Hola amigos!! I’m back. Survived!! Agh, it was a crazy, memorable two weeks — BUT — no complaining here. We are safe. We are together. We are at home. Warm and cozy. So many good people in New Jersey have lost everything because of Hurricane Sandy. We lost our power, our heat, our showers, some trees, part of our roof, alot of our patience…..for almost 8 days…..but in the grand scheme of things…..we are blessed. So, no complaining. That’s how we roll.
The night of the storm….forgive me, the days are all a blurrrrr…..that night the storm surge happened, the police were knocking on all the doors up and down our street. They wanted us to evacuate — to leave home — because they feared a 15-20 feet rise in the South River, which was rising only a block away. A collection of us — neighbors in the same predicament — went out to assess the river and decided — we would stay. it was a long, long night. Peter and I stayed awake all night — ready to leave at any moment. The darkness was unsettling. The winds were amazing. The morning brought devastation.
Our home, and those of our neighbors were dry come morning. The river did not overflow its banks by us. Folks down the street, down the hill, were NOT as lucky. The big issue was downed trees. I’m not talking about small, or even medium-sized trees. I’m talking 200-year-old trees, pulled out of the ground by their roots — taking up entire sections of sod and sidewalk with them. It was overwhelming. The trees took down power lines. The power lines took away all our creature comforts, like heat, showers, the fridge, COFFEE. AGHHHH!!!
Within a few days, it would become obvious that the lack of power also affected our ability to get gas. The gas stations were closed, and when they opened, people were in a panic. It caused craziness!
I went for my 6 mile run the Wednesday after the storm — and it was only then that I got a chance to see the scale of the damage, beyond my street. Lord, the only blessing appeared to be — that as those gigantic trees began to fall — they managed to fall away from homes. Almost everyone I saw. Oh they took out cars, and power lines, and fences and air conditioning units….but not houses. Houses with people huddled in them. Thank you Lord. Thank you for those blessings.
Each day, became about survival. We still had gas, and it was safe — so cooking wasn’t a problem. But with each day, we had to empty the freezer and the fridge. We had days and days before the ShopRite opened, on generator power itself. We gave our last gas in the garage to our neighbor, who used it for his generator. In exchange he would help us charge our phones, and even gave us a thermos of coffee each morning.
The cold was the worst. It was COLD in the house. Night after night after night. We rationed our firewood, and lit the fireplace to warm the house each morning and keep us warm each night. I piled blankets on the girls’ beds, and our own — and we were lights out by 830p, out of sheer exhaustion and the freezing cold. Day 3, I warned up water and washed the girls’ hair in the sink. They took warm sponge baths. Peter and I took freeing cold showers. OMG — it was like camping in Maine when I was younger. It felt great to be clean, but OH what a price to pay. By Day 4 or 5 our Gym opened, and we began a pilgrimage there each day to shower and feel human.
I worked from home, we were in disaster recovery mode. The whole NYC, NY, CT area was. Lower Manhattan was flooded, and in the dark as well. It took days and days to pump the tunnels clear. The blessing was that without TV, we didn’t have to see what had become of the Jersey shore for a week. Once I finally saw — it was like mourning a loss of a part of my childhood. Like many native New Jerseyans — I’d grown up on those beaches in Point Pleasant, Seaside and Island Beach State Park. It was soo sad. And all the suffering of those poor people who lost their homes, who had lost everything. My heart broke for them over and ver again each day.
I managed to keep up with my running schedule. I can;t say they were the best runs of my life. I was tired. Emotionally, and physically. But I kept running. I stayed as normal as I could…..and felt better for it once things started to come back.
We were sitting in the dark on night about 8 days after the storm….eating homemade Tacos in the dark — when the power came back on. The first moments of shock quickly became cheers and smiles. We had planned….for ….this….moment. Step 1 after power comes back on…..we all stay still, and Peter runs to the furnace to turn the heat on. OHHHH Yea. Lots of stories around town of gaining power, only to lose it shortly afterwards. So we agreed that the best value we could squeeze out of power, if it had to be brief….was H.E.A.T.
Our power stayed on. And from there, we began to put our lives back together.
So, its Sunday — two weeks after the SuperStorm called Sandy. I’m home, and warm, and safe. Still looking at my lights with a bt of skepticism. Not taking my heat or hot shower for granted at all! The first Sunday after the storm, I had to do an 18 mile long run. I made myself do it, even thought I was exhausted. I had to get it done. I had to push myself over the fear of it, more than anything. After several miles, it became a power walk. It was not great. But I made myself do every mile. All 18. It was a little like my own Bataan Death March. 18 miles is a Hell of a Long Way.
This Sunday was 13 miles. I ran most of it, but needed some walking breaks along the way. So, I’ve lost some Mo-Jo in the running department, but I’m hoping I can recover. Today’s run marks the end of the first half of my training schedule. Tomorrow begins the second half. I have some mental fear going on. About the distances….and my ability. S#IT Diane, you banished that word on Day 1. Cut the Crap!!
I’m heading to NY tomorrow, and I plan to make a stop at Marathon Brian’s desk. I need a pep talk. a kick in @ss, a pat on the head…whatever he has in store for me. All in all, I’m proud of myself, and how I weathered this unexpected disaster from a running perspective. Looking back at it, Hurricane Sandy is the exact kind of thing that would have been a perfect excuse to STOP. To Quit. It was a monumental disaster. Who would have blamed me? Other than myself……of course.
Enough. Cut the Crap. Not Happening! No! Capital N, Capital O!
p.s. — I know it was the right thing for Mayor Bloomberg to cancel the NYC Marathon. In my heart I know this. But I just thank God every night as I close my eyes — that I didn’t get in when I put my name into the lottery. If I had done all this work, and had it cancelled — I might still be in bed, depressed and unbathed, surrounded by cupcake wrappers!
All things happen just as they were intended….
Ciao for now…..Diane