Thursday, August 16, 2018

Celebrating Ten Years of Running: It's Not How Many Times You Fall....



Facebook reminded me that yesterday was the anniversary of an epic fall I had three years ago while training for the Bermuda Half Marathon 2016.

It's a moment I capture in the soon to be released "The Adventures of Runnergirl 1953":

I Ran a Quarter of a Marathon Today
August 15, 2015

There’s a wonderful photo of a dog with its shadow. Its pointed ears and outline of its body looks like Batman. The caption reads, “Holy crap! I’m Batman.” It’s all about perception and what we believe to be true about ourselves and our capabilities. I sure needed to harness my superhero powers to get my run on today. It was a hot and humid 86 degrees at 8:30 in the morning. I suggested to Tom that we park at the beach and that we bring our bathing suits to enjoy nature’s very own ice bath after our run in the cooling waters of the Atlantic. We packed provisions and off we went after doing our planks, crunches and clams with weights.

When we turned onto East Broadway in South Boston, emotions overwhelmed me as they had last week.

"Geez what is it about turning on East Broadway that you go into a meltdown?" Tom said with love and tenderness.

Last week I had the realization that when I turn 62 in December, I will no longer be on social security disability but receive straight social security.

"It was so hard to accept being disabled, having to leave my job at the VA and all the rest of it.” I sobbed and then laughed all at the same time. It was like a sun shower.

As uncontrollable tears and laughter once again bubbled up inside of me I asked, “Do you mind the fact that you could get in a 6.5 mile run in an hour but instead you have to be out so much longer when you run with me?”

"Are you serious? It's not about the time or the distance. It's about us being together."

More sobs and laughter ... “Okay I’ve got to pull myself together. We've got a run to do.”

We started out with a nice easy pace honoring the heat and humidity. We enjoyed the water views and being out running together. I reminded myself that I am free now. I am not responsible for what happened to me and I certainly did not deserve what happened to me. In the wake of those wonderful feelings, thoughts and fears bubbled to the surface. I felt my left leg tighten and swell. I flashed back to when I was injured last December; the admonitions and warnings from my former massage therapist, the physical therapists and the doctor played in my mind. I was going out on my longest run since the Tufts 10K last October. I AM going to run the Bermuda Half Marathon in January!

Despite all of my mental training through meditation, I could not shake those thoughts and feelings. Like a bolt out of the blue, all the voices of the naysayers took over. Rather than letting them be and letting them drift away, or reaching out to Tom for help, I engaged in battle. " None of you were right. I AM going the distance this time.”

The next thing I knew I was flying through the air. It was like a slow motion kind of experience.

And landed on the ground ....

I instinctively knew I was fine. Tom tried to pick me up and I said, "I'm fine. Just let me get up."

I could feel how strong I was. I was able to use my upper body strength to ease the fall. Yes I was bleeding but it was only superficial scratches and scrapes.

Passers by were aghast. "Oh my God. Are you okay? Do we need to call 911?”

I looked pretty bad to someone who was not a runner.

"Yes I'm fine."

There were a few lifeguards inside the pool at Harbor Point.

"Is that where you tripped?" and they pointed to an uneven surface on the sidewalk. “We’ve seen many people fall there and reported it to the manager here.”

They presented me with ice packs from their first aid kit.

I cleaned off using Tom's t shirt, drank water and said I wanted and needed to finish the 1.5 miles for our run.

I felt something shift within me. I felt my guardian angel had eased my fall along with my strength. It was an absolute miracle that I did not break anything and only had a minor chip to my front tooth. I had "road rash" and scrapes but that was it! I knew the Universe was giving me a gift.

Ever since I was 5 years old, I harbored a heart trembling fear about not being able to trust in my body. One day I was a healthy 5 year old and the next minute I dropped paralyzed to the ground. Three years later I experienced horrific acts of violence against my mind and body which needless to say did not do much for developing a loving relationship with my body. I dissociated and developed my intellectual prowess. Something loosened up within me when I hit the pavement today. My left leg felt open and free. The very thing I feared the most happened and not only did I survive it but I went on to finish my run. I have superpowers within me. We all do. It’s by totally trusting in the love of the Divine that we harness these superpowers. Even though I fell, I felt invincible. I needed to show and tell my body that we were fine after a hard hit on the pavement. I felt my strength and resilience! I was told that I had severe osteoporosis of my hip and spine. I was warned that if I fell I was at risk for a fracture. I took only one dose of the medication that was supposed to prevent fractures and strengthen bones. I had an adverse reaction to it. My body knew it would not serve me. Recent research has shown that the drugs to treat osteoporosis are not efficacious. I landed flat on my hip without a fracture. We completed our 6.5 miles and waded into the ocean for a cleansing ice bath. The cold salt water brought instant healing to my body. Tom and I dove in and went for a swim. We hydrated and refueled with our snacks, went in for another swim and stopped on the way home for a delicious post run lunch at the Kukoo Cafe in Brookline Village.

I took another ice bath with Epsom salts and a hot shower. We bought band aids to protect the scrapes. I used Vaseline to promote the healing of the scrapes on my nose and upper lip. I used the affirmation that I use every week after our runs, "I trust in my body's capacity to recover from runs and workouts." I experienced a deep connection to the Divine and the angels that have been there to help me create the miracle of healing in my life.

I ran 6.5 miles today! A quarter of a marathon and half the distance for the 2016 Bermuda Half Marathon. I believe with my whole Being, deep in my heart and soul that I am going the distance. It's time to take off the boxing gloves. It’s time to stop shadow boxing with the demons from my past. I can settle down and settle into the person I have become...whole, healthy, transformed, a runner girl. I claimed the superhero within me.

With today’s fall I can honestly say, “Holy Crap! I’m Batman!”


Throughout these 10 years of running and life, I have had to pick myself up many many times. I've slogged through difficult runs and breezed through runs that I felt as though I could run forever. I've had to navigate my way through my own health concerns and the mental health issues that has plagued my daughter for the past 4 years.

Yet through it all, I keep moving forward and know that no matter how many times I may fall or face what seems to be an insurmountable challenge, I am resilient and can always harness my superhero powers to make it through.

From my heart to yours,
To your health and wellness,
Mary

My healing journey is going to be featured in David R. Hamilton's soon to be released book, "How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body." It's available for pre-order on Amazon.

Be sure to visit my website by following this link.

My books are available on Amazon.

Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life


Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing Hope and Possibility that chronicles the first 7 years of my healing journey:


Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance (With a Foreword by Jacqueline Hansen):

Monday, August 13, 2018

Celebrating Ten Years of Running: To Every Run a Purpose - My Sanctuary and Retreat



I've been working on pace in my 5K runs and am delighted with my choice to not run a fourth straight Bermuda Half Marathon. Tom will be representing Team McManus in January in Bermuda. We run our 5K's together and then he goes off and adds his miles. It was humid and threatening to rain for most of Saturday's 5K. The skies did open up for the last 3/4 of a mile of our run.

I was not feeling the need to push my pace on last Saturday's run. I knew that I needed that run to have a different purpose. It was a special and sacred time for Tom and me to be together shortly after our daughter was discharged from her 4th psychiatric hospitalization in 5 months. It was a time to open our hearts to the Divine for guidance and healing. At first I felt frustrated by my pace but then realized that it was exactly the pace I needed on Saturday.

If I had gone any faster, we might not have bumped into one of our dear friends who we have known for over 20 years. Our children grew up together. She had seen my latest post about our daughter's hospitalization. She stopped to ask how she and we were doing. She is, what we call, a "native." She had quite the journey with her son who is a veteran. She brought us love, compassion and hope. It was medicine for our souls. We finished up the run in the pouring rain; a cleansing, healing rain especially since we did not bring our ponchos or a jacket.

Tom went on to run another 5 miles in the pouring rain on his road to Bermuda Half Marathon 2019.



The alarm went off at 6:00am this morning. Another muggy day in Boston. We meditated for 20 minutes, did our core work, had our banana and water and went out for our run. We thought that we'd have to run along Beacon Street because the Reservoir might have been too muddy. When we looked across Beacon Street to the Chestnut Hill Reservoir, we saw it was dry!

After our warm up with mile 1, I picked up my pace. There was a man walking in front of us. I did fartleks to pass him throughout the run. We would pass him and get a good lead on him but then we'd take a water stop and he'd pass us again. Then we'd do fartleks and pass him.

A gaggle of geese were squawking; half of the geese took off in formation. It was truly an awe-some sight. The fog was a perfect backdrop for our run this morning keeping the air relatively cool and reminding us of how mysterious life can be at times. We need to let go and trust. We wore jackets given the forecast for more downpours but peeled them off as the sweat poured off of us. The rains never came.

I picked up the pace for the last mile and knew I wanted to break that 18:00 minute/mile pace.

What a thrill to see the average pace drop to 17:56 as we heard Ms. Nike+ say, "Congratulations. You reached your goal of 3.11 miles."

My pace from Saturday's run improved by 17 seconds/mile.

While each run had its own purpose and vibe, one thing is constant throughout my runs; connection to the Divine. Whether it's through a "chance" meeting, seeing nature in all its awesomeness or experiencing the miracle of the Divinity within me pushing a pace when I was told to prepare to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair, running is my sanctuary and a retreat. What a gift and a blessing that I get to share the journey on and off the roads with my bestie of over 40 years!



From my heart to yours,
To your health and wellness,
Mary

My healing journey is going to be featured in David R. Hamilton's soon to be released book, "How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body." It's available for pre-order on Amazon.

Be sure to visit my website by following this link.

My books are available on Amazon.

Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life


Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing Hope and Possibility that chronicles the first 7 years of my healing journey:


Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance (With a Foreword by Jacqueline Hansen):







Thursday, August 9, 2018

Celebrating Ten Years of Running: The Adventures of Runnergirl 1953



A sneak peek preview of "The Adventures of Runnergirl 1953" coming soon!

Mary McManus was known as “Easy Out Alper” in gym class. She could never play sports as a child because she contracted paralytic polio at the age of 5 but managed to run the 2009 Boston Marathon at the age of 55. She was diagnosed with Post-Polio Syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease in December of 2006. In February of 2007, Mary got still and asked for Divine Guidance. The answer came in the form of a poem, “Running the Race” followed by many poems that, through the power of visualization, inspired her to heal mind, body and soul. Mary’s quest to heal her life led her to the sport of running that tested her mettle while forging friendships to last a lifetime. Against the backdrop of running adventures you’ll follow Mary’s transformation from a survivor of childhood paralytic polio and severe trauma at the hands of family members to a woman who embodies faith, grace under fire, courage, determination, endurance and resilience. Running became a way of life for Mary. As you’ll discover in “The Adventures of Runnergirl 1953” nothing, not even a serious knee injury in December of 2014 could stop her.

About the Author:

Mary McManus was once known as “Easy Out Alper in gym class. She contracted paralytic polio at the age of 5 but managed to run the 2009 Boston Marathon at the age of 55. When Mary was diagnosed with Post-Polio Syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease in December 2006, she decided she was not going to take the diagnosis sitting down. In May 2007, Mary took a leap of faith leaving behind her award winning career as a Social Worker at the VA to heal her life. She got still and asked for Divine Guidance. The answer came in the form of a poem, “Running the Race” followed by many poems that, through the power of visualization, inspired her to heal mind, body and soul. Mary’s quest to heal her life led her to the sport of running that tested her mettle while fueling her journey of transformation from a survivor of childhood paralytic polio and severe trauma at the hands of family members to a woman who embodies faith, grace under fire, courage, determination, endurance and resilience.

"Running the Race" foreshadowed her Boston Marathon run despite all appearances to the contrary. As Mary sat in a leg brace, using a cane and a wheelchair for mobility, and having been told to prepare to spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair, Mary imagined herself winning a 10K race. Out of the rubble of her past, Mary dug deep to discover the treasure of who she was always meant to be. Her Spirit shines with brilliant resilience as she conquered every challenge going the distance on the roads and in her life.

Mary holds a BS in Communications from Boston University, an MSW from Boston College and many fond memories of her veterans and their families who blessed her life when she worked at the VA. She lives in Chestnut Hill Massachusetts with her husband, Tom, and their lovely cat Jamie.


From my heart to yours,
To your health and wellness,
Mary

My healing journey is going to be featured in David R. Hamilton's soon to be released book, "How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body." It's available for pre-order on Amazon.

Be sure to visit my website by following this link.

My books are available on Amazon.

Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life


Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing Hope and Possibility that chronicles the first 7 years of my healing journey:


Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance (With a Foreword by Jacqueline Hansen):




Monday, August 6, 2018

Celebrating Ten Years of Running: I am in competition with no one!



After completing 3 consecutive Bermuda Half Marathons, I decided to take a break from endurance running, heal and recover from the 3 years of training for a half marathon and focus on running the distance of a 5K. I wanted to see what I could do to increase speed rather than endurance. In my mind's eye I see it all coming together with speed and endurance but for now I am focusing on seeing what this body can do with speed.

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog about being at a new starting line. I'm feeling momentum in my health and wellness journey.

The first step in my recovery from the 3 consecutive half marathons was to heal a hip/back/groin issue. Weekly chiropractic treatments, cross training and strength training, stretching, rolling out with a massage stick and visualization have helped my body's healing process.

I've been extremely patient with my recovery process. It's a miracle that, given my history of childhood paralytic polio and trauma, and the diagnosis of Post-Polio Syndrome 11 years ago that I run and am able to maintain a 5 day a week training regimen! I get a flood of emails for races and have declined all but one: The 5th Annual Middlemiss Big Heart 5K. I signed up as a walker but given my last two outings, I could have signed up as a runner.

On Saturday Tom and I did an out and back route from Carson Beach out to U Mass Boston. It was a hot and humid day. I tend to wilt in the heat and have difficulty pushing myself. We took frequent water stops, enjoyed the magnificent views and I ran one of my fastest times since last year ... a pace of 17'47"/mile, a tremendous feat for me as I wrote about in a recent blog post.



This morning we set the alarm for 6:00am given the searing heat and humidity that has been hovering over Boston. We meditated and did our core work. We have intensified our core work and strength training. Lots of water, a banana and off we went on Day 3/5 on my 5 day a week training cycle. There was a lot of shade and a downhill that I took advantage of. When we got to the Bridge before we crossed over to the Reservoir, I took a quick water break. My first mile was a 17'50" but that included a slow warm up as we went out the door.

Once we got on the Reservoir path I picked up my pace. I stopped at our halfway point for a water stop. We had to take a detour since part of the Reservoir was closed off this morning. We decided to go up a steep hill to Chestnut Hill Avenue and loop around the Reservoir on Beacon Street. When we stopped for a quick water stop at mile 2, our time was 17'05". I felt so proud of how well I was doing on the run. Chestnut Hill Avenue is a downhill which I know helped my pace for the last 1.1 miles. I clocked it at 16'32" with an overall pace of 17'05".



With the detour we had an opportunity to do a cool down before we got home.

Success breeds success! I knew that I could and would improve my pace once my hip/back/groin healed. Having a stronger core and building muscle strength contributes to running a faster pace with greater ease.

My endorphins were kicking after our run. I can see in my mind's eye that I can get back to running 5K races and enjoying every mile of the journey. It's great to not have any pressure to achieve any particular goals right now. After all...I am in competition with no one...I just want to be my health and fitness best ... I just aim to improve ... that's me and I'm free.

From my heart to yours,
To your health and wellness,
Mary

My healing journey is going to be featured in David R. Hamilton's soon to be released book, "How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body." It's available for pre-order on Amazon.

Be sure to visit my website by following this link.

My books are available on Amazon.

Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life


Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing Hope and Possibility that chronicles the first 7 years of my healing journey:


Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance (With a Foreword by Jacqueline Hansen):

Friday, August 3, 2018

Celebrating Ten Years of Running: I Am a Runner



From the soon to be released, "The Adventures of Runnergirl 1953":

I am a runner. I am a runner because I say I'm a runner. I'm an endurance runner and I go the distance on the roads and in my life. When things get tough, I get tougher. I love running in perfect weather, but it’s great to run when the elements are challenging because I get to show how much of a badass I really am.

I am a runner. I was told I shouldn't run; that running is bad for me. Running is my medicine and my therapy. I am a runner who feels powerful when I run. I am a runner who says what is best for my mind, body and soul. Running heals!

I am a runner transformed by each run.

I learn something new about myself in each run. I am a runner who loves a solo run, alone with my thoughts but never alone surrounded by the glory of nature.

I am a runner who runs with the pack, my village, my tribe where we honor each other and practice the runner's code of no runner left behind. I am a runner who finds strength and courage on the other side of fear.

I am a runner who stands at the bottom of hills feeling a flutter in my soul telling myself oh yes you can. I am a runner who stands at the top of hills with sweat pouring off of me, smiling, feeling triumphant.

I am a runner, an unlikely runner, the likes of Wilma Rudolph who was also an unlikely runner after contracting paralytic polio.

In my mind's eye I am an Olympic Champion for running over the hurdles placed before me in my marathon of my life and never giving up no matter how tough the challenge.

I am a runner. I go the distance. I am a runner...

Loving life one mile at a time. I am a runner - Happy and free!


Ten years ago I laced up my first pair of running shoes. I had never run a day in my life yet something deep within me told me that I needed to run. I had been diagnosed with a progressive neuromuscular disease by Western Medicine standards; Post-Polio Syndrome, a manifestation of the effects of childhood paralytic polio and severe childhood trauma.

Ten years later I celebrate the gift of running in my life and declare I am a runner!

From my heart to yours,
To your health and wellness,
Mary

My healing journey is going to be featured in David R. Hamilton's soon to be released book, "How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body." It's available for pre-order on Amazon.

Be sure to visit my website by following this link.

My books are available on Amazon.

Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life


Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing Hope and Possibility that chronicles the first 7 years of my healing journey:


Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance (With a Foreword by Jacqueline Hansen):

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Celebrating Ten Years of Running - Running is My Therapy!



As I look back on these ten years of running and healing from the effects of childhood paralytic polio and severe trauma, I realize how deeply grateful I am for the gift of running in my life. Aside from the adventures with starting lines and finish lines, racecations and meeting incredible people, it's the regular benefits I get to experience every time I lace up my shoes and go out on a run.

Our 31 year old daughter is on a journey with recovering her mental health and well being. It's been four years of an ultramarathon. This past week she admitted herself to the hospital - the fourth time in 5 months. It's heartbreaking to see her go through this and takes a toll on the family. Before I had running in my life, I had no outlet for stress. I was a stranger to athletics because of the residuals of paralytic polio and trauma in my body and no one to guide me toward health and well being through exercise.

Running is so much more than exercise in my life.

Last Saturday I woke up exhausted but I knew that the best thing Tom and I could do for ourselves was to go on a run. It was hot and humid. I had frozen the water bottles the night before. After breakfast we headed out the front door. It was a beautiful morning and nature restores the soul.



It was by no means my best pace - especially with the heat and humidity but it got the job done! Tom and I had a wonderful time together sweating out the stress of the previous few days. It was unplugged time together in the sunshine seeing summer in Boston in all of its glory. I felt rejuvenated and energized after the run. We had a full day doing chores, enjoying each other's company, reading and relaxing after the chores were done.

Because of that morning run, I was able to clear away the stress, get the energy flowing in my body and have a good day.

On Monday morning the alarm went off at 6:30 am. A big yawn and stretch. Set the alarm for 20 minutes of meditation, do core work, have a banana and water, and out the door we went for another 5K run.

I needed to, as Tom and I like to say, "Get my yaya's out." I pushed my pace as sweat poured. We talked about what we are grateful for in our lives - how very much there is to be grateful for in our lives while sharing our thoughts and feelings about our daughter and the mental health system.

Each foot strike brought me into the present moment realizing how important it is for me to Let go and Let God; that our daughter's recovery is ultimately up to her and I clearly experienced how important it is for us to take exquisite care of ourselves.

Once again, the morning run worked its mojo. We had a wonderful breakfast together and after I dropped Tom off at work, I got to work on my website. Tom discovered that my website had been hacked and half of my database was wiped out. After connecting with Source and sweating out the stress on our run, I was able to spend the day building a new website. It's even better than my old one!

Yes, running provides incredible physical benefits. The emotional and spiritual benefits of gaining perspective, letting go of what no longer serves me, letting go and turning things over to Source, getting centered in the present moment, enjoying a summer day in Boston, and feeling how everything passes are a tonic for mind, body and soul. The best medicine. I am so blessed and grateful to be celebrating 10 years of running - running IS my therapy!

From my heart to yours,
To your health and wellness,
Mary

My healing journey is going to be featured in David R. Hamilton's soon to be released book, "How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body." It's available for pre-order on Amazon.

Be sure to visit my website by following this link.

My books are available on Amazon.

Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life


Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing Hope and Possibility that chronicles the first 7 years of my healing journey:


Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance (With a Foreword by Jacqueline Hansen):




Thursday, July 26, 2018

Celebrating Ten Years of Running: On Miracles and Hope



The woman walking gingerly up the ramp to exit the pool turned to me and said, "I'm sorry I'm walking so slowly."

"Oh no need to apologize," I said. I had seen her working with her physical therapist in the pool. "It's hard work isn't it?"

"I just want to feel like myself again," she said as her eyes filled with tears.

Her knees hyperextended when she experienced a fall last year and she hasn't been able to regain her mobility.

I felt compelled to share my story with her.

Her eyes filled with tears. "Oh my goodness. You created about 4 miracles in your life!"

I shared with her how I ran Boston in 2009, the ups and downs in my journey and then my latest miracle in December of 2014 after a serious knee injury that blew out my left knee. I was told I wouldn't and shouldn't run but if I did - no more than a 5K and then went on to run 3 consecutive Bermuda Half Marathons. I shared with her the resources and methods I used to heal and what I continue to do to heal the effects of paralytic polio and trauma.

I grabbed pen and a piece of paper from the lifeguard's office and wrote down information for her. I recommended Dr. Joe Dispenza's book, "You Are the Placebo," and encouraged her to go on line to find meditations that would help her to heal. I told her about Dr. David Hamilton, Ph.D.'s work and how my story is going to be included in the next edition of "How the Mind Can Heal the Body." I suggested she visit my website and blog.

She told me I was her guardian angel and she has been blessed to meet many angels in her healing journey. She found a wonderful surgeon in Needham who told her that she'd support her efforts to try everything she could to avoid total knee replacement surgery. After I shared with her my experience with chiropractic care, she was inspired to contact her chiropractor and resume treatment!

I told her how deeply blessed and honored I felt to be a part of her journey; how I was blessed to have so many angels come into my life just when I needed them throughout my life.

She asked me when I swim and I told her Tuesday mornings; she'll be there for her physical therapy sessions in the pool.

"I can't believe what hope you've given me. I mean here you are -- 11 years after being told you should prepare to spend the rest of your life in a wheelchair and all you've accomplished."

I shared with her how I appreciate the miracle of healing that I co-created in my life; how I appreciate every pain free step and feeling free in my body.

I am grateful for the gifts of polio, trauma and Post-Polio Syndrome in my life. Without them I would not be the person I am today and would not be able to inspire others with miracles and hope.

I am deeply grateful that I can celebrate 10 years of running and share this miraculous journey of healing, hope, possibility and miracles!

From my heart to yours,
To your health and wellness,
Mary

My healing journey is going to be featured in David R. Hamilton's soon to be released book, "How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body." It's available for pre-order on Amazon.

Be sure to visit my website by following this link.

My books are available on Amazon.

Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life


Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing Hope and Possibility that chronicles the first 7 years of my healing journey:


Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance (With a Foreword by Jacqueline Hansen):