Saturday, August 1, 2015

My Running Chronicles: Six Miles and a Celebration of Healing!

My day began with a knot in my stomach ... August 1st ... forty four years ago today my dad took his life. As I meditated, I could feel the knot release as I moved into affirmations and feelings of grace and gratitude that is showering upon me. I reflected on how I wanted to create my day. After all, I am training for the Bermuda Half Marathon in January! Team McManus will be running their longest distance together since I ran the Tufts 10K last October.

After our meditation, we did our plank, crunches and clam exercises. We had our usual pre-training run breakfast of quinoa toast, OJ, banana, and I have oatmeal while Tom has granola loaded with additional nuts and berries. I packed up our cooler bag, grabbed beach towels for our "nature's own ice bath" after the run, stretched and off we went to South Boston.

The day was hot and Tom reminded me that this was a long run so we didn't need to worry about pace. Tom runs an 8-10 minute/mile pace with relative ease so he wasn't aware of our pace. I was keeping up with him and thinking "Wow this is really awesome. I'm keeping a pretty good pace." On our long runs we don't stop until mile 2 for a water stop. I took some hits from my ice water and we even cooled off under the sprinklers at the beach. We had our 2 mile water stop and then I felt like my legs were feeling sluggish. I noticed my quads were getting tight. Even though we were only at 2.66 miles, I told Tom I needed to take another water break. I was trying to figure out what was going on. I told Tom that I thought we went out too fast and given the heat, I needed to slow down the pace. Tom was totally on board with that and said he was so glad I was listening to my body and running from the inside out. In fact, we went out at a 15:33 pace which is what we do for a tempo run right now.

As we slowed the pace, I could get back into a comfortable running pace enjoying the spectacular views of the water and running along the coast. "This is how it will be in Bermuda," I said but was quick to add that it will not be 85 degrees and humid.

We ran by Tom's alma mater, UMass Boston, the JFK Library and the newly built Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the U.S. Senate. I had never run along this route and soaked up the energy of the area. Sailboats and kayaks were in the water. I kept thinking about how good it was going to feel to go for our after run swim in the ocean.

Once we slowed our pace, even though it was hot, I was thoroughly enjoying our run. There were many runners, bikers and walkers out on the Harborwalk and we could feel the sense of Oneness with smiles as we passed. I felt the excitement of training for my first half marathon since 2009.

After our water stop at mile 4 something incredible happened inside of me. I became aware of and completely experienced the reality that my left knee and leg are completely healed. I can do whatever I want to do now in terms of exercise and distance running.

I felt this geyser of joy rise up within me and felt that today's training run was a celebration of healing! The pace did not matter. As the miles went by, rather than saying we had 3 miles to go, I said we have 10.1 miles to go allowing the feeling of being an endurance runner to wash through my entire body and Being. I ran from the inside out honoring the heat of the day.

As we neared the "finish line" of our run, we once again imagined how it is going to feel to cross the finish line of the Bermuda Half Marathon. I cried and felt goosebumps as I ran swift to the finish. Tom and I hugged as though we had just run 13.1 miles...I felt as though I could have run forever. We fueled with grapefruit, gluten free nuts and seeds crackers and lots of hydration before heading to the beach. It was high tide and I walked right into the water. I even dove in and went for a swim. Tom and I sat on the beach to dry out. We swam in our running shorts and I had on my sports bra. It was delightful and liberating to not care what anyone else thought about what we were doing. From our vantage point on the beach, we could see the route we ran!

I know in every fiber of my being that this time I am going the distance on and off of the roads in my marathon of healing.

I have a new found strength and confidence in my body.

What a miracle that I have finally healed from the terror and grief of my father's life that tragically ended 44 years ago today. How amazing that the stone of grief is finally gone from my chest and today I ran 6 miles unencumbered to experience a celebration of healing!

I chronicle the first 7 years of my healing journey after being diagnosed with post polio syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease as a survivor of childhood paralytic polio and 9 years of childhood domestic violence in Coming Home:A Memoir of Healing, Hope and Possibility.

"Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems," my latest collection of inspirational poetry is now available soon on Amazon

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