Saturday, December 10, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! "Cold is just an adjective!" 11.5 Miles in the Bank of Bermuda!




One of the women I met on Facebook after Bermuda 2016 posted yesterday that "Cold is just an adjective" as she was heading out to do a run in cold temperatures.

That gave me such a boost to psych myself up for today's 11.5 mile run and the longest distance we need to run this year in our Bermuda Half Marathon Training. The weather forecast was for 20 degrees and we really didn't want to look at what it would feel like with the wind chill.....

It's now ten years ago that I was diagnosed with post polio syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease and one of the hallmark symptoms of post polio syndrome is "cold intolerance." My thermostat was affected by the polio virus oh and as a side note, I can't wait until I publish "Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance" that chronicles my phenomenal journey including how my thermostat got fixed!



But I digress....

I could not tolerate being out in cold weather; actually any extreme of temperature would wreak havoc on my body. I would shiver in the cold and walking and breathing were a challenge. I had to limit the time I spent outdoors and was terrified of snow and ice. I was warned that if I fell, I was at a very high risk for a fracture. By the way, I had a major fall during training a year ago and a minor fall this year. I'm still in one piece! So I lived my life in fear and winter was something to be endured. Tom and I even considered a move to Florida but realized that would have been a horrible mistake for us.

This morning we did not set the alarm but allowed our bodies to wake up naturally. Yesterday, I organized everything we were going to need today for our run. After a wonderful meditation getting myself ready to run the longest distance I've run since the Bermuda Half Marathon 2016, we put our clothes in the dryer. We did our core work as a warm up, ate breakfast and then put on what I like to call #allthelayers to go out on our run including a layer of vaseline on our faces.

When we first stepped out of the front door, the wind was biting. By the time we got to the base of what I affectionately call "Billy's hill" because it was a part of the Bill Rodgers 5K Run/Walk for Prostate Cancer two years ago, Tom suggested that if the pain were too much, we'd abort the run and head to the gym. I told him that I trash talked on Facebook about running in the cold today and somehow we were going to make it through the run. I must say that that I was a little concerned about frostbite but then I remembered that my body would respond to what my mind believed. The wind died down and the sun was getting warmer and I had sent messages of warmth to my face and hands. I suggested to Tom that we take a break from the cold and head into Peet's Coffee for our water stop. We were going to do an out and back run along Beacon Street to Waban but when we got to Chestnut Street I was inspired to head over to Comm. Ave. and run Heartbreak Hill.

There's always magic on Heartbreak Hill and the sun shines a little brighter there. The wind had died down and the energy of runners out training for Boston 2017 was infectious. I reassured myself and Tom that no I was not going to run another marathon but I did experience wonderful memories of our training on Heartbreak Hill and what it was like to finally run it on Marathon Monday 2009. Tom snapped this pic of me 7 miles into our run out on Heartbreak Hill:


The wind started to pick up again and the air turned colder but we soldiered on.

I needed to make a pit stop. We considered going back to Newton Center via Center Street but the Heartbreak Hill Running Company beckoned to us. "Do you happen to have a bathroom here I can use?" The guy behind the register beamed and said, "We sure do. You guys out on a run? It's right down the stairs and around the horse shoe." I wasn't thrilled about having to go up and down stairs but hey I really needed a pit stop. Tom shared with him that we were going for 11.5 today training for Bermuda.

I smiled when I walked in their bathroom. I <3 free bathrooms. A newspaper clipping about Prefontaine. Instructions: 1. Sit down. 2. Take a selfie. 3. Post on twitter and Instagram with the hashtag.... 4. Do your business. They really get what runners need in a bathroom. Between the pit stop and thinking how Bermuda is going to be so much warmer and also feeling incredibly badass that Tom and I were out there training with gusto for the Bermuda Half Marathon we made it through those final miles. Last year we did a majority of our training runs around the Reservoirs or Jamaica Pond. We did not do a lot of training on asphalt and getting out on the open road. Even though I was making remarkable progress through my partnership with Jeffrey Spratt,MT whose Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy that he pioneered was helping me to transform from a survivor of paralytic polio and trauma to a woman warrior taking on the 13.1 distance again, I was timid about my training. Understandably so! Every time I went out to challenge myself physically during these past 10 years I would hit a wall - a big wall and experience a relapse of post polio symptoms or, as I had in December of 2014, get injured.

As Jeffrey explained it to me, the trauma created imprints in my body. As we go layer by layer unearthing and healing the trauma we are restoring my body to factory new creating new neuromuscular conditions, strengthening that new gastroc muscle that had atrophied from polio, and healing the effects of first paralytic polio and then 9 years of unrelenting violence.

I have incorporated training on the Arc Trainer and Bike this year and we are challenging ourselves on our training runs. Since Tom is going to be running the Bermuda Triangle Half Challenge which includes a mostly hill 10K, we wanted to be sure to include hills (and more hills I might add) in our training runs.

I feel a powerful shift within me mind, body and soul as I continue my work with Jeffrey and within myself. My anxiety level is way down so I have more energy to invest in things I love to do and to improve my health and fitness. With internalizing Jeffrey's power of quality positive touch, the memories of violence recede into the background and I can allow positive memories to flourish - like training for and running the Boston Marathon in 2009. When I experience pain during the training runs, I remember what it felt like to be on Jeffrey's table and am able to relax and allow my body to get strong!

I am so blessed to have my bff Tom as my life and running partner to take on these challenges and prepare for our 2nd CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Marathon Weekend. Talking about nothing and everything makes the miles fly by.

So there you have it ... two more training runs til taper time. 11.5 MILES IN THE BANK OF BERMUDA. I am Bermuda Half Marathon ready and so grateful we were able to get in a great training run despite the frigid temps. No snow and no ice to contend with so we were able to get in a quality run.

Ten years ago I sat in a leg brace, wearing a wrist splint; was on a semi-soft food diet needing to use a chin tuck to avoid aspirating my food; using a wheelchair at times for mobility and facing a grim future. Today I ran 11.5 miles and ran on Heartbreak Hill from Chestnut Street to Boston College. One month from Monday we fly out of Boston to head to that tropical paradise where I will once again toe the starting line of the Bermuda Half Marathon. It will be even better than last year thanks to this year of treatment with Jeffrey. I have reclaimed my advantage and reclaimed my life in ways that I only imagined in my poetry yet here it all is coming into physical reality.

To your health and wellness,
~Mary











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