Sunday, November 16, 2014

Running Happy! Training for the Boston Volvo Village 5K to Benefit the MS Society

Brooks' slogan is "Run Happy."

Running does not come easily to me as one who lives with the late effects of paralytic polio and healing the residuals of violence in my body. While I may not be able to run easily or fast, I can run happy.

It was 30 degrees yesterday but the sun was shining on a beautiful November fall day. I had to watch out for patches of icy leaves on the ground. There was a strong headwind. I was fully equipped with my cold weather gear from Brookline Marathon Sports but when we first set out, my face froze and my fingers were numb. I moved up my neck gator and used the thumb hole from my shirt to help warm me up. As my core temperature rose, it spread warmth to my face, hands and legs. My smile and happy attitude brought a psychological warmth to my Being that translated into physical warmth. I felt capable in my body.

I was running side by side with my life and running partner, Tom. I felt a lightness and ease in my body and a sense of joy in movement. As soon as I saw another runner in the opposite direction, I picked up my pace and waved as we ran by each other. I knew this was my last intense training run before the Boston Volvo Village 5K on Thanksgiving. I was energized from attending Fashion Plates on Friday.

I am hoping for a PR time of anything better than 46:53 which was my time at the Bill Rodgers 5K. It will depend on weather conditions and what my body can give me on the day. I can work to create mind/body conditions that stack the deck in my favor on race day. Running as Team McManus, the dynamic duo, fills my heart with joy and gratitude. Running for a cause lights a fire within me despite my own challenges. The thought of Alain Ferry being at the finish line brings a smile to my face and a kick to my run.

I wanted to allow myself plenty of time to recover from my last intense training run before race day. I'll be doing twice/week Aquatics Therapy this week and will get in the pool Tuesday before the race. I'll have one more massage treatment this Thursday at Sollievo Massage and Bodywork before race day. I'll be pacing household chores and making sure I get plenty of rest in the days leading up to the race. We've run the course several times in snow, in wind and in sun. Next Saturday we will walk the course to shake out my legs and to help me visualize the race I want to run.

I feel a new found strength and freedom as a runner deep in my soul. In last Thursday's treatment at Sollievo with Joseph, I told him that I wanted to work on shifting the energy of confinement. During the treatment many body and emotional sensations came to the surface. Perhaps the most powerful experience was when my left leg got hot from the inside out and the outside in. My left side was more profoundly affected by the polio virus. I sobbed and Joseph supported me as my mind/body processed the memory of having hot woolen blankets on my legs as part of the physical therapy treatments. Emotionally and spiritually, I processed the moral dilemma of how one manages the rage of violation and being battered. The wisdom of Nelson Mandela

joined with my own awareness to help release me from the prison of my past. My work is not in destroying those who tried to destroy me but rather in destroying the hold they had on me. At one point I felt, "So much happened to me it boggles my mind." Spirit responded, "Don't try to figure it out. Be here now. Let the Universe take care of it. Let go of anything that is not love."

Tom and I incorporated many hills and speed work into yesterday's run. I ran from the inside out. At one point, I knew I had more in the tank and left it there for race day. It was exhilarating to feel that I could have pushed but was able to pace myself and hold back. This intimate connection with my body is a blessing.

As we were coming up our final hill there was a runner getting ready to go out on his run. Tom helped me give it all I had and we smiled and waved as we passed him wishing him a good run.

As we came toward the end of our run, Tom had me kick it into high gear. I was running hard. My legs were feeling the effects of running in the cold. I was wheezing; the cold takes a toll on my respiratory system. None of that mattered. I was running happy!

What is even more important to me than a PR is exceeding my fundraising goal to help create a world free of MS. You can read about my passion for running for MS and make a donation to support my run on my personal fund raising page.

The first 7 years of my healing odyssey are chronicled in Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing, Hope and Possibility available on Amazon. I donate 50% of royalty payments to The One Fund Boston to help survivors and their families who were affected by the tragic events of 4/15/13.

My 2nd book, "Journey Well," is coming soon. 50% of book proceeds will be donated to AccesSportAmerica to help them continue their life changing programs:

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