By Jacque Reid, Editor In Chief
A negative experience can change the course of your life if you let it. I learned that lesson first hand when I decided to run the New York City Marathon.
Participating in a marathon had been on my bucket list for some time. The New York City Marathon is one of, if not, THE greatest races in the world, so why not go big, right? I was already a runner, but on average I ran no more than about 6 miles per run. So what was 20 extra miles, right? But I kept procrastinating. A couple of years ago, I realized I needed to raise money for my summer internship program, The Reid Group, and running the race would be a perfect way to do that. So I signed up.
Advice from others convinced me that I should not take this on by myself, so I joined the Black Girl’s Run marathon group in NYC. That is where I first meet my trainer, Coach Jaz. Jaz is one of those tricky trainers. When you meet her she has such a warm and friendly vibe, but when she gets into training mode… look out! As we trained for the marathon, there were many days/nights when I felt like she was trying to kill us. But after months of training I was actually ready and excited to run that race. The great disappointment? The race was cancelled.
It was cancelled for great reason. A week before the marathon, Hurricane Sandy tore through the NYC area leaving much damage and devastated residents. Marathon officials seemed determined not to cancel the race, despite outrage from local residents who felt police and other resources required for the race were more needed by those impacted by the storm. There was so much anger about the decision to continue the race that there were even some threats made to harm marathon runners.
I remember two days before the race, having mixed feelings as I headed to the city’s Javits convention center to pick up my credentials. Inside Javits was another world. It was a marathon celebration… with music, hundreds of venders and countless runners who were beyond excited about participating in the NYC marathon. And I have to admit, I got swept up in the excitement. But the minute I stepped outside and back into reality, I felt ashamed to be part of something so celebratory when so many storm victims were still suffering. As I headed home, I hid my bag of race materials inside my purse, so no one would know I was running the race.
Finally, the next day, the announcement came that the race was cancelled. I knew it was the right decision, but after all that training and mental preparation… I was very disappointed. That disappointment kept me from running for the next year and a half.
Re-enter Coach Jaz. We had not spoken since the race was cancelled, but we reconnected in last April to work on a project together. Next thing I knew she was training me at her gym 3 days a week. I had no interest in running. But Jaz kept gently nudging me to get back out there, and about a month ago I did.
I’m not back to my usual pace yet, but last weekend I returned to one of my favorite running spots, the Central Park Reservior. It was a great personal moment for me to return to a place where I spent a lot of time training for the marathon. I’m not sure yet, if I will sign up for the NYC marathon again, but here’s the thing… when you are Single, it’s especially important to fill your life with things and people that make you happy. That’s the key to living your most fulfilling life and not settling for less than what you want and deserve. I’m delighted to be running again. Life’s too short for this Single girl not to be happy as often as I can be.