Saturday, September 20, 2014

It feels great to be back!

I remember posting on Facebook as I began training for the Tufts Health Plan 10K for Women, "I think I can do this." My friends were wonderful cheering me on in cyberspace letting me know I could do this. I was hesitant. I was tentative. Could I come back to a 10K distance? Would I be able to be a part of races on a regular basis? The Universe nudged me along and swept me up to be exactly where I am meant to be. I couldn't very well say no to J Alain Ferry who I met while volunteering at the Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon Festival. After all, he put on the #onerun which helped me to realize that one way or another I had to get back to running and the running community. Alain was the Race Director for the Bill Rodgers 5K Run/Walk for Prostate Cancer. When I crossed that finish line with a PR, it was a new starting line in my running come back. He is the race director for next Sunday's 5K race.

This week has been a wonderful training week for me. Last Saturday I ran the Ogunquit Beach Lobster Dash. On Wednesday I incorporated hills into my 10K training run for Tufts and today I did speed work on hills. I did a 5K at a 15:30 minute/mile pace with negative splits all the way.

I pushed myself - hard. I allowed myself to experience moments when I went to my absolute edge. As I write this, I'm a little wheezy as I continue to build strength in my cardiovascular system. I am keenly aware of how paralytic polio affected me mind and body. Through running, I am able to heal.

I remember how I felt from June 2010 until March 2011. I was racing and crushing PR after PR. I was part of the running community that embraced me and loved cheering me on even though or maybe because I was a back of the pack runner giving it my all out there. It's amazing to have those feelings of confidence in my body and my Being, being cheered on and cheering on my amazing and often times crazy friends in the running community. They do everything from Spartan races to ultras and everything in between. I'm blessed to know older women who began their running careers later in life as I did and love cheering on their firsts. We run for physical and mental health. We run to be the best we can be. We run to see just what we can do on any given day. I run to challenge myself and to nourish my neuromuscular system that was affected by polio and violence.

It was a cool taste of fall kind of morning here in New England but the sun quickly warmed the air. The sun glistened on the Cleveland Circle Reservoir and the sky was a clear blue. As I ran up the hill in the back of Boston College, fans were arriving for the BC football game. There were many runners out. I felt vibrant and a part of the vibrant community that celebrates football and fall in New England.

I was training hard getting ready for next Sunday's Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Island Run. I'm not going for another PR since I'll be lacing up for Tufts two weeks after Sunday's race but we'll see what the day brings. I will use it for speed and getting ready to give my personal best performance at Tufts. I've got my eye on the 1:36 net time which will be a PR from my 2010 Tufts time.

After Tufts, Tom and I train for the Feaster Five with our friends from the Merrimack Valley Striders Club. We'll be heading up to Andover on Sunday mornings to train on the course. That will be my last race until Spring. Tom told me that we need to line up some really good Spring and Summer races that have bling to add to my collection.

For now, though, I feel good in my body and relishing that it feels great to be back!

The first 7 years of my healing odyssey are chronicled in Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing, Hope and Possibility available on Amazon. I donate 50% of royalty payments to The One Fund Boston to help survivors and their families who were affected by the tragic events of 4/15/13.

I'm working on my 2nd book, "Journey Well," due out later this year:

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