Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Newport Marathon 2016

"If you put your mind to it, you could run another marathon," Alain Ferry told me when we volunteered together at the Runner's World Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon Weekend Expo.

I recently reflected on Dave McGillvray's inscription to me in his book, "The Last Pick," set goals not limits ..."Why Set Limits?"

Why indeed?

In my first massage with Jeff Spratt of Spratt Muscular Therapies, I told him my goals for treatment. As he worked on my legs I could feel that he was joining with my intention to run another marathon. I said out loud, "Oh yes...there is another 26.2 miles in these legs." I could feel him smile and we have set up weekly 90 minute massages to support my training, keep me loose and to help me reinforce these new neuromuscular pathways I am building.

My husband Tom is totally on board and very excited that Team McManus is going the distance again - together!

With my support team in place, all I had to do was find a marathon.

I knew Boston is too grueling a course for me and training through the winter again would be too harsh for me. Tom suggested a fall marathon.

Newport, Rhode Island has a Marathon on Columbus Day weekend. I emailed the race on Facebook and got back almost an immediate response. Yes they would accommodate me with an early start. Yes they would keep the finish line open past the 8 hour mark and would I like to fund raise again? The event director sent me a link to their Crowdrise fundraising page.

As soon as I knew there was 26.2 on the horizon, I felt a shift in my training and once I had an actual race to look forward to, I began to train mind, body and Spirit to go the distance. My training and self care has taken on a whole new meaning now that I am training for another marathon. I'm training not only my body but my mind and have a purpose and a reason for my workouts and runs now. I respect my rest days. I ice. I stretch and know that any adjustments I need to make I can make partnering with two wonderful, dedicated and experienced professionals. I have coaches in the running community I can consult with and most importantly of all, I listen to my innate wisdom. There is a whole new level of awareness, appreciation for life, a vibrancy, a vitality - a glow.

And I'm not just running for me ... I am going to run to raise money and awareness for the Arredondo Family Foundation.

I had to leave my career as a VA social worker to heal my life and now I have a way to pay it forward to the veteran community and continue to help them heal. The Foundation supports families affected by military suicide, those affected by tragedy and trauma and is establishing scholarships for military siblings who attend UMass Boston, a grossly under served population. Current partner organizations for emergency fund distribution include Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund, Military Friends, American Red Cross, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Work, Inc and the Samaritans.

My father suicided when I was 17 years old and four years ago on 3/4/11, my nephew jumped off of his fishing boat as it was coming into Point Judith, Rhode Island diagonally across from Newport, RI on the map. The Coast Guard and police ruled it a suicide. He was 28 years old. My life once again came to a screeching halt and I struggled with finding my way back to my healing path. 4/15/13 was a wake up call to get back on my healing path and return to the sport and community that is my medicine, my therapy and helps me to heal mind, body and Spirit. It also shook me to my core and I needed to take time to heal and continue to heal from the terror of that day. How amazing that I will be able to run for the AFF that supports veterans and is working to support survivors of suicide and to prevent suicide which has sadly reached epidemic proportions in the military population.

Newport Marathon 2016 - I will toe the starting line and go the distance - for myself, for the AFF and to feel that sense of unbridled joy and accomplishment in my life. It will be a rebirth of myself, reclaiming the distance runner within me running to make a difference in the lives of others.

Be blessed. Journey well. To all good things....

My latest book, "Journey Well" is now available on Amazon along with all of my inspirational books. 50% of book proceeds are donated to the Massachusetts Resiliency Center, a safe, welcoming space for survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing to heal and stay in touch with one another; a virtual hub for a widely dispersed community whose lives have been impacted by the tragic events of April 15th and the events that followed.

When terror struck the world's oldest and most beloved marathon on April 15, 2013, it was a defining moment in Mary McManus’ life and the lives of all those in Boston and around the world. It was her wake up call to return to the sport and community that have been medicine and a lifeline for her throughout her marathon of healing the late effects of paralytic polio and experiencing 9 years of domestic violence as a child and adolescent. Mary captures the essence of Boston Strong through her experience of the 2014 Boston Marathon and as she profiles the people who are Boston Stronger. Through her blog posts, poems and journal entries woven together with excerpts from her memoir, “Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing, Hope and Possibility,” you will experience, through one woman’s journey of transformation and healing, that no matter what happens to us, we can all learn to journey well.

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