Last week, I ran the NYC Marathon. I was going into the marathon with 12 consecutive sub-4 hour marathons under my belt, but unfortunately, age (58 years!) and other factors caught up with me, and I finished the marathon in 4 hours, 22 minutes, and 12 seconds.
But, there is a story to tell.
The signs were there the night before. People always talk about doing a great big pasta dinner the night before to carbo-load, but I always go to the same Chinese restaurant, and order their Gung-Ho special. Unfortunately, they were out of Gung-Ho. Not to worry, I thought. I always look forward to their Mo-Jo ice cream for desert. I will get two orders of Mo-Jo.
But, they were out of Mo-Jo too.
So, I traveled to Staten Island,
But, not to worry, I thought. I was staring at the Verrazano Bridge, with all of its cylinders. I was determined to click on all of the cylinders.
The Starting Gun sounded. 52,000 runners started their way across the bridge. And, all of them started clicking on all of the cylinders. I was able to click on a few, but the noise of the clicking was so loud, I had to make my way to Brooklyn as fast as I could.
I had used all of my fingers and all of my toes to click on as many cylinders as I could while on the Bridge, and noticed that the clicking caused my fingers and toes to blister. Four more boroughs, and no more clicking on any cylinders.
And I was:
But, here is the serious and sad part. On October 28th, a week before, my former partner of 20 years, Elena, and mother of my daughter, Vita, was diagnosed with ALS, a terrible disease that just shuts down the body, and for which there is no known cure.
My heart was broken hearing the news. Elena grew up with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis and dedicated her whole life with all the Gung, and Ho, and much Mo and Jo to take on her arthritis through movement in dance, yoga, Alexander Technique and Feldenchist Movement. She was always an inspiration to me.
So, with this heavy heart, I pushed on through the five boroughs. I had the wonderful surprise of seeing my daughter, Vita, by mile 9 by the Brooklyn Academy of Music and gave her a big hug. I cried like a baby running the next mile.
Feeling in me Elena's spirit of always fighting and pushing past and shattering any boundaries in front of her, I found that I did not need any Gung or Ho, or Mo, or Jo. I had the thought of this special person, and knowing what fight she had ahead, I was going to keep fighting out there.
I was going to cross the finish line with the hope that Elena gets to cross as well.
With all the Gung, and Ho, and Mo and Jo that makes up this special person who is forever in my heart.
I pray that next year, Elena will be able to click on all the cylinders.
In 2020, I will be running both the Chicago and NYC Marathon for Team Challenge ALS. This is what I write in every TyrantoCrankaTsuris book I sign, and it is never more true than now:
"Never be afraid to take on all those bigger and badder dinosaurs!!!!"