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Solidarity - The Tale of Two Marys

Posted by randeebergen@msn.com on March 31, 2015 at 1:15 PM

Solidarity - The Tale of Two Marys by Liz Norris

Everything changed for me last summer when I received the diagnosis of an unexpected health problem -- two different forms of the same disease. They cannot cure it either. I remember when I was a kid I did not like the attention I got for being sick so being healthy and strong was the way I defined myself. I worked really hard to become healthy and strong. So naturally I did not want my illness to be common knowledge. I wanted people to see me as me and not as a sick person.

Something happened in February that made me relax on the idea of keeping it all a secret. I went to the Fruita Sweetheart Run. I met a person much younger that I who recognized as having the same health problem. She was wearing a wig and shirt that mentioned the type of illness she had (there are many different forms of it ). We became instant friends and began relating to one another real well. She earned an award for her costume -- complete with tutu. When she received her award she took off her wig exposing a bare (bald) head. I somehow was able to earn second in my age group although it was one of my slowest times. I took off my hat and exposed a bald head as well in an act of solidarity. I also allowed myself to be photographed with a bald head. A few months ago it would have been like "streaking" because I was embarrassed and still am to some extent.

There was another woman there who was also to be admired. She was older and running well. Two special women were at that race. One was an older woman who I have admired for years. Her husband runs as well and their grandson ran the Downhill to get an idea of how to finish Rim Rock later that year - the Downhill was his first race. Of course he has some good role models and it seems to run in the family.

Both of these special women have inspired me -- one old and one young, one defying age and the other defying illness. They are both named Mary and they are both such inspirational people. One showed me that age is just a number and the other gave me the courage to expose my weakness (an illness) in an act of solidarity.

These two give hope to others. I have found that to be a common trait in runners especially. My life is better that those two Marys crossed my path. This is what running and life is all about.

The Massacre Run was a fun follow up. I somehow broke thirty in the Massacre -- I did not expect to ever do that again. I think running is more fun but I do both biking and running. I am looking forward to some more runs with the many inspirational runners that I know (most of whom are Striders)You are all a great bunch of people and I am grateful for your friendship -

Happy running all

 

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