Last weekend, prior to the devastation that was Hurricane Sandy, I went up to New York City for a quick get-away weekend. I didn’t want to spend the weekend dwelling on what the weekend would have been — Marine Corps Marathon weekend — and decided an escape was in order. Little did we know how bad the city would be hurt in the coming days.

We were there for not much more than 24 hours, staying almost entirely in Brooklyn. We went to a flea market, ate fantastic street food, enjoyed the perfect fall weather in Prospect Park, had an amazing dinner at Pok Pok NY, enjoyed the perfection that is a New York bagel,  and caught up with friends.

I had mixed emotions about being away from DC for the excitement of Marine Corps Marathon, but was happy to see that the weather held out for the runners and it seemed like a great race. It all seems so long ago now.

We were back in DC before the storm hit on Sunday night, and we were so very lucky to weather the storm with no real problems in my neighborhood. We took some walks and checked out the hurricane parties happening at local bars on Monday. Like I said, we were so very lucky. So much has been written about the devastations suffered in New York and New Jersey that I don’t think I can add to that, but I will say it is horrifying to see such losses sustained in places that hold so many memories and emotions for me, namely, the Jersey Shore and NYC. Luckily, everyone close to me is fine.

However, out of all this pain, I think perhaps two positive things have emerged from this crisis, at least for me:

1. A strengthened sense of community. Many, many, many people who are physically or emotionally close to the areas that have been damaged have come forward to donate time, money, or other resources. I can’t be up there volunteering but I can contribute to worthy causes, and more importantly, it has spurred me to figure out a more regular community giving/volunteering routine. In the past I have given to worthy causes on an ad hoc basis, as things come up, or volunteered for community service events, but I have always known I should make it a more regular part of my budget and schedule. I figured out a plan today to start donating or volunteering monthly, which I am sure is still not enough, but the effects of the storm reminded me that this should be a more consistent part of my life. I also like seeing how the storm has galvanized the running community to provide support for storm victims and show that there ARE more important things to us than our carb-loading plan or PR, which brings me to….

2. A broader sense of perspective. Tragic events have a way of reminding people what’s really important in life. Much has also been written about the NYC Marathon debacle so I won’t get into my views, but I will say that I think this week has reminded runners that, as important as a race is to you when you are training, there are always more important things. Like I said before, it’s just one day. I can’t believe MCM was a week ago since so much has happened since then, and at times I’ve nearly forgotten my own disappointment over not running it. I’m getting over it, and so will at the NYCM runners. There is more to life.

All that said, I am not perfect and I am still struggling to figure out when I will be healed and can start running seriously again. A quick update: I have been successfully cross-training via using the elliptical and stationary bike at the gym, bike commuting, doing core and arm work at home, foam rolling and stretching, going to yoga, and as of yesterday, trying pilates, which I really enjoyed and left my core sufficiently sore today.

I am slowly starting to feel better and today I attempted a short run. It is unseasonably cold here in DC and my lungs were burning for the first uphill mile, and I was so mad at myself for feeling out of breath and out of shape, already. After a bit I warmed up and felt better, completing 2.75 miles. However, my quad felt sore and tight and now has been sore all day. For a hot second yesterday, I was fantasizing that I would be recovered and could possibly re-up my training and do a December marathon…but I realized today the road to recovery will not be that easy. I’ll just have to take it slow and wait and see, as frustrating as it is.

But there are worse problems to have.


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