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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Two Races

Good Evening All!

Those of us on the Eastern Seaboard have now battened down our hatches for the second hurricane in two years.  However, as I write, there are no gale-force winds, driving rain, or gigantic hailstones.  Call it reverse Murphy's Law -- when you're Prepared to the teeth for something, it either does not happen or is revealed to be non-threatening.  It's when you're NOT prepared for it that it bites you in the haunches!  Either way, I've stocked up for a storm, and have been assured that the MTA subways have been shut down until further notice.  We await news of its reopening . . . .

Next week, we'll be treated to two races.  One is crucial for the athlete in all of us, and one is even more crucial to the future of our country.

A week from today, I will have completed my 7th NYC Marathon.  Unlike other years, when I've trained with a group in Central Park two nights a week and once every weekend, I've gone it alone.  I used the official 20-week NYRR training program and used it with the MapMyRun app on my phone.

While there may be those who think social media has gone too far, enabling us to track our very movements at any time, I respectfully disagreed.  Every time I've posted my training results, even when I thought I wasn't at my best, there was always somebody giving me a thumbs-up.  It's just a little blip on a screen, a rendering of someone's name, a small helping of bits and bytes, but it's a good thing to see.

Our sport thrives on encouragement and positive reinforcement.  It is through these constant reminders that mere novices are able to gain enough strength and speed to transform their bodies in ways not thought possible.  It is also through these constant reminders that those who may already have some experience in this sport can still rise to yet another level.  So to all my friends, family, acquaintances, confidantes, and otherwise important people, I'd like to thank you in advance for all the likes and comments.  You helped me raise my game this year, and I hope to convert that into a PR next week.

Aaaaand then there's that other race, which will end two days after the fun one.  Yes, the 2012 Presidential Election will finally be delivered to us, the voters, to elect our leaders as can only be done in a democratic republic such as ours.  It's not a day heralded by parades and fireworks, but it is the most important American holiday, second only to Thanksgiving.  In other parts of the world, even to this day, criticism is squashed, dissent is eliminated, and opposition results in death or torture.  Yet here in America, our forebears granted to us the right to select our leaders to govern as we see best, and to elect new leaders if those initially elected cannot succeed.  Or, on the other hand, where the applicable constitution or charter allows, we can re-elect those leaders who have succeeded.

This election will go down in history as one of the most high-conflict, polarizing, and downright ugly elections ever seen.  It pitted two opposite visions of America against each other, and exposed some damning weaknesses on both sides, leading many to lose confidence in the system I praised above.  And through the magic of social media, it has pitted these opposing visions of America against each other with fire and venom not seen since the 1860's (this is meant for dramatic effect, I'm sure there were other eras with more conflict, I just don't leave myself enough editing time to be sure).

But when the final ballot is tabulated, a winner is declared, and a loser concedes, I can only hope that we turn our thoughts to a united America.  I can only hope that those who support the winning candidate can limit their celebrations to one day following the election, and then a little bit more on Inauguration Day, and then turn their attention to the fulfillment of all campaign promises and/or logical and cogent explanations as to why they cannot be fulfilled, and what can be done instead.  I can also hope that those who support the losing candidate can graciously put their angry rhetoric to the side and focus on what can still be done to ensure that their interests can still be  represented with respect and civility towards our democratically-elected leader.

Shocking as it may seem, it's actually easier to run 26.2 miles than it is for us as Americans to set differences aside for the sake of our national interests.  Maybe we could learn from this election how sticking to party lines and engaging in groupthink prevents our nation from moving forward, and make more attempts to avoid this four years from now.

That's my peace, all.  My thoughts and prayers are for the continued safety of everyone who may be in Hurricane Sandy's path.  Stay safe!