Sunday, September 18, 2011

Running Love

I have come to realize that I was like the blind men and the elephant during this period of reinvention in my life. I would only see a part of the beautiful tapestry of my life. I denied my social work career because now I'm a poet. When I stopped running, I stopped embracing and appreciating the beautiful amazing accomplishment of having run the 2009 Boston Marathon. I focused on being a polio survivor and went on a mission to end polio now while walling off the part of myself who experienced severe, multiple childhood trauma. But now everything is coming together and because I am appreciating all of my life experiences, I am having experiences which honor all of me.

My friend Justin Berke invites me to every local event on Facebook. The Brookline Symphony Orchestra Fun Run looked like a lot of fun. Twice around the Cleveland Circle Reservoir where I run all the time with live, classical music playing and to benefit our local symphony orchestra -- sounds perfect. Sign us up. And then one day on Facebook I received a post from Greg Gordon who was part of the 2009 Boston Marathon Race for Rehab team of which Tom and I were a part saying that he was the race organizer. He doesn't live in Brookline but is good friends with the director of the Symphony. What are the chances right?

I knew I belonged at this run. When we arrived to register, Greg came up from behind me and gave me a wonderful warm hug. Then I spotted "TK" - and yelled "TK". Greg and TK are bff's. I said that TK is a celebrity and I could hear Greg telling me telepathically please don't encourage him. During our Boston Marathon training, TK would photo shop different celebrities supporting his run and fancied himself a celebrity. TK was wearing bib #1 and I had #13. I asked Greg what was up with that and we all laughed. And then Greg spotted a hawk in the tree just above where we were standing. I google'd the significance of seeing a hawk: "The hawk is a messenger of insight, adaptability and openness. Hawk people aim to initiate and lead, and may be impulsive from time to time. They want to establish individuality while still being accepted by the group." We snapped photos and it was so wonderful to reunite with my former team mates. I could tell the feeling was mutual. Greg has run so many Boston Marathons but he was wearing his 2009 shirt. He said of course he had to wear it today. We could feel the presence of our beloved coach and trainer Domenick D'Amico who moved to Colorado and said we would have to send him the photo of our reunited team.






This is the first athletic endeavour (be it yoga or running) that I did not experience butterflies before the event. Perhaps it was because it was on familiar turf (I have run that Cleveland Circle Reservoir hundreds of times). Perhaps it was because I had no expectations and was going to see how my body felt during the race or maybe, just maybe I am beginning to feel a sense of confidence in my body.

As I have mentioned in previous blog posts, I have chosen to power walk instead of run for my cardio workouts and I'm able to get my heart rate up and do a 15 minute mile pace thank you very much. I felt as though I was beating myself up by running especially in my knee joints. But today I felt the desire to get out and run. I'm so glad I did. I had no pain in my knee joints. I felt the strength in my quads and I felt like a strong stallion.Greg said to me before we set out, "Run like the wind" and I did. I was able to tolerate an average heart rate of 157 with a peak of 172 (my peak heart rate for a woman my age is 140). Regardless of the numbers (and the official time has me a little over a 15 minute mile pace-my time has me a little under) I want to focus on how I felt during the run. I felt happiness.

As Tom and I came round the first loop, Greg asked the crowd gathered to watch the race to give us a big hand and when we came into the finish, I broke into a sprint. Greg played it for all it was worth and called it as though we were two elite runners fighting for the finish. We left after our "work was done" to head on over to the Columbia Yacht Club for the annual L Street Running Club BBQ.

My heart was already overflowing with running love. The sun was warming up the day by the minute and by the time we arrived at the Columbia Yacht Club we could sit on the deck enjoying the spectacular view and the wonderful spread of food.



Tom says I was greeted like a celebrity. I blush and feel very humbled by the reception I received from L Street members who were there during my last two inspirational talks at L Street. One woman told me that I inspired her to run her first 5K which she is running in two weeks. We were sitting with another man talking for about an hour and then we made the connection that he reached out to me asking to talk with his wife who was experiencing chronic pain and not getting any relief from the Western medical community. I talked with her about exploring "alternative therapies". She is undergoing acupuncture treatments and getting relief from her pain. Another member came up to me, introduced himself and told me he just had to let me know how inspirational I am. Still another came up to me who I met at the Jim Kane Bowl Run who had told me when he google'd channel 7 looking for a story, my news story came up high in the rankings and he told me he loved the feature.

I drank in the view of the water, ate more than my fair share of amazing bbq chicken, fruit, veggies, potato salad and something I have not had in an age a cupcake with chocolate frosting. I sat and listened as fellow club members regaled stories of marathons past, hopes and dreams for marathons future and felt so comfortable among the community of runners. I no longer felt as though I did not belong there or I was less than because I was once and done with the Boston Marathon or that more often than not I power walk. The motto for the L Street Running Club is "No distance too short, no pace too slow". My heart is open and because I am feeling comfortable within myself, feelings of competition, jealousy that others are still running marathons and all those other emotions that keep me enslaved to the past are released, I can truly enjoy myself. I am so blessed and grateful that today was a day overflowing with love from the beautiful running community and at last I can truly embrace all of me!

With so much joy
From my heart to yours
With love and gratitude,
Mary

1 comment:

Pamela McCurry Robbins said...

Mary..You are such an inspiration to so many people (ME..ME..ME!!) and yet you seem so surprised by that fact! You are amazing! I am so glad that you were so filled with "running love" today....You sure filled my first Harvard Pilgrim race with "running love!"....LOVE YOU...AND that wonderful running/walking/life partner of yours! Mr. and Mrs. McManus....you both ROCK!

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