Wednesday, April 7, 2021

It's a Marathon, Not a Sprint


It’s April in Boston again. For the second year in a row, the Boston Marathon will not take place on the 3rd Monday in April. But compared to last year’s overwhelming sense of grief and fear, this year has a palpable sense of hope. We couldn’t embrace the joys of Spring last year. By contrast, there is a shared joy for sunshine, blue skies, gardens, flowers blooming, birds singing and looking forward to better days.


By the first week in April, there’s a wave of enthusiasm among the global running community and the Boston Strong community in anticipation of Marathon Weekend. Runners share their bibs and their fundraising pages while topping off donations and miles; sharing posts about taper madness. We anticipate a reunion with people who we see once a year making plans for meet ups and meals on Boylston Street and at the Expo.


In lieu of people posting about the anticipation of the Boston Marathon, people are sharing the excitement of getting vaccinations or sharing that they have already been vaccinated. Coincidentally, Boston Marathon Race Director Dave McGillivray and his Team at DMSE have set up mass vaccination sites. When he was first interviewed about spearheading the effort for mass vaccination sites, Dave said that this is a marathon not a sprint.


The energy of anticipation for the Marathon has been rerouted to anticipating herd immunity and being able to return to a world beyond our bubble. Ruth Anne and I took the first step out of our bubble last week to shop at Paper Fiesta wearing masks and using social distance. We celebrated how womanpreneur Paula Romero-Dunbar was able to keep her dream of her small business alive through the pandemic. I gave her copies of ‘Hope is a Garden: Poems and Essays From the 2020 Pandemic’ to sell and we talked about having the Book Launch Party at the store as we did for “The Adventures of Runnergirl 1953” two years ago. We shopped til we dropped and looked forward to future hugs. Her store is located on Mile 10 of the Boston Marathon route and she is hoping to bring out her Boston Marathon inventory when Boston runs again in October if all goes as planned with emerging from the pandemic.


We have resumed before breakfast runs.

 Running in Boston a few weeks before Marathon Weekend often brings magical chance encounters. As we ran around the Reservoir on a glorious Spring morning, we spotted a woman in the distance who we often encountered on our runs. She does meditative walks and T’ai Chi. We had not exchanged more than a few words with a “hi” and comment on the weather.


This morning we spontaneously stopped and shared how wonderful it was to see each other. We asked how each other was and she said, “Well we’re still here.” “And there are better days ahead,” I said.


“Absolutely,” she said. “Well you’re all vaccinated right?”


We shared with her our vaccine status; Tom gets his 2nd Pfizer shot on Tuesday, Ruth Anne goes for her vaccine on Sunday at Gillette and I go next Wednesday.


“Do you know which one you’ll be getting?”


“No,” we replied. “How about you?”


“I’ve been vaccinated since August. I volunteered for the Moderna study. “Thank you…wow…” we said to her in unison.  She went on to tell us how she didn’t know if she got the placebo or the vaccine and did get the vaccine. “I had very little side effects. My husband had Pfizer and he had no side effects. Now it’s a question of how long it will last but they keep testing me for antibodies and I still have them.”


Before we went on our way, I said, “You know we don’t even know your name.” We introduced ourselves to one another after several years of acknowledging each other with a nod but little other conversation.


These kinds of encounters that happened through the years, would typically happen on Heartbreak Hill around the time of the Marathon.  They are well documented in my Trilogy of Transformation books. The focus has shifted from conversations about running and the Boston Marathon to vaccinations and the end of the pandemic. The energy of feeling unified as one returns to Boston as we head toward the finish line of the pandemic.


Marathon Monday from “Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life”


It's Marathon Monday, it's my day to shine

with husband and daughter poised at starting line.

I know I can do this - there's no way to fail

tethered to God through this race I can sail.


For over a year, we've trained from our heart

mind, body, spirit - we're ready to start.

We know the course and we know the terrain

we're primed for the challenge - we know they'll be pain.


The glory's far greater than what we may face

we're living examples of God's shining Grace.

Shake out all the nerves - there's nothing to fear

let in all the love from the crowds as they cheer.


With prayers and angels our feet feel so light

Joy overflowing the finish in sight.

We conquered the course fueled by love in our heart

the race had been won blessed by God from the start.


May we all run the final miles of the race that has been set before us with courage and strength.


From my heart to yours

In health and wellness 


For more information about my journey from childhood polio and trauma to the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon and beyond, visit my website.


"Hope is a Garden:Poems and Essays From the 2020 Pandemic" along with all of my books to inspire and uplift you is available on Amazon.


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