From my soon to be released memoir, "Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing, Hope and Possibility":
We woke up early on April 15, 2013. You would have thought we were running the Boston Marathon again. Tom and I had a ‘perfect’ morning together enjoying the coverage on WBZ TV and leisurely making our way to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel for a reunion with some of our Race for Rehab team members. Although I grew up in New York, I called Boston home since 1971 when I began my freshman year at Boston University. Following numerous orthopedic surgeries when I hobbled around on crutches, I would often joke, “No I’m not going to run the marathon this year, maybe next year.” Be careful what you say out loud to the Universe.
Through the years, Tom and I would stand on Hearbreak Hill cheering runners and we knew about the Boston Marathon legends. Did I ever in my wildest imaginings believe that one day I would cross the finish line of the Boston Marathon and at the age of 55 years old? I think not but on April 20, 2009, I did just that as a mobility impaired runner.
After my nephew's suicide in March of 2011 and Tom's 2011 Boston Marathon run, I distanced myself from the running community. I did not feel well enough to run again and I thought my running days were over. We watched the 2012 Marathon from Cleveland Circle in the searing heat waiting for friends but I had lost my emotional connection to the race and to the part of myself that ran Boston. It was a metaphor for what was happening inside of me as the years of unrelenting trauma and residuals from paralytic polio were taking a toll.
But last year I was ready to rejoin my Race for Rehab teammates at the Mandarin Oriental last year.
The fabric of the running community has never been stronger. I am blessed to be a part of the Spaulding Rehab "family" and to call myself a Race for Rehab alumni.
Last night I attended the Feeney Sisters Run Boston Fundraiser at Doyle's in Jamaica Plain. I 'met' Margo and Julie through the Race for Rehab team on Facebook and when I saw their fund raising page, I just knew Tom and I were meant to be at their fund raiser. They really do put the fun in fun(d) raiser. They had a Heartbreak Hill pinata and this beautiful cake:
They asked me if I would say a few words about what Spaulding has meant to me. As I shared how 7 years ago I was in a wheelchair, and went on to run Boston for Spaulding in 2009, I could see one woman's jaw literally drop open. She also held onto her partner standing next to her as I shared the "twitter version" of my journey. I shared how I did not have another marathon in me and I am so grateful to the Feeney Sisters for running Boston this year. I said that we would be there to welcome them back to the Mandarin after they cross the finish line. I also gave them a tip of the hat for training through this grueling cold New England winter.
Ever since I came to Boston in 1971, the Boston Marathon has, in one way or another, been a huge part of my life but has never been more a part of my life than this past year. In reading Bill Rodgers book, "Marathon Man"
I have an even deeper appreciation and understanding of the history of the Boston Marathon.
There is a sense of anticipation, nervousness, excitement, fierce determination and a community filled with love as we countdown the days to Boston. The sun is getting warmer, The days have more daylight. The birds are singing louder and stronger. The runs are getting longer for those training and I delight in being support crew. A little over a month until the anniversary of 4/15/13 but only 44 days to go until we take back this City and show how we ARE Boston Strong!