Sunday, October 13, 2013

"You look like a runner...

and you probably are."

The race began before the race as Tom and I unexpectedly hit heavy traffic on the way to parking for the BAA Half Marathon. We stayed remarkably calm helped by runners in the car next to us in the rotary as we exchanged comments of "Don't worry, we'll make it." We had to follow the signs that the BAA had put up even though it wasn't the route we were planning on taking to the parking lot. We had to surrender and trust.

I had called the BAA before the race to ask if I could board the shuttle bus from U Mass to the starting line. He had told me that it's not something that they advertise but he did not think that anyone would kick me off the bus if I were with Tom. I told him I'd wear my 2009 Boston Marathon shirt and jacket. He thought that was a good idea.

As we were walking to the shuttle bus, we struck up a conversation with a woman. Tom and the woman had the usual pre race chatter about is this your first...have you run this race before... As we were getting ready to board I mentioned to her what the person at the BAA had said to me and she said, "You look like a runner and you probably're just not running this race right?"

Here is a photo Tom snapped of me on the way to the shuttle bus -- with the caption #runnerswife

I smiled as I got on the bus and said to Tom - hmmm she said I look like a runner. Those words sunk in and had a powerful effect on me.

I have been doing strength training twice a week through the Aquatics Therapy program at Spaulding Rehab. I ran my first 5K, the Brookline Symphony Orchestra 5K Fun Run & Walk after a two year running hiatus a few weeks ago and am training for the Feaster Five.

I have resurrected the hero and the champion within me; the woman who IS a runner despite a history of paralytic polio and 9 years of unrelenting violence which took a toll on my body and my mind. The woman who is a back of the pack runner; who power walks but can do a 15 minute/mile pace and the woman who offers no apologies for distance or speed anymore! I enjoy being outdoors and I enjoy moving in my body now. I delight in being a part of the wonderful running community.

I used to move from a place of the image of the little girl who dragged around a leg brace desperately trying to keep up with my brother and his friends walking down Oregon Avenue in Westchester New York to a vibrant, healthy woman who has overcome so much. I have the courage to get out there three times a week and train with heart and soul. I carry myself like a runner.

Part of my joy as a runner is being a spectator supporting and cheering on my husband in his endurance races.

Today he ran the final leg of the BAA Distance Medley. He ran the 5K on April 14th, one day before the Boston Marathon Bombings. He ran the 10K with our daughter Ruth Anne on June 23rd and today he crushed the Half with a 9:54 pace.

Here he is before the race on a gorgeous Autumn day here in New England

And here are more photos from the start of race day--

As I waited in the stands of White Stadium

the announcer said that we could text runner to 345678 and put in our runner's bib number to track them. Tom told me at the start that he was planning to do a 12 minute/mile pace. He said that he felt under trained. I reminded him that he has been running consistently for the past 6 months and he had been doing long runs intermittently over the past 6 months. Last week he did 13 miles! I told him he had this.

What a thrill to get the text at 5 miles that he was doing a 10:32 minute/mile pace and then at 10 miles a 10:00 minute/mile pace. I watched him cross the finish line and screamed "You crushed it."

Tom doesn't run with his phone and we agreed to a meeting spot in case logistics got a little hectic after the race. I told him that I'd come around and meet him. There were literally thousands of people and I thought I would find him coming out of the finish line and food area but I knew I had somehow missed him. I went to our meeting place and he wasn't there. I decided to back around and there he was heading back to the Stadium exit. I screamed, "I found you." The woman standing next to him smiled and laughed out loud.

Today was a day of trusting and patience; celebration and joy. Today was a day of remembering that we are Boston Strong. Today was a day to remember that out of our deepest wounds we find our greatest strength, our most beautiful treasures and the knowledge that love is far greater and more powerful than any experience we endure.

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