Because It’s New York City, That’s Why

On the morning of September 11, 2001, I was scheduled to have season-ending knee surgery in Monroe, NC by my surgeon at Carolina Bone & Joint.  As the unusual and uncertain morning developed, the surgery was quite correctly postponed a few days.  Coincidentally, on September 11, 2018, i.e. earlier this week, I sat in the office at Carolina Bone & Joint getting doctor’s orders for an MRI on my right leg.

I tell you this because after 4 quite sound pieces of advice, I have made the decision to not run the 2018 NYC Marathon.  I have been stewing on this decision for weeks, if not months, and now is the time to make it official.  If you want to read about my incredible NYC Marathon experience last year, you can do so here .  If you want to read about my decision to try and run it again this year, you can do so here .  Otherwise, let’s move on.

IMG_4242Everyone has something.  Many people lost loved ones on 9/11/2001.  Others are fighting the quite intense wind and water of Hurricane Florence right now.  Some fight cancer.  Others are passionate about juvenile diabetes.  Mine is arthritis.  It garners lots of my attention and energy, and has for the past almost 25 years.   It’s there every morning, every day, and every night, and I am quite sure I seriously inflamed it during last year’s marathon.  It’s a good thing I have the curiosity of a 5 year old and the energy of a 20 year old, because unfortunately I have the right hip/pelvis of about a 90 year old. And since that Sunday in November last year, I just haven’t been able to shake the discomfort.  It feels like ants biting the bottom of my foot and a blowtorch firing down my leg.  I’ve rested, visited doctors, done physical therapy, taken medications, stretched, and nothing seems to work.  Believe it or not, my obsession with golf actually makes it feel better.  I am not a doctor (shocking), but I think something is on a nerve, and it’s getting on my damn nerves.  We will find out Tuesday night.

41BA20D4-A41C-41A0-9B03-DE1D6263893EIf you go back and read or remember my previous NYC posts, you know how much I love the city, and for the first time last year, the marathon.  Between you and me, I still can’t believe my body actually made it.  I guess we now know that technically it didn’t.  I’ve been stewing for the past few months over this decision to not run, but it is the right decision.  And as disappointed as I am, I found great inspiration Tuesday night (9/11) watching the ESPN E:60 tribute to sports, NYC, and 9/11.  I got a little emotional as I watched, but also got fired up as I was reminded of the passion, energy, and resilience of NYC.

IMG_4112The pull of NYC and its people is magnetic.  As I watched the 9/11 tribute and remembered the World Series and marathon soon after the attacks, I was reminded that pain and evil don’t win, and New Yorkers are some of the best at conveying that.  It’s one of the reasons I have the Freedom Tower tattooed on my right arm with the words “Dream Big” below.  And it’s one of the reasons that though I am not running the marathon this year, I am still on Team Arthritis, raising money, and being an ambassador for all that is right with NYC, the marathon, and the wonderful hope and courage that it represents.

9E5824DA-5C24-4859-9471-D39DB23CDCBBNew York City is the greatest city in the world.  I’m just a little old southern boy, but I’ve been in love with the city since I was a teenager, exploring Manhattan on my own while my dad was in meetings.  I’m actually more excited on the fundraising front this year because I can tell you even more emphatically how every dollar raised for arthritis research can help someone who is afflicted manage the chronic pain.  I started us off with a $250 donation yesterday. If you would like to contribute along the journey, please take 1 minute and click here .  And as always, I thank you.

So I am not going to run it.  Just can’t.  It would be stupid.  But depending on the MRI results, I might walk it.  Or I might just put my ego aside, fly to NYC, go to brunch with Team Arthritis, fundraise, and return the favor to some of the great folks who cheered me on last year. I’ll figure it out, but I’m definitely doing something.  Too meaningful to just sit on the sidelines.  What, you thought I was just done, done?  As they say in New York, get outta here.

Have a great week, and to my fellow Carolinians, stay safe. -Benj

5 thoughts on “Because It’s New York City, That’s Why

  1. Another inspirational post, my friend! In the one year+ since I’ve met you, I’ve never heard you talk about your battle with arthritis. And now I know the rest of the story. I admire your courage and insistence that even if you can’t do it all, you can at least do something to help. Thanks for helping me stay the course, Benj….!


  2. I couldn’t love this post more! NYC has a part of my heart too and I was just thinking about that tonight. I knew I saved this one to read for a reason. You are awesome and I know you’ll make a huge impact no matter what you decide!!

    Liked by 1 person

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