Monday, February 27, 2017

Going the Distance: Camp Hyannis 2017 Part I

It's never an easy decision to not run a race especially when it's the Hyannis 10K. After my grueling Bermuda Half Marathon, I realized that I needed time to recover and not put myself through another race even though it would have been a 10K and I certainly had the base for it.

I opted instead to work a table at the Expo and Tom would run the Half Marathon at his own pace. We each had our purpose and our destiny to fulfill.

Our adventure began the moment we crossed over the Sagamore Bridge on our way to Old Cape Cod:

I started singing Old Cape Cod and put on this Youtube Video:

We arrived at the Hyannis Resort and Conference Center. Our room was ready but it was on the 2nd floor on the other side of the hotel. Tom asked the manager if there was anything closer. I chatted about how we've been coming almost every year since 2009! He gave us a room right off of the lobby.

The weather was spectacular and we sat out on our patio before it was time to set up for the Expo:

You never know what weather you are going to get on Cape Cod in February.

In 2011, this was the view from our room:

When we got to the Expo, Race Director Paul Collyer asked me if it was okay that he had me share a table with Paul Clerici who authored a book about the Boston Marathon mile by mile and The Falmouth Road Race. Of course it was! My table was right next to the T Shirt distribution table and just outside the Ballroom where there was packet pick up.

What an absolute joy to celebrate my ten years of healing and transformation. Unpacking my 2009 Hyannis Half Marathon Medal, the first half marathon I'd ever run, my Boston Marathon medal and then after a long hiatus from endurance running, setting out my Bermuda Half Marathon Medal and last year's Hyannis 10K Medal, I realized what a spectacular journey it has been.

With each person I met, I realized what strength and courage I had to not give up.

There were runners training for Boston who were inspired by my 2009 Boston Marathon run.

By 4:45 I was exhausted yet exhilarated. One of my goals for the weekend was to reconnect with Frank Shorter who I met in 2009 and then again in 2010 in Hyannis. In 2011 he shared how he was the survivor of severe child abuse. He inspired me to share my story and in my introduction to Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance, I share how Frank touched my life in so many ways. I went over to his table when there was a lull in the traffic at the Expo and reintroduced myself to him. He overflowed with compassion as I once again shared my story with him only this time I told him about my severe childhood trauma. Frank reminded me, as he had shared with me in 2009 that two of his family members suffered from polio. After I presented him with my book, I wanted to buy a copy of his book but he put them away and said, "I'll sell these later." Instead he took my book and held it close and then came around the table to wrap me in a hug of shared sorrow for what we had lived through yet triumph that we both found running as a source of healing. I could not find the poster he signed for me in 2009 and I asked him if he would sign another poster for me.

To Mary! Thank you! Frank Shorter 2017

It was time to get dinner before coming back to hear Frank Shorter speak. We went to our favorite restaurant during Camp Hyannis weekend, the Roadhouse Cafe. Tom had lasagna and I had their signature Cedar Planked Roasted Salmon with orange Jack Daniels glaze, sauteed spinach and jasmine rice:

We arrived back at the Ballroom to meet some of our camper friends Tony, Mary and another Mary and her husband. I should digress for a moment and let everyone know why we call Hyannis Marathon Weekend Camp Hyannis. Once a year we all make the pilgrimage to Hyannis. We stay in touch on and off during the year via Facebook but just like summer camp, we only see each other once a year. Friendship, fun and sportsmanship abound and when we leave Camp Hyannis we feel rejuvenated as though we drank from the fountain of youth. Before getting ready to run the Hyannis Half in 2009, I emailed Paul Collyer, the race director to let him know my story and to ask him if the race would be appropriate for me. Since it's both a Half and a Full Marathon with two loops, as long as I finished under 6 hours I'd be fine. I remember meeting Paul for the first time. He was so supportive and encouraging of my journey and has been ever since February of 2009!

Frank talked about Sunday's races and gave the runners the night before a race pep talk. With warmth and wit he reminded everyone that eating pasta the night before a race really doesn't do anything for the glycogen stores. It's more a matter of feeding the mind that you are getting ready for the race. He reminded runners about the 3 rules of running a marathon...#1 Don't do anything new. #2 Don't do anything new and #3 Don't do anything new.

He addressed the questions from older runners saying how we could honor our orthopedic structures and slow down as slowly as possible. He talked about acceptance of where our bodies are at any time while also allowing ourselves to over train on the easy days. Frank launched into one of the subjects he is most passionate about - the anti-doping movement. He talked about how opioid abuse begins in the locker room and said that if a doctor wants to offer any pain meds in the class of opioid drugs to stay as far away from that as possible. The only time Frank mentioned his history of child abuse was when he shared how the doctors were amazed at his pain tolerance. I got chills and my eyes filled with tears when he said how he developed that high pain threshold as a result of his father's beatings. He knew that the beatings wouldn't last forever and trained himself to tolerate the pain.

I almost lost the use of my right arm to a staph infection because of the high pain tolerance I developed growing up in response to both the polio and the abuse. I didn't seek medical attention until I lost complete mobility of my right arm. The infection had gone into the bone. But with an angel of an orthopedic surgeon and physical therapy and an angel of a nurse healer, I made it through!

Frank came over after his talk and I asked him if he was selling his books. He said they were all gone but if I send him an email with my info, he'll get one out to me.

He then posed for pictures. As he put his arm around me I said, "Just like in 2009." "That's the last time I was here," he said. "No," I said. "You were here in 2010 and you signed my Boston Marathon bib. That's the last time you were here."

We went back to our room, meditated and got a good night's sleep. We woke up to sunshine streaming through the sheer curtain and the sound of Cape Cod bird songs...

To be continued....

To your health and wellness,

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