Saturday, February 21, 2015

It IS a Fantastic Sport-Oh my God that was you?

It wasn't Camp Hyannis but what serendipity that Alain Ferry's Super Sunday Crew Party was happening last night. Alain and Kathleen opened their home to those who volunteered to make Super Sunday a resounding success. As Dick Beardsley said at last year's pre-race pasta dinner in Hyannis, "Running is a fantastic sport! In fact, many of the stories we runners tell have nothing to do with our races on the road but of the bonds that we as a running community share."

Despite the mountains of snow and the narrowed street, we found a handicapped parking spot clear and waiting for us. Others parked in the driveway or on a nearby street and walked over. The temperatures may have been frigid outside but inside their beautiful, warm home with two dogs and a cat it felt like Spring had returned to Boston.

As people arrived we'd all ask each other the same question, "How do you know Alain?" We regaled our stories with love and laughter.

I met Chris, the volunteer coordinator who was feverishly working behind the scenes during my bib pick up shift. Gene and I worked together during bib pick up and it was great to talk with him without the hectic pace of bib distribution. Kate is a newbie runner who is looking to run her first 5K. We hit it off right away since she brought orange wristbands that said, "Friend of robots. Do not terminate." Alain said that Tom and I would have to choose between us as to who got saved in the event of a robotics invasion since there was only one wristband left.. Kate works for Kiva Systems. We found out she lives close to where the Merrimack Valley Striders meet and suggested she connect with them. I shared the story of the Boston Marathon Medals Mystery.

"So how do you know Alain?" he asked me. I told him about meeting Alain at the Runner's World Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon. Alain was cruising through the kitchen at that moment and said to me, "This is Pickle." "Oh you were trash talking about him winning the Hat Trick that weekend," I replied. {The 5K, 10K and Half}. They started talking about different races and fast fields.

I shared with him about how Alain cheered me on to a PR at the Bill Rodgers 5K. "I was there. I came in first in my age group. Oh my God that was you? Yeah yeah we all gathered around to cheer you on." He smiled warmly. We talked about the post race celebration surprise with Phil Lipoff.

Greg Pickelsimer is his full name and he said, "You seem like you might be tuned into this...Do you remember a proposal at the finish line last year?" Tom and I said of course we did. "Oh my God that was you?" we asked. He told us the whole back story of how while he was running Boston 2013 he wanted to propose to his girlfriend Carla at the finish line. He was frustrated that he hadn't planned it to happen that year. In hindsight he says that it would have been a terrible memory to have gotten engaged that year at the site where tragedy happened. He finished long before the bombs went off ... So this year he decided was the year to propose to Carla at the finish line but it was not going to be easy given the new security measures at the finish line. Through a BAA connection, he secured a VIP pass for Carla to sit in the bleachers. He carried the ring with him the entire 26.2 miles in his pocket. After he crossed the finish line, he motioned for her to come down but Security stopped her. Security stopped him as well. He explained the plan to the Security Guard and it was a Sleepless in Seattle kind of moment where the security team allowed Carla to proceed to the finish line. Greg said that he wished he would have thought to have one of his friend's be there to capture it on film. Little did he know there would be a media frenzy to capture the moment. Meb had crossed the finish line and the media was basically marking time. Greg and Carla became their story.

We talked about "Journey Well" and how Alain is an integral part of the making of Journey Well. He brought out copies of my book he bought on Amazon along with a copy of The Long Mile Home. He showed us a photo from the #onerun. Amanda is captured in a photo crossing the finish line. Alain introduced us and it was another Oh my God that was you moment?

So although the Super Sunday Crew party was not Camp Hyannis it was filled with magic and memorable moments where new friends were made and there was time to hang out with Alain, Kathleen and people who are part of the community of a fantastic sport.

Journey well!

"Journey Well" and all of my inspirational books are available on Amazon.

"Journey Well" is a book about resilience, strength, courage and how we are able to journey well no matter what conditions life hands to us. I profile the people who are Boston Stronger and share how 4/15/13 was a wake up call to me to return to my healing path from contracting paralytic polio at age 5 and 9 years of domestic violence as a child and adolescent.

50% of all book proceeds are donated to AccesSportAmerica where people of all ages and abilities achieve higher function and fitness through high challenge sports and training.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful post, Mary! Thank you. Love the blog. So great to meet you and Tom. Hope to see you soon!