There are certain things in life that have eluded me with such frequency that I’ve come to understand they’ll simply never happen to me. For example:
- I’ve accepted the fact I’ll never be on the kiss cam at a professional sporting event.
- I’ve accepted the fact I’ll never qualify for the Boston Marathon.
- I’ve accepted the fact* that I have to give back my niece on Thursday and haven’t successfully converted her to a permanent New York City resident, despite all my best efforts these past eight days.
*Note: I have not really accepted this fact.
There’s one more unwavering truth I’ve learned to internalize during the past half a decade: I’ve accepted the fact that I will never get to run the NYC Half Marathon.
Don’t get me wrong: I’ve run several half marathons in New York City in the five years since I took up running. But despite having raced seven 13.1-mile events in my adopted home town, I’ve never actually run the New York Road Runner’s coveted NYC Half Marathon, an iconic March road race that shuts down the streets and takes runners from Central Park through Times Square all the way to the South Street Seaport. I mean, I’ve TRIED to run it, entering the lottery year after year after year, but every year the same message applies in my inbox (and the same $5 application fee is taken from my bank account): “Thank you for applying for the United Airlines NYC Half. Unfortunately, your name was not selected. Try again next year, you sucker.”
So when I yet again applied to the race this fall, I did it …
… knowing I’d never get in. Because that’s my thing: Applying to the NYC Half Marathon and not getting in. Also, semi scandalous doodle photos.
So imagine my irritation when, earlier this week, the New York Road Runners had the gall to spam me with a link to their website selling official NYC Half Marathon training gear. I felt like they were just rubbing it in my face.
“NO I don’t want to pre-order your fancy gear for your fancy race that you never let me into!” I shouted into the scruff of my temporary Chewbacca-like roommate. And then I remembered: I’d cleaned up my gmail inbox the week before, furiously marking thousands of e-mails as read so the bottom of my iphone stopped embarrassingly telling people I had 14,000 unread messages. And it turns out one of those messages I marked as read without actually opening was none other than this welcome surprise:
Don’t I feel sheepish.
Speaking of sheepish:
So what do you know? After years and years of rejection, the city’s most famous 13.1 mile race finally wants me. That means a lot of things: It means I have to start training again with earnest, it means I have to resume speedwork for the first time since the NYC marathon, it means I have to structure my weekends again around long-runs and recovery. But it also means something else: maybe I shouldn’t give up my kiss cam dream just yet either.