I had no expectations for my performance on race day. After my ShakeOut (TM) Massage on Friday Jeffrey Spratt,MT pioneer of the ShakeOut (TM) Massage and the Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy said to me, "Go kick ass." I'm in the middle of training for the Bermuda Half Marathon but because the Hazelwood 5K was a celebration of women's running and was for such a great cause, The Women's Center of New Bedford, I took a week to taper distance and run the race.
What a delight when my inspirational friend, Laura Donahue Brady said that we would run the race together. She is new to running and on a beautiful health and wellness journey. Her husband, Timothy, signed up for the Men's Race to support Laura and the Women's Center. He plays basketball and soccer but was not trained to run a 5K. I asked Tom what his plans were for the race. He said that after the week he had, he just wanted to go out and enjoy the run. It was a small field and Tom said he'd come back and run the Women's 5K with us. He was planning to just take it easy.
We had a wonderful pre race conversation and since it was a race to celebrate women's running, Laura and I took a pre-race selfie:
The guys went out first at 10 am. We cheered them as the small yet mighty field of 9 men and one woman took off. Madeline Marinella thought the women's race was at 10am and she had somewhere to be later in the morning. The men agreed to have her join them in their race and she kicked some serious butt. I shared my inspirational story with her and we are now Facebook friends.
She runs for the Travis Roy Foundation and in honor of Travis whenever she runs. She proudly took her place as a woman runner among the men and finished in the top 3 men!
The sun was shining and the air was crisp and cool. Our gun time was not until 11am. Laura and I sat in the sun at a memorial that paid tribute to women who served in the military across the decades of war.
Women began to arrive for our race. The Women's Center staff arrived with an information table, staff and their Team of runners. I introduced myself and really needed no introduction. They were grateful for my blog and my promotion of the race. I got to meet Robin Lynne who has an inspirational story that gave me goosebumps when I saw her posts on Facebook. She was assaulted right before the Chicago Marathon a few years ago and sustained a fractured skull. This year she ran Chicago and is getting ready to run the Marine Corps Marathon. Talk about resilience!
The men's finishers started coming in to their final turn. My "I'm going to relax and take it easy" husband was speeding to the finish line and came in 2nd place to a 40 year old man. He was in the lead until he missed the turn around at a water stop. True to runner's code, another runner called out to him and waited until he turned around and came back. He finished strong!
He received the award for 2nd place overall and 1st in his age group.
Tom gave his 2nd trophy to Laura's husband to honor his incredible effort running around an 11 minute mile WITH NO TRAINING!
It was time for the ladies to toe the starting line:
Laura got in the zone with her music. I knew she ran about a 15:13 minute/mile pace. We agreed that we would just find a steady pace that worked for both of us. Laura, as I mentioned is new to running. I was in awe of her intense concentration and determination. Tom jumped in saying this was the first race he ever received a trophy for and his first race running bandit.
I found myself next to Leslie, an expressive therapist who works at The Women's Center. Conversation flowed about my journey and the work I am doing with Jeffrey Spratt, MT. She was so excited to hear about a new method for healing trauma. As I shared with her some of the techniques Jeffrey has used with me, she talked about comparable techniques she is using with her kids and adolescents although is not licensed to provide touch therapy. We both agreed that talking therapy only goes so far in the treatment of trauma. I thanked her for the work she is doing and she blessed me with knowing that there is a wonderful group of kind, compassionate and dedicated professionals at The Women's Center to help survivors of domestic violence, trauma, sexual and physical abuse to heal. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
I found myself running with passion and purpose, pushing my pace, representing the work I do with Jeffrey and how, through healing the effects of paralytic polio and trauma, I can, as the intention he set for me in our first session, run unencumbered. The miles seemed to just fly by and I checked in with Laura to see how she was doing. She led the way for most of the race and I worked hard to keep up with her. The views were magnificent and she paused to take a photo:
Here is Laura, Leslie, myself and bandit Tom out on the course:
I experienced incredible joy and healing being able to talk about my journey and experiencing Leslie's compassion and knowing how far trauma treatment has come. I felt exhilaration to know that Jeffrey and I are going to contribute to the field of trauma treatment and all of my pain and suffering is not in vain.
My friends Shawn and Allison who volunteered to help Geoff and Charlie for the day were out on the course taking photos and cheering us on. I felt my journey was honored as we celebrated the joy of running. What a transformation from having been jeered, taunted and teased as a child after contracting polio to being cheered on!
As we neared the finish, we were cheered on and encouraged to pick up the pace. I had a full on sprint to the finish with Laura and Leslie right behind me! We took a Team McBrady selfie photo:
Laura and I experienced this moment of happiness after the race:
We said our goodbyes and Tom and I went to the after race party at the Pour Farm Tavern. We got a free beer with our race bib. Tom had a beer and I had a sparkling water. You never know what kind of food you're going to get at a bar but it our chicken sandwiches with a side of hanging out with runners was a delicious experience. I thought back to the last time I was at a post race party at a bar in December of 2014. I could barely walk with a very serious knee injury; an injury that opened the door to a new opportunity for healing! The wonderful thing about runners is you take a group of strangers, just add running and a race and you have instant friendships!
I had my post event ShakeOut (TM) Massage with Jeffrey today. I told him he told me to kick ass. "Yeah how'd you do?" he asked me. "15:22 minute pace with my last mile at 15:10". "How's your body feeling?" he asked. "Like I beat it up but I don't have to worry now. I know you'll take care of me and help my body to recover." "That's right," he said. "You can beat your body up and then I help you recover. Instead of getting injured, you're able to get stronger!"
And that dear friends is how I reclaim advantage and reclaim life through the power of positive touch with the Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy being able to run with the pack with passion and purpose spreading a message of inspiration and receiving inspiration from other women.
I'm incredibly grateful to Geoff Smith and Charlie Breagy the co race directors who, despite a small field of runners, went all out to provide us with a wonderful race experience and post race party.
Next week I'll be back to Bermuda Half Marathon training as we go another 9 miles....Less than 3 months to go.
To your health and wellness,