It really wasn't what I imagined. I had anticipated an emotional release that would turn me into a pile of goo at the finish line. But I had to use what energy I had left to stay on my feet. I also thought I would start crying like a baby when I passed my running family and my real family in Park Slope. But at mile 7 thousands of runners were literally rushing past me.
This is what I wanted to say. This is the speech that went through my mind millions of times. This is where I went on the treadmill or in access ride or in the middle of the movie.....
3 1/2 years ago I had a lot of really bad days. A lot of times where I needed to close my eyes and go to my happy place. What do you do when they leave you alone in the hospital room after they tell you you'll be fine in a year? What you think about when you're left alone if you had asked someone to help you press the buttons on your phone so you can call your kids? How do you keep from freaking out after you realize you can't even hold the jar to pee into while laying down? I close my eyes and went to my happy place.
I still had all my memories. The smiles I got from strangers when I pushed my kids in that gigantic running stroller over the Brooklyn Bridge. Doing speed work in Prospect Park within earshot of Bob Dylan performing at The Bandshell. Watching the sunrise over the lake in Prospect Park when it was frozen solid. Or coming around the lake and seeing the fall colors and for a moment thinking I was in New England and then realizing that Mr. Olmsted planned it that way. Or remembering finishing a 20 miler at grand Army Plaza and filling my belly with cool water as the cherry blossom petals fall on the back of my head. I remembered what it was like to run that last mile in the Club Team Championship. I remembered being in a starting corral in January and staring at the time and temperature on top of the Midtown building and seeing the temperature change from 9 to 8°. Sometimes I remembered where all the mile markers were in the New York City Marathon, or how good it felt to run around the perimeter of Manhattan Island. Sometimes I stared at the picture my wife took of me holding our kids after the first marathon I finished after they were born. I just remembered the look on my wife's face as she was taking the picture.I remembered calling my patents after I finished my first marathon, and the next 28.
But then there came a time where I stopped consciously choosing to send my mind somewhere else, I stop deciding where I needed to go. My subconscious mind started taking me away from my reality when I wasn't deciding to take that minivacation. I found myself drifting off into the same fantasy over and over again. It was a beautiful place but it often came at inappropriate times. I thought that I was developing some sort of mental disease. Then I embraced it because it was wonderful and if anyone deserved a psychological defect it was me.
It was a wonderful place to go, but it wasn't a place I had been. Well, it was a place I had been but I wasn't going to it like a memory. My mind was taking me there because it was a vision of where I would be again. It was a multidimensional vision. So now I'm not sure if I'm really here or I'm just imagining this again. I knew I would feel the weight of this finisher's medal around my neck. I knew I feel is wonderful pain in my quads. I knew I smell the pizza. I've already felt the tears rolling down my cheeks in my imagination. I already heard my own voice thanking my teammates from the Prospect Park Track Club and Achilles International. I already thanked Nicoletta, and Larry and Janet and my son Nicholas for taking all those steps with me.
So all I have left to say, and I'm not really sure if I'm really here or from just imagining it again is, "I also finished the New York City Marathon yesterday!"
Below, you can see and hear the words that I was actually able to get out of my mouth.