Welcome to New York, it’s been waiting for you

“The bravest thing I ever did was run.”

Two years ago, I ran the NYC marathon for the first time.

Two weeks before that, Taylor Swift released 1989.

I liked it fine enough. It was catchy and well-written and danceable. I considered myself a fan of Taylor Swift and was happy that I had a new album to listen to while running a marathon.

A week after 1989 came out, the place I work was turned upside and a person I thought I knew turned out to be a monster. It was national news and I couldn’t escape it. I didn’t know who was reaching out for gossip and who was reaching out because they cared about me. I didn’t know what was coming next, who to trust and when it would be over.

It was terrifying and I felt so alone.

“The water filled my lungs, I screamed so loud, but no one heard a thing.”

I played 1989 on repeat that week, run-crying (and drinking way too much) my way through my taper. I lined up at the NYC start line exhausted dehydrated and terrified. Terrified I destroyed my marathon, terrified my career was over, terrified of what we were going to learn next.

“Are we out of the woods yet? Are we out of the woods yet? Are we out of the woods?”

My 2014 NYC playlist was 1989 on repeat three times. Every single song became about me, my marathon and what I was going through in that moment. It was a light guiding my way through a messy, scary time and a difficult emotional experience. Running the New York marathon for the first time was magic, but Taylor was the reason I let myself feel it.

“The lights are so bright, but they never blind me.”

It’s 2016 and I am running the New York marathon again. And Taylor Swift has a new song. She doesn’t sing it, she just wrote it. It’s about a breakup (because of course it is) but there’s a line early on, that is becoming my 2016 NYC marathon anthem.

“The bravest thing I ever did was run.”

Two years ago, I ran a marathon through one of the most difficult weeks of my life. The NYC marathon saved that month, hell, that year for me. And Taylor was the soundtrack.

Tomorrow, I will run NYC again, a celebration and a return to the place that gave me one of the most important experiences of my life. This time, I’m not running from anything. I’m running for myself.

And Taylor will be the soundtrack again.

“Welcome to New York, it’s been waiting for you.”

I’m glad to be back.