I had initially signed up for the 2022 Brooklyn Half Marathon in early 2020, and it has been canceled or been a virtual race since then. This was an in-person race in three years, and the environment was as alive as it could be before and at the end of the race.

A heat warning email was sent out a day prior, and of course, I’m not too fond of the heat & humidity because 1 – I do not perform well under heated conditions & 2 – It takes weeks to get off the tan on an already wheatish skin-colored body. As luck may have it, the sun wasn’t on top of us until 9 am, so I had to hit a sub-2-hr time.

I got up at 3:30 am to get to Brooklyn and met with my friends near the baggage entry. The race was reasonably good. I made a PB, and almost everything went perfectly. I had no pain, the water stations were well placed, I didn’t feel dehydrated at all, and overall, it was a good experience.

After I got home, I got a message from a friend with a link, I earlier thought it was an iCloud link to share photos, but it turned out to be a link to a news article where a man died after finishing the race due to cardiac arrest (not cardiac failure). The difference is that cardiac arrest comes on suddenly and can happen without warning, while cardiac failure occurs gradually.

Death is no longer a foreign concept, but this incident shook me somehow. I did not see the man in person, but it’s hard not to care and worry about a fellow human being who finished just a few minutes before you and collapsed at the finish line. I saw the video of him collapsing, and most likely, the ambulance that was making way at 9 am had him in it. I feel low by this ordeal where any other person would probably be rejoicing after doing good in a race. It’s not good to care this much, but I was born with this level of compassion & empathy, and it’s hard to shake it off. It’s too late for that now; I can’t turn it off like a switch.

I have my EMT book & equipment collection on 25th near JJAY. I’m excited and terrified of starting it as I haven’t touched biology in 10 years. All standard and rudimentary terms to everyone are very foreign to me. I’ve already started studying and giving a few exam questions here and there, but I know there is still a long way before I become proficient enough to pass the exam. The course starts on June 2nd, while the in-person sessions will begin on July 21st from 6 PM to 10 PM; I will most likely come home late at night.

I genuinely want to be in a place where I can understand human anatomy at a deeper level and have honest conversations with doctors and researchers in medicine. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but I have to start somewhere. As they say, you can’t really solve a problem unless you truly understand the problem.