Wednesday, October 8, 2014

With Gratitude to J Alain Ferry - I Leave My Doubts at the Starting Line

I'm nervous. I'm excited. I just want Monday to arrive yet I want to savor every moment leading up to race day. Friday is t-shirt and bib pick up at City Sports for the Tufts Health Plan 10K for Women. I'll have a lunch date after bib pick up with Tom. I just want to cross the starting line. I just want to cross the finish line hearing the cheers from Tom and my running family. I want to experience every foot strike of the 6.2 miles on the Tufts 10K course. I want to run smart from the inside out and I would like to see my finish time better than 1:36:09 which was my finish time the last time I ran Tufts in 2010, "body and conditions willing" as my friend Gail Martin likes to say.

As I countdown to Tufts feeling all of the emotions that one feels leading up to a big race day, I have to express my heartfelt gratitude to J Alain Ferry of RaceMenu. I put in training runs, raced, put the time in the pool with Aquatics Therapy at Spaulding Rehab and continue now with mental and Spiritual preparation for Monday, but thanks to the overwhelming support, unconditional love and encouragement of Alain and his races, in addition to feeling nervous, excited and all the rest, I feel strong and confident going into Monday's race.

"Are you J Alain Ferry?" I asked Alain well into our volunteer shift together at the Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon Weekend and Festival.

"Yes. That would be me," he replied.

Alain was the driving force behind the #onerun on May 25, 2013 which marked the beginning of my running comeback:

We talked about what the #onerun meant to me, to Alain and to the city of Boston. He reminded me that he was the one who pulled out his bib from his pocket and said that we have a race to finish during the pre-race ceremony on that chilly, rainy morning in May where the weather could not dampen the spirits of everyone present.

As I ran the #onerun, I remembered why I ran the 2009 Boston Marathon and why I run. I knew in every fiber of my being I had to get back to running and the running community. I reached out and added my running friends on Facebook who were eager to reconnect and I weeded out the people I had brought into my circle who were not living Truth.

Alain handed me postcards to share with my running groups for the inaugural Bill Rodgers 5K Race to benefit Prostate Cancer.

"All ages and all abilities?" I inquired. "Absolutely," was Alain's reply.

"Oh and I'm also the race director for the Spectacle Island Run," Alain told me.

"My friend Elizabeth told me about that but she left and I wasn't planning on running it. It's all ages and all abilities, right?"

"Absolutely. She is going to try to come back for race day so you definitely have to do it."

I registered that evening for the Bill Rodgers 5K and Spectacle Island races.

I was planning to run one race in June, my Corrib Pub 5K that was my very first 5K road race ever in 2008 and then train alone for Tufts. I was going to find women at my pace who I could run with at Tufts. But life has a way of redirecting us to where we need to be. Instead, I decided to run Tufts alone and ended up running 5 races between June and today. Each one has treasured memories and a special place in my heart but Alain's races took me to new places in my running comeback.

As a race director he has thousands and thousands of details to attend to before a race. I didn't even know I was on his radar before the Bill Rodgers 5K but he was reading my blogs and was there to cheer me on to a strong finish nailing my PR for the day. He told me it was a very special moment for him as a race director to see me with tears in my eyes digging so deep for that final stretch to the finish. When I crossed that finish line I reclaimed the runner within me. What a blessing to have the love and support of WCVB's Phil Lipof in a special post race ceremony surprise after Alain shared my inspirational story with him:

I panicked before the Spectacle Island Run after seeing the course maps. Alain responded to my Facebook posts and took the time to respond to my emails. I was almost ready to bail on the race but he told me I was ready and I was going to crush it. And crush it I did by persevering through hills and heat!

I'll be carrying Alain's love and support with me as I run the Tufts 10K on Monday. My body now knows how it feels to race again and to nail a PR. And while I feel nervous and excited, I feel strong and confident. With deepest gratitude to J Alain Ferry, I leave my doubts at the starting line.

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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