Thursday, November 28, 2013

Feaster Five: My Best Race Ever!

Our Thanksgiving holiday began Wednesday afternoon when we went to pick up our bib numbers and race schwag at the Feaster Five Expo.

I first met the Striders in Hyannis in February of 2009 at the pre race pasta dinner as Team McManus was preparing to run their first half marathon in preparation for the 2009 Boston Marathon. They invited me to speak at their December 2010 meeting. Here I am with Al Pappalardo and Channel 7's Steve Cooper:

and here's Tom Licciardello handling the sound system for the speakers

We stayed in touch on and off through the years but after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, there was a feeling among many in the running community about the importance of staying connected with each other.

I've always wanted to run the Feaster Five. I had not recovered after the 2009 Boston Marathon to run the Feaster in 2010 and then wasn't feeling well enough to run after the 2011 Brookline Symphony Orchestra 5K. But this year it was my time!

It was an emotional reunion with my Strider friends
Tom L. and me

Al Pappalardo and me:

Tom's wife Lyn and me:

More MVS love:

and MVS gear including tumblers for the One Fund:

I had a reunion with Ric Beaudoin who was the first Strider that I met at Hyannis who wanted me to speak at the Striders' meeting to share my inspirational story and Dick Hoyt and Kathy Boyer who have known me since February of 2009. We are all healing; the bombings have resulted in close bonds and a resolve to allow love triumph over hatred.

I went to bed early and got up at 5:00am to leave by 6:00am to ensure that we would get good parking at the race. It was cold and windy but we got to watch the sunrise. So much heat was generated among the throngs of runners. It took us 10 minutes to get to the start!

The course involves a really steep uphill at the beginning of the race for a good half mile:

It wasn't a PR according to my time.

4985 258/393 F5059 59:46 49:43 16:01 Mary McManus 59 F 3663 Chestnut Hill MA

But it certainly was a PR according to how I felt in my body and during the race. It was 2 minutes slower than the Brookline Symphony Orchestra 5K Fun Run & Walk but it also had a huge almost mile hill at the start of the race and another small hill at the end of the race as compared to the Brookline Symphony Orchestra's 5K Fun Run & Walk fast, two loop course around the Reservoir.

According to my Nikeplus, I did negative splits:
17:28 mile 1 (which included a slow walk in getting to the start)
32:27 mile 2 (14.99 minute/mile pace)
46:23 mile 3 (13.96 minute/mile pace)

It was the first race that I ran that I felt I was in the middle of the pack. That's because I was in the middle of the pack; 4985/6135 finishers for the 5K. I wasn't too shabby in my age group either and this is the last race before I enter a new age group!

I've been used to being a back of the pack runner and watching a sea of runners fade into the distance in front of me. But the Feaster's field is different and it was an amazing experience for me to be passing runners and walkers.

As we headed for the finish, Ric Beaudoin stands atop a ladder calling out names of the runners spurring them onto the finish. We called out his name and he said, "And here comes Tom and Mary McManus all the way from Newton, Massachusetts."

Our daughter Ruth Anne met us at the finish line and she commented on how I was absolutely glowing looking so different than I had after any other race.

I ran in 30 degree weather; mercifully there was not a lot of wind during the race and there was the beautiful course through the Andover neighborhood. I was present in my body and delighted in each moment of the race. I was racing out there today.

The Feaster Five: my best race ever and my best Thanksgiving ever!

Thanksgiving from Seasons of the Soul available on Amazon

Make every day a feast of giving thanks
serving up heaping helpings of happiness
health and joy

be with the ones you love
------especially yourself
and feel your heart overflow
because there is so much gratitude stuffed inside.

Feast your eyes on beauty and wonder
feed your heart on kindness and compassion
forgive and remember love lasts
laughter heals.

Taste the sweetness that life has to offer
breathe deeply
as the scents of the season
delight the senses.

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