Achilles, Beth Sanden John Elliot, Books & Books, Boston, Challenged Athletes Foundation, Dick Traum, friend, Gary, handcycle, Helene Hines, Ironman, Leary Firefighters Foundation, Lucas Carr, Luke, Mandi, marathon, Mardi Grant, Mary Bryant, Matt Long, NY, pain, PB&J, race, recovery, Russell Koplin, Sharon Badal, Shelly Lynn Pearson, sleep, spirit, survival, The Long Run
My official time for the race is 3:36:46 – not bad for my first marathon, I’m thinkin’.
I promise to get a real post with all the race day goings-on up here soon. And photos, too, of course. I’m still in the recovery phase and trying to gain back some sense of normalcy (or as close as this body gets to “normal”) post-race. I’m in a state of exhilarated and exhausted and trying to keep the physical pain as much under control as possible. Everything is in a hazy, glittery wash of disbelief, trying to take it all in, celebration and gratitude and relief.
I *really* need sleep.
Our departure from NYC was delayed by 4+ hours because of the winds over NY, which meant Gary, Luke & I jockeying for floor space at Laguardia with hundreds of other stranded people. Then the last flight out of Chicago – our connecting city – left minutes before we got there, necessitating a motel stay and catching the first available flight out of Midway the next morning. So, yeah, did I mention that I really need sleep? That, and I woke up the morning after race day with a wicked sore throat (which I attributed to the fact that I was smiling so big for most of the race that I was sucking in huge amounts of chilly NYC air!) , soon followed by head & chest congestion and now a cough that seems to be exacting the revenge of somebody or something done a severe injustice.
But in the meantime, I want to send big shout-outs to all the fabulous people involved with Leary Firefighters Foundation, to Lucas Carr – my buddy from Boston – who got the trike and me to the handcycle starting line in, literally, the nick of time & then got Luke back to Mardi Grant who took good care of him till the race was over.
Achilles Foundation volunteers met me at the finish line – the first was Mary Bryant who congratulated me & then put me in the hands of volunteer Andrew, who took care of my post-race needs: blankets and a down jacket when the uncontrollable chills set in, hot chocolate, fruit, PB&J, then hot chicken soup. Achilles volunteers also got the trike, Gary & I out of the end of race madness and back to the hotel where Team LFF, NYPD & FDNY were all meeting up for post-race festivities.
I met so many amazing people through this NYC Marathon experience. Mardi Grant & Sharon Badal of Leary Firefighters Foundation, I’m laying claim to you as new friends, I hope that’s all right with you! Lucas & his sweet, beautiful girlfriend (whose name I blanked out in the post-race fugue state, I’m sorry) I’m keeping y’all too. And Dick Traum & Russell Koplin & Helene Hines and so many others from Achilles. Beth Sanden & John Elliot from Challenged Athletes Foundation who turned me on to the very idea of participating in a marathon with a recumbent trike; I cannot wait to hug you both in person someday very, very soon.
One of the most memorable people I haven’t even actually met in person yet. Mardi & Sharon from LFF told me about him, his foundation & book while I was picking up my race jersey the day before the marathon. Their passion for him – his story & his mission – was powerful, ebullient. His name is Matt Long, the founder of I Will Foundation & the author of a book I haven’t been able to put down since Gary purchased it for me at the FDNY table at the hotel. Matt’s is a story of triumph against unbelievable assaults against the human body & spirit caused when a bus ran him over on his bicycle. It was a miracle that Matt survived his injuries; the doctors told his family he had a 5% chance of survival. Matt, a New York firefighter, triathlete & marathoner, who was in training for an Ironman competition, not only survived all of the dire predictions against his survival, against him ever walking again, but he went on to compete, again, in the NYC Marathon. The foundation he created is dedicated to helping others whose lives are intersected with illness or injury; something right up my alley, as they say!
Pick up his book as soon as your feet or your mouse can take you to the nearest independent bookseller. My personal favorite is Books & Books: http://www.booksandbooks.com Here’s the direct link to Matt’s inspiring unputdownable book: http://www.booksandbooks.com/book/9781605292465
Thanks to my friend Mandi, who came out to root for me in Brooklyn – and almost got tackled by an NYPD officer when she went running down the median cheering after to me to make sure that I saw & heard her :0)
Thanks to one of my BFFs, Shelly Lynn, who took care of our other dog Elphaba & the tribe of cats so that Gary could be in NYC to share in the glory of race day with me. When I asked, at the beginning of this journey, Do you think I think I could actually do the NYC Marathon with the trike? You said, Duh-uh, of course you can, sweetie, look at all you’ve accomplished already! I love the way you believe in me, girlfriend. XOX
Numerous shout-outs of thanks go to all of you who donated funds to help raise awareness and further the mission of Leary Firefighters Foundation! I’m grateful to all of you posted links to my blog on your own blogs and Facebook pages, and for all the comments of encouragement. You’ll never know how much you mean to me, what a difference you made in this long, arduous, glorious journey ~
A humongous shout-out goes to my beloved husband Gary, who didn’t faint when I said I wanted to spend X-amount of money on a recumbent trike and that I planned to ride it in the NYC Marathon in less than 4 months, who drove me & the trike to various training spots at the crack of dawn on his precious few days off, who kept telling me I could do this thing when the physical toll began to feel like an obstacle I couldn’t overcome, who helped me keep my cool with the overwhelming task of travel logistics for a disabled woman + service dog + recumbent trike in tow, who took off work to meet me in NYC for the marathon, who ran around the city catching cabs & subways trying to get as many sightings & photos of me during the race as possible, who is my biggest, surest, dearest champion: Thank you, baby, I love you – I couldn’t have done any of this without you!
Me? I’m headed for yet another long bath to soothe the muscles, the next round of pain meds & vitamins, a few more chapters of Matt’s book (my second reading in as many days) while the dogs romp in the backyard, and then sleep, Sleep, S L E E E E E P . . .
More soon ~