Monday, January 6, 2020

A Harbinger of Spring - Happiness on Heartbreak Hill - What if Everybody Ran?

After Saturday's run on Heartbreak Hill I reflected on the Mizuno Ad campaign, "If Everybody Ran..."

Team McManus planned to run around the Reservoir but something didn't feel right in my gut. It was raining and the ground around the Reservoir can get soaked with puddles and mud.

Tom and Ruth Anne needed to top off the tank of their training for Bermuda Triangle Challenge Weekend's 10K so off we went to Heartbreak Hill without missing a beat.

They did not need to simulate the course as we had on Wednesday so decided on a relatively flat part of the course and I emphasize relatively flat part of Heartbreak Hill.

Tom and Ruth Anne took off to do their 5 mile run and I headed out for another 4 miler.

Everyone smiled at one another. What a gift to have no snow or ice in Boston in January as runners begin adding on miles for the Boston Marathon.

I passed one runner, Dominick H. who I met at a race a few years ago. We smiled and waved and he said, "Keep going."

A runner wearing a white hat picked up her visor. We smiled and warmly hugged.

"Oh my God." I said.

"It's a sign," she said referencing how we met.

From "The Adventures of Runnergirl 1953":

“It’s a sign!” a group of runners exclaimed as they walked by my table at the Hyannis Race Expo.

They picked up my medal from the Bermuda Half Marathon.

“We were just talking about how we have to run Bermuda. We are putting it on our bucket list.”

The Mystic Runners from Wakefield, Massachusetts were deeply moved by my inspirational journey. In that moment of synchronicity, we became fast friends.

Paulie has been gracious and generous to offer me a table at the Expo to sell my books and inspire runners with my journey. The 2015 weekend was cancelled. It was a tough decision for any race director to make but treacherous weather conditions would have compromised the safety of the runners. I didn’t give a second thought about having a table at the 2016 Expo. I was running the 10K and planned to focus my energies on the race.

A friend messaged me on Facebook. “I’m so excited you have a table at the Expo this year. I saw your name on the table. Can’t wait to see you!”

I grabbed my Hyannis Half Marathon medal, my Boston Marathon finisher photo and medal, the few books I had on hand and my business cards. At the last minute, I put my Bermuda Half Marathon finisher medal in the box.

Michelle was one of those Mystics. We've been friends on Facebook and in real life since February of 2016.

She is training for her first Boston Marathon running for the Beth Israel Cancer Center to honor the memory of her dear father who passed away several months ago.

"It certainly is a sign," I said "especially since we were going to go to the Reservoir to run." We briefly chatted all things running and life and she went on her way before she got hypothermic but not before I got goosebumps to realize what a warrior she is to be taking on Boston as a cancer survivor!!!

I was beaming after I ran into her.

There was a water stop that was obviously set up for charity runners in training.

"Who is that for?"

"Team in Training but feel free to help yourself to anything you need."

As one of their charity runners resumed her run, I said, "A harbinger of Spring."

She smiled and gave me a high five! Even though it's only January, she knew exactly what I meant!

Struggling runners picked up their pace and their spirits when I smiled and cheered them on. I beamed when someone said to me, "Looking good." We may not have known each others' names but there are no strangers on the Newton Hills.

I was lost in thought remembering our training runs on Heartbreak Hill for the 2009 Boston Marathon marveling at the friendships we forged through the years through the sport of running while smiling and greeting runners as they passed.

I was quickly brought out of my world when I saw Ruth Anne and Tom in the distance.

"What happened?" I asked.

"What do you mean? We turned around at 2.5 miles!"

They had done an incredible pace and caught up with me at my 2 mile mark since I had stopped to chat with Michelle.

They decided to finish their run with me at my pace since their race day is only two weeks away.

Our conversation flowed as the rain increased in intensity but we were oblivious to the weather as we shared our experiences on the run.

We stopped at the Johnny Kelley Statue to take our selfie:

By the time we returned to the car we were soaked and a little chilled yet exhilarated from experiencing so much happiness and a sense of Oneness on Heartbreak Hill.

What a wonderful world this would be if everybody ran and we lived as all the runners did during that rainy day on Heartbreak Hill.

From my heart to yours
In health and wellness

Be sure to visit my website at

Be inspired by my interview with Kendra Petrone on the award winning Exceptional Women Show by following this link

To experience an epic race weekend and hear me share my journey from a wheelchair to the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon and beyond come to the Hyannis Marathon Weekend February 21-23 2020.

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