Sunday, November 4, 1990

The Marathon That Wasn't

On September 23, 1990, I was working late at night for Kemwel.  I had just had another huge fight with Lorraine again as well.  The stress of my job, and of Lorraine, was getting to me.  And on that night, I didn't go to bed, but rather felt like I blacked out.  A few hours later, and when I work up, I felt dizzy, and had zero balance.  I nearly fell trying to stand up. 

The condition lasted me for months.  I went to see many doctors, even paying $500 for a doctor whose practice was on the corner of 5th Ave and 86th (i think).  He thought I had some form of "Tropical disease".  About a month later, it was all over the news.  CFS.  Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  The symptoms were identical to what I had.  Literally, I was unable to stand or even sit for too long without getting dizzy spells, headache, and sometimes wanting to pass out.

I had been accepted to run the marathon in 1990.  But there was no way that I was going to do the race with this going on.  This was all about self-preservation.  I didn't feel good enough to stand for a few minutes, let alone run for 1 mile.  How was I going to run 26.2?  In the end, I didn't.  The buses kept going by my house showing the ads of the Marathon. It was a tough day to watch this race.  All the training for waste.  

I worked so hard for this Marathon.  All to just vanish into thin air.... :(
I waited until nearly the week before to cancel.  I had hoped that this malaise would pass.  I prayed every day and night that it would.  But every morning, as I would get out of bed, the dizziness came, and so did the pounding in my head.  I went to three different doctors, and no one could figure out what it was.  Of course, and as I had mentioned before, I think it was CFS.

Till the bitter end.  I had hoped I could run, but it was not to be.
Even with the guaranteed entry the following year, I had zero incentive to run, especially as my ailment took nearly a year to go away.  By now I was weighing about 145 too.  I wanted to run, but I was in ill shape.  It seemed as if my metabolism made a radical shift to slow down after this disease had struck me.

Gerard Murphy, who had started running the year before, was going to run in the 1991 NYC Marathon.  As we were good friends at the time, I decided to at least be a part of the race, even though it pained me greatly not to be able to run the whole race.  So, I went to see him at 1st Ave & 60th just off the base of the Queensboro Bridge.  I came dressed to run, because the temptation to run was just too hard to resist, and that's despite the fact that I hadn't run in over a year now. 

As I saw Gerry come up 1st avenue, I decided to seize the opportunity by running with him.  I wasn't going to run this race in total, but I decided that I would run most of the last 10.2 miles.  As I ran with him, it became evident that I couldn't keep up with him. He was running with a friend of his, that seemed to have been slowing him down, so he went ahead, and I wound up running with this stranger, who I coached until nearly the finish line.  In respect of the run and the other runners, I pulled myself out of the race near Columbus Circle.  No medal for me.

I finally caught up to Gerry at the finish line.  I was happy for him, but it was a true test of my sanity to partially do this race and not be counted, or get a medal.

Years later I would buy the medal off of ebay.  But the not being counted part has cost me dearly, for even if I run every NYC Marathon between now and 2015, I will fall short of the now-required 15 Marathons needed to automatically qualify.....BY ONE.

And as for me back then in 1991?  Well, it would be the start of a recurring nightmare I would have at night, where I would dream that I would get to the Marathon late, or get lost, and never finish.  Should there be one, is that what my private hell is to be???