Friday, February 25, 2011


My take home assignment from Andrew this week is the word, boundless. "Do with it as I may," he said.

Boundless reminds me of one 9 month period of my life in 2003. It was the year I went from walking 5 km daily to running the Washington D.C. Marine Corps Marathon in October, 9 months after I joined a marathon running group - that's 26.2 miles/42 km to you and me.

It was a year of tunnel vision. I can do it. I can get to the bridge on time. I can actually run. I can finish it. And, I did finish it and proudly have the medal to prove it. It was a period of empowerment. A women's marathon running group called Jeansmarines, whose sole purpose was to empower women through bonding and running got me there. Our leader, Jean Marmoreo, the Jean of  Jeansmarines, is a Family Physician in Toronto, specializing in middle aged women's "issues" who wanted women to be empowered. She got it.

I was part of Jean's second year group. Year one Jean had 50 friends join her in Washington. My year had well over 200 lovely ladies happily donning the streets of Washington and Georgetown. We were aged 25 to 73. We were tall, small, plump & skinny. We were women of determination & focus. A group of Type A's by admission of desire to do this event. I would have never called myself a Type A. B- maybe.

My entire 9 months pre-race revolved around training schedules, eating properly, hydrating properly, hill training, speed work and lots of camaraderie. I was focused on this event, like I couldn't believe. I had never been a runner, don't look like a runner and never particularly enjoyed running, but I wanted the prize - the medal. I remember running up the final bridge around the 21 mile mark, and read a sign held by a smiling young woman saying, "You can now call yourself a marathoner." Another read, "Most people won't drive 26.2 miles today, be proud." Those signs helped me through the final portion of the race, when I wasn't sure if I was under or over hydrated, was weaving, my feet were killing me and I felt like puking. Those signs have stayed with me. I am indeed a marathoner.

I clearly was boundless in my determination that year, as I never thought I would, could, cared about being a runner, but became fixated on that medal at the finish line in front of the Iwo Jima Memorial in Arlington National Cemetery. As "my" marine put the medal over my head and gave me a hug, I waved to my Mom standing proudly in the seating area. Sweetness never tasted so good.

Boundless to me = the empowerment my training for the 2003 Marine Corps Marathon in Washington D.C. gave me.

Jeansmarines 2003 in front of the White House the day before the marathon.
I'm in the second row, crouching at the end far right.


  1. I am always in awe of people who are able to withstand self-inflicted physical punishment like a marathon, iron man or the many years it takes to train for something like the Olympics. It is one thing to do endure such rigours because you are forced to do so, but it shows such strength of character to be able to push past everything to accomplish something like your marathon when your entire brain wants to listen to your screaming body and simply stop doing it.
    Thinking back on the time we had in Tucson together, I am not at all surprised to learn this about you though. Your strength of character is one of the beacons you send out to the world.
    Keep shining and inspiring us all.

  2. Oh Ellen, you've got me all tongue tied, and believe me, that seldom happens. Thank you so much for your lovely & encouraging comments.

    I've since run 9 half marathons and countless smaller races, but now am comfortable in not needing to do a race, or to even run, but to walk long distances with my friends, weekly, knowing that I can do the distance.

  3. Kat; You truly are an inspiration. I have watched you grow and develop over the years, and could not be more proud of you.


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