Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Run Bermuda! Run Happy! - My Third Consecutive Bermuda Half Marathon

Tom and I kept saying that we should probably leave the Boston Marathon Expo on Saturday as our day of helping out our friends Ken and Nell of Blue Diamond Athletic Displays was drawing to a close, but there was a steady flow of customers and we were caught up in the magic and excitement of all that is the Boston Marathon. Be sure to visit Blue Diamond Athletic Displays website by following this link. Tom and I are proud owners of two of their displays with more to come given that we are both blessed to be running long and strong.

Tom and I were facing each other talking about our plans for the rest of the evening when Tom yelled out, "Anthony!"

Anthony said that Tom ruined the surprise when he called out his name. We hugged and Anthony introduced us to his cousin who is in Boston receiving treatment for breast cancer.

Although I was not planning on running Bermuda again and Tom and I were exploring other race-cations for 2018, once you make a friend in Bermuda, they are a friend for life. Anthony has been at the Boston Marathon Expo for several years representing his race, Bermuda Marathon Weekend. I remember how quickly Tom and I would walk by their booth believing that there was no way we'd ever go to Bermuda for Race Weekend....except that before my nephew's suicide in 2011 happened, it WAS on my bucket list.

I'd crossed it off my bucket list until first I met Ryan J. Means, DC who reminded me to set goals not limits.

From "Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance" available on Amazon:

As Dr. Ryan worked on my feet I said, "Wow." He asked me if the pressure was too much and I said, "Oh no. I just went to that place within me that ran the Boston Marathon." I told him there is nothing in the world like training for and running a marathon. As I thought about it, I felt exhilarated and then had a moment of "I can't run another marathon." I realized that I was remembering running a marathon in my body as it was then not the body I am today and certainly not the body that keeps changing, evolving, getting strong and healing all that went before. Dr. Dispenza cites with case studies including his own healing experience, proof that the body has tremendous capacities to heal. Dr. Ryan planted the seed for going the distance again as he asked the question, “Why set limits?” Why set limits indeed. I decided to ditch all the negative self talk, the naysayers who encourage me to set limits and to only take yes for an answer!

From "Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance" when I had my comeback race, Finish at the 50 on July 3, 2015:

Next up was the Bermuda Marathon Weekend booth.

Now what's pretty amazing here is that I had set my sights on running the Bermuda Marathon for my 60th birthday in 2013. But then life happened. I never thought about it again. Tom and I had stopped by their booth at other Expos and quickly dismissed ever going back to Bermuda never mind running a race there. Never say never! Tom started chatting with Clarence "Stoker" Smith and I joined in the conversation. We both felt a tug at our souls and the more we talked with Clarence and Race Director Anthony, the stronger the tug. We reminisced about when we used to go there with Herb Simmons and the Sea and Surf Anglers Club who had a tournament with the Bermudian Blue Waters Angler Club. I felt goosebumps and a warm feeling all over. Anthony told me that I'd be better off running the Half Marathon rather than the 10K because of the steep hills on the course. I told them that the last time I was in Bermuda I was in a leg brace and using a wheelchair to travel. Clarence's wife said, "Look at you now girl."

We exchanged information. Clarence told us he'd take us out on his boat when we came down for the weekend. I chatted with Anthony about the weather in January. "Look," he said in that delicious Bermudian accent. "I was told you people still have piles of snow near the Seaport Hotel from this past winter. I can guarantee you this. You will have no snow in Bermuda in January."

And so began my journey on the road to the Bermuda Half Marathon; a race that had been on my bucket list but seemed so unattainable until I met Dr. Ryan.

I emailed Anthony before this year's Boston Marathon Weekend and asked him if he'd be in Boston for the Marathon thinking he'd be at the Expo but I didn't see his name on the list of vendors. He told me, however, that he would be at Booth 2828, the Blue Diamond Athletic Displays booth, and see me. When he didn't come on Friday, I emailed him thinking that I probably wouldn't see him this trip since I hadn't heard back from him.

We hugged as only one hugs when a Bostonian and Bermudian reunite, and snapped the above photo. He told me that he was in town for the Race Directors Training Experience. He told us about running the 5K earlier in the day. He also shared that he is thinking about having a walking Half Marathon in Bermuda in the early Spring. He could see how excited Tom and I became. We talked about changes that happened on the Island, my reasons for not running Bermuda again but that I would be interested in returning to the Island for a walking Half Marathon. He told me what happened with this year's Bermuda Marathon Weekend race and steps he was going to take to prevent it from happening again next year.

"We negotiated a great price with the Fairmont Southampton Princess," he told me. "$189/night." He shared with me that he could not negotiate a rate with The Rosedon and we talked about the changes that were happening at The Rosedon that was one of the reasons we were not going to return to that property and probably not the Island for awhile. Pictured below are photos from the Fairmont Southampton Princess.

We were there for the after party this year. It is the host hotel for Race Weekend.

"How about if I gave you a complimentary race entry," Anthony offered and Tom quickly asked, "Could we do an early start?" "Of course. We just need to work it out with the timing company," Anthony replied.

In addition to the traffic issue, I had also put a lot of pressure on myself because of the 4 hour limit for the Half Marathon that had been posted on the website and in social media. As I look back on it, I did go out too fast and was not honoring the weather conditions. I was racing rather than enjoying the truly uniquely Bermudian experience that is Bermuda Marathon Weekend.

I have fallen in love with the process and know the results are coming. I adapt the pace of nature - patience - and now, thanks to Anthony's compassion, generosity and truly Bermudian hospitality, I will be able to train for and run my 3rd CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Half Marathon. I will #runbermuda and #runhappy.

To your health and wellness,

My latest book, 'Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance' is available on Amazon chronicling my journey to health and wellness as a survivor of paralytic polio and trauma and a woman who refused to quit!

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