My friend Kevin Yetman posted his race report for Loon Mountain on Facebook this morning and he posed the question, "Do I belong running this race?' He also answers the question in his race report acknowledging how amazing it is to be part of a sport where whatever your pace may be, champions regale our participation in the sport.
My first 5 mile road race was the Marathon Sports 5 Miler. It was sheer will and determination and Tom not letting me quit that got me through that hot evening race where I couldn't tell where tears ended and sweat began. I remember asking and telling myself that I didn't belong there and what was I thinking when I said that I was going to run the 2009 Boston Marathon.
Once I let go of all the memories of "Easy Out Alper" and the taunting and teasing I experienced in gym class being a survivor of paralytic polio, I found myself embraced with open arms by the running community.
In February of 2014, at the Hyannis Race Weekend pasta dinner, I was blessed to chat with Bill Rodgers and have him sign my copy of his book, "Marathon Man." He signed my book with, "We are lifetime runners. Let's run forever!" Bill Rodgers
As Tom took our photo, he gently placed his hand on my back and said to me, "Wow. Boston. You've got that mental toughness you know. You are one strong woman..."
Dick Beardsley was the guest speaker along with Boston Billy that year.
Dick talked briefly about the day he had his duel in the sun with Alberto Salazar and his relationship with Bill Rodgers. He focused on the outpouring of emotional and financial support he received after a near fatal farm accident followed by his battle with addiction to prescription pain killers. Dick has a beautiful, raw heart and yes, real runners and men do cry! And laugh, and regale stories of races of days gone by.
Dick said that running is a fantastic sport and that 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.
I've been blessed to meet and be embraced by some of the greats in the running community, Frank Shorter, Geoffrey Smith, Jacqueline Hansen, Greg Meyer, Jack Fultz, Dave McGillvray along with Boston Billy and Dick Beardsley. My friends Reno and Susan Stirrat are Masters Champion and cheer me on at my pace and the distances I choose celebrating the miracle of me being able to run.
In December of 2014, when an MRI showed a really messed up left knee and I was told by the physiatrist, PT's and a previous massage therapist that I should not, could not and would not run again and if I did it would be for only a 5K or maybe a 5 miler at most, I was, at first devastated. And then I got pissed and I asked the Universe for help. I had not come that far on my healing journey to only go that far. Dr. Ryan J. Means, a healer chiropractor came into my life and helped me to set goals not limits and go the distance once again on the roads and in my life.
On this throwback Thursday and thankful Thursday I can unequivocally answer the question in the affirmative of whether or not I belong in I the running community. It is after all a most fantastic sport!
To your health and wellness!