Sunday, May 11, 2014

On Runners, The Running Community and Visionaries

I wasn't born to run and running does not come easy to me to say the least. But I love to run - well race walking now. For me and my body it's running.

When it comes to running, I was a late bloomer. Now there is an understatement. I remember when I was diagnosed with post polio syndrome in December of 2006. In February of 2007, I wrote the poem "Running the Race" ... while in my mind I focused on winning a 10K race. In February of 2008, I told my personal trainer that my next goal was to run the 2009 Boston Marathon. It didn't matter that I had never run a day in my life. I bought my first pair of running shoes at age 53. I trusted in my personal trainer, and Domenick D'Amico, my beloved coach and trainer with Spaulding Rehab's Race for Rehab team and my own grit and determination to train for a marathon. I had a vision and a feeling deep in my soul.

During these past 5 years, I have had to take a hiatus from running to address symptoms as a result of the late effects of paralytic polio and trauma. The longest hiatus was from 2011-2013. I thought I wouldn't be able to return to running after the stress of my nephew's suicide took a physical and emotional toll on me. After the 2013 Boston Marathon, I knew I needed to come back to running and the running community. Even though I wasn't born to run, running became a part of my life and feeds my Spirit.

The running community is a family. We cheer each other on and we support each other on and off the roads. There is unconditional love and acceptance. There is joy and high fives whether you break the tape or finish last or as my friend John Young did yesterday, finish his race 19 days later.

One of the things that amazes me about my 2009 Boston Marathon run is how it continues to inspire runners. My run fuels the vision others have to reach their goals.

Last weekend, Randy Pierce and his Guide Thor, drew strength from my inspirational Boston Marathon run. I celebrated their BQ victory as though it were my own knowing and understanding the challenge of going from a wheelchair to take on the challenge of a marathon. And Randy is also totally blind! You can read Randy's race report here and Thor's race report here.

I met Gail Martin through Domenick on Facebook. We finally met in person two years ago and have been close friends ever since. She posted on Facebook that she was going for a BQ and wanted to help her friend BQ because her friend had never run Boston. I provided her friend with inspiration and positive affirmations. Gail posted if body, day and outcome are willing.

She posted this photo on Facebook

She told me that she had printed the photo and laminated it to carry with her during their Maine Coast Marathon today. Even though they did not BQ, she had this to say,

Mary, you did a 4:05 with me today. Beautiful day, gorgeous course. Not much else aligned. Nature of the beast!

I wrote back that it was a PR for me.

We run for ourselves. We run for our health. We also run as visionaries. We believe that through running we can create change in ourselves and support change in others. We run to raise awareness and money for causes near and dear to our heart. We can believe in and support possibility in ourselves and others as we experience the beautiful flow of giving and receiving love and support.

And while I wasn't born to run, and I wasn't born into a family that supported health and athletics, I stumbled upon this amazing community. It all began with me having a vision of winning a 10K race with that poem I wrote while in a leg brace, using a cane and at times a wheelchair for mobility. While I have not been first to cross a finish line, by running and being a part of the running community where we share visions and chase Unicorns, I know that I am winning the marathon of my life.

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