Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Race Report: Open Letter to My Donors

Greetings and Good Tidings!

A new day dawns and recovery is speeding along. Amazing. I am grateful and humbled by your generosity and support since January, for your contributions to The Women's Lunch Place in support of their efforts to provide safe haven for the poor and homeless women of Boston.

I am openly sending this to all of you so that you may know one another and applaud each other's efforts. As of last Friday, we have collectively raised $5,254.80, and tomorrow I am sending two more checks - last minute donations where every penny counts.

I am extremely happy with my performance. It was not my best marathon time ever, but it was the best time I've had in a marathon in my memory. This run was dedicated to the memory of my mother. For those of you who know, there is a great deal of meaning behind this when I say this is the first time that I think she was with me, the entire way, making me a better person - at least for 26.2 miles.

Marathon morning dawned deceptively beautiful. My training told me that a realistic goal was 4:30-4:40. I had taken a year off of running to do strength training and this time, I knew I was strong and very well trained. At mile 4, the headwinds were persistent. By the the time the second corral crossed the starting line, they were blowing a consistent 20 mph. So I changed my goal. 5 hours, give or take - hopefully less. And have fun, notice the race and the crowds, finish smiling and doing the two-step - something I've never done before in the marathon.

I noticed the guy dressed in the questionable banana suit. And Batman and Robin, who were quite short. There was Superman, or was it Super Boy? And the crazy BC Super Fan guy who only wore red shorts and red body paint. I noticed the huge yellow "short cut" sign right after Ashland with a giant arrow pointing to their yard. And the sort of large-ish woman carrying a sign in front of her that said it was her first marathon. She obviously didn't know that flat boards and headwind create a wall of an entirely different kind. Hopefully she has learned her lesson.

Three inspirations that brought tears to my eyes - the backward guy pushing himself in his wheel chair. Backwards. With the toes of one foot. The soldiers in full fatigue and 50-pound packs. God bless America. And the man pulling a trailer with an oxygen tank to help him breathe. It was tied to his waist to free his arms, and a hazard symbol hung on the back with "oxygen" imprinted on it. Inspirations to make me forget the pain in my hips and the ache in my feet.

The Wellesley Girls. Unimaginable. The wind was blowing from the east and you could hear them from a mile away. They have changed through the years - from mostly Caucasians until now, mostly Asians.

I thanked the volunteers for being out there for us. I smiled and waved to the crowds and thanked them for staying so long and for still cheering - it means a lot to us at the back.

And then there were the Survivors - all dressed in pink. And the runners in purple who were running for those that weren't. And the ones from Children's Hospital running for those who Hoped.

The media makes a big deal of the elite race up front. But the human race, the real race, is at the back. Each one of us carried a story and reasons for running. We ran to unburden those who could not run for
themselves.

My final time was 5:01:04. Missed it by a minute-four. But I'm okay with that. That minute-four was spent walking with a guy who was limping from an ITB blowout, and by giving salt tablets to another guy
who was walking doubled over in pain, and slowing down to talk to two girls from Medford Softball who were running their first marathon with their Dad - errr, who was giving them some bad advice. There were so many others. One minute four. They were minutes well spent. I wasn't a contender but I won in the long run.

And so, I thank each and every one of you for being there in spirit and running with me. And I thank the Women's Lunch Place for giving me an opportunity to be a better person - at least for a moment, to reach out and help those less fortunate.

I applaud you all.

2009 Boston Marathon, Team WLP

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