From the Training Trail: Progress and Protests

Marriage equality passed on June 26, 2015. In the days that followed, Facebook lit up with rainbows in celebration and American flags in protest.

The following week, I thought about the progress and the protests during my 11 mile training run and wrote this:

With all the Facebook hoopla over profile rainbows & flags, I’d just like to say this:

I’m proud of all my Marine & other military brothers and sisters who defend our great nation & who at some point wrote a blank check to Uncle Sam for an amount up to and including our Lives.

I’m proud of all my LGBTQ brothers and sisters who long faced hate & discrimination on the path to marriage equality…and now no longer feel like second class citizens.

I’m proud of Christians, Jews, Muslims, Atheists & nonbelievers who look past doctrine & dogma and see the sacred beauty in each and every one of us…there is more that unites us than separates us.

In the four years since that training run, those words have never been more true. 

My Marathon Guardian Angel

Major_Megan_McClungMemorial Day is a time to pay homage and remember the sacrifice of those who have been killed in action serving our country.

Today I’m remembering my marathon guardian angel Megan McClung, who as a Marine Corps Major served as a Public Affairs Officer in Iraq. A triathelete and accomplished marathoner, Megan was the first female Marine officer killed in action.

The flag-lined Blue Mile at the Marine Corps Marathon is a stark and emotional reminder to all the runners of fallen warrior sacrifices.

I will never forget your sacrifice my Marine sister, and Semper Fidelis.

From the Training Trail: Memorial Day 2015

There were many memorable moments during my 2015 marathon training, and Justin Verlander’s 9K Win for Warriors run with Team Red, White and Blue on Memorial Day was a highlight.

The race began outside Tiger’s stadium at Comerica Park and we ran 5.4 miles along the waterfront and through the streets of Detroit. Near the end of the race, we entered a tunnel where someone handed me a flag. When I entered the stadium, I ran around the perimeter of the field and crossed the home plate finish line.

I had started training for the Marine Corps Marathon on January 9th and by May 25th had logged 239 miles. There were 150 days until marathon day…and more miles to cover than I wanted to think about.

Dreams Become Reality

Running For Good.jpgIt’s official…Semper Fi, Sister, the story of my 2015 Marine Corps Marathon journey to celebrate my 60th birthday is included in “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Running For Good” being released on June 4th!

Title IX granting equity in women’s sports didn’t pass until 1972,  the year before I graduated high school. Any running I did was a short sprint to the phone or a shuttle run in PE class.

I first ran a half mile during my two week Army Reserve basic training. Upon enlisting in the Marine Corps, we were issued heavy, baggy baby blue blouses, skorts, and sneakers to run in. I asked my father to send me some new-fangled Adidas hoping it would somehow how make running more tolerable. They didn’t, and just for perspective sports bras didn’t enter the scene until the late 1970s. As the photo below of my bootcamp bunkie and I shows, 1976 Marine recruit running anything but fashionable.

Bootcamp Running.jpgThroughout my active duty years, we took periodic physical fitness tests (or PFTs) running a mile and a half with the shorter the time, the higher the score. Added to our run time was the flexed arm hang and sit-ups for a total PFT score.

I ran in the Marine Corps because I had to, and I gladly hung up my running shoes when my enlistment was over. If you had told that 21-year-old recruit I’d take up running nearly four decades later, I wouldn’t have believed you.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll share memories from the training trail leading up to that magical marathon day in 2015. It will be a fun run down memory lane…and I may just inspire myself to hit the trail again.

The Scent of Spring

The lilacs are blooming late in Michigan this year.

Once when I was in the 5th grade, I ran by the blooming lilac bushes in our back alley and immediately stopped. Catching a whiff of the sweet fragrant blooms, I was momentarily transported back in time. I have no sense of where and when, but felt startled by that vague yet seemingly familiar recollection.

Lilacs remind me
of another place and time,
and awaken me.

I haven’t felt that exact feeling again, but I do experience an odd sense of deja vu every Spring when the lilacs bloom.

Has this happened to you?