Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Olde Cape Cod - Part III - Stories from the Finish Line

I love how the Universe directs us to exactly where we are supposed to be. We thought that the Cape Cod Marathon was an out and back route like the Half. When we arrived to what we thought would be our viewing place for the day along the beach in Falmouth Heights, a race official told us that most of the runners had gone through the 3.5 mile mark. We cheered on the back of the pack runners and had to decide what to do next. I felt a stirring to go to the finish line and set up camp. As we drove to the finish line, we cheered on the back of the pack runners through open windows with the bells that Marcie's mom loaned to us after our delicious dessert and conversation on Saturday evening.

Meeting Bob and Marianne Gould
She seemingly stopped in her tracks and turned around. "Are you two comfortable there?" she asked. "Oh yes, we replied." We had the warm sun to take away the chill from the wind. She came back and we started chit chatting. They were wearing Cape Cod Marathon volunteer jackets. Tom told them he ran the Half and we wanted to cheer on the finishers today. We talked about Boston and Meb. "Oh I met Meb," she said. "I was at the Falmouth Road Race. Bob was with the Spaulding Rehab team where he had volunteered as support crew to them. He had a spinal cord injury...." That turned the tide of the conversation. We talked about Spaulding and who we knew in common from the Development Team. He is a neuroscientist who has been studying spinal cord injuries. He was in a bike accident that left him paralyzed in 2011. He had to learn to walk all over again and did with the help of Spaulding. We shared both the challenges and triumphs of recovering from a spinal cord injury. I gave them my card. Don't ask me why I had business cards with me at the finish line of the marathon. I just happened to have them with me in the running bag we took with us. They went off to their volunteer assignment and said they would let us know when they will be in Boston for his follow up appointment at Spaulding.

Kat and Dan
Remember I mentioned taking what I thought was a random photo at the starting line of the Cape Cod Half Marathon in yesterday's post? She was sitting on the sidewalk and we struck up a conversation. They ran the Half on Saturday and on Sunday, her friend Dan ran the Marathon to complete the Chowda Challenge. She said that she knew she had a long wait but loves being support crew. We talked about the Boston Marathon. She watches it at mile 24. She lives close to us in Brookline. We spent 3 hours together tracking another friend who was running her first marathon and Dan. The announcer at the finish line was amazing at getting the crowd to cheer in runners who were struggling to the finish. Kat had her cowbell from the Boston Marathon and like Tom at the Tufts 10K, developed a cowbell blister! That goes under the category of injuries frequent to spectators. We talked all things running and life. I gave her my card as we said goodbye and said we'd stay in touch.

When I got back to the hotel and saw the random photo I took at the starting line I gasped and interrupted Tom's meditation to show him that the photo I had taken was of Kat and Dan. Boston Strong is a magnet for connections.

Team DiLorenzo - Star Wars family
"Are you at the finish line?" A surprise text from Marcie. "Yes." "Okay we'll walk down to meet you." Because I had posted we were at the finish line on Facebook, Marcie wanted to come and see us before the end of the weekend. Marcie was Princess Leia. Vann and Gino, Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader and Paul as Obi-Wan Kanobi. Radley was an Ewok.

Kat had looked up the times for a BQ, and was taking note of the finishers who had qualified for Boston. We both noted what a tough course it was to qualify on. Marcie looked at the finisher's clock and was thinking what time she would have needed for a BQ and said that she's not ready for that pace. I reminded her of when she did BQ and how I loved the race report she shared on Facebook.

Tommy Leonard
We had lunch at the Quarterdeck after seeing a majority of the finishers pass through the finish. Tommy said that he couldn't find a copy of his book but wanted our address so he could send us an autographed copy. He refused to take any money for it even though on Amazon it notes that a portion of the book proceeds go to his retirement fund.

Tommy shared with us that his vision for the Falmouth Road Race was to make it more of a social event, almost a boy meets girl kind of race. We told him about our friends Marcie and Paul who were married at Falmouth last year. He remembered! There was a group of runners wearing medals, marathon jackets and you could feel the vibrant energy of the running commmunity. They were waiting their turn to talk with the legendary Tommy Leonard. We said our goodbyes and headed to the beach.

Tom and I were inspired to drive to Woods Hole. There were several back of the packers still out on the course with fierce determination to finish. We cheered them on. The Emergency Radio vehicle was behind one woman who was walking. It didn't matter that the finisher's clock had stopped and that the finish line would probably be closed by the time she arrived. She was going to finish her race and how wonderful that there was a race official car available to provide her with an escort to ensure her safety. I remembered how much it meant to Team McManus to have a motorcycle escort at the end of the Father Bullock 5K.

We decided to head back to Woods Hole for dinner and saw this spectacular sunset:

This weekend on Olde Cape Cod was a time for making new memories, new connections, enjoying the company of friendships already made and crossing a new starting line in the lives of Team McManus.

Knowing the challenges first hand of living with a neuromuscular condition, on Thanksgiving, I will be running the Boston Volvo 5K Village Road Race to raise money for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society New England Chapter. When we unlock the key to one neuromuscular condition, we can unlock the door to many. You can donate to my run on my fund raising page.

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:

No comments:

Post a Comment