Sunday, August 22, 2010

A T-Raining Run for the Tufts 10K & Why I Am Running Tufts This Year

The sun did not shine
It was too wet to play....
But I wasn't gonna sit in the house all this cold, cold wet day. Okay it wasn't a cold, cold wet day but it was raining and I made the commitment to run the Tufts 10K so I had to get out there for a training run. Why did I put myself out there again to run a 10K race? After all, I have my little health and fitness regimen. I'm running a 5K on 9/12 to support my friend Doug Welch who is raising money for his wife who lives with Muscular Dystrophy. Yes, I ran the Boston Marathon which is 20 miles more than a 10K (smile) but last August, I thought that I would not run again. Before I get into why I am running the Tufts 10K this year, let me share with you what I can do this year that I could not do a year ago.

One year ago, I had a resurgence of post polio symptoms. I had increased fatigue, felt weakness return and most notably, the cervical spine disease flared. I stopped working with my beloved personal trainer, Janine Hightower and after a trigger injection with my master magician Dr. El Abd of the Newton Wellesley Hospital Spine Center resumed a course of physical therapy. I doubted I would ever resume running. I lacked flexibility and strength in my cervical spine. There was a lot of pain including radiating arm pain. We started with the theraband exercises and I could barely pull the 'green' band to 'row a boat' or to pull down over the door jamb. On the pilates ball, I could barely do the exercises without weights and then slowly, little by little I built up strength and endurance. It took a year but I can now do a plank on the pilates ball. It is such a thrill to look back at what I could not do to see what I can do now. A year ago I could not do a calf leg raise on my left leg; now I can and have progressed to being able to do a 5 count hold. We eliminated weights over 3 pounds for upper body strength training (and I have not yet reached maintenance) and eliminated all weights with lower body strength training. I am maintaining at 15 squats and alternate with different exercises using gravity and increasing 'hold' time to 'stress' the muscles. Would I love to go to a gym and work out like so many can (including my own husband)? Sure. Would I trade places with anyone? Absolutely not! My friend Laurel Labdon and I were talking about wouldn't it be wonderful if through stem cell research they could improve our functioning (she has a spinal cord injury) with speech, breathing and for me fatigue. Yes it would. I cannot imagine what it would be like if I did not have these limitations but I would love to know what it would feel like to be in a body free of the limitations and yet the strength, the courage, the faith, the triumph I have known and the ability to inspire others is a gift without measure.

Back to the Tufts 10K. I ran the race two years ago with my daughter by my side. I wrote an article about it which appeared in Cape Healing Arts Magazine. Last year, I proudly watched my daughter run the Tufts 10K and I made a prediction in my blog post:
I had thought that I was through with running because of the cervical spine disease and the toll that training for and running the Boston Marathon had taken on my body. After hearing yesterday's race announcer and seeing so many women in all shapes, sizes and with many different challenges I decided that once again I will not let anyone tell me I can't do something. I will take this winter to heal and to get stronger and next October I will proudly take my start next to my daughter for the running of the 34th Annual Tufts 10K.

My daughter moved to Tennessee but I am going to proudly take my start next to a wonderful friend of mine. We met at the Hyannis Marathon in 2008. Her husband and I met on line (okay it's not as sketchy as it sounds). We met on Just Finish and Tim reached out to me as we were preparing to run the Hyannis Half in preparation for Boston. He mentioned me in his blog posts while he was training for Boston and we forged a wonderful friendship. It's been a blessing to share different running events together along with a lot of laughter and love.

This year, God spoke to me and said to reach out to his wife and ask her if we could run the Tufts 10K together. At first she said that she wouldn't be ready but I sent her an email and told her what an honor it would be to run with her. People are always spurring me on in my running and it would be such a blessing to be able to encourage and inspire someone else. She agreed and her husband signed on to make sure that she has time to do her training runs. I don't have the speed but have the endurance; she has the speed and will build up her endurance. Together, we're gonna crush it!

Yesterday as my husband and I drove to Whole Foods in Newton, I told him I was nostalgic about training for the marathon. Could we clock the mileage and design a training run to run by the reservoir and up the hill by Boston College? We did and this morning I donned a hat and jacket and off we went for a 4.5 mile training run. God bless my husband because he could have gone to the gym and ran on the treadmill. Since I have never run on a treadmill and we have a race 9/12 and then the Tufts 10K a month later, it was best to not introduce anything new. I have seen too many America's Funniest Home Videos to know not to go on a treadmill. Our back up plan was to go to the track at Boston University but it was warm and not a driving rain so off we went. Besides, we had done 11 miles in the pouring rain when we were training for Boston. We did a 16:22 minute/mile. My main goal was to get in the distance but I am thrilled with the pace; especially since we had about four steep hills to run. My average heart rate was 132 with a peak of 150 for a total of 73 minutes.

To read more about my inspirational journey with polio and post polio syndrome, visit my website Be sure to click on the News and Events tab to see all the wonderful events happening this fall! Hope to see you at one of them.

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God bless, be well and make each moment count.
With love,

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