Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Going the Distance: "The Adventures of Runnergirl1953"



Tom and Ruth Anne have been encouraging me to write another book.


On a recent training run, the inspiration came to us that my next book needs to be a lighter look at my running career focusing on the redemptive power of running in my life. There are many back stories that need to be compiled and shared sprinkled with inspirational running quotes that have fueled my journey. In "The Adventures of Runnergirl1953," I'll briefly take you back to when I contracted paralytic polio and the champions from my youth, to the diagnosis of Post-Polio Syndrome and becoming inspired to run the race of a lifetime - the 2009 Boston Marathon! I'll share stories from those early races and never before told stories around my Boston Marathon run.

I'll weave together running triumphs and the major setback of a serious knee injury in December of 2014 that was supposed to sideline me for the rest of my days.

And then it will be onto my running comeback of a lifetime - Bermuda Marathon Weekend followed by the Hyannis 10K, training for and completing my 2nd Bermuda Half Marathon 2017 and moving forward to Bermuda Half Marathon and Hyannis 10K 2018.

In my previous memoirs, I focused on the people and modalities that were helping me to achieve my goals. In "The Adventures of Runnergirl1953," the spotlight will be on me with the theme of the power of the Spirit and what happens when we harness ourselves to the Source of all that is!

I love writing my books in real time. Through the power of my pen, I am actually creating my future.

By taking a look back, I inspire myself with all that I've already accomplished during these past 10 years since the diagnosis of Post-Polio Syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease by Western Medicine Standards, and, because I will be chronicling our road to a threepeat of the Bermuda Half Marathon, I'm setting myself up for success while sharing the joys and struggles that accompany training for any endurance event. Writing is my therapy, my passion and my joy!

Facebook reminds me that this time last year I was writing "Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance."

It's time to begin once again with a blank page. Every finish line is a starting line.

I'm so very excited to go the distance as I write the next chapters of my life!

Go the distance with strength and courage!
~Mary

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:


And my latest and greatest book - Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance (With a Foreword by Jacqueline Hansen):

Monday, August 21, 2017

Going the Distance: When our stressings become our blessings! A whole new world!



At the age of 85, Dr. Carl O. Helvie is still thriving as a lung cancer survivor who was told he had 6 months to live over 40 years ago. I sent him a birthday wish on Facebook. He thanked me and told me that he has a link to the interview I did with him in his latest book in a chapter on Faith.

I had no idea that the interview was still available! I listened again to the interview before mine with Dr. Harold G. Koenig. Dr. Koenig is a psychiatrist who heads up research on spirituality and healing at Duke University.

I listened to my interview again. What a blessing to experience Carl's gentle Spirit and compassion while bringing forth my story to inspire others. We talked about faith, gratitude, and my journey with the diagnosis of Post-Polio Syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease by Western Medicine standards. We talked about how poetry helped me to transform my life, healing my life through the power of my pen, my Divining rod for healing as inspirational poetry poured out of me once I got still and asked for Divine Guidance shortly after receiving the diagnosis.

In both interviews, Carl addressed how people get to choose what path they want to take in the wake of a diagnosis and the role that spirituality plays in that choice.

I was initially devastated by the diagnosis and the recommendation that I leave my award winning career as a VA social worker. But then, in February of 2007, a whole new world opened before me as I tapped the creative part of my soul, reconnected with God in my life and ignited the flame of possibility that I could and would live a vibrant and full life regardless of appearances.

Gratitude and appreciation, taking absolutely nothing for granted and embracing what was happening to me were the keys to opening the door to my whole new world.

I was grateful for the gift of polio in my life and then the gift of Post-Polio Syndrome that led me to the path of healing and wellness and to discovering the sport of running in my life!

Talk about a blessing! I've met the most amazing people, developed incredible friendships, run with champions and incorporated travel with the joy of races.

As I continue to challenge myself, and share my healing story, I inspire others and let people know, as Carl has, that a diagnosis does not define or dictate our health outcomes. We get to choose our path!

A Well Chosen Path from "Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life":

PPS, MS, cancer stroke and more
many diagnoses exist in the doctor’s store
does diagnosis shape and a cripple does it make
or do I use the pain to choose the path I want to take?

No matter what the outcome there’s no way I can fail
for when I take the hand of God through adversity I sail.
The body is imperfect but my soul is shining free
there’s never any limit to the true essence of me.
I get in tune and get in step knowing every limb is healed
running wildly with the wind embracing flowers in the field.

I love myself beyond all words a message says to live
and from my open grateful heart to others do I give.


Life challenges us! Often times we would prefer to not have the challenges but when we embrace them, allow them to transform and awaken us, the door to a whole new world opens before us.

Go the distance with strength and courage!
~Mary

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:


And my latest and greatest book - Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance (With a Foreword by Jacqueline Hansen):





Sunday, August 20, 2017

Run Bermuda! Run Happy! You know you can go the distance when...



You wake up in the morning on the day of your long run and the room is spinning. You're sweating. Your stomach feels queasy and you have a headache. It'd been an incredibly stressful week but let me add that I am learning it is not the stress but how I respond to it. Sometimes stress builds and it's hard to get footing!

My entire schedule was thrown off. There were things that were triggers for me from the summer of 1971 going forward after my father's suicide, and as I lay in bed I remembered similar sensations from when we were training for the Boston Marathon.

We were scheduled for a 16 miler. It was shortly after my brother spent Christmas at our house. It was not a warm and fuzzy family visit and when I woke up on the day of our long run I remember feeling nauseous and dizzy and wondering how I was going to be able to get the training run in. I even wrote a poem about it as I did during so many junctures on our road to the Boston Marathon to help inspire me and get me fired up.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Sixteen Miles
Polio, post polio, cancer scare and more
Mind, body, spirit memories that inside cells did store.
Personal trainer, energy healer, a faith deep in my soul
Teachers You have sent to me to help me now be whole.

Brother here for Christmas and a change in our routine
The past alive in conversation - need to keep my soul pristine.
Focusing on goodness and see only love and light
Dispelling past and future keep the moment now in sight.

Sixteen miles – a training run – not feeling at my best
Wanted to just stay in bed and get a little rest.
Temperatures were mild but strong headwind in our face
I felt Your Loving Presence and surrounded by Your grace.

Dizziness came over me the first time 'round the track
Hydration and dig deep within to bring the present back.
Release the doubts, the fears inside-time for wounds to heal
Fulfill my highest purpose – my power now I feel.

Listen to my iPod the shuffle songs my friend
Hear You speaking to me – to Your Voice I now attend.
The power of the wind is strong, but I am stronger yet
My mind and Spirit drive me, my determination set.

As Team McManus journeyed on,we felt You as our guide
Guarding every foot step,running by our side.
And when this run was over, we saw the Truth so clear
We can run the Boston Marathon, the finish line is near!


Well that day I completed the training run and felt an incredible sense of accomplishment.

Drawing on my strength from that day and taking time to meditate before anybody else in the house got up using the tools that Dr. Joe Dispenza shares, I knew that I needed to think greater than my circumstances. I remembered Dr. Candace Pert's book, The Molecules of Emotion. I knew that everything stirring within me emotionally was contributing to my feeling queasy and unwell.

I called a Team meeting and explained to Ruth Anne and Tom what was going on with me. Ruth Anne lovingly and compassionately asked me if we should switch up the long run with our cross training day tomorrow. I knew that was not an option. Together we asked for God's strength to get us all through the training run but especially me. I shared some tears and some fears and then we got to work.

Core work and a good breakfast helped to revive me along with hydration and reminding myself that:



I thought about my friend Thor who is running the Fenway park Marathon with Chronic Lyme disease and I thought about all of my overcoming physical sensations in my body and healing the effects of paralytic polio and trauma. We set intentions for the run and planned out our route. We decided that we are going to train by going out the front door and creating routes around our neighborhood and beyond that do not require getting in the car before our run.

You know you can go the distance when you log onto Facebook and see a photo of Geoffrey Smith, Boston Marathon champion who is the record holder for the Bermuda Marathon Weekend 10K with Race director Anthony Raynor and Clarence Smith who joined us for lunch a few weeks ago at the Falmouth Road Race Expo:



I wrote this post: #runbermuda #runhappy A wonderful motivation for today's 7.5 miler! Thanks Geoffrey Smith and Race Director Anthony Raynor! Have a great weekend in Falmouth! See you in January at Bermuda Marathon Weekend!

A member of our runner family, Jacqui Kennedy replied, "Sending loads of positive thoughts, good vibes and prayers out for you today! Happy 7.5! 🏃‍♀️🏃‍♂️"

For a little extra motivation, I went to my Youtube channel and chose to post this video on Facebook:



I knew that would generate energy and well wishes.

Once on our run, I began to feel better. There was nobody around the small reservoir on Route 9 and it was so peaceful to just run. We decided we would do 6 loops around and then finish up on the street in front of our home.

"Wait - it's a sign," Ruth Anne called out.

She's been finding money reminding Team McManus that God is guiding our journey as She had in 2008-2009 on the road to the Boston Marathon.

There in the dirt Ruth Anne noticed a figure that matched the route of the Bermuda Half Marathon:



During our first 3 miles, clouds prevailed but then the sun broke through and there was 86% humidity.

I kept thinking about my post run ice bath while also paying exquisite attention to hydration and fueling.

After the run we were feeling oh so accomplished having deposited 7.5 miles in the Bank of Bermuda:


This morning, this photo was in my memory news feed about why hard days are the best shared by my dear friend and an elite runner, Reno Stirrat:



You know you can go the distance when you believe, when you know you have a village cheering you on and a great Team to train with every week. You know you can go the distance when you think greater than your circumstances and keep your eye on the prize - a threepeat of the Bermuda Half Marathon.

Go the distance with strength and courage!
~Mary

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:


And my latest and greatest book - Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance (With a Foreword by Jacqueline Hansen):


Friday, August 18, 2017

Going the Distance: The Power of Belief



On Monday, I wrote a blog post about what happens when someone believes in us. It's also vital that I believe in myself and believe that I can go the distance for a threepeat on the road to the Bermuda Marathon Weekend.

I absolutely loved reading Candace Pert's book, 'Everything you need to know to feel Go(o)d.'



The words settled into the very fiber of my Being. As a scientist and spiritualist, Candace takes us on a wonderful journey of exploration building the case for how our beliefs become our biology.

New sensations are arising in my body as I train for the Bermuda Half Marathon. I need to remind myself that these sensations are all part of the training and vital to building strength and endurance.

In Candace's book, she lets us know that how we interpret sensations in our body will determine our body's response to those sensations. I could either choose to fear injury and doubt that my body is strong enough to go the distance for another half marathon because, after all, I was diagnosed with Post-Polio Syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease by Western medicine standards 10 years ago OR I can choose to believe that all is healed from paralytic polio and trauma, the knee injury I sustained in December of 2014 and 25+ surgeries.

This morning on Facebook, I changed my profile picture to my book cover:


along with the book description:

Mary McManus knew challenges since she was five years old beginning with contracting polio followed by enduring nine years of violence at the hands of family members. Those early challenges prepared her for taking on the challenge of the diagnosis of post polio syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease in December 2006 when she was at the height of her award winning career as a social worker at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Asking for Divine Guidance as she had throughout her trials and tribulations, she discovered the gift of poetry in her soul. Her first poem, “Running the Race,” foreshadowed her 2009 Boston Marathon run. “Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance,” chronicles Mary’s journey as a survivor of paralytic polio and trauma, as a runner and a woman who refused to quit. Eight years after her diagnosis, she was finally led to two healers, a chiropractor and a muscular therapist, who helped her reclaim her life and go the distance, a woman transformed who embodies the power of endurance.


I was deeply humbled and grateful for the comments posted by my friends and followers. One in particular jumped out at me:
"you, my friend, are SUCH an inspiration!!!!! Congrats on this, and ALLL you do to keep us all believing !!!"
When doubts creep in as is so often part of our human condition, I remind myself of how the power of belief has carried me these past 10 years on my healing quest. I always saw beyond appearances of using a wheelchair at times for mobility, being in a leg brace and using a cane, having difficulty swallowing and breathing and suffering from chronic pain and fatigue.

The power of belief manifested through my pen, my divining rod for healing as I wrote poems imagining myself as healthy, whole, free, splashing in puddles without my leg brace, running unencumbered and reclaiming my life from the thieves who tried to steal it all away from me, enduring 9 years of abuse and neglect. Writing poetry fanned the flames of hope within me until my beliefs became my biology.

Tomorrow Team McManus will run 7.5 miles; our longest distance to date on the road to Bermuda.

With the power of belief in my pocket, trusting in my training and knowing I've got this, I will enjoy the journey!

Go the distance with strength and courage!
~Mary

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:


And my latest and greatest book - Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance (With a Foreword by Jacqueline Hansen):




Thursday, August 17, 2017

Going the Distance: "Life is hard...that's why we run!"



Yesterday Ruth Anne and I had some business to take care of. It was time consuming and stressful. We knew that ultimately it would have a positive outcome but it was a grueling process to endure.

We were up at 6am, did our core work and Ruth Anne and Tom went on a run. My Day 5 of training on the road to Bermuda Marathon Weekend usually consists of me hitting the gym in the morning for 30 minutes on the bike and 20 minutes on the Arc Trainer; a rigorous cardio workout followed by 2 days of rest and recovery.

However, since we had business to attend to I had to put my workout on hold.

It was late in the afternoon by the time we finished everything we needed to take care of and oh how I just wanted to go home and take a nap. It was a marathon of a day already. Yet I reminded myself that I am healed from the effects of paralytic polio and trauma and I could think greater than what my body was telling me!

I've been so blessed by my friendship with Bill Rodgers through the years. At the Bill Rodgers 5K Run/Walk for Prostate Cancer, Billy and I were talking before the race as he sold copies of his book, "Marathon Man."



"Life is hard right? That's why we run. When we know we can tough it out on the roads, we know we can tough things out in our lives." He punctuated his statement with "Yeah".

As his words echoed in my ears, I told Ruth Anne that, despite how we were feeling, we needed to get in our workout.

At Boston Sports Club we poured sweat on the Arc Trainer and then on the bike. I knew I needed to stick to my training plan with no excuses. I felt nauseous and tired but love the motto, "When in doubt sweat it out."

And sweat it out we did:


A rigorous 50 minute cardio workout to wrap up another week of training for Bermuda Marathon Weekend - a threepeat! Yes sometimes life gets hard and that's why I run...and set big goals to work toward....so that when the going get toughs, I stick to my training plan and go the distance.

Go the distance with strength and courage!
~Mary

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:


And my latest and greatest book - Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance (With a Foreword by Jacqueline Hansen):

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Run Bermuda! Run Happy! When the answers (and inspiration) come on a run!



Fortunately it didn't take four hours for the answers and inspiration to come on this morning's early morning tempo run on the road to the Bermuda Marathon Weekend.

Since Tom had a work commitment, the dynamic duo of Ruth Anne and myself set out on our morning run after doing our core work and fueling with a glass of OJ and a piece of toast.

There was a lot of stress and a very challenging situation happening in the lives of Team McManus. I meditated and prayed and asked for guidance and the situation still seemed dark and stormy ... and then .... after 3 fartleks and really pushing ourselves on this morning's tempo run, the answer came to me!

I could not believe the sense of clarity and relief I felt. It was one of those hit the forehead why didn't I see this before kind of moments. I was so happy to be able to share it all with Ruth Anne.

As sweat poured and relief flowed in its wake, Ruth Anne challenged me up our final hill heading toward home on our weekly 5K tempo run.



During previous runs Ruth Anne and Tom have been asking me whether or not I was going to write another book. "Oh no," I kept saying. "I've written everything I need to write."

In addition to that amazing aha moment when it feels like the clouds that would never depart suddenly dissipate and the sun shines through, I realized that I DO need to write another book. Ruth Anne has been suggesting fiction and we've been playing around with different ideas.

This morning the title and premise for my next book came to me, "The Adventures of Runnergirl1953". It's going to be a much lighter book than my previous two memoirs that will highlight my adventures as a runner girl beginning my running career shortly after being diagnosed with Post-Polio Syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease by Western Medicine Standards in December of 2006. It will be a light-hearted look that will focus on the gift of running in my life, be sprinkled with inspirational running quotes throughout and rather than focus on the recovery from the pain and terror I suffered, it will focus on the redemptive power of running in my life.

Ruth Anne and I began talking about our running adventures together. Such great memories and wonderful inspiration.

It's going to make a great read!

Getting up at 6am and getting the body to wake up through stretching and core work; opening it up on a tempo run with fartleks and having answers and inspiration flow along with a cleansing sweat is my idea of a terrific Tuesday.

Day 4 of 5 days of training on the road to Bermuda Marathon Weekend in the books! Tomorrow is cross training and Saturday is 7.5 miles.

The third time of training for Bermuda is definitely the charm!

Go the distance with strength and courage!
~Mary

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:


And my latest and greatest book - Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance (With a Foreword by Jacqueline Hansen):


Monday, August 14, 2017

Going the Distance: When Someone Believes in Us!



I've been so blessed to have earth angels come into my life to help me believe in myself and my ability to achieve great things.

Three years after contracting paralytic polio, I was sexually, physically and emotionally abused by my father and maternal grandmother. After two epic camp failures, my physiatrist, Dr. Eugene Moskowitz who was in charge of my recovery from polio suggested to my parents that they send me to Badger Sports Camp, a camp that emphasized swimming as part of its daily activities. He knew that swimming would be just what I needed to help with my confidence and to build strength in muscles compromised by the polio virus. Of course I could not tell them what was going on but we worked together to coax muscles and nerves back to health.

You can read about my triumphant competition in the Butterfly Olympics at the end of summer camp by following this link.

Joe Stetz who gave up his Olympic dream to become a physician and helped me to become a competitor is pictured below on the far left:


His support and encouragement instilled in me that I could overcome obstacles and challenges and know what it means to be a competitor and a winner.

I mention another earth angel in that blog - Ryan J. Means, DC who I met in March of 2015 after a serious knee injury in December of 2014. I'd almost given up on my running and almost gave up on going the distance in my healing journey. Just a little over 10 years ago, I left my award winning career as a VA social worker to heal the effects of paralytic polio and trauma that manifested as Post-Polio Syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease by Western medicine standards.

Dr. Ryan turned me onto the work of Dr. Joe Dispenza and reminded me of my body's tremendous capacity to heal. He took exquisite care of me using the very best that chiropractic has to offer and combined that with his passion for movement, health and wellness. While he worked on me and with me, he'd tell me stories about clients he was helping through his work to improve their quality of life. He told me about his boot camp classes and how one day he expected to see me in his class. On his website he had the quote from Thomas Edison. In his heart and through his hands he reminded me that I would and could completely heal!

We've had great fun co-creating this miracle of healing that included healing that knee injury and growing a new gastroc muscle.



Even though he left for China in August of 2015 (and we're pictured above during our lunch together before he left) we stay in close touch.

Every Monday when I do my strength training workout as part of my training for a threepeat on the road to Bermuda Marathon Weekend, he is right here with me. He prescribed strength training exercises, exercises to help with balance, strengthen my gastroc and strengthen the muscles vital for running and injury prevention.



Whenever I get nervous about training for a threepeat of the Bermuda Half Marathon in January of 2018, I remember Joe Stetz and Dr. Ryan.

When someone believes in us, we can go the distance and achieve whatever goal it is we set our minds to.

Go the distance with strength and courage!
~Mary

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:


And my latest and greatest book - Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance (With a Foreword by Jacqueline Hansen):