Conquering Fear One Step At A Time

Thank you all who supported our fund-raising efforts in our upcoming race for the Tunnel 2 Towers run. When I became a docent with the 9/11 Tribute Center and before we began to do tours on the Memorial Plaza, we used to go via the World Financial Center. Before entering, I would stop and share with the visitors the story of Stephen Siller. It was just one of many stories of heroism. I used to think to myself that maybe one day I’d be brave enough to do the actual run but fear of Tunnels wouldn’t allow that. Yet it didn’t stop me year after year from signing up, fully intending that that would be the year I’d conquer my fear and go through that tunnel. When we started doing tours on the memorial, I didn’t have to see that exit any more and I didn’t have to think about the race any more until the time would come to sign up for it again and I’d get only that far. Three years ago I was told by my friends if I didn’t do the run, they would make me pay them back for their entrance fee. That was a pretty large sum and a deal is a deal. So I planned the race in my mind and actually trained for it so I could hear music along the way. It would encourage me at the half mile mark of each mile in the race. And the day came and I showed up and I was fine. I got there so I truly believed I’d get to the other side. Off we went… and I was elated. “I could do this!” Until I saw the entrance to the tunnel and at that exact moment my IPOD  decided to shut down. You all know what a panic attack is and I was well on my way. There was no turning back. My bonus daughter, Susan Veronica, was with me. “It’s okay mom, you can do this. Just take it slow.” And I sprinted. Mind you, she’s the runner. She was slowing down for me. I sprinted because I had to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I would do that several more times with Susan telling me each time, “You can do it mom.” And then I heard the words that would change that fear in me. “USA! USA!” It was the other runners chanting that as they would see a wounded warrior making their way through the tunnel. And I thought of Stephen’s run and I began to walk. It felt like forever but soon that light was there. I ran to the Firefighter that was holding up the picture of my buddy. He didn’t know me nor I him. I ran to him, hugged him and said, “Thank you. Thank you so much.” I told him about my buddy and how scared I was and he lifted me up and said, “Thank you… he would be so proud of you.” This will be my third year… no fear.. just pride and honor for our military, our first responders, The Tribute Center, all those left behind and that light at the end of the tunnel, for it would remind me what courage is all about. Thank you for your donations… see you on Sunday…

 

DSC00437 This is not from the Tunnel To Towers but it is one of the races I’ve entered since my first race.

 

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