On October 14th, I set out to run 20 miles.
The “Three Bridge Run”, organized by the New York Fliers, went over two of the three bridges we will be running over the Sunday after next and took us through Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, then back into Manhattan. Facing another unseasonably humid day, I selected to run with the 9-Minute mile pace group. It “felt” as they were running faster than that- which it turned out they were in pacing more like 8:40. I was concerned about keeping that pace up for the 20 miles, and while I stayed with them for the first 13, I lost them around mile 14 and had no idea which direction to go. By the time I got my bearings- after wandering around in Queens for 10 minutes- my legs were cold and cramping. I knew three weeks out was technically the time to start tampering. Yet I decided to roll the dice, stop, and gear up for my final big run the following weekend.
Over the next week, I started to consider again what I needed to keep myself going. It was another hectic week of work, life and the unforeseen visit of lice in Sophia's hair which led to a 24-48 hour period of cleaning, washing and visit to Licenders. But once again, I circled back to my original intention. This marathon is to honor my friend and her parents. When life is cruel, when it feels unbearably painful, and when it feels almost impossible. When we cannot say or do anything to make it better. Stop. Breathe. Remember those we love.
As life moves on, gets hectic, and at times feels overwhelming, it is easy to get caught up. It takes effort to remember this intention. Doing my best to do so, I headed out to Sag Harbor this past weekend with my mother, my father, and Sophia. A place where I have been going for almost forty years, a place where I have spent over half my life time running, with three of the most important people in my life.
Three hours: I needed three hours consistently, on my feet, to feel confident heading into this particular marathon. I estimated three hours of running would put me at 18-20 miles.
During this training season, I did my best to do my longest runs when I was not with Sophia. But there was no more time; it had to be done this weekend. So I decided to incorporate her into my run.
"I need your help," I told her. "It's really important that I get this last long run in before the marathon. I need you to help me by handing me water, gatorade, and gel packs."
"But what if I don't "benember" (she still says benember instead of remember) the name of the second thing," she asks, referring to gatorade.
"Will you remember electrolytes?" I ask her, joking.
"Actually I think I will benember that one," she says.
So at mile 6.5, mile 12.5 and mile 18, I had Sophia hand me what I needed.
I can honestly say, there was nothing like seeing Sophia with my parents, waiting for me, as I turned the corner to see them at our designated place by the little red school house I have spent years parking the car then going for a run.
Sophia's excitement waving to me, then cheering me on as I continued to run definitely did the trick. My final long run of 3 straight hours, approximately 19 miles. Of course she wouldn't give me a hug; "Mommy, you are too sweaty. You need to take a shower." So I did, we had the rest of our day, followed by pumpkin picking that Sunday.
There Is Still Time To Contribute: In Honor of Marvin and JoEllen Kipnes
In honor of Marvin Kipnes:
Allyson Ocean's research at Weill Cornell Medicine. The instructions are at follows:
In the “about your gift” section, please tell people to check “other” and specify it is for Dr. Allyson Ocean’s research.
And in the “Tribute” section, please tell people to write in Marvin Kipnes.
In honor of JoEllen Kipnes
JoEllen had Luekemia and was under the care of Dr. Gail J. Roboz at Cornell Hospital. Dr. Roboz was great throughout all of this and does amazing work. She runs a program called Leukemia Fighters devoted to the clinical and translational research projects of the Weill Cornell Leukemia Program.