Sunday, July 4, 2010

Everyone Has a Story-Harvard Pilgrim 10K Race Report

No,I am not suddenly delusional thinking I'm Kathie Lee Gifford. I will not break out into song either, I promise. The blessings of running a race in the back of the pack is you get to share stories and meet amazing people. At the starting line, we met a woman three months out from knee surgery. Her doctor gave her the okay to run/walk the race. As we approached the start, a woman asked if this was our first race. She said it was hers and she was concerned that people would wonder why this overweight woman was even in the race. I gave her the Twitter version of my story and a lot of love and support. That gave her the courage to share that she is a 15 year breast cancer survivor. We high five'd each other and said, "See you at the finish line."

Everyone has a story. Mine begins with a little girl 5,6 years old wearing a leg brace wanting to keep up with my brother and classmates. As my husband and I were preparing for our start he called my attention to a T Shirt, "Don't Panic." The Eagles song, "Take It Easy" was playing and the race director was announcing, no PR's (personal records) today. God was speaking to me. "Don't Panic". I was having a flashback to being left behind. What if I couldn't keep up? How will I know where to go? "Don't Panic" all is taken care of. God was reassuring me. "Take it Easy" - for heaven's sake don't push yourself in this heat. Enjoy the day! I found myself relax and release and had an aha moment. It was not up to me to push myself; it was up to others to show compassion and kindness. Of course, this is about me learning to be compassionate and loving towards myself. It is time to release the sense of competition, pushing myself, and coming from a place of unworthiness and less than. It is time to remember that I am a child of God, a chip off the old block and so with all of my 'imperfections' I am perfection.

Tom and I learned from last week's race to warm up and go out slow. Having seen and heard the messages from God, I paid heed. Last week my heart rate began at 157 and pretty much stayed there. I'm delighted my body could accomplish that especially after a running hiatus, but today it was all about finding a comfortable pace and having FUN! We walked through every water station and made sure we were hydrated. I had my trusty gel with me and at one hour, we took a 'hit' to keep our muscles fueled.

What a thrill to run on the Fourth of July. One family had patriotic music playing on their porch. One woman created a sprinkler with her hose and we ran under it. People waved flags and we celebrated freedom.

A father, mother and their daughter were taking turns pushing their son/brother in a wheelchair. He had a birth defect which resulted in multiple physical challenges. They would run and then walk and drop behind us and then go in front of us. We were running next to two sisters who were training for a 30 mile bike ride for Parkinson's Disease; their mother had died from it this past year. The family would tease that 'those four are the ones to beat'. They would delight in passing us and then when we caught up they said, 'oh no, we gotta speed up.' We passed them and were going to slow down to let them pass us again but they had slowed their pace so my husband suggested we push on.

As we got closer to Gillette Stadium (the race finished on the 50 yard line) all of a sudden, the family came out of nowhere and the daughter sprinted by saying, 'See you at the 50 yard line'. We met a woman who said, "I'm 60 years old and I'm not gonna push myself today in this heat." She told us that it was her first 10K. She sent her daughter on her way and told us that her daughter had lost 100 pounds and discovered the joy of running. She had an article written in Redbook about her; her mom told us how proud she was of her daughter who inspired her to lose over 40 pounds and take up running.

As we entered the tunnel to spring the final yards of the 10K, I drank in the joy of this moment. As we approached the 50 yard line, we flashed a huge smile and saw ourselves on the jumbotron. I stood on the field of Gillette Stadium where world champions play football; where world class entertainers perform. I said to my husband, "Wait a minute. I want to savor this moment and wave to my adoring fans." I am blessed beyond words and so grateful to be able to experience today's 10K run. July 4th - independence - freedom - choice.

Everyone has a story. The people I met today chose to now allow circumstances to limit them. Let freedom ring!

I had to make a choice when I was diagnosed with post polio syndrome. I decided to heal my life and the gift of inspirational poetry was a powerful healing force. I would love to share the gift of God's words of healing, joy, gratitude, overcoming struggles and the power of words to imagine and dream with you. You can order my books of inspirational poetry through my website

And speaking of freedom - my husband is running the Falmouth Road Race for those who can't - literally. He is raising money for the Ms. Wheelchair Massachusetts Foundation You can donate through their website and in the instructions write that it is for Tom McManus' Falmouth Run. We are having a "Not Your Average Yard Sale" on 7/31 from noon to 5 pm at our home 30 Eliot Street, Chestnut Hill, MA and would love for you to come and find your treasures. 100% of proceeds to go to Ms. Wheelchair Massachusetts Foundation who help those with mobility impairments in Massachusetts to know freedom through equal access and equal opportunity.

Hope you had a wonderful Fourth!
Let freedom ring
God bless and be well
With love,
p.s. Not that it matters but we finished the race in 1:38 a 15:54 minute mile.


Mike St. Laurent said...

mary, How wonderful to read your comments.
May we use some of your comments to inspire others that run in the race..?

Mike St. Laurent said...

Hi Mary
Wonderful comments
May we add these to an email to inspire others..