Thursday, December 8, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Trauma Recovery #ThankfulThursday



This week Lady Gaga revealed that she was raped at the age of 19. It took her 7 years to reveal her "secret" and she suffers with post traumatic stress disorder. She wrote an open letter about her struggles that was shared in this article on BBC.

I'm doing various modalities of psychotherapy and am on medicine prescribed by my psychiatrist. However, I believe that the most inexpensive and perhaps the best medicine in the world is words. Kind words… positive words… words that help people who feel ashamed of an invisible illness to overcome their shame and feel free. This is how I and we can begin to heal. I am starting today, because secrets keep you sick. And I don't want to keep this secret anymore.

I want to add that the best medicine in the world is the power of positive quality touch that I have been blessed to experience since April of 2015 with Jeffrey Spratt,MT who pioneered the Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy.

When one experiences trauma, as Jeffrey so eloquently explains it, there is a dump of 31 chemicals into the body preparing for the fight/flight response. These chemical reactions leave an imprint in the body. Left untreated, these imprints become fossilized. Over time, as more life happens, they can get buried and wreak havoc in the mind, body and soul and result in what can be crippling symptoms of life after trauma.

We like to say that how Jeffrey discovered that his Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy was effective in healing trauma was a happy accident. He did not set out to treat trauma. He believed in the power of positive touch and his philosophy and intention for massage therapy is, "“Massage Therapy at its finest can be life changing and even life saving, and even at its very basic, massage therapy should be momentum changing.” ~Jeffrey Spratt, MT



But soon trauma survivors were experiencing major shifts in their lives prompting us to investigate "The Efficacy of the Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy on Trauma Recovery". In addition to my anecdotal case study, the two subjects who are participating in the study are having stunning changes in their mood, behavior, outlook on life and overall quality of life.

Jeffrey's compassionate presence along with his unique style of muscular therapy has been a life saver for me in my trauma recovery. It's totally understandable how I kept getting injured and had "relapses" of post polio syndrome given how much baggage I was carrying around.

Before yesterday's treatment with Jeffrey he asked me, "How can I be of service?" Talk about the power of kind and positive words! I was able to share with Jeffrey a powerful and pivotal traumatic memory from my adolescence. I usually share the memories that may surface in between sessions during the treatment (while lying face down on the table). Yesterday I dug deep and found the courage to make eye contact with him as I shared a memory that was like an abscess filled with the pus of toxic emotions and a powerful motivator for many of my behavior patterns. His compassionate presence and total focus on what I had shared along with what I like to call his signature hug set the tone for a transformative profoundly healing massage therapy session.

After the session I felt such a lightness in mind, body and Being and that was after a full week of training for the Bermuda Half Marathon.

There is positive momentum in my ability and confidence in being able to unleash the healing power within me and to regulate my nervous system even in the wake of powerful triggers. The reaction may still happen but rather than have it throw me off balance for what used to be hours or sometimes even days, I can quickly recover and return to a state of equilibrium.

There is a beautiful new neural net growing and getting stronger every day. I am so excited to be editing "Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance," to share with the world that there is hope for trauma recovery and to heal the most horrific events that could befall one individual.



It is exhilarating to experience trauma recovery in my own life and to see how others are healing from trauma thanks to the power of positive quality touch and compassionate presence. It is a journey to reclaim one's advantage and reclaim one's life and experience healing and freedom. It is something every trauma survivor deserves!



Thank you Jeffrey Spratt for pioneering this method and having the courage to walk with trauma survivors as they heal.

To your health and wellness!
~Mary




Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Transformation Tuesday: Recovery

December 13, 2014 - a day that will live in my infamy. The day that my left leg swelled and I could not put any weight on it after the Miss Santa Holiday 5K. It was just a few weeks after the massage therapist I was working with at the time said to me, “Right now your right leg is leading the dance and I am waiting for your left leg to speak to me.” He told me that my left leg was still encased. What an intention to set for someone but, as a trauma survivor, I learned to settle telling myself that he had my best interest at heart.



But that horrible knee injury and the pain and frustration that followed led me to two beautiful healers, Dr. Ryan Means and Jeffrey Spratt, MT; two men who would help me complete what I set out to do 10 years ago when I left my award winning career as a VA social worker to heal my life.

In Sunday's ShakeOut (TM) Massage with Jeffrey we talked about the process of my recovery. I shared with him the exhilaration of an 11 mile run on an unfamiliar route. We talked about how I am reclaiming a sense of adventure in my life. I went from taking baby steps to return to running, then running on familiar routes, then gingerly setting goals. After training for my comeback race, the Finish at the 50 5K in July of 2015, I boldly set the goal of running the Bermuda Half Marathon in January of this year.

I had not traveled in 8 years before going to Bermuda in January. Two weeks ago I went to New York City and in January we return to Bermuda to run my 2nd CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Half Marathon.

Jeffrey is adamant about teaching clients self care especially when taking on an endurance event. We reviewed what I could do to address some issues I was having with my right knee and right foot. He went deep and was aggressive in a quality positive touch kind of way during the ShakeOut (TM) Massage to relieve the congestion that comes with training for a Half Marathon and to also maintain positive momentum in my healing from the effects of paralytic polio and trauma. It is so new for me to practice self care after having experienced decades of self loathing and dissociating from my body in response to trauma and paralytic polio.

I felt amazing after the session.

Yesterday I felt a lot of discomfort in my right knee with swelling. It's the anniversary of that knee injury; interestingly enough it was my left knee that was injured but body memories and imprints can manifest in interesting ways some times. I swam and had a great pool workout although I could still feel how my right knee was swollen and painful.

I took a hot shower and flushed with ice cold water. I remembered the delicious albeit "hurts so good" sensations of Jeffrey's ShakeOut (TM) Massage. This thought came to me. "I created this so I can uncreate it." I felt this opening in my knee and leg and a burning sensation from whatever stale energy was stuck in there draining out. Today I did the Arc Trainer and Bike and the swelling and pain are completely gone. My right knee had been the site of a lot of violence and was also in an ankle to hip cast when I was 11 years old. My right knee had been buckling and since there were no MRI's or CT Scans back in the day, the orthopedist guessed that it might have been a loose piece of cartilage that could be fixed with being in a cast for 6 weeks -- oh and because they did not want me to miss school, decided summertime was the best time for me to be in a cast.

In last week's treatment with Jeffrey we did a lot of work with my arms and hands. This past week I felt an opening from my scapula down my arm and decided to try something new. This might not seem like a big deal to you but to a survivor of paralytic polio and trauma whose functioning of arms and hands was compromised it was a very big deal to me. I was able to toss a roll of toilet paper upstairs! Now come on how many times has a member of your household been caught short and asks you to toss up a roll of toilet paper...oh really? Well it happens a lot in our house and I'd never been able to clear the flight of stairs to have the roll land on the top landing. I felt a wondrous new connection happen. It will take a lot of practice to keep that connection firing up on a consistent basis but I can feel it and picture it in my mind's eye.

As I read through and edit "Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance,"



I am struck by how my life has changed since meeting Dr. Ryan (who turned me onto quantum healing) and working with him until he left for China, and partnering with Jeffrey. I no longer have to monitor my energy levels and make choices; I am training and living a full life. I no longer live in fear of my body betraying me again; I can trust in my body's tremendous capacity to heal and see myself as healthy, whole, healed and strong turning possibility into reality.

The process of recovery continues. Memories continue to surface and I can look at them through the eyes of compassion allowing myself to grieve for all that happened to me and for me AND I celebrate this miraculous journey of recovery. I continue to experience awe and wonder at how I can reclaim my advantage and reclaim my life despite the horrendous events of my past.

Getting excited for Bermuda Marathon Weekend -- 38 days and counting!

To your health and wellness,
~Mary














Monday, December 5, 2016

Boston Marathon 2017: Meet the Fabulous Five Running for Fisher House Boston



Last year I was blessed to meet Alan Dyer, first on Facebook and then at his fund raiser at Loretta’s Last Call. As a retired VA social worker, Fisher House Boston is a cause near and dear to my heart. I remember when Fisher House Boston first broke ground on the West Roxbury VA Campus and one of my social work colleagues became the manager. The Fisher House Boston is a home away from home where our military families can stay while a loved one is receiving in house treatment at one of our medical centers. Any family member or loved one of an active military or Veteran's family, wartime or peacetime, is eligible to stay at the Fisher House. These homes are built on the grounds of major military and VA medical centers.

The homes enable family members to be close to loved ones at the most stressful times. There is at least one Fisher House at every major military medical center to assist families in need and to ensure that they are provided with the comforts of home in a supportive environment. There is NO Charge for any family to stay at a Fisher House. We are completely committed to helping those who have served for us and for our country. We believe these men and women are our National Treasures! Fisher House is a Four Star Charity, with an A+ rating.


Let’s meet the Fabulous Five who are going the distance of 26.2 miles from Hopkinton to Boston on April 17th, 2017 to raise money for Fisher House Boston.

Alan Dyer: “I am a Viet Nam Era veteran who joined the cost guard in the early 70's. I spent 5 years in the service stationed in Woods Hole on a buoy tender, then Block Island doing search and rescue and drug interdiction.

My connection to Fisher House Boston is through Mark Langley.  Mark and I met at a local gym where be both became fitness instructors. I teach spin and he teaches boot camps.  The two of us just hit it off and became best of friends.  He mentioned wanting to run the Ragnar Relay Race to raise money for Fisher House Boston.  He introduced me to Jen Deluca, Executive Director and I became fast friends with Jen and committed to the Fisher House Boston cause.

Funny thing about that Ragnar Relay run, six weeks prior to running the race I had neck surgery to fuse C-4 and C-5.  I fractured those vertebrae many weeks prior, but continued to train and exercise.  Mark wanted to replace me and I flat out told him no way.  I ran with a neck brace. The team was made up of my Physical Therapist and my Chiropractor.  That was a very special run for Fisher House Boston. 

In 2015 Mark said that Jen was going to try and get some bibs for Boston and I said I was all in.  Mark, Joe and I are the original Marathon Team and we continue to this day running, raising awareness and money for Fisher House Boston.  As long as Jen keeps getting bibs and my knees hold up i will keep running and raising money for our veterans and their families.

I was supposed to get my knees replaced last year, but Jen called and asked if I could postpone the surgery and run one more time for the 2016 Marathon.  And this year I told Jen right up front I wanted a bib and tada she gave me one. What’s a little bit of pain that I go through training to run the Boston Marathon compared to what these guys and gals go through to defend our freedom….”

Alan with Nic L. whose family was supported by Fisher House Boston during his recovery


Alan during the Super Hero long run training for Boston 2016


Mark Langley
“I have once again been given the privilege to run the 2017 Boston Marathon as a member of Team Fisher House Boston. I run to raise money and awareness for Fisher House Boston because they take care of our military men and women and their families.  My son was an active duty Army Infantryman, my Dad was active duty Air Force and many other family members have served.  Our veterans and their families deserve our attention and help.  FIsher House helps keep families together while eliminating some financial obligations.  I ran the 2015 and 2016 Boston Marathon as a member of Team Fisher House Boston and our teams raised over $80000!  Please help me this year so we can continue to support our veterans.  So, I will run the miles through rain, snow, sleet and freezing weather and all you have to do is donate!   Thank you for your support.”



Joe Mascariello
“After twice saying "Never again", I'm back for for my third year of running the Boston Marathon in support of Fisher House Boston.  With no military experience of my own, I am indebted to those who have sacrificed so much and am honored to serve our military through this effort. 

I've now completed 9 marathons and a small handful of longer trail races and from that experience two things are clear: Experience doesn't make you better and 26.2 miles is a long way to run.  My running has brought me to some of the coolest places in the world and some of the coolest people in the world have filtered through my life as a result of being a runner.  A little fatigue is a small price to pay for those experiences.  I am fortunate to have this ability and grateful that I can use it to give back.   

For those who don't know, Fisher House allows the families of veterans a free place to stay on the grounds of the VA while the service man/woman or family member is receiving treatment at the hospital.  The Boston Fisher House is unique in that they will fund hotel stays for the families of servicemen and women when are they are receiving treatment at other Boston hospitals.  

The links below will provide more information on the Fisher House and a compelling story about the importance of providing this resource to our veterans.  Fisher House is a 4 star rated (their highest rating) charity by Charity Navigator.

Fisher House Boston
 

A compelling story about why you should donate to Fisher House Boston:


I know the choices for giving are endless and I hope you'll find that supporting Fisher House is worthy of your hard earned support.”



Breda O’Connor
“I ran my first race in the 7th grade when my mom and I participated in the Susan G Komen Breast Cancer 5K. Oddly enough, that would be the first and only time I would place in my age division. I don't run for the medals. I sometimes run for the beer, but mostly I run because I can, because there are so many people who can't. Since that race, I have run for multiple charities, including the Boston Marathon in 2014 for a Marathon bombing survivor. 

I am so excited to have been selected to run for the Fisher House Boston. Over the last year and a half, I have gained a new perspective of the aftermath of war and what military families must overcome. Through many events with The Warrior Foundation and interacting with my boyfriend's friends and colleagues, I have been able to witness first hand the village it takes to care for our veterans and their families. My boyfriend is a mechanical engineer at The United States Army Soldier Systems Center in Natick, working closely with veterans to protect our soldiers currently overseas. Through him, I have had the great opportunity of meeting many of of our country's bravest and their amazing families. I am so excited to bring more awareness to the Fisher House and cross that finish line on April 17!”



Kat Anne

"I've been running since high school cross country but it has taken on a whole new meaning for me. Since 2011, I've been running races with a team of friends and family in memory of a close family friend, 1st Lt. Robert Kelly. Robert was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines and was deployed to Sangin, Afghanistan when he was killed in action on November 9th, 2010. Most importantly, he was a husband, son, brother and a babysitter who probably let my brothers and I get away with way too much. Every race I've run, I'm always amazed by the number of people I get the share the Team Kelly story with and the incredible stories people share with me. 

As I take on my 4th marathon, I'm so honored to be able to share the story of Fisher House as I run. The work they do to support military families is incredible. Instead of worrying about hotel bills, families can focus on healing in a supportive environment. Knowing that his memory lives on in the dedicated Fisher House healing garden, I'm so grateful for the chance to give back to Fisher House in Robert's memory and in thanks for the incredible work they do to support military and veteran families. Thank you for your support!"



On December 8th you can be a part of a great date night or great any kind of night to help raise money for Fisher House Boston. The Fab Five put the fun into fun(d)raiser. Fisher House Boston and Foolproof Brewery are teaming up to help raise money for our Veteran's Families. Join them December 8, 2016, from 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm for 2 - 12 oz craft beers, good food, and a raffle, Last year's event sold out so get your tickets early and join us for some Beer, Food and Fun to raise money for Fisher House Boston. Tickets available at Event Brite.  

Give a little…give a lot…give from your heart and let’s make this year the biggest year yet for the Fab Five running from their hearts for Fisher House Boston.

Please donate to one or all of the Fab Five by following this link.

To your health and wellness,
Mary










Sunday, December 4, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! An Exhilarating 11 Mile Run



The weather was supposed to be great for yesterday's 11 mile run building miles and counting down to the Bermuda Half Marathon. The sun was shining and when it was out it was a wonderful gift for December 3rd. Winds of up to 25 mph were NOT in the forecast but as is true for running as in life we have to weather the wind and embrace the conditions set before us.

I knew that I did not want to run our regular Reservoir loops yesterday for our training run. I suggested to Tom that we run down Route 9, over to Jamaica Pond (one of my favorite places to train) and come back to our house seeing how many miles we needed to finish our run and then do an out and back somewhere from our house. As the winds picked up and as Tom got inspired for our route, he led the way to run the Emerald Necklace. He had run the route countless times on his solo runs but this was the first time we would run it together.

Because it was my longest run in a year, Tom decided that it was important to take photos along the way:
At 2 miles in:


At the halfway point:


discovering and embracing the beauty of our City and Tom capturing the fierce determination of this runnergirl:


I experienced such exhilaration to be on a completely unfamiliar route with different terrain and enjoyed seeing new sights in my beloved Boston. I felt fierce and determined knowing that after yesterday's training run there are only 3 more long training runs until taper time.

This morning, Bermuda Marathon Weekend posted on Facebook there are only 40 days until the weekend:


It's really happening!

I am training for my 2nd CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Half Marathon using all the resources available to keep me healthy and running strong and long. Partnering with Jeffrey Spratt,MT is such a blessing and a gift. The power of his positive quality touch with the Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy transforms the effects of having been abused for almost a decade as a child and adolescent and the effects from paralytic polio. I feel transformed and through the power of my running, I feel in every fiber of my body and being that nobody should mess with me ever again. I feel that sense of empowerment that comes with an exhilarating 11 mile run with strong headwinds. I feel strong and confident reclaiming a sense of integrity and dignity.

Another 11 miles in the books counting down to Bermuda Marathon Weekend. What an adventure! What a joy and what a blessing to be able to reclaim my advantage and reclaim my life!

To your health and wellness,
~Mary

Friday, December 2, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! It's All About the Mettle



Ten years ago I did not know what was happening in my body nor did I have a clue of how I was going to get out of the dire situation I was in with my body. A diagnosis of post polio syndrome was my starting line as I was told about all the things that could possibly happen and what I needed to prepare for a future in a wheelchair, possibly needing a feeding tube, a sleep apnea machine and needing to walk away from my award winning career as a VA social worker. Energy conservation. Leg brace. Cane. Wheelchair. Wrist splint. Handicapped placard. Paratransit. If you use it you will lose it. The best we can hope for is to stabilize the symptoms where they are but only if you stop work and listen to everything we are telling you.

I was at a crossroads in my life and I had to dig deep and get still to figure out a way out of the mess I was in. I'd been in very messy situations before like paralytic polio at age 5 with a drug addicted neglectful mother followed by 9 years of unrelenting violence culminating with my father's suicide. I'd been touched by grace and had earth angels come into my life who would encourage me and support me seeing all that was right and good within me. I was high school valedictorian and received a free ride to Boston University my freshman year with scholarships.

It wasn't easy but I got my Bachelor's in Communications, went on to receive an MSW from Boston College and had an award winning career as a VA social worker. All those years of living from my intellect and ignoring/despising my body finally caught up with me in 2006.

So how does one find their way out of a diagnosis of a progressive neuromuscular disease? How does one heal a life?

I sat down in February of 2007 and got very still. Spirit flowed through my pen, what has become my Divining Rod for Healing, and poetry, initially in the cadence of Dr. Seuss poured out of me with images of health, healing, wholeness, dancing in the rain without my leg brace, forgiveness, gratitude. My very first poem was called, "Running the Race." which foreshadowed my 2009 Boston Marathon run.

So that's what got me going on my healing path....what keeps me on my healing path?

It's all about the mettle. I didn't need to register to run my 2nd CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Marathon. I could easily have rested on all of my laurels during this past 10 year healing odyssey. But something inside of me needs me to challenge myself, to have big goals and to attain those goals and to test my mettle along the way. It does get rather nippy in New England this time of year although we have been so blessed with moderate temperatures to get in our long runs. It's dark when we get up to get in our 5K run during the week. Core work, cross training, strength training and swimming take up the 3 days when I don't run. In addition to my grit and determination, I am incredibly blessed to partner each week with Jeffrey Spratt,MT whose innovative Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy flushes out my body from the grueling training regimen and helps me to heal the trauma so I can gain strength and run unencumbered in my body.

I am so incredibly blessed that my Facebook friend, Nicole, is running her 2nd CONSECUTIVE Houston Marathon which just happens to be on the same exact day as the Bermuda Half Marathon. Last year we "trained together" counting down the days, inspiring one another and now we are sharing in the excitement of experiencing the same race that will be entirely different this year. One of my friends from my old running Club, L Street, is going to be running the Bermuda Triangle Challenge and she is staying across the street from our hotel. Members of the Merrimack Valley Striders are going to be there and staying not far from where our hotel, the Rosedon Hotel is. In the midst of a New England Winter we are all fired up with training and having our eyes on the prize which for me will be this medal:


Ten years ago I was wearing this:


Today I am wearing this:


and tomorrow I once again test my mettle as Team McManus runs for 11 miles counting down to Bermuda Marathon Weekend.

To your health and wellness,
Mary

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! December Milestones and a Time to Celebrate Healing!



Ten years ago on December 6th I sat down at a round table at Spaulding Rehab's International Rehab Center for Polio and Post Polio with a physiatrist, a physical therapist, an occupational therapist and a speech and language therapist to talk about my diagnosis, prognosis and treatment plan. I had 7 tubes of blood drawn and been through extensive testing because the diagnosis of post polio syndrome is a diagnosis of exclusion meaning that everything else had to be ruled out before a definitive diagnosis could be made. Things looked rather grim for me. I was told to quit my award winning job as a VA social worker, go on social security disability, adapt our Cape house, be prepared to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair possibly needing a feeding tube at some point because of the sluggishness of the left side of my esophagus and to get a sleep apnea machine because of my compromised respiratory system.

In February of 2007, I got still and asked for Divine Guidance and my pen became my Divining Rod for healing as I imagined myself as healthy and whole even Running the Race. I was blessed with a physical therapist at Spaulding's Downtown Clinic who refused to treat me like a polio survivor. She supported me in my transition from work to retirement and shared in the joy of my new found passion of writing poetry.

Here I am in December of 2007:


I went on to run the 2009 Boston Marathon;


recovered after going into outpatient physical therapy at Newton Wellesley Hospital under the guidance of Dr. El-Abd who I affectionately called my master magician of a spine specialist and ran race after race in 2010-2011 until my nephew's suicide stopped me cold.

I returned to the roads in 2013 and it was a slow, tortuous process of getting back into running. I willed myself to heal and partnered with less than optimal body workers.

I was an injury waiting to happen and in December 2014, my left knee blew out. The MRI results were not pretty. Once again I was told what was happening in my body and what I needed to do to avoid further damage with the prospect of needing a total knee replacement in a few years. Don't run but we know you will so cap the distance at 3-5 miles.

The powerful intentions I set forth in my poetry set the wheels in motion in the Universe to deliver me to Dr. Ryan Means, a chiropractor healer and Jeffrey Spratt,MT, a pioneer and trail blazer massage therapist.

My memoir, "Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing, Hope and Possibility," available on Amazon chronicles the first 7 years on my healing journey working to heal the adverse effects of paralytic polio followed by 9 years of neglect and more abuse than any person should ever have to endure.

The soon to be released, "Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance," chronicles my transformation and the miracle of my healing from 2014 through my running of the Bermuda Half Marathon and the Hyannis 10K earlier this year. I am deeply grateful to Dr. Ryan for being there to get me back on my healing path, turning me onto the work of Dr. Joe Dispenza and for reminding me to set goals not limits; and to Jeffrey for partnering with me each and every week to help me reclaim my advantage and reclaim my life through the power of positive touch and his life saving Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy.


In 46 days Team McManus toes the starting line of the 2017 Bermuda Half Marathon. In 44 days Tom will begin his Bermuda Triangle Half Challenge with the Front St. Mile, the Bermuda 10K and the Half with me on Sunday. What a weekend it's going to be this year!

I have overcome so many incredible obstacles.


And now I am poised and ready to take on the 2017 Bermuda Half Marathon....4 more long runs and then taper time. Besides the beautiful course, the hospitality and warmth of the Island of Bermuda this beauty waits for me after I cross the finish line:


Ten years ago.... two years ago.... cross roads and crises that led me to this moment in my life.

This December along with my 63rd birthday on December 25th I will celebrate my milestones in healing.

To your health and wellness,
~Mary

Monday, November 28, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Feeling Challenged

When I woke up this morning everything was sore!



And that's just the way it's supposed to be as we build miles and count down to Bermuda Marathon Race Weekend 2017. 48 days until Team McManus toes the starting line of the 2017 Bermuda Half Marathon:


but only 46 days until Tom embarks on his Bermuda Triangle Half Marathon. Four medals in four days! The Front St Mile followed by the Bermuda 10K followed by the Half Marathon!

I am going to be 63 in less than a month; Tom turns 65 in March. One might ask the question--why are you doing this?

The first answer that comes to mind is - because we can! We are so blessed - I am so blessed. Before partnering with Jeffrey Spratt,MT who pioneered the Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy I could not overcome the toll that paralytic polio followed by 9 years of unrelenting violence at the hands of family members had taken on me mind, body and soul. For the first time in my life, I have momentum and a sense of confidence and joy in being able to challenge myself - and challenge myself for the SECOND CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Half Marathon. Jeffrey loves placing the emphasis on the SECOND CONSECUTIVE.

It's such a blessing that the Universe has put two healers in my path, Dr. Ryan and Jeffrey who believe in quantum healing and love and support me every mile on my quest to heal from polio and trauma. I used to live in fear and hesitation when it came to challenging my body. It was broken and broken down for such a large part of my life that it took a lot of energy, intention and action to make the shift to feeling healthy, whole and believing in its resilience.

I was so blessed to be out on the course with Tim Price in Bermuda. Um no I was not in the lead with the marathoners; it's a two loop course and one of the benefits of being a back of the pack runner is you get to see the front runners of the marathon.

He shared this wonderful perspective in a recent interview:
When asked, You have a great social media presence, especially on Instagram. If you could accomplish anything via social media what would it be? He answered: Get people to become more active and maintain a healthier lifestyle. I couldn’t care less how far or fast people run, walk, cycle, swim or do anything…as long as they are being active. Most of us are given this freaking amazing gift of a fully functioning body and to see how many people waste it is astonishing. Always think of those people who are physically unable to walk/lift/run/exercise through disabilities (not obesity)…do you think they would waste such an amazing gift? The results of more active lifestyles reach (and improve) most every aspect of our lives.

I've been given the gift of healing and a new lease on life after having been told 10 years ago that I should plan to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair because of the diagnosis of post polio syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease. I have an obligation to myself and to others to be the best version of myself I can possibly be and to continue to challenge myself.

One of the nudges from the Universe letting me know that it was time for me to leave Spaulding Rehab's Aquatic Therapy Program came when the women in the program asked me why I ran.


The instructors and the women in the classes were challenging me about why I was challenging myself. After my knee injury in December of 2014, everyone told me that it was time to stop running and for about a New York minute I believed it and then I realized that running was in my blood even though I was a late comer to the sport at the age of 53.

Tim was asked, "From your experiences running, what do you believe to be true?"

Tim replied, "People are meant to be active. Our bodies are designed to move and explore the world around us and it is one of the greatest tragedies of modern times that so many people willingly waste it. Also runners, as a collective, are some of the most inviting and supportive people. How many complete strangers have congratulated you after a race? If everyone took this attitude to their every day lives the world would be a much better place."

I'm excited to see Tim and an entire crew of international runners along with our Bermudian friends when we once again return to Bermuda. I am sore to the core and just about everywhere else. Today I got back in the pool to do strength training and more stretching after a ShakeOut (TM) Massage with Jeffrey which helped to get everything flowing again. It hurt so good. I won't do another run this week after not having solid time for rest and recovery last week with volunteering at the Feaster Five, heading to New York City where we logged 6 and 5 miles respectively and doing our 10.5 miler yesterday. I'll do another cross training in the pool and cross train on the Arc Trainer and Bike.

Next Saturday we will see if we are going to do another 10.5 miler or bump it up to 11 miles. We have a great base and I've been training harder and smarter than I ever have before in my life. At this point in our training, I know I am half marathon ready and we'll see how my body feels to see what distance will make sense.

I feel strong and I embrace the pain and soreness because it's so good for me. Rather than being challenged by those who would assault and abuse me I an challenging myself as I go the distance on the road to the Bermuda Half Marathon reclaiming my advantage and reclaiming my life every mile along the way.

To your health and wellness!
~Mary