A full four days after hurricane Sandy, word finally came last minute that the New York Marathon is cancelled. Thousands of runners are so disappointed because on average people at least need train for 18 weeks.  I used to take 4 months to train for my marathons, the last two or three weekends involve brutal 16-18-mile-long runs. 

Sunday afternoon, I walked to Central Park with Jon and Oliver, and saw hundreds of people wearing ING New York Marathon signature orange race shirt and the race number tags, some of them even put the race chips on their shoes. Some of the foreign runners carried their countries’ flags, and a couple of supporting teams were there cheering the runners up and supplying with some water and food.  I think it is a silent memorial day for those marathon runners to declare even though the marathon is cancelled, their efforts of marathon training haven’t been wasted.  I saw their running, can’t help joining them to run together until the finish line which has been set up in the park.

Watching the marathoners run their own private races, I felt a strong running spirit came out from the “orange oceans.” My frozen marathon running mind melted, and I couldn’t help tearing up – thinking I used to be one of them.  I have a strong mind that I believe nothing is impossible.  I used to train so hard followed by the schedule to build up my strength physically and mentally.  I ran two full marathons in 2010, but since then I only did one half marathon.   I only run 2.5 miles every other day and longest distance is about 5 miles.

The scene of the NYC marathon runners reminds me that I should do more and more races as a runner, and I should run ING marathon next year to be a real runner, to be a marathon runner.

We have just survived the biggest hurricane - #Sandy – that New York City has seen in 108 years.   I can’t help thinking about several important things after the hurricane.

  1. Have to have a smart phone
When the power is off, I don’t know what is going on and how bad the results are.  Not only I can call my mother-in-law in Santa Fe to ask about New York updates, but also I can open @Aereo website to watch news from the live streaming TV, check out Twitter to see updates from all over, as well as post status and pictures to report our safety to our family and friends.


2.  Power is an essential energy for life

No power, no internet, hot water, and heat, and even our stove was finicky.  We suffered 3 days of life without power. It is so inconvenient.  We needed to go to friend’s place to charge the devices and get internet.  Fortunately, we have a dog, Oliver, who can keep us warm in the dark.

3.   Serve for the People

The city needs to have government and all infrastructure workers to support the citizens.  When the hurricane came, government officials always updated the status and advocated people to listen to the instructions in different channels.  The traffic policeman stayed in the entrance of the FDR overnight during Sandy to make sure no one went on the highway.  Firemen came in 10 min when a manhole had been blown away by the explosion caused by the burning down of the power station . Two days after hurricane, the power companies came and took 10 hours to repair and brought us back to a bright world. Amazingly, MTA (mainly subways) is partially up and running after three days, despite so many stations had flooding.  

4. Supporting systems are the keys to survive and recover

Startups who have power are tweeting out messages to welcome others without power to work in their offices.  Friend of ours told us, his home is our home, feel free to shower and charge our computer and use internet.  The hurricane makes people closer to each others to fight the disaster and solve the difficulties together.

5.  Real Estate Choices in NYC

Now I know which of part of the town and how high the buildings are safe from hurricanes, it will reflect people’s choice of rental and purchasing.  However, a hurricane like Sandy is only once every century -hopefully- I can use the hurricane blackout area as an excuse to negotiate with the rental price (as we’re hoping to move in December).

6.  How to win businesses

The bread counter of our grocery stores was vacant one day before the hurricane, Duane Read looked like it had been robbed, even didn’t have bottles of water and soda in the shops.   If they had just-in-time operation, they could have had ordered more items from suppliers three days when the hurricane was announced. On the other hand, after the hurricane, those who opened their businesses the next day won a lot of business.  People were in line of coffee, restaurants and even frozen yogurt.  Linkedin CEO Reed Hoffman also tweeted about using @Airbnb to solve the temporary living problems.

I have experienced a lot of huge typhoons in Shanghai, but none of them are bigger than Sandy.  It could be my first experience.  I have to conclude New York City is so much advanced and efficient, which makes me love New York more and more. 

Do you have any thoughts after Hurricane?