This is me in December 2007 and how I looked the last time I went to Bermuda a year after being diagnosed with post polio syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease:
You can't see the leg brace under my long skirt. I had to use a wheelchair to get around the airports and used a cane when we walked around Front Street.
Yesterday I received a Skype call from Clarence "Stoker" Smith, Assistant Race Director who Tom and I met along with Race Director Anthony Raynor at the Harvard Pilgrim Finish at the 50 Race Expo in July.
I set the intention that I would run the Bermuda Half Marathon that had been on my bucket list for several years.
Clarence was checking in with me to see if I would need massage therapy during my time on the Island. Anthony's girlfriend, Sue is a massage therapist and specializes in sports massage and rehab so she is available to me for anything I need during our trip!
Clarence's wife was there and she was cheering me and blessing me in the background.
"What are you planning for your time?" Clarence asked.
"A sub four half," I declared.
His wife cheered me on and said that she is going to have to come down to Front Street to cheer us on.
I shared with them how we have been visualizing the race. During the final stretch of our long runs, I described to them how Tom and I imagine the announcer saying, "And here comes Team McManus from Boston Massachusetts coming into the finish line. They have been long time Island visitors and after a several year hiatus we are delighted to welcome them back."
More cheers and shrieks from Clarence's wife and a warm, hearty laugh and smile from Clarence.
Goosebumps were everywhere and I got emotional as I remembered how I felt the last time I visited the Island.
We talked about the weather in Bermuda. It was 70 degrees and sunny and Clarence was going to the chicken farm to get manure to put in his garden. I told him about how blessed we have been with the weather in Boston but we have trained in all kinds of weather. He told me one year they had hurricane like conditions but the race still went on. "But my wife here will be offering up prayers for perfect weather on race day so you have nothing to worry about."
He asked me about our flights and where we are staying. Bermuda hospitality at its finest - he called one of his friends on the Island to arrange for our cab from the airport to the Rosedon
and wants to get together with us Friday night after the Front Street Mile. We can find him sitting with the Premier. There is no such thing as a short story with a Bermudian - smile - and he gave me the history of how he came to sit with the Premier at the Front Street Mile.
To say I am getting excited about running the Bermuda Half Marathon in just 40 days is a gross understatement. In my mind's eye I have already run it and gotten my bling and yet I am savoring every moment of preparation for race day.
I have come a long way since 2007
I know how blessed I am every step of the way on this amazing journey as I go the distance once more counting down the days until Team McManus lands in Bermuda and crosses the finish line of the 2016 Bermuda Half Marathon.