PHILADELPHIA -- The ING New York City Marathon is Sunday morning, and I go off at about 10:20 a.m. I expect to finish in around five hours, and more than anything I expect to finish and have a great time. There will be 2 milion spectators and 100 bands. There will be pain and perseverance, there will be Glycerins and glory. I am ready. But it almost never happened . . .
Wow. How do you describe what this week has been like. My profession is Major League Baseball, and I work the postseason from city to city. The World Series was thrown into a state of uncertainty in the fifth inning of Game 5, and after the game was suspended for the first time in the history of the 104th Fall Classic, it struck me that I may have just lost my marathon.
Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, had to fall into place. I need some breaks. Then the news got worse. Tuesday came and went, and we had to wait another day because the weather was so bad in Philadelphia -- where I am blogging from now. I knew there was a good chance I was toast. I envisioned a Game 7 Saturday night at Tampa Bay, with no hope of getting home in time. Then some breaks finally started to go my way.
The main one was when I found out before the general public that if there was a Game 6 in Tampa Bay, it would have been on Thursday and we would have canceled the usual travel day off. We would have flown there and played the same day. That assured me of a Game 6 on Thursday and a possible Game 7 on Friday, and since it's a dome there, no problem. The only remaining issue was whether the weather would let us resume Game 5 on Wednesday, and then finally, after a 46-hour delay, the action resumed and I was in the clear.
Then I got another break: The Phillies won. I have no rooting interest in a World Series, because I work for 30 clubs. I am on the phone with a VP of the Rays one minute, and talking with senior management of the Phillies the next. It is my life and I love it. My job is to promote the greatest game on Earth. But I have to say that I'm pretty happy Philly won. It means no more near-all-nighters this week. I will have some semblance of rest for this 26.2 when I go back. First I will be working the big parade, on Friday at midday and into early afternoon in Philly. Then I go home, hit the Expo on Saturday at the Javits, and then enjoy the Barilla Marathon Eve Pasta Dinner, and then hopefully I will be prepared and get up at about 3:30 or 4 and head for the NY Public Library area to catch my 6 p.m. bus to Staten Island and the start.
It has been a blur ever since I got on a plane to Beijing at the beginning of August. I feel like I have lived out of a bag ever since. I have trained for the NYC Marathon on official Olympic venues; along the shores of Lake Michigan; on Hermosa Beach and Seal Beach in Southern California; twice on St. Petersburg (Fla.) Beach with my dreamy hammock there waiting for me; in this Philly airport hotel's health club treadmill; and back home at Central Park wherever I was able to have some home time. I am healthy, whereas one year ago I went into my marathon debut with wicked plantar fasciitis and limped the last 14 miles for a 6:08 finish. I remember the pure joy and pride of just finishing, my Dad looking down on me and carrying me home. I will again dedicate this one to my late father and to my three awesome boys. They are my world, and I started distance running to show them -- and me -- that anything is possible.
I am bib # 51121 if you want to track me on Sunday. http://www.nycmarathon.com
Congratulations to the Phillies, the world champions of 2008. Congratulations to the Rays for a special season and a great run. Now it's my time for a major sporting event -- the only major sporting event in the world where anyone can sign up and participate with the elite. I am ready. I will be rested thanks to the running gods and Brad Lidge. It's time to run.