Now that the Maccabiah Games in Israel are over, I’ve turned my attention to the New York City Marathon in November, which I’m running as part of the American Cancer Society’s DeterMination program in memory of my mother, who passed away of metastatic breast cancer in 2010. I’ve been wanting to do something in memory of her since she passed away.
My mother was a tough high school physical education teacher from the Bronx. She had an admirable strength, competing in the roller derby, skydiving, playing semi-pro softball with her legendary four-fingered glove (she had five fingers like everyone else, but baseball gloves in those days had only four), raising twin sons as a single mother after our father passed away when we were 8 years old, and caring for her own elderly mother, who was her best friend. My mother skipped school to see Frank Sinatra perform. She loved Hershey kisses. She worried about me every time I walked out the door to run. She told me every day that she was proud of me.
This marathon is personal. This is not any marathon. It’s New York. It’s where I’m originally from. It’s where my family is from. That’s why I’m choosing to run it. I’ve shied away from marathons for nearly all of my runner life because of my fast-twitch muscle fibers, which have given me a penchant for and strength in speed, keeping my focus on shorter races. However, sometimes in life things change or a seed is planted inside of us, which forces us to change our perspective. So, I’m training for another marathon, 12 years after my first and only one, hoping to carry my mom’s strength to the finish line in Central Park. This won’t be easy for me. But life isn’t easy. For the last three years of my mom’s life, she needed help to walk, having broken her leg from the radiation treatment for a tumor in her femur bone. My mom gave me her strength and she gave me legs that can run. I’m going to run this race for her. And when I run into the Bronx, the borough where she was born and lived until she got married, and when I run into Brooklyn, the borough where we lived as a family until my father passed away, I will likely shed a few tears as I remember those days, yearning for that family and that life that used to be.
If you live in the New York area, please come watch the marathon. It is an inspiring event, full of life, memories, stories, and obstacles overcome. If you’d like to donate to the American Cancer Society to help me reach my own personal goal and run for my mother, please go to my personal online donation page at http://main.acsevents.org/site/TR/DetermiNation/DNFY11EA?px=29614587&pg=personal&fr_id=54459