Sunday, December 25, 2016

Going the Distance: Christmas Magic and 12 Miles in the Rain

We pondered and pondered and pondered some more ...
we pondered and pondered til our puzzler was sore.
The forecast for rain and 12 miles we must run
It's Christmas Eve will Team McManus get it done?
With water and fueling a trash bag or two,
Team McManus decided there was only one thing to do.
A little rain won't hurt us we're hearty what's more....
After today's run there's Christmas and taper time in store.
With our Altras and Brooks donned we're layered and answering the call
Now dash away dash away dash away all!

We knew that sunshine was scheduled for Sunday. We would have missed out on so much Christmas magic if we would have waited to get our run on until today.

When we started out on our last 12 mile run before taper time for the Bermuda Marathon Weekend it was drizzling. We put on trash bags because the forecast was for steady rain throughout the day. We had a game plan. Park at the Cleveland Circle Reservoir and just do 8 times around. We'd have our water and refueling in the car and there was a Starbucks nearby for pit stops and to warm up and take a break from the rain if needed.

During our first loop around we bumped into several friends who were also on a training run. One of them is training for her first marathon in May. I gave her a pep talk. I said that it's "all up here" referring to the power of the mind (which coincidentally I would have to practice what I preached because I was almost ready to bail at 10 miles yesterday).

The puddles and mud became quite formidable by mile 4. I suggested that after our next loop we run down Beacon Street where the buildings would offer us some protection and then I got an idea - a wonderful awful idea to quote How the Grinch Stole Christmas - Why not stop into Marathon Sports Brookline to purchase dry socks and gloves and make a pit stop.

We were warmly welcomed by Will, another one of our running and Marathon Sports family friends and the store manager Katie. Will attended to us as one attends to ultra runners at an aid station. He anticipated our every need and selected the merchandise we needed off the rack. "What socks are you wearing Mary?" "Oh those are Balega Enduro. Do you care what color? What size are you?" "We don't have waterproof gloves but these will keep you warm." "We still need gloves for Tom." "Tom what socks are you wearing?" "Are those compression socks too tight ... we can get a different size." They let us leave our wet gloves and socks in a Marathon Sports bag to pick up on our way back. They gave us high fives and told us we got this!

A few blocks later, we bumped into another friend who works at Party Favors.

As we made our way down Beacon Street we chatted and got caught up for a few minutes. We left her to buy a last minute present before she was getting back to work (and Tom would see her later to pick up my cake). We hugged, wished each other Merry Christmas and Happy Birthdays for hers was a few days ago and her son's is Christmas Day and I told her to send our love and gratitude to her husband who is an Emergency Responder.

We were warmly welcomed back to the store. We refueled, hydrated, made a pit stop and Katie even put the Marathon Sports bag into Tom's running backpack. More high fives and cheers as they sent us on our way as we expressed our deepest gratitude for all the care and support they gave us.

We made our next mile pit stop at Starbucks in Cleveland Circle. I was so ready to bail at 10 miles. We were soaking wet. Our shoes were squeaking. Yet I knew I could not quit before 12 miles because everyone was watching me on Facebook. Although everyone would have understood, I knew this was as much if not more about getting me mentally ready for three weeks from today as it was physically ready.

"It's a great day for a the rain...while everyone waits for sunshine, you have the roads all to yourselves." I noticed his dog tags, "Are you a veteran?" "No I'm active duty?" "Army?" "No Marines." "Semper Fi." "I worked at the VA as a social worker for almost 20 years." "My dad worked at the VA as a psychologist." "Oh what was his name?" "Last name? - Eisenberg." "Oh my God I said, Mark Eisenberg?" I worked with his dad at Causeway Street.

"Well that's what the holidays are all about," John Eisenberg said to me. "Making new friends. Connecting with old friends and bringing warmth to everyone you meet."

And with that we went to finish our run. The rain slowed. The day got brighter and by the end of our 12 miles, the sun was beginning to poke through the clouds!

Sure we could have waited until the sun came out today - and it did but we would have missed out on so much Christmas magic and love.

Let taper madness begin as we countdown to Bermuda Marathon Weekend and celebrate the gift of my life (today's my 63rd birthday) and the blessings of the season having 12 magical Christmas Eve miles in the books.

To your health and wellness,

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