Two weeks from today I take my place at the start of the 2014 Tufts Health Plan 10K for Women.
It will be the culmination of my running comeback which began at the #onerun on May 25th of 2013 after leaving running and the running community after my nephew's suicide in March of 2011. It's been quite a year and a half of healing, building strength, confidence, speed and endurance. Yesterday's race on Spectacle Island was the perfect training run for Tufts. As I crossed the starting line, I stepped into a world I never thought I'd be able to enjoy. Trails and hills and pushing my body as fast and as far as I could given the heat and the elevation. My goal for yesterday's race was to conquer the course. Mission accomplished! I enjoyed being in the present moment, challenging myself and seeing spectacular views that I would have missed had I not dug deep to get myself to the starting line (with a lot of help from J. Alain Ferry and my husband).
Yesterday, when I crossed the finish line I realized that I no longer have the image and feeling of that little girl in a full leg brace being left behind. I felt a sense of empowerment and accomplishment taking on a tough course. What a blessing to feel Alain hug me and to hear him say to me, "I'll always have your back at a race" and know he means it!
I do have a PR goal of 1:35:35 for Tufts. My last Tufts in 2010 was 1:36:09. More importantly than my PR is the feeling of being back running a 10K distance again. I know there will be many people who have told me that they will be waiting for me to cross the finish line. At last week's Merrimack Valley Striders meeting, Lyn Licciardiello who has run all 37 Tufts 10K for Women (back in the day when it was the Bonnie Bell 10K) invited me to join her and other Strider women, guys and family at an after party at Border Cafe just north of Boston.
I have this feeling deep in my soul that grows stronger with each challenge I conquer. The polio virus that initially robbed my body of its strength, balance, coordination and confidence, and family members who tried to literally bring me to my knees with violence are no match for my Spirit! I am blessed to now have people in my life who genuinely support me; who put their own egos aside to see me be the best I can possibly be. And thanks to them, I show up with a full heart and fierce determination to be the best that I can be.
Two weeks from today, I look forward to celebrating another milestone in my healing journey with my husband and my running family.
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: