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The Girlfriend's Guide to Health will be updated every Tuesday.... Stay tuned dear readers and let me rock your world.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

You Make it a Marathon

I know my sisters. I have been remiss. I have let my duties slack and for that I am truly sorry. I blame my right hip. You see I had the best intentions last week of filling the interweb with stories of my New York state of mind but indeed the pain and the recovery got the best of me.

Good news? I am indeed human after all.

Allow me to elaborate.

As I write this Ladies and gentlemen, let it be known, I am nursing my right hip. Not the joint itself but more the muscles and tendons that keep it together. I am sitting in the lobby of some fabulous hotel in my pajamas with an ice back under my right ass cheek so as to elevate it to a point where I can sit still for 2 hours straight and be witty and amusing with words.

Yes dear friends, on Sunday November 3 I crossed the finish line in central park and put a year of longing to bed. I finished the NYC marathon. I had run the dream. I had faced my demons and slapped the shit out of them.

Swiftly with a smile on my face and tears in my eyes I crossed the line, got my medal and 5 minutes later my ass froze. I know this sounds rather dramatic (what me? Dramatic?) But yes indeed my butt went into spasm and it has not let up since.

Ever a warrior I soldiered on. I hobbled to my hotel with medal in tow, poncho on my shoulders smiling to the masses passing by. I was a marathoner, ass be damned.

My race was perfection. The 5 boroughs indeed did deliver as promised. From Staten Island to Manhattan with Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx in between I ran for glory in what could easily have been the largest parade of my life. For 26.2 miles crowds filled the streets and cheered me (and 50,000 of my closest running friends) on. Indeed, I WAS a parade.

The crowds were incredible. Three deep lining the streets with signs, music, high fives and love. There was no end to this street party. For the first 16 miles I had forgotten that indeed I was running. I soaked in the love and one foot magically followed another.

Where else in the world do you spend the day having complete strangers scream your name with adoration and encouragement. I could not help but wonder what it would be like to go to work every day with the same kind of sentiment.

This indeed must be the way it is for many professional athletes. They get up in the morning and go to work only to have thousands cheering their glory. An Olympian enters the stadium to the roar of the crowd. A Pro-football player calls for quiet to the screaming fans so he can complete his superbowl play.

I ran down 1st avenue with thousands of New Yorkers yelling my name and screaming “You got this, Ali”.

And indeed I did.

I could not help but wonder what this kind of enthusiastic encouragement can do to one’s performance?

I have long maintained in work and in life that people respond so well to kindness.

What kind of day would you have at work if while getting into your car you were greeted by a team of random strangers telling you to have a great day and “you got this.”?

Would I be a better doctor if after every patient, the occupants of my waiting room stood up and cheered?

How would my day begin or end differently if on my ride to work in the morning the bike paths in Stanley Park were lined with random strangers cheering me on?

Could this kind of idea spill over into every task we do? Would I cook better with a cheering section in my kitchen? Would I shop for Canada with a crowd of sisters in the shoe department letting me know that when it came to buying those Manolos I was indeed a superhero?

Yes, I realize that is a bit of a stretch. My cooking is not bad, but when it comes to shoe shopping I am Wonderwoman…. No help needed.

It’s a crazy idea but indeed one to ponder on this Tuesday as the ice and ibuprofen take their effect.

I have not run for 9 days and will likely need another week before my right hip heals completely and gives up the ghost of its glory.

But amidst the pain of this injury I remember the moments- and there were many- of the kindness of strangers who stood on the streets of New York with noisemakers and coffee, signs and bottles of beer all to usher praise and support to 50,000 weary souls with dreams of their own and an inner battle to rage.

Running a marathon is such a personal crusade. Whether you are first across the finish or last to complete 26.2 miles indeed shows you who you are. Each marathoner has a unique and challenging experience regardless of their time. And in the end, win or lose we all realize the sum of our standard and the quality of our character along the way. A marathon is not so much a race but a metaphor for life.

And so in that metaphor I pause to wonder what our lives would be like if along the miles of road ahead of us we had a packed house or even a few sporadic cheerleaders letting us know that we indeed were seen; that our race had value and that in the end the race, win or lose would be glorious.

No evidence this week my sisters- I blame the injury. It has impaired my ability to search for the science behind my blogging ways. Instead, here I sit with ice and ibuprofen safe in the knowledge that I am made of decent stuff. But even safer in the knowledge that in a world filled with unrest there is hope among the strife; there are pockets of light amidst the darkness.

People do indeed respond to kindness and in turn our civilization has its great moments. If you ever doubt the wealth of the human spirit…. Go stand along the route of the marathon and cheer along with the masses. Take a moment and lend your voice to the song that fuels humanity. I promise it will feel your soul. 

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