New York and I have a complicated relationship. In 1997, I lived in Manhattan for 6 months. My two oldest boys were 2 years and 3 weeks old, respectively, when we moved there. It was a hard time for me. I took a 6 month leave of absence from medical school while my husband did job training (long hours). My one goal every day was to leave our corporate housing apt (on the 47th floor of the City Spire). Most days this involved roaming around Central Park, stopping at the same Upper West deli for a 7 layer bar which I tried to scarf down while hiding it from my 2 year old. “Mommy, you eating chock-late?” There is no equalizer like a 2 year old. Mine was very social with fluffy hair, and had no qualms about asking strangers for food at the park. “Share?” This is how I met Paul Simon, Faith Prince, John Gallagher, and Liam Neeson. I made a few mommy friends, but mostly I remember feeling alone and invisible. This was during my 17 years of no running, and I felt tired and powerless.
Since then, I’ve been laying down 19 years of NY memories that overwrite that time. Many involve the electrifying women of Oiselle. A physical place can evoke so many contradictory feelings.
Nolcha NYFW in 2013 and 2014.
NYRR Dash to the Finish and Sally’s marathon in 2013.
And now, 2016.
Our stay had an inauspicious start. On the way to check in to our Airbnb I got a text, “say you are friends with ____ because the building doesn’t allow us to rent.” When we got there, the elevator fobs on our key chains did not work…and we were told they wouldn’t be updated. “We are on to you.” Oh man. After some uncomfortable encounters, we all agreed to a truce for the weekend. But each time any one of us arrived we had to secretively nod to one friendly concierge who would quietly let us in to the elevator. Squatters!
Then we got to hear Lauren and Ro’s “talk” (in parentheses because Ro lost her voice and had to whisper into LF’s ear to communicate!). It was really cool to see racers connecting with the Compete journal ideas, balancing excitement with pressure.
Friday’s Volée run with LF was Central Park magic: the awesome women, the weather, the beauty, and peeps of Kim Conley and Molly Huddle doing shakeouts.
Dinner at Whole Foods. Whoa!! Mad body crush of women, men, toddlers, babies, and many many Volée friends!
We had scored tickets to Hamilton and convinced Sally she had to come with us. Sally and my 3 boys went in…and then the 2 tickets for my husband and I wouldn’t scan! After 15 minutes on the phone with Stub Hub, we had to resign ourselves to a refund and 3 hours coffee-shop hopping near Times Square. So sad it was funny. All reports were that it was amazing. Hamilton, I’m coming back for you!
Saturday morning: another stunning day. Steph’s great Dash to Finish and Volée squad, Oiselle Team Indy Monumental takeover, and then coffee with Kara and poster making. Thankfully, Julia Bez brought some pre-lettered signs…my free-drawing of the Oiselle logo rendered our bird pretty sickly!
Sunday morning, we got harnessed and ready. We set up camp at 100th and 1st, and the 2 NYPD smiled at me as I gave away all of the cowbells—in about 15 minutes! (They politely declined one themselves). Then the lead car, the lead women, Molly, Mac, and all of a sudden there were hordes of runners. We got in a funny little dance of moving out into the street closer to the runners, then being pushed back like the tide. I scored an awesome hug with Kelly Roberts when she spied us. We tried to yell out the names of as many people as we could read. Runners hear their own name, look, and smile. Instant connection.
And now the promise of unknown future NY experiences. All of these layers of time on the same place. Nothing is permanent. Enjoy the good moments. Thank you to my family, and my Oiselle and Volée family.
New motto: be brave, get ugly!