reminder for me that life sometimes throws shit at you, and there’s no controlling it. You can choose to hide at home and miss out on an opportunity, or power through it knowing that you’ll feel good having accomplished something in the end. Often times, I can get caught up in the circumstances and will complain. But on Sunday, I powered through knowing that I was stronger for running through a storm and that I wasn’t alone. There were 11,135 others out there running with me. They understood how terrible the conditions were, were cold and drenched just like I was, and survived with me. There’s great camaraderie in shared experiences, and reminds me that life is bigger than I am.
Life is bigger than ME.
Life is about living selflessly and being willing to park the car and miss the start while your friends get to the start. Thanks, Cherbrale.
It’s about serving others. I’m amazed at the hundreds of volunteers who filled our water cups in the cold and rain. I couldn’t feel my hands after the race and I’m sure you couldn’t either. That kind of service goes beyond the obligatory +1 volunteering one must fulfill to qualify for next year’s marathon. The average person would’ve called in sick! But you, dear volunteers, still showed up and it mattered!
It’s about cheering for people, even if you don’t know them. Because no matter who it is, you want people to succeed.
Life is about inspiring others, even when you don’t feel inspired. You do it anyway because encouragement and good will ultimately finds its way back to you.
So wherever you find yourself today, I challenge you to run through your storm. Discover what you can learn in the process, form new bonds, and enjoy what awaits you at the finish line.