The day started out with clear blue skies and a little bit of a chill in the air but temperatures quickly climbed so I took off my Boston Janji T shirt and ran in my racer back top and shorts.
I was excited to return to the Corrib Road Race after a 3 year hiatus; my first road race ever 6 years ago today. My friend David Brown posted on Facebook that it was my race-iversary and so it is.
I was blessed to meet Margo and Julie Feeney through Spaulding Rehab's Race for Rehab team. They ran the Boston Marathon for Spaulding Rehab this year and we went to their fund raiser. We became fast friends, celebrated with them after their triumphant Boston Marathon run, and we decided to sign up for today's race.
Margo and Julie told me that they wanted to stay with me and I could set the pace. We gathered for before race photos:
and took photos at the start:
Tom took selfies of Team McManus:
The starter for the race was an Afghanistan veteran who was wounded in Afghanistan but when he returned joined the Boston Fire Department. He responded to the fatal Back Bay fire in March and was injured when he was blown off of his ladder. But here he was today to start the race. We had a moment of silence to honor Michael Kennedy and Ed Walsh who died in the line of duty that day. There were Boston Strong t shirts aplenty among the runners and the spectators who cheered us along the route.
It was finally time and the air horn went off. Julie, Margo and Tom let me set the pace. I felt good in my body and wasn't concerned in the least about my finishing time. We all wanted to enjoy each other's company and the day. I love how Margo said, when you go at a slower pace, you really get to enjoy the race.
We talked about their Boston Marathon run, books, songs, movies and drank in the neighborhood feel to the race. There were no mile markers. I didn't have my Nike+ on. I listened to my body. I stopped for water and made sure I kept myself well hydrated and cool. The sprinklers were out in full force.
About 2+ miles into the race, I needed to slow down. We were on Centre Street and the sun was hot. I had a little side stitch and was feeling a little nauseous. Tom, Margo and Julie slowed down with me and we decided that when we got to the corner, we would pick up the pace again. But we passed the Fire Station and the firefighters were outside cheering us on. I knew I needed to dig deep and get this done!
I knew there was a killer hill on the way. Margo, Julie and Tom were so supportive. They kept checking in with me and told me that I had this. Margo and Julie asked me if I had a mantra to keep myself going in the earlier miles and they repeated it back to me - right foot, left foot and I reminded myself of how incredibly grateful I was to be out on the course. And how amazing to have the unconditional love and support of my friends sharing in my race-iversary telling me they felt honored to run with me!
There was a huge sign that said "Heartbreak Hill of West Roxbury Water Stop". Julie told me that the crest was in view. Somewhere along the way there was that moment when you break into song, "Let It Go" and you haven't lived until you see Margo sing "The cold never bothered me anyway." I think I heard some kids behind us helping us along with the lyrics.
I knew we were close to the finish and that there was a wonderful downhill to take us there.
I didn't realize how much I still had left in the tank and felt something stir deep within me to let it go as Tom captured it all on video:
When I hit the finish mat the clock had just turned to 50 minutes. I knew that was gun time and I was ecstatic with my run. I didn't think that I would see a finish time under 16:00 min/mile pace and I was fine with that.
But here are the official results:
2425 McManus Mary Chestnut Hill MA 406 60 F 22 60-69 48:03.0 15:30/K
And here is the time when I ran my first race ever 6 years ago today
1692 51:52 16:44 41 50-59 824 F 282 Mary McManus Chestnut Hill,MA
How many miles I have traveled since 6/1/2008.
I feel blessed to have traveled 3.1 miles today stride by stride with beautiful friends and my life and running partner Tom. Without mile markers and splits, I went within to run a mindful race. While I am delighted with my time, the only time that truly matters is the time well spent with loved ones on a beautiful summer's day running through neighborhoods and feeling a part of something much bigger than myself.
My memoir Coming Home:A Memoir of Healing, Hope and Possibility is now available on Amazon. 50% of royalty payments are donated to The One Fund to support the survivors of the Boston Marathon bombings and their families.