Today was a day I want to bottle up and save. I had 24 miles in my plan and I planned to run it on the course with friends. The weather was perfect and I was reminded of how great the running community is."
Two years ago, the Newton Hills were silent. The crushing news of the April Boston Marathon's postponement until September sent runners into an extended taper time and training season. The few runners who were out on the course were socially distanced wearing buffs or masks. Little did we know it would be two more years before the hills would once again be alive with runners.
As we often ask each other early on a Saturday morning, we asked, "Where shall we run today?" There was rain in the forecast for the third Saturday in a row. At first we thought we'd go out the door but at the last minute decided to go to Heartbreak Hill. We knew that there would not be the usual throngs of charity runners even though it was the last long run for those training for Boston. The Boston Athletic Association said that they would not allow runners who received bibs through the BAA to run on the course due to public safety out of an abundance of caution. We were, however, surprised to see so many runners out on the course.
The sun shined brightly on Heartbreak Hill. Tom and Ruth Anne left their jackets in the car. As we got to the corner of Commonwealth Avenue and Centre Street, Tom needed to make a pit stop. Ruth Anne and I stayed on the opposite side of the street and saw him hugging someone. He shouted out, "Margo!"
We crossed the street and we hugged with one of our dear friends in the running community who we met when Margo and her sister ran the Boston Marathon for Spaulding Rehab in honor of their Poppy who lives with Parkinson's Disease. We had been talking about Margo just last week! She was running with someone who is running Boston and we told her about Ruth Anne and Tom being on the road to the Providence Half Marathon. "Yeah definitely..send me the link and I'll donate."
Tom and Ruth Anne took off at their pace and I was thrilled to smile at so many runners heading down the Newton Hills. I turned around at my hloalfway point delighting in the glorious sunshine and relishing the energy of Heartbreak Hill in April. Everyone says to one another, "You've got this" not being able to distinguish who is training for Boston and who is out for a run to soak up the energy.
I was amazed that the sun was still shining despite the weather prediction for rain. I stretched, refueled and took the beach chair out of the car. As Tom and Ruth Anne did their 9 mile training run, I decided to do my spectator training.
Many runners shouted "Hi Mary" as they ran by.
My runner friend whose quote I used to begin this blog called out "Hi Mary!!" We hugged and she stopped for a few minutes to chat with me. "Let's take a selfie," she said and included it in her last long run Facebook post:
The magic of the day was capped off when a woman runner was stretching next to me. "Is this your first Boston?" "It's my first everything!" A friend joined her and they were saying how they didn't know how they were going to run another 6 miles.
"I think you need to hear my story."
One of the women said that she was moved to tears when I told her how I went from being told to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair to the finish line of the Boston Marathon. They told me a bit about their Boston Marathon journey and asked me to take a photo. They asked me where I'd be watching on Marathon Monday. "Look for me at the corner of Beacon Street and Dean Road. It's just before mile 23." "Great," they said.
I had wished we would have exchanged information so I could track them on Marathon Monday. I gave them my website information and trusted in the Universe that they received the message they needed to get through taper time.
Yesterday I received a FB message from another runner friend that led to the connection to the two mystery women I met on Heartbreak Hill at the end of their last long run before Boston.
A future once imagined now within sight
emerging from pandemic into the light.
Springtime rebirthing sky brilliant blue
vibrant colors the signal that we made it through.
We held onto Hope in midst darkness and fear
Though winter’s grip seemed to have us firm in its hold
we dared dream of a future no more shivering with cold.
Two years what a journey unmasked with hugs now we greet
navigated times of uncertainty excited for a time when we'd meet.
Eyes shimmering with tears grateful hearts overflow
manifesting health and well being in pandemic's wake we now grow.
Times of uncertainty they are all part of life
but we'd never imagined such heartache and strife.
Clouds of despair now dispersing warm sunshine we live life anew
From my heart to yours,
In health and wellness,
Be sure to visit my website at https://marymcmanus.com to learn about my journey to health and wellness in the wake of paralytic polio and trauma
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