Thankful Things Thursday: For Safety, Pride & Resilience

Well today’s edition of Thankful Things Thursday should be pretty easy, huh?

Well getting this message Monday night was terrifying. Turns out, these emergency alerts come with VERY LOUD, ALARMING SOUNDS.

After all that’s happened this week, I’m feeling extraordinarily grateful, so please allow me to let it all out.

I’m thankful for the safety of my friends and loved ones. With so many homes destroyed and an increasing number of lives lost after Hurricane Sandy, I am so, so glad that the people I know and love are well. Some still don’t have power, and may not have power, heat or water for several more days. Some have damaged homes and some have family of their own who suffered tremendous losses from the storm. But the people I care about are alive and will be OK — it just may take a bit of time for everyone to truly feel OK.

A massive tree down on 5th Avenue — in the exact spot where the marathon course veers into Central Park.

I’m thankful for the camaraderie I’ve felt this week. Manhattan has become a city with two tales: uptown people have power and are mostly unaffected by the storm, while downtowners have been in the dark since Monday night. But seeing people reach out to one another makes my heart feel warm and my insides feel fuzzy in the best way possible. My Twitter feed (amidst the complaints about the marathon — we’ll get to that) has been a flurry of generous offerings from people in one neighborhood to another. It’s always comforting to see that, in a city that can be so hard and competitive, people truly do care about each other and want to help.

A very wet—and closed at the time—FDR Drive.

I’m thankful for little kids in tiny costumes. So yesterday was Halloween, huh? It’s always been my least favorite holiday and yesterday it was pretty much forgotten. Brian and I had signed up to hand out candy to the trick-or-treaters in our building and we got our first few right at 6 PM: two little girls, barely big enough to walk, dressed as a ladybug and a cat. It was the best thing that could’ve happened. They were so sweet and innocent and they were such a good pick-me-up after a sad few days. Spirits = temporarily lifted.

And of course I was inundated with pictures of my favorite little kid in costume:

Tyler The Cow. Moo.
If I can find a grown-up version of that costume, I will wear it. Every day. Probably to work. Definitely to bed.
Cow tipping.

He also had a daytime outfit, which was slightly more subtle.

Again, find this in my size and consider it worn daily.

So thank you, small people, for the major cheer up last night.

I’m thankful to be away from the Halloween candy for a day. Being inside for several days — during a taper period, no less — was good because I slept a lot, but terrible because I ate nonstop. I wish I were exaggerating here, but I went through a tub of peanut butter-filled pretzels, several loaves of cheese (is a block of cheese ever called a loaf?) and, apparently, “four servings” of Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food. I call bullshit on that serving size, though. It’s nice to be back at the office today for many reasons, including the fact that I’m away from the candy bowl.

I’m thankful for the sweet sound of the downtown 6 train. I am in awe of how quickly this city is getting things moving again. There’s partial (and free!) bus and subway service back in action today, which I think is pretty incredible. I couldn’t get all the way to my office on the subway, but a little walking felt good after many days of couch-sitting. A round of applause for the MTA workers and the city workers and all the people I will never meet or know who are working tirelessly to get us all where we need to be. I salute you.

Central Park, blocked off and heavily guarded. Don’t even try, stupid runners. Be smart. Stay safe.

I’m thankful to live in New York City. But you knew that already. When this city is attacked — either by a natural disaster or by humans — the people here rally together with so much pride and so much resilience, and it’s astonishingly powerful being a part of that.

Another view of FDR Drive on Tuesday.

I’m thankful I’m going to get to run the New York City Marathon. I’m tired of talking about this controversy and I’m tired of reading all the comments about it online. I see — and agree with — so many of the points being made, so I’ll just say this: The marathon is happening on Sunday. It was the city’s decision so it’s not one I will argue. I trust that they made the decision after much careful thought and planning, and I trust that my taking part in the marathon will not inflict harm upon others. I trust that the people volunteering and working to ensure the marathon’s success would not be put to use elsewhere in the city’s recovery efforts (it’s my understanding that there’s no lack of manpower, just a lack of monetary funds — so donate your dollars, not your time or clothing).

I trust that the course, whether altered or not, will be a safe one and will not be a parade through damaged neighborhoods. I trust that the marathon, for many, will bring a renewed spirit and heightened sense of community to a battered city. I trust that the decision to hold the marathon was not one that was made because of financial reasons, but because of an effort to “do the right thing,” whatever that may mean.

I ran along Central Park West yesterday, where even before the official announcement was made, media crews were already setting up for race day.

I’m happy I’m not a city planner. I’m glad I may be naive about how best to use the city’s resources. Everyone I know seems to suddenly be an expert on all these things, and everyone has an opinion on whether or not the marathon should happen on Sunday.

All I know is that the marathon is happening Sunday. And I know that I will be running it.

I get the reasons the marathon shouldn’t happen. I also get the reasons that it should. I can’t speak logistically about how people and money should best be used. I just know I’m going to get to Staten Island — somehow… — and I’m going to run my 26.2 miles on Sunday. I’m going to run with pride and love for my home city, and I hope that the people who disagree with the marathon’s presence choose not to take it out on the runners. (I’ll be completely honest: There’s a big part of me that’s kind of scared to run this race solely because I know how much it will upset some people.)

It’s a very emotional time to be in New York. It’s overwhelming.

Here’s a picture of the dangling crane. Scary on TV, scary as SHIT in person.

It’s going to be a strange weekend, that’s for sure. I’m very happy to still have friends coming to town, and it’s weird that I’m actually going to be running the marathon. As of now, I’m not excited about it — but I want to be.

I want everyone to accept that it’s happening and to support the runners. What she said. Please remember that the decision to hold the marathon wasn’t ours, and many of us just want to go for a run. (Feel free to rip on the people who wrote on NYRR’s Facebook page that they “can’t postpone the marathon because it will affect the taper.” I mean…really? Those people are idiots. Go be mean to them. But try to be nice to those of us who have some semblance of a brain.)

Is it too much to ask that life be a happy, perfect wonderful place where everyone wears legwarmers and eats ice cream for every meal?

I didn’t think so.

I’m happy to see the city rebuilding itself. I’m happy to see people helping.

Love, rainbows and Tyler cuddles for everyone.


YOU HAVE TO PARTICIPATE TODAY: Tell me what you’re thankful for. A simple request. Spread the love.



70 Responses

  1. Good luck on Sunday! I hope you can enjoy it and your city as you run your 26.2 blissful miles (yes blissful because it’s going to be amazing). I can’t wait to see a zillion and one marathon photos, and I’m not being sarcastic. Go get ’em Tiger.

  2. This was a wonderful post, Ali. I can see both sides of the argument as well, but fighting through the argument isn’t going to change the decision. It’s been made, and the only thing to do is move forward and support each other. I wish you nothing but the best on Sunday, and will be out there cheering my face off. I for one am also so, SO proud to be a New Yorker and call this city my home.

  3. I am thankful for this post encouraging me about Sunday’s race. The comments have been making me truly second guess whether I should continue to participate and I value your reason behind it going further. I’m thankful for the peace of mind this gave me.

  4. Great post Ali and excellent points…I live in CT and am grateful that despite the devastation (and still no power!) there were few serious injuries and my family and friends are safe. I am driving to Raleigh NC to run a half-marathon on Sunday morning there – will be thinking of all the NY Marathon runners and wishing you the best. Whatever happens, remember, it’s all part of the race! Be well…

  5. I’m thankful that I live in New York City. I’m thankful that I was able to get back to the city today, after being stuck because of the storm (visiting parents, which was nice, but it broke my heart to feel separated from the city as it was facing this catastrophe). I’m thankful for the inspiration I will draw from the runners on Sunday when I am cheering everyone on from the sidelines!

  6. I am thankful that we were spared any real hurricane damage. I am thankful that all of my family and friends are safe and unharmed after the storm. I am thankful for all the people that come together in times like these to help those that have been affected by the storm. And, I am thankful to be healthy and able to run my first marathon in a few weeks and that you are able to run the marathon and support your city!
    Good luck Ali, you will do great!!

  7. Your “Thankful Thursdays” post are always an inspiration to me, however as a fellow New Yorker, this one is particularly moving. I am so thankful as well that all of my friends, family, and myself are safe. As for the marathon, I am not running it but I could not be happier that it is happening. I find it an unbelievable inspiration as a runner, and I believe this city needs a little inspiration and excitement after the horrors of this past week. I wish you the best of luck on Sunday!!!

  8. I live in DC, and I know we had no where near the damage and impact that the NJ and NYC areas ended up with. But I also know how scary it was to feel my apartment swaying and to hear winds so loud I thought the sound alone was going to break my windows. I’m also a scientist, and I do animal research. I was terrified the entire time, but on Monday and Tuesday I spent the entire day in lab taking care of my animals because I feel I owe that to them. I will be forever thankful for my safety, and for the amazing Uber drivers that made it possible for me to continue to do my job during Sandy. After hearing about all of the animals and research lost at NYU, I feel incredibly lucky.

    As someone that understands the fear and need for hope after Sandy, I sincerely wish that you and every other runner toeing the start line on Sunday have an incredible race experience. I’ve heard from runners that ran MCM in 2001 about how powerful it was to run past the Pentagon, and how much it was part of a healing process. While Sandy and 9/11 are very different events, they both ripped holes in our hearts, and I truly hope NYCM can showcase the city’s resiliency this weekend.

  9. Thank you for the “real person” update. Good luck to you running!
    I’m thankful for so much! Right now I’m thankful for my little hooligans that are almost adults.

  10. Love this post, maybe more than all the other TTTs you’ve done.

    I’m thankful for my family this week. This is a little bit of a downer, but my grandma passed away a week ago, and I suddenly became overwhelmed by how much my family (immediate and distant, near and far) mean to me. More than anybody else, these people are my rocks, and I never want to take them for granted.

    Good luck on Sunday. If nothing else, enjoy the run!

  11. That iPhone alert scared the everloving SHIT out of me on Monday…got me twice, I was SO frazzled. I thought my phone was trying to warn me of the impending robot invasion.

    No idea how or why someone thought that would be useful….

  12. I am thankful that I am healthy. I am thankful that I have a job that I like. I am thankful that I have a wonderful family, fantastic friends and a wild Chloe kitty.

  13. I’m thankful for your blog! It inspired me to start running. At first I could barely run a mile, but I just completed my first race this weekend – a 7 mile Devil’s Run for Halloween. Thank you, and good luck on Sunday!

  14. I’m thankful that as a free citizen I can go 2 miles from my house and watch Air Force One touchdown. I am thankful that I can do that alone without any harm to me or to others. We live in the greatest country on Earth, and to hear the most powerful man in the world tell me that he will take care of those that are hurting on the East coast and beyond, I am thankful. Rest well everyone. Best of luck to you from WI on Sunday…we will be cheering you on! 🙂

  15. I’m thankful my east coast family is okay. And I’m thankful I felt well enough to come back to work today after taking yesterday off because I was sick.

    I can’t imagine how you all feel/felt being stuck inside for so long (and so many without power!). I hope no one ruins the NYCM for you and you finish strong with a smile on your face!

  16. I live on the coast of South Carolina and have seen devastation from many hurricanes. The important thing to remember is that despite the horrific loss of life and devastation, life has to go on. The sooner things can return to “normal,” the better for peoples’ psyches. Don’t let anyone make you feel bad about running the NYC Marathon. The fact that the marathon is going on as planned is a true testament to the resilience of the city. Good luck!

  17. I’m thankful for awesome friends who make my life good!!! =) So glad to hear that you and your loved ones are doing okay!

  18. I’m thankful that I borrowed some songs off your marathon playlist because when I was out for my run today and they started playing I actually thought how cool it’d be if we were running to the same song at the same time. And then I did jazz hands. Obviously.

  19. Today I’m thankful for:
    1. The brave nurses that brought the ICU patients and NICU babies down 9 flights of stairs at the NYU hospital. REALLY?!?! True heroes. Also the guards at the tomb of the unknown soldier. Awesome.
    2. The fact that I get to go home from college tomorrow. I miss my family and my dog.
    3. The picture of Tyler in his cow costume. I almost died of the cuteness.

  20. Glad that you’re safe and that the city is starting to get cleaned up a bit. What a crazy storm. I hope the marathon will be good for peoples’ spirits and coming together to cheer and have some fun during this difficult time. I can’t wait to hear about your race!

    I’m running a half marathon on Saturday, so today my thankful things had to do with running:

  21. I’m glad you’re safe. I’m also glad that you’re going to get to run the marathon. I’m sorry that it seems to be so controversial. I hope that people who are upset with the decision are able to take out their frustrations on the right sources. People who don’t run don’t understand the 3-4 months of intense preparation that goes into a marathon and the concept that if someone tells you that it is going to happen then you’re going to do it. I hope you’re able to find excitement in the things that are upcoming. Don’t let the haters get you down. They will always be there. Good luck!!

  22. I’m thankful that:
    (1) My friends and family all seem to be okay post-Sandy – mostly just inconvenienced
    (2) My first ever real tweet worked / you responded to let me know that I wasn’t allowed to run in the park 🙂
    (3) It seems like some people can still come to my bf’s and my “We’re Not Running the Marathon Tomorrow!” party Saturday night [Ali – feel free to bring Brian and carbo load before the race – we’ll have lots of fresh made lasagna and pasta and a view of the fireworks, but you might wanna skip the bloody nipple shots and rum runners ;-)]

  23. Today I’m thankful that despite the storm and other storms in life my family and friends in NYC, Long Island and Jersey are all safe. They are still waiting for electricity.  I’m thankful that my husband and I were able to handout all 10 lbs of twix, M&Ms and snickers candy and not keep a single mini twix bar for myself last night. 
    Im thankful for youre running blog. Its inspiring me to run my first half marathon in April. Best of luck on Sunday!!!

  24. You are amazing. I cannot get to NY in time so had to cancel my entry. So sad i cannot be there, so glad you are running. Will be watching on tv and joining next year!

  25. Great post Ali, and don’t be mad at me, but I’m thankful that I don’t live in NYC anymore. I was there on 9/11 (2 blocks from the WTC), and left last year. I am super thankful my friends and family in NJ are all safe.

    I’m also thankful I’m starting a new job on Monday and moving to Salem, MA on Saturday! Witches! (It’s actually a really sad piece of history. However. WITCHES.)

  26. As you said, the race is happening and that decision was out of your control and you are running. Therefore, get excited! you trained your best and you’ll love it. I’ll be cheering and probably simultaneously crying.

    I’m thankful that my family and friends are safe. I’m thankful that the tree outside of my apartment’s window is still outside of the apartment. I’m thankful for friends who have electricity/water/cable and let me crash. I’m thankful that a little 3 year old girl came trick or treating dressed as Little Orphan Annie last night. I’m thankful that 2 months from today is a new year.

  27. so greatful for this post and these comments. I live on Staten Island. I am also running on Sunday. And I couldn’t have said anything better that what you just said here in your post. Truly 100 percent in agreement!

  28. I’m thankful no one I know was harmed greatly by the hurricane! I’m also thankful Halloween is over (I’m not a fan either…) because November and December holidays are so much better!!

  29. I’m thankful that all my NYC friends (cyber and IRL – ha!) are safe! I’m also thankful for my Wednesday night spin class. It is THE best. PS GOOD LUCK ON SUNDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  30. Good luck with the marathoner. As as New Yorker, transplated to Boston, I am just in awe of what my friends and family are experiencing right now. I know people very close to me who are working tiredless hours to get the water out of the city and things back to the way it should be and I have faith it will happen soon. As far as the marathon, I’m sure everyone has their own opinion on whether it should or shouldn’t go on, but the decision is not ours to make and I hope you have a great race.

  31. my 6 year old broke her neck 3 weeks ago (miraculously she’s not paralyzed and will be ok). I’m thankful she was released from the hospital in time for Halloween! I pushed her in her wheelchair while she got to trick–or–treat.

  32. I love NY! And I’m so thankful that all of my family and friends in nyc and new jersey are safe, even with flooding, banged up cars, and no power – they are SAFE.

    I’m thankful that a month from today I will be marrying the love of my life. I’m thankful that with or without a dress (…it may have drowned in Kleinfelds…) it makes me realize what’s really important, we’re both safe and happy and we get to marry each other in front of all of our family and friends!

  33. I’m thankful for half priced Adult Cow Halloweeen Costumes coming your way. I’m thankful we have power and are able to house our downtown friends that don’t. I’m thankful my family and friends are safe. I’m thankful we will be able to re-build Fire Island.

  34. Great post. I know little about the NYC situation but I am glad the marathon is on. NYC is a city that fights back, a marathon is a public declaration of fighting back.

    This week I am grateful for: running in new streets on our trip to LA; a little boy in an astronaut costume seeing a real life space shuttle: and not dying when I drove in central LA last night!!

  35. I am thankful that my friends and family are safe. I am thankful that we did not get what was expected from Hurricane Sandy. My heart goes out to those affected by the storm all over the east coast. I am registered to run the marathon and hotel is ok so myself and 3 others are headed to the city tomorrow. I would of completely understood if the Mayor or NYRR had decided to canel but since they are not I will be there on the starting line…. I am spreading the word to all my email/facebook/twitter contacts to try help donate cash through the NYRR crowdrise page they sent today

  36. I’m thankful I get to go on vacation in 9 days! A much needed vacation.

    Good luck on Sunday! You’re ready to rock it! As for the controversy about the marathon being held, honestly, I wouldn’t expect any less from NYC. NYC has proven to be a great group of citizens that bands together in times of crisis and comes shining through each time.

    Looking forward to reading your post-race blog:)

  37. I’m thankful that you and so many of my wonderful friends in New York and throughout the East Coast are safe and sound.
    Also, a good friend was a cow for Halloween in college — those costumes definitely do exist in adult sizes! Your “cow tipping” picture is absolutely too cute!
    Good luck this weekend!

  38. I’m thankful I get to come to NY in 2013!! I’m thankful I received a full refund for my cancelled flight and my lovely home stay also gave me a full refund! 🙂

    I’m thankful I don’t have to go through the marathon recovery phase now! (Ok, trying to look at the bright side!) Back to Pilates, running as long or as short as I want, no training schedule and pure enjoyment! 🙂

    Get well New York!! And have fun Ali and all others that will be running come Sunday!

  39. I totally agree with you. Sometimes you just need to get back to the normal routine to recover from all the devastation. Good luck Sunday. Glad you have stayed safe during the hurricane.

    Oh yeah, and I am thankful that I live in Colorado. The worst weather we get is blizzards and they are no where near as destructive as hurricanes.

  40. I’m thankful I read your blog today so I could see “Cow Tipping” I literally lol’d at my desk.
    I also agree that the world should be all sunshine and rainbows and icecream for every meal.

    I’m thankful that in Boston we didn’t get hit nearly as hard as we could have by Sandy. I’m thankful that my grandmother was visiting family this past weekend and not in her house on the Jersey Shore when Sandy hit. Thankful her house is still standing!! And thankful that my friends in NYC and surrounding area are safe and even though they have no power they have people who don’t mind lending showers and couches to them 🙂

  41. I’m beyond grateful that my friends and family in New York are all safe, and even if it makes me sound like a selfish jerk, I am so grateful I get to run the race! And I’m thankful that *hopefully* all of us out of towners can bring in in some positive energy, and donate some time and love to a city that needs it right now. After everything they are doing to make this race happen, I think it’s the least us non New Yorkers can do!

  42. Thank you for articulating all the things I have been feeling this week with respect to this marathon. I get both sides.. but It is happening, and if it’s happening I will be running it.. I am also scared and hesitant. I just hope people do not take offense to that.

  43. I’m grateful that all my family and friends in CT, NY and NJ are safe. I’m running my first marathon in Philly in two weeks, up until Monday that’s all I could think about and obsess over, now that just seems silly.

    We have our annual Friends Thanksgiving this weekend (earlier this year because of a few of us a running Philly), which couldn’t come at a better time. I’m grateful that I have the opportunity to hang out with friends, eat delicious food and talk about all we’re thankful for!

  44. I am thankful for this post regarding the marathon. I am not running it this year but I completely agree with your sentiments! I will still go out and cheer! Good luck!

  45. I’m thankful that although I spent one night without power downtown, I was able to make it back to my apartment the next day (WITH POWER) and I’m really thankful I have enough room for my parents to stay with me uptown until the power is back on in their apartment. I’m thankful everyone I know, especially in downtown Manhattan and Jersey, are safe. I’m thankful that friends from all over the world checked in to make sure we were okay. Selfishly (and quite guiltily), I’m also thankful my office is still without power because it means a week-long hurrication!

  46. I’m thankful that my friends/family are all alright! I am also thankful that the NYCM is going to be on tv and that I can sit on my couch and watch it to get motivated for my own race next weekend!

  47. Ali, I’ve followed your blog for a couple of months now and really enjoyed your posts. While I live in Boston and we certainly felt the effects of Sandy I am completely awestruck at the impact on NY. I have close friends that live in the city and have kept close track of them in the past several days and am so grateful for their safety and health.

    Thank you for your honesty and sharing your opinion on the Marathon, I couldn’t agree more with you. I think it’s far too easy for people to get caught up in voicing their (often uneducated or poorly thought through) opinions rather than focus on supporting one another, rebuilding and being thankful. Have a wonderful race on Sunday – I know you’ll rock it!

    P.s. I totally agree with you on the Phish Food serving sizes. BS.

  48. I am heading down to NYC this weekend to cheer on my best friend running her first marathon ever. I am a little torn about the race, to be honest. Being a runner and half-marathoner (full marathon next year!) myself, I understand how hard and frustrating it could be as a runner to wonder what’s going to happen to the race. I would be heart broken if the race was cancelled or postponed, but I would understand. I just hope that the NYRR uses this as a chance to give back to the NYC, not to make more money as profit. I will cheer my heart out this weekend, with a somewhat heavy heart for NYC. I hope they get back on their feet soon.

  49. I’m thankful that my friends and family in NY and everywhere else are safe and healthy. I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

    Good luck on Sunday!

  50. I know that it is a very controversial topic, but I think it is wonderful that the marathon is still happening. Yes, it will frustrate a lot of people who can’t get there and will lose their money, and people whose lives have been turned upside down will be upset that so much effort is going into the race and not rebuilding their neighborhood, but I think anything to make life feel semi-normal again can only be a good thing. And I am so happy that you get to be part of it.

  51. Thankful that we did not get the real storm and that all my friends in LI, NYC, Pa & NJ are safe. I am also thankful that I am still sane after my 2nd injury in 9 mos.

  52. I’m thankful that I’m safe after the storm, and that my parents and brother and boyfriend and friends who were in the storm’s path are also safe. I’m thankful that I live in a city that fights so hard to come back from anything that hits it. I’m thankful that there are people brave enough to fight fires and tend sick people in a hurricane, and thankful that I’ve managed to get a job that lets me be at home cowering when a hurricane hits. Also, I’m thankful that I had the presence of mind to buy a lot of Halloween candy on Sunday.

  53. So glad you are ok! Good luck on the marathon! I am super thankful for the safety or all my loved ones. Also…electricity as I know so many are doing without right now.

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about ali

I’m the creator of the Ali on the Run blog and the host of the Ali on the Run Show podcast. I’m also a freelance writer and editor, a race announcer, a runner and marathoner, a mom, and a huge fan of Peanut M&Ms, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (way better than the first one!), and reliving my glory days as a competition dancer in the early 2000s. I’m really happy you’re here.
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