Sunday, June 12, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Race Report: Quonset Air Show 4 Miler Part II - The Icing on the Cake & Running Unencumbered

Before the air horn went off, there was a tribute to a hero who sadly took his own life on Veterans Day in 2012 as a result of war trauma.

There was the presentation of the colors and the singing of the National Anthem.

We went out fast near the front of the pack:

Tom reminded me as he so often does at the beginning of a race to find my pace and go out slow. I felt amazing and was so happy to be running a race again. The energy was electric and I settled into a good pace for me. We heard the singing of the cadence of Marines behind us and their thunderous footsteps gave me goosebumps. They ran in formation passing us by.

It was a gorgeous race course with lush green grass and wide open spaces. The pack was thinning out and I was finding my pace. I also found a tiny voice from the past and asked Tom, "Is there anyone behind me?"

Tom looked around and said, "Here -- I'll show you."

I couldn't see the photo while I was running but he was so dear and encouraging to let me know I was doing an awesome pace and that I was not at the very back of the pack.

There were military vehicles stationed along the course. None moved me as much as the one welcoming home the Vietnam Veterans. We had to stop and thank the soldier for his Service and take these photos:

We came upon a woman running alone and started a conversation. She shared with us that she was competing against no one but herself and was going for a time of 1:04 or better because that's what she had done on the treadmill. Her husband was retired military and due to many injuries is unable to run. He, however, is support crew for her. The military theme of the race and that it benefits non-profit military organizations in Rhode Island attracted her to the race.

I shared with her my journey and she decided that she was going to help pace me to a PR. We decided to introduce ourselves since we had become race buddies. Her name is Gail.

We kept pace together until we reached the hill. She surged ahead and I told her I did not want to slow her down but she would have none of it. She was like a drill sergeant. "Come on run Mary run - just like in Forrest Gump!" She had no idea that I watched that scene over and over and over again to break out of my leg brace and run.

We enjoyed the down hill together and she joked that I was going to end up passing her.

As my tank was starting to get empty she got me through the final part of the course. I think her focusing on cheering me on helped her pace as well. What a thrill to hear the voice of Maryann, the emcee for the race in the distance. As we turned the final corner to the finish, Gail surged ahead and Heidi and Jeffrey were there to cheer me on. I picked up my pace and Gail and I were stunned to see their finisher's clock as Tom videotaped my strong finish:

My time? A personal best of 1:02:41 -- a 15:40 pace! But you know what is really amazing? I finished 7/12 in my age group and 423/478 overall and most importantly of all I ran unencumbered and free; the intention that Jeffrey set for me after my first treatment with him at Spratt Muscular Therapies on 4/19/2015! How amazing he was there to see me finish the race and I was there to inspire him to run his first road race.

To be continued....

To your health and wellness,

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