Sunday, April 5, 2015

Why set limits? Only take yes for an answer!

Last year at the L Street Pre-Marathon meeting, I was blessed to meet Dave McGillivray. I brought my copy of The Last Pick for him to sign and he wrote, "Set goals not limits." At the time, I didn't know that Dave had a thing about autographs but he was gracious to sign my book for me. Dave is one of the people I feature who are Boston Stronger in Journey Well.

The first time I met Dave McGillivray was at the mobility-impaired start of the 2009 Boston Marathon. He told us that he would be giving us an oral command - Runners take your mark, get set, go. He put his hand down much as they do to signal the start of a lap at a car race. I was star struck to be standing next to the race director for the Boston Marathon and having him give us the start of our 2009 Boston Marathon run. It didn't matter that there was an entire race to orchestrate and command. He was totally focused and present in that moment. We were all that mattered to him.

And that's who Dave McGillivray is...I have seen him in passing in his role as race director and admire his ability to put on his game face and get the job done. The 2013 BAA 10K was a daunting event to put on I'm sure, yet he made sure that Boston moved forward as a running community.

Dave spoke at the L Street Running Club pre-Marathon meeting. He shared with us his health challenge of the last year when he was diagnosed with severe blockages in his heart. "I got myself into this mess," were his thoughts after his cardiac catheterization, "and I'm gonna get myself out." He explained the difference between being fit and being healthy. He shared with us the view of last year's events through his eyes but he wouldn't dwell there. He looked ahead to the weekend and Marathon Monday. "This is our race," he told our Club. He stood on the side after his talk. I went over to him and quietly stood next to him for a few moments until there was a lull between speakers. I had a copy of his book "The Last Pick" and asked him if he would sign it. I told him I ran the 2009 Boston Marathon as a mobility impaired runner.

"You did?" he said. "Good for you." He signed my book, "Set goals, not limits."

In Friday's KT taping session with Dr. Ryan of Elevate Health Cambridge, I told him that I was so happy to be working my way back to a 5K and I would cap off my distance at 5 miles for the Ogunquit Beach Lobster Dash.

Without missing a beat, as Dr. Ryan did Graston Technique on my feet to help move me out of old patterns and allow my body to find its way to its natural state of wellness and goodness he said, "Why set limits?"

We are each reading "You Are The Placebo" by Dr. Joe Dispenza.

It seems that I need to keep reminding myself over and over and over again about my body's tremendous capacity for healing. I shared with Dr. Ryan that on MRI, the polio virus took out the medial gastroc muscle on my left calf and that I was working on visualizing a new one. "If I could dissolve a breast tumor, why can't I grow a new gastroc right?" I shared the story of when in April of 2007, I had an abnormal mammogram and everyone told me what a wonderful oncology team was available to me at MGH Cancer Care Center. I was dealing with the diagnosis of post polio syndrome at the time and no way in hell was I going to throw breast cancer into the mix. So I spent the week before I had to return for my mammogram visualizing my left breast as having only healthy tissue and sending love and healing to my left breast. There is a strong family history of breast cancer and there was no way I was going to be next in line. When I went back, they took images every which way they could and it was gone.

Dr. Ryan suggested that we tape my gastroc because the KT tape can be used to decrease inflammation (and by the way the swelling is gone from my left knee using icing before and after exercise and with the taping for runs), to brace a joint and also to activate and stimulate the muscle. I title this picture, Mary Mary quite contrary how does your gastroc grow?

Contrary because I have "gone against" much of the advice I received from the medical community as a polio survivor which involved setting limits with the caveat, "If you use it, you will lose it."

As Dr. Ryan worked on my feet I said, "Wow." He asked me if the pressure was too much and I said, "Oh no. I just went to that place within me that ran the Boston Marathon." I told him there is nothing in the world like training for and running a marathon. When I thought about it I felt exhilarated and then had a moment of "I can't run another marathon." I realized that I was remembering running a marathon in my body as it was then not the body I am today and certainly not the body that keeps changing, evolving, getting stronger and healing all that went before; the body that has infinite possibilities.

Who would have ever thought I could get up off of the toilet seat without holding on? Oh and that comment I made in the blog about if it doesn't happen on a particular day .... forget that ... why set limits? I keep practicing and I only take yes for an answer using Henry Ford's quote as my guide:

Journey well!

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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