I started to run the Bonne Bell in an effort to manage my weight after I quit smoking. I remember training so hard and being so fearful that I would not finish the 10K. I did not get my chance to use one of the three port-a-potties available to all the runners and I was so overdressed that I thought I would die. To this day, I know a first time runner when I see her!
To my delight and relief, I finished my first race. I returned the next year and the year after that. After 5 years running, I decided that I had begun a tradition of running the Bonne Bell. I pledged to myself that I would continue to run each and every year that I am able.
In 40 years: I have run with a 103 degree temperature. I walked the race with a broken collarbone. I commuted to the race from my home in Sierra Madre, California for 15 years. Tradition is important to me. I have loved being at every one of my races.
I am a resident New Englander once again and I happily find a spot at the starting line to run my only race of the year. With two arthritic knees I know my way to the medical tent at the end of the race where the kind staff wraps each knee in ice and tapes the bags to my legs. It is not a pretty sight but I continue to be delighted and relieved to finish this race year after year.
Running has taught me the power of perseverance. It has also humbled me and made me appreciative of living a full life. My ability to run has changed and evolved over time in much the same way as many aspects of my life. Running is teaching me to embrace these changes and to rejoice in my participation.
Life is good.