Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Mile 1: Staten Island

A lot of people think about the NYC Marathon and Staten Island and think of it as simply the starting point. Mile 1. Just get off the island and onto the bridge and then the race will begin. 

This is EXACTLY how I felt in high school.
Now I can't wait to get back there. 

My dad was stationed in Bayonne, NJ. We moved from Carlisle, Pennsylvania and were assigned housing on Staten Island exactly two weeks before I started high school. We moved onto the base, Ft. Wadsworth onto Mont Sec Avenue and thought we were going to be there for two years. 

This was our house. 
We ended up living there for four years.
I lived at the top of that fire escape. 
This is actually a duplex-type house. We lived on the left side.
I loved the front porch.
 It was old and ginormous. And awesome. 
One 1/2 hour ferry ride from Manhattan. For four years of my life. 
It is still crazy to think about. 

 I played an insane amount of soccer on in high school. If you know high schoolers who play travel ball, you understand. If you don't, buckle up...because eventually you will and it will frustrate the bejesus out of you because they don't do anything other than that.

Well, that was my life in high school.
Every Saturday and Sunday morning we were on the soccer field. Or getting ready to spend the entire day/weekend/night on the field.

With that being said, we would watch the setup for the marathon the whole week. The mile long urinal, the port-a-potties, the signage, the goodwill donation boxes...it was insane! International kids at my high school would go into the radio studio and record pre-race instructions for international racers. The whole place was crazy for the marathon.

And I would have to get up super early in the morning, get across the Verrazano Narrows Bridge so that we would be able to avoid the race and get to our soccer games. Then we would have to hang out on Long Island all day waiting for them open the roads again so we could navigate the insane traffic, then back across the bridge to get home.

My mom and I would get home to be greeted by my dad and brother who would share with us the "goodwill bounty" of the day. All of the clothes that runners throw off before the race would become next years "pre-game" clothing for me. I loved old school Adidas warmups and really worn out sweatshirts and this was like HEAVEN. My dad would find all these things, wash them and have them waiting on me when I got home. 
I had two pair of Adidas pants that I wore until there were holes throughout them in college from Marathon Sunday. 

The craziest thing about running this marathon is that I have NEVER GOTTEN TO SEE IT. 
Not a minute. I always wanted to. It's like a myth to me. 
Because of soccer, I never got to be a part of this most insane race on the planet. 

Then this year, I was so excited about the marathon, just tuning into to see what would happen. 
Then the weather turned. 
It turned nasty. 
Mayor Bloomberg and the race directors were making crazy decisions because well...
people's homes and lives were all the sudden: GONE. 
These were my classmates from high school! 
Their parents, grandparents, themselves!

Facebook was crazy. 
Also, I had several friends who were supposed to run the race. 
It was nuts. 
They needed to cancel the race, but what a tough situation for everyone. 

Right then, I knew I wanted to be back there on the starting line the next year. 
One year after Sandy.
17 years after I graduated from high school. 

The place that got me off the island and into South Carolina.
Playing college soccer.
Working in ministry.
Meeting my husband.
Gaining a career.
Having kids.

So much has changed in me since I left Staten Island and so much of me was formed during my years there. I love that I grew up there and that I was able to leave to have the life that I have now. 

I can't wait to get back and hit that starting line. 

Classic New Yorkers. 

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