Monday, June 5, 2017

Back to the bucket list

I'm not a list of things that haven't been checked off yet. I think that's kind of bad karma.

ü  I completed a  marathon (then 28 more marathons)
ü  I completed ultramarathon
ü  I ran from Brooklyn to Nassau County and back

Now I have one more item on the bucket list to check off. I ran over and East River bridge that doesn't have a pedestrian lane. I ran over the Rikers Island bridge. Then I ran a 5K race on Rikers Island.

The race itself was kind of underwhelming. I imagined that I would run past prisoners behind barbed wire and gated windows, doing what I imagined prisoners would do. Or I thought I would be part of some overdramatic scene out of Oranges the New Black, or the first minute of a Law and Order Episode. But none of that. In fact it was just a little spooky. Running around buildings that I thought could have been empty because behind the barbed wire there were no cars parked next to them and no indication that people could even see me through the windows. I found out that often you see prisoners taking care of the landscaping but that was canceled for the day because we were running there. I also saw no evidence of people visiting, which I only hope was the case because we were there early on a Saturday morning. There was just one point where prisoners were yelling out the window. And in fact there were yelling very positive messages of encouragement. And I actually did find it encouraging that people who were locked up would cheer for me. I also thought we be transported around the island in a paddy wagon, but it was just a regular school bus that they use to move visitors around in.

And the race wasn't really designed for runners. I think about 75% of the participants was staff at the island and it was an excuse for them to get to see from a different angle and be cheered on by their workmates. At the water station they handed out sealed plastic bottles and the mile markers seem to be randomly placed around the course. They said you had to finish the 5K within one hour and I thought that would've been pushing my limits. The clock said 1:00:02 when I finished but my teammates GBSs said the course was more like 2.85 miles. The most memorable part of the course was actually the awesome views we had of the runways at LaGuardia Airport.

But here's the thing. Three years ago I was suddenly paralyzed. And I thought, I really believed, that I wasn't ever get to get to check anything off my bucket list again. I accepted that. I really thought that GBS sealed the lid on that bucket. I spent uncounted hours in the hospital reviewing my accomplishments. Remembering that that was who I was ..... Now I get to sit here and brag about one more running event that I got to check off my bucket list. 

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