Friday, September 26, 2014

Life is either a daring adventure...

Last night J. Alain Ferry, race director for Sunday's Spectacle Island Run posted the course map.

Um why are there caution zones I asked.

Sharp turns, 2-way sections and runners from both races getting to a split Alain replied.

Okay - thank you. Is there elevation? Regardless I'm planning to bring my A game and rock the race!

Yes, Mary - there's significant elevation which you're going to flatten like a pancake. If it were easy, everybody would be doing it, right?

That's right Alain and I eat hills for breakfast only since it's an 11:27 start time, I will eat the hills for brunch. I'm going in with 3 days rest and really really glad I'd been doing hills in my training runs. It's going to be yet another grand adventure in my life. Thank you for all of your encouragement and support Alain. You are a race director extraordinaire. This will be a great warm up for my Tufts 10K. I'm psyched!

And I had to ask one more question --
The trails are paved correct? I seem to remember reading that somewhere. #preracejitters

Nope. Hard packed dirt and grass.

And with that I went into full on panic mode. I emailed Alain asking him if maybe I need an early start or should start with the 5 milers. I hadn't trained on trails but I did run the Ogunquit Beach Lobster Dash. I call him a race director extraordinaire for a reason. He messaged me right back and said, "You'll be fine. Easier than sand. You'll crush it!"

And in reality, hard packed dirt and grass are actually easier on the body than pavement.

My sigh of relief lasted for about a minute and my nay sayers kicked into high gear. What if I get injured? Tufts is only two weeks away. Maybe I should just do a training run out on the course for Tufts ... play it safe ...

And the words of Eleanor Roosevelt echoed in my ears:

I reflected and remembered how I've felt these past few months during races and training runs and in my Adaptive Sports sessions with AccesSportAmerica taking on new challenges and pushing myself to go outside of my comfort zone.

Last night as I was wrestling with Sunday's race, I felt the presence of my physiatrist, Dr. Eugene Moskowitz. He was considered a rehabilitation expert in treating polio during the epidemics in the 50's and 60's. He also did not believe in the diagnosis of post polio syndrome as it was being framed by the medical community and wrote an editorial for the New York Times in March of 1985:

Caution and Hope On Polio 'Signs'
Published: March 3, 1985

I read with interest the article entitled ''A Group for Polio Survivors Who Have New Symptoms'' (Feb. 10).

Having supervised the rehabilitation of poliomyelitis patients at Grasslands Hospital during the epidemics of the 50's and 60's, probably including the ''then'' infants mentioned in the article, I would like to add a word of caution and even hope as an afterthought.

Firstly, there is no reason to suspect deterioration in the nerve cells in the spinal cord. After 30 years, one must accept some loss of endurance, increased fatigue and even some discomfort induced by other unrelated medical problems. This is true in the athlete with repeated injuries, in the obese person with back problems and even in the jogger with foot ailments.

Any individual with paralytic disability in an extremity will experience the normal process of ''wear and tear'' except that it may be more difficult to adjust to it. Just as one learned to compensate for the initial impairment so must one adjust to the later, more subtle changes rather than develop an emotional hangup of being a ''polio victim.''


I realized that, while on the one hand I was being practical checking in with Alain as the race director about my concerns, I was allowing fear to take hold. It wasn't just the polio that got me when I was 5; it was carrying the burden of the secret of incest beginning at age 8 followed by 9 years of violence, that had weighed me down and prevented me from making a full recovery from polio. I became hard wired for fear; I was at odds with my body and experiencing my own power. But now I move beyond all of that thanks to so many amazing people in my life who remind me that I can transform can'ts into cans.

I slept well and this morning, my Facebook feed was filled with inspiration and timely quotes.

I remembered this recent post from Reno Stirrat:

Perhaps the most compelling sign was on my friend Kathleen's page. She is running her first half marathon this weekend. Kathleen took photos of Tom and me out on the course and crossing the finish line when I PR'ed the Bill Rodgers 5K Run/Walk to Benefit Prostate Cancer.

And then I saw Alain's photo that he posted late last night of the view from Spectacle Island:

Every time I challenge myself, I leave my past experiences and beliefs in the dust to live a full, vibrant life in the present. I transform fear into excitement of new adventures. Because as Helen Keller so poignantly said, "Life is either a daring adventure...or nothing at all."

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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