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    AELARLEE1   36,459
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NYC Marathon - An Experience of a Different Sort

Thursday, November 08, 2012

As you can imagine, after months and months of training and anticipation, the news of hurricane Sandy heading toward New York City was watched very closely by the little group of people who made up “Team Friesen.” Fred from Queens, Ruth from Virginia, my husband Rick and I from Montana, our youngest son Jared from Alaska, and my brother-in-law Jerry from Oregon along with Sara, Andrea and Jason-- supportive spouses along for the ride – were all glued to the TV the days before and after the storm. The question we were seeking answered was is the marathon still on? As the word came from the city on Wednesday that things were still a go and word from our airline Delta that LaGuardia would open the next day we all breathed a collective sigh of relief. We were in for the “race of a lifetime” – but little did we know this was a race like no other.

The limited number of people on our flights was the first indication that things were not quite as exciting as we anticipated they would be, but we moved forward trusting that officials knew what they were up against. However, the messages we were receiving from NYRR were anything but reassuring. Specifics were few. Yet we began Friday morning with a group photo on the steps of Fred’s place in Queens.

After arriving at the crowded Expo we all posed again with our Bib numbers.

Some of us even got a picture with Bart Yasso with Runners World!

After watching a preview video of where we would be running we were all fully excited and ready to go. After our visit to the Expo, we proceeded to Times Square to get discounted show tickets. Yea, in NYC, why not? We spent some time in a little Irish pub warming up and having some snacks when the news came that the marathon had been canceled.

Seriously, we were shocked and disappointed. The reaction with all of us was all over the map, anger, hurt, questions “why didn’t they do this two days ago?” But perhaps even more disturbing was the growing resentment toward runners in NYC and what stress they were putting on the city. While in Midtown Manhattan (where we were) was largely unaffected by the storm, the pressure was growing for “runners to put themselves to good use” when all around us New Yorkers were doing anything but. So we continued to try and center ourselves to a better mindset and place. The reality was, we wouldn’t be running a marathon on Sunday.

Wisely, my hubby connected us through connections in our ministry with a small church in Staten Island that was part of a larger consortium of 10 churches seeking to assist in the hardest hit areas. We got up early, and dressed in our orange marathon shirts, we headed to the ferry, took a bus to the church we joined up with a group there. By this time other runners had assembled to run goods back and forth to the distribution center, but few that I am aware of actually dug in (not because they didn't want to, but the connections were hard to make). The picture below were runners who were taking supplies to needed areas.

We rode right next to a news crew doing a story.

We then drove to our work zone.

The area where we worked was a set of condominiums only 3 blocks from the beach. The water line can still be seen in the picture below.

We worked in 3 houses stripping the downstairs to the studs, comforting people, listening to stories, and trying to be of help. We worked all day. I only had my running shoes to work in and had to scrap wet sheetrock off them twice just to walk normal. We worked from 9 to 5 when we were escorted by a church member back to the ferry as it was not safe in the area after 5. We were exhausted and tired but glad to have worked. On the ferry, we took this picture of our shoes.

I cannot tell you the weariness that set in at that point. After the incredibly busy fall, the postponement of a wedding, a number of mini crises’s, traveling every single weekend, I was done in. I was barely able to think much less process the experience.

On Monday we all headed to Central park and the runners took a picture in front of the now partial disassembled finish line. We all took a final run in the park.

This is hubby and I.

I am still very emotional about it all. We were grateful to be able to be of such help at a difficult time. It was NOT the weekend we had hoped for, and yet, we managed to persevere. Of course, the suffering of others was great and that is of primary importance.

More later.
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CATREBEL 11/10/2012 9:12AM

    WOW! I was anticipating your post because I knew it would be heart-wrenching! Thank you for such a visual of the experience. You were in my thoughts when I heard it was on and then off again. I am so glad your friends did not suffer damage in the storm! What a testimony!

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WONDERWOMAN 11/10/2012 8:45AM


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CARLANNIE 11/10/2012 8:30AM

    I had been wondering and praying about your safety on that trip. Glad to read your report. While it was far, far from what you had expected, it does make an outstanding memory and a good story to tell. I hope you have been able to rest up a bit this week. Have your shoes recovered??? (((HUGS)))

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SAMBIDEXTROUS 11/9/2012 2:53PM

    As a person who has several friends in NY that were impacted by Sandy, I thank you.

Once their home bases were secure they too were going around and helping others. They were so touched by the people who went around to help simply because they could.

It wasn't the race you signed up for, but this one will probably stand out from all the rest!

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GYMRAT_AT44 11/9/2012 10:38AM

    Beautiful blog and thank you for sharing. So sorry that you trained for something that was so quickly taken away by Mother Nature. I am sure you did experience all sorts of different emotions that eventually just broke you down. In the end, you and your family were great ambassadors for the will of the human and american spirit. God bless you and I am sure those that you helped are very appreciative in more ways than you will ever know.

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RBETYOURASS 11/9/2012 9:35AM

    Really really sucks that the race wasn't a go for you guys nor did they give adequate time on cancelling the race. But being a survivor of hurricane Isaac where my parents lost everything and almost there lives, your families assistance is tremendously appreciated! I gutted my fathers house and understand how emotionally ripping it can be but your stepping up to the plate to help out those in need will never go unnoticed! You should all get a HUGE medal for your efforts!

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KKKAREN 11/9/2012 9:04AM

    I saw on the news that many of the runners had helped. Good for you being one of them. I feel so bad for those people up there and realize that we dodged a bullet here in FL.

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IFDEEVARUNS2 11/9/2012 9:03AM

    Thanks for posting this blog. How wise of your DH to know whom to contact!

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TIMOTHYNOHE 11/8/2012 11:45PM

    Wow. Just wow!

And were any of the New York Giants, New York Knicks, or Brooklyn Nets out there? No? And yet so many runners were called "selfish" for expressing disappointment and complaining about having spent so much money for hotels and airfare only to face a late cancellation. But only one professional sports game was cancelled on the night of the storm.

And the Giants game was called "a welcome respite for storm weary New Yorkers." Really? All 50,000 or so well heeled people who could afford the tickets. News flash ... storm weary New Yorkers couldn't see it on TV because they had no power. Hello!

Then in the end, thousands of runners selflessly volunteered in cleanup efforts. And the anger whipped up by the media was not offset by the media equally reporting on the help.

(Sorry, I think runners got a really bad rap on all this. The NYRR should have cancelled on Tuesday. ANyone deserves a bad rap it's the NYRR and the Mayor.)

I think NYRR should award you a finishers medal. You deserve it.

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SLENDERELLA61 11/8/2012 8:13PM

    Amazing blog! Thanks for sharing this intense experience of disappointment and service.So great you could link up through your church to be of service. I hope you get to run NY Marathon next year or alternatively find the perfect race for you. Take car.

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FITFOODIE806 11/8/2012 7:44PM

    Wow, what an incredible experience. Not why was planned, but I imagine something to be remembered for a lifetime. You are a very good person. The disappointment must've been huge and probably still is. Yet, you reached out to others. Wow.

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SEABREEZE64 11/8/2012 6:44PM

    Thanks so much for taking the time to post this blog.
It just goes to show..... it is the journey that is important!!!!

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DAISYBELL6 11/8/2012 5:16PM

    I think you've just run the Marathon of your life. Who knows what God has in store for us from day today. I believe you did the absolute best you could do in the circumstances you were given. And you were blessings to others.

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NATPLUMMER 11/8/2012 4:54PM


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ANDYLIN90 11/8/2012 4:37PM

    A true story or heroism. Thank-you!

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AMSTERDAMAND125 11/8/2012 4:29PM

    What a story!! I am glad you were able to do what you did, though I can't imagine how hard it must have been!!!!

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MIRAGE727 11/8/2012 4:20PM

    This was so inspirational! Thank you for sharing. I can feel the positive Karma coming! Blessings to all!

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TERRYT55 11/8/2012 4:14PM

    Oh, Annette.......I thought about you when I saw that the marathon had been cancelled. I can't imagine how bitterly disappointed you and your friends and family must have been.

I knew I would be reading a blog about how you were one of the runners to turn this situation into a way to help others. I'm so sorry there was no race to run but I know you had the right words and actions to make someones day a little better.

You are a blessing...... emoticon

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BLESSED2BEME 11/8/2012 3:10PM

    My heart aches for those you helped and for your group. It is times like this that we often wonder 'Why, God?' Yet we know that his hand is in everything and that everything happens for a reason.

Thank you for being a blessing to those who needed it when instead it would have been so easy for you to have never gone in the first place!

I am praying that as we move into the holidays, you can find more peace as well as rest your weary body that obviously has gone through so much this year - stress, emotional upheavel and physical tiredness.

You are cared about! Thank you for bringing us up to date.


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PASTAFARIAN 11/8/2012 3:01PM

    I enjoyed reading your blog and would love to hear even more detail. Sorry that the original plan fell through, particularly after all the dedication and sacrifice you had already made, but thanks for turning what could have been a gripe session into an experience that was rewarding all around. (PS: I hope NYRR gives you free entry into next year's race. You deserve it!)

Comment edited on: 11/8/2012 3:02:37 PM

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13ICANDOIT13 11/8/2012 3:00PM

    I know that this was not the race you had intended to run however the race that you did run to help your fellow man was in my mind the most important race of your lives up to this point. Having been a victim of the June Deraichio which took out trees and power to 53 of our 55 counties in WV in 100 degree heat. That left us without power for 9 days. I can understand why the decision was made not to run the race however your decision to run the race to help other was and is a Blessing I am sure that the help you gave other and the lessons and gratitude you were given back will be etched in your minds and hearts forever. THANKS FOR CARING ENOUGH TO RUN THAT RACE DUREING A MOST DIFFICULT TIME. YOU ARE TRULY A BLESSING TO OTHER. Teresa. emoticon emoticon

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