Friday, February 27, 2015

God I'm a dancer - a dancer dances

I was a star struck 15 year old in 1968 when, after seeing Promises,Promises on Broadway I was face to face with Donna McKechnie and Ken Howard at a Christmas party my cousin Paul Blake and his partner were hosting in Greenwich Village. In 1976 I sat in the front row balcony watching A Chorus Line mesmerized by Cassie's solo number, "The Music and the Mirror". Donna McKechnie won the Tony that year and A Chorus Line swept the Tonys with 9 awards.

Three years later, Donna was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. I learned about her journey because she was a guest on Boston's WBZ radio, The Jordan Rich Show several years ago. She could barely get out of bed and was in a wheelchair. Doctors told her she would never walk, never mind dance again. She pursued various physical, psychological, and holistic healing remedies, and was well enough to return to the Broadway company of A Chorus Line in 1986.



I am reading Donna's book, "Time Steps: My Musical Comedy Life."

I am so blessed and deeply grateful for all I am able to do; for all I've been able to achieve since the diagnosis of post polio syndrome in December 2006. I know how lucky I was on 4/15/13 to be upstairs at the Mandarin rather than at the finish line or downstairs across from The Forum which was our original plan. The doctor at the post polio clinic says, "We don't recommend running for polio survivors but you have your own life to lead." Last year I had a stunning run of 9 races in 9 months with two PR's. A knee injury was my wake up call to add in core, quad and hip flexor strengthening exercises. I'm cross training on my bike and getting ready to return to the roads in April. I have also been remembering what it felt like to dance before - before I experienced paralytic polio at the age of 5 and 9 years of domestic violence culminating with my dad's suicide when I was 17.

I have been transforming from someone who uses will and determination to move in my body to one who uses ease and grace even while strength training.

I had this feeling come over me that I could be daring to dance again. Even just once in a dance studio.

A few weeks ago I googled Adrianne Haslet-Davis and found this stunning video from TedX Beacon Street:


After losing her leg on 4/15/13, she vowed she would dance again.

This morning I googled Donna McKechnie and as synchronicity would have it in a stunning move, she is going to be the understudy for Chita Rivera in The Visit.


Chita Rivera is 82 years old and Donna McKechnie is 72. I am only 61 ...

So I am putting this out to the Universe -- I want to dance again. I'll continue to build strength and feel grace, ease and stretch for flexibility. I'll continue to visualize dancing and embodying me as a dancer.. I need a studio with someone like Adriane or Donna who has come back from being told they would never dance again ... just once or maybe twice - the music and the mirror and a chance to dance for you -- because God I'm a dancer - a dancer dances.

Journey well!

"Journey Well" and all of my inspirational books are available on Amazon.

"Journey Well" is a book about resilience, strength, courage and how we are able to journey well no matter what conditions life hands to us. I profile the people who are Boston Stronger and share how 4/15/13 was a wake up call to me to return to my healing path from contracting paralytic polio at age 5 and 9 years of domestic violence as a child and adolescent.



50% of all book proceeds are donated to the Mass Resiliency Center to benefit Boston Strong survivors of 4/15/13.


Thursday, February 26, 2015

#tbt and a look ahead: Ogunquit Beach Lobster Dash

Because of my knee injury last December, I got to choose one race for 2015. I thought long and hard about which race to choose. My race-iversary, the Corrib Pub Run seemed like the most likely choice and I have treasured moments of running it last year with Tom and the fabulous Feeney Sisters:


I certainly have a good base, could get back to the 5K distance by June but being mindful of not pushing things (the Spirit is more than willing but the flesh still needs healing) I decided that my one race will be the Oguqnuit Lobster Dash in September.

From "Journey Well":

"I have learned that there is no failure in running, or in life, as long as you keep moving." ~Amby Burfoot

I'm now off the sidelines...Race Report: Ogunquit Beach Lobster Dash September 14, 2014

The last two couplets of "Running the Race," were:
I'm now off the sidelines, no need to sit and whine
so much gratitude fills my heart and love and beauty shine.
After all these years I can join the loving human race
I exceed all expectations and now I set the pace.

I love how the unconscious prepares the way for the future over and over and over again. It's been a rough road back to regain my speed and endurance after taking a running hiatus from September 2011 until April 2013, but it has been filled with glorious moments to treasure...We had checked the forecast for Ogunquit Beach and knew it was time to forego shorts and tank tops for layers as we dressed for success at the Ogunquit Beach Lobster Dash. We arrived with plenty of time to get our race tees, put on our numbers and shared hugs, love and laughter with our Merrimack Valley Striders running family, have photo ops and for me to meet up with my race walkers Bonnie, Joanne and Charmaine.

Charmaine said that as race-walkers, we'd get an early start. My kind of race for sure. The Lobster Dash is an out and back route on the beach at low tide. There was a stiff head wind and a mixture of sun and clouds. The beautiful surf provided the soundtrack for our run. It was a very Chariots of Fire kind of moment -- only we weren't running barefoot or in the ocean or maybe not quite that fast but it was a majestic, magical and mystical run to experience the expansiveness of the ocean as the waves broke near the shore. We got to know one another as we set out ahead of the other runners. We expressed a shared concern that we would be holding the other ladies back with our pace. I had set an intention that we would all find a pace that would be both comfortable yet challenging for each of us...

Having the lead runners pass us on their way to the finish line reminded me of Marathon Monday 2009 when, after our early start for mobility impaired runners, we shared the course with all of the elite runners. I told Tom that I wanted him to run his own race. He came up from behind and gave me a high five. I pushed him forward and said, "Go!" Our Strider friends passed and cheered us along letting us know how strong we looked. As they returned, they cheered us on. Tom Licciardello in true Tom form said, "Don't go beyond the rocks." There was no beach beyond the rocks! We joked that if you made it to Canada you went too far on the course. A tailwind helped us on the return 2.5 miles. My Tom came out to meet us, run us in, and to document our journey with photos and videos. He showed us the bling.





We kept encouraging each other along as we picked up the pace to the finish. Mile 5 was our fastest pace. We couldn't see the Finish Line. They had taken down the sign that signified Start/Finish. Charmaine kept reminding us that it didn't matter...



As we finished strong, I saw Tom Licciardello at the chute. He hugged me and asked me how it felt to be out there. I cried tears of joy. "It was my first 5-miler since my return to the roads." ... Joanne said that the 16:25 pace was a personal best for her and today's race was the longest distance she had ever run. She had only run 5K's since she began running in recent years. She's 62 years old.

I could have opted to be my Tom's cheerleader as was the original plan, and done my own training run today but I decided that there was no need to be on the sidelines. The Ogunquit Beach Lobster Dash is ideal for me where, I can set my pace and be a part of the running community. It's a far cry from the days when I was left behind lugging my leg brace desperately trying to catch up with my brother and his friends. We ladies checked in with each other throughout the race making sure everyone was doing okay. We'd back off the pace to accommodate each other when necessary and chase after each other when someone took the lead to set a brisk pace. There was harmony and ease among us. We vowed to cross the finish line together! We named ourselves the fierce foursome. We had the courage to run our race in our own way at our own pace being a part of the loving human race - a community of runners where unconditional love and support abound whether you finish first, last or somewhere in between."


Treasured memories from 2014's Ogunquit Beach Lobster Dash and an intention to be reunited with the fierce foursome is set for this year's Lobster Dash. And so it shall be!

Journey well!

"Journey Well" and all of my inspirational books are available on Amazon.

"Journey Well" is a book about resilience, strength, courage and how we are able to journey well no matter what conditions life hands to us. I profile the people who are Boston Stronger and share how 4/15/13 was a wake up call to me to return to my healing path from contracting paralytic polio at age 5 and 9 years of domestic violence as a child and adolescent.



50% of all book proceeds are donated to AccesSportAmerica where people of all ages and abilities achieve higher function and fitness through high challenge sports and training.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

LungLeavin' Day: Throw your fears to the fire - "With hope the odds don't matter!"



It’s called LungLeavin’ Day, a moniker Von St. James’ husband and sister invented to help quell her fears. The surgery, on Feb. 2, 2006, took her left lung, the lining around her heart, half her diaphragm, her sixth rib and a few lymph nodes. Twelve weeks of chemo followed, Pat Pheifer wrote in a recent article in the StarTribune covering the 9th annual LungLeavin' Day party at Heather Von St. James' house where more than 100 people share food and drink, support and laughter.

The purpose of this holiday is to encourage others to face their fears. Each year, family and friends gather around a fire in their backyard, write their biggest fears on a plate and smash them into the fire. They celebrate for those who are no longer with them, for those who continue to fight, for those who are currently going through a tough time in their life, and most importantly, they celebrate life! Visit Heather's LungLeavin' Day interactive page that tells the full story of this remarkable tradition.

When I worked as a social worker at the VA, I had several veterans who were diagnosed with mesothelioma, a deadly form of lung cancer caused by asbestos exposure. I worked with my contacts in the Service Organizations and the VA Regional Office Benefits to expedite their claims to at least provide financial support to my veterans and their families and to ensure that their spouses would be entitled to compensation after their death. It would have been wonderful to connect them with Heather, her vibrant spirit and message of hope.

As a side bar and an amazing coincidence, one of my veterans, Rear Admiral Wendell N. Johnson (Retired) had the same surgeon as Heather, Dr. Sugarbaker at the Brigham and Women's Hospital decades before for the Admiral's life saving extensive surgery for cancer secondary to Agent Orange Exposure. The Admiral was given 6 months to live in the 1980's. He died in 2006.

Three and a half months after giving birth to her daughter, on 11/21/2005, Heather was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a cancer diagnosis that at best predicts a life expectancy of 15 months. Mesothelioma is also known as asbestos cancer and is highly unusual in a young person only 36 years old. When Heather was a little girl, she wore her father's coat that was covered in asbestos from his construction job. On 2/2/2006, she had her surgery.

"We operate from a place of hope and living in the moment," Heather says in this video that shares her journey and her message of hope and inspiration:


Here are photos from this year's LungLeavin' Day celebration that Heather shared on her Facebook page:


Heather also sold these items that raised over $6000 for research and asbestos education:


I know the fear-the terror that comes with a life altering diagnosis. In December 2006, I was given the diagnosis of post polio syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease that led me to leave my award winning career as a VA social worker and "heal my life." At the time I was told the best we could hope for was to stabilize the symptoms where they were but to be prepared to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair, possibly needing a C-PAP machine to sleep at night to improve oxygenation and if my swallowing did not improve, considering a semi soft diet and being at risk for aspiration pneumonia. But I threw my fears to the fire and took a leap of faith refocusing my life on healing my mind, body and Spirit and leaving my patients and my team at the VA in the capable hands of another social worker. As Heather says, "with hope, the odds don't matter."

What fears to do you need to throw to the fire?

Please share Heather's miraculous story and help her raise awareness of mesothelioma. From Pheifer's StarTribune article, "Von St. James, 46, is one of the rare few to have survived nine years after a mesothelioma diagnosis. About 3,000 people across the country receive a mesothelioma diagnosis each year. That number was expected to fall, since asbestos has been banned for years, but instead it’s increasing, Sugarbaker said. The disease can have as much as a 20- to 35-year latency period."

To learn more visit Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance

Journey well!

"Journey Well" and all of my inspirational books are available on Amazon.

"Journey Well" is a book about resilience, strength, courage and how we are able to journey well no matter what conditions life hands to us. I profile the people who are Boston Stronger and share how 4/15/13 was a wake up call to me to return to my healing path from contracting paralytic polio at age 5 and 9 years of domestic violence as a child and adolescent.



50% of all book proceeds are donated to AccesSportAmerica where people of all ages and abilities achieve higher function and fitness through high challenge sports and training.




Saturday, February 21, 2015

It IS a Fantastic Sport-Oh my God that was you?

It wasn't Camp Hyannis but what serendipity that Alain Ferry's Super Sunday Crew Party was happening last night. Alain and Kathleen opened their home to those who volunteered to make Super Sunday a resounding success. As Dick Beardsley said at last year's pre-race pasta dinner in Hyannis, "Running is a fantastic sport! In fact, many of the stories we runners tell have nothing to do with our races on the road but of the bonds that we as a running community share."

Despite the mountains of snow and the narrowed street, we found a handicapped parking spot clear and waiting for us. Others parked in the driveway or on a nearby street and walked over. The temperatures may have been frigid outside but inside their beautiful, warm home with two dogs and a cat it felt like Spring had returned to Boston.

As people arrived we'd all ask each other the same question, "How do you know Alain?" We regaled our stories with love and laughter.

I met Chris, the volunteer coordinator who was feverishly working behind the scenes during my bib pick up shift. Gene and I worked together during bib pick up and it was great to talk with him without the hectic pace of bib distribution. Kate is a newbie runner who is looking to run her first 5K. We hit it off right away since she brought orange wristbands that said, "Friend of robots. Do not terminate." Alain said that Tom and I would have to choose between us as to who got saved in the event of a robotics invasion since there was only one wristband left.. Kate works for Kiva Systems. We found out she lives close to where the Merrimack Valley Striders meet and suggested she connect with them. I shared the story of the Boston Marathon Medals Mystery.

"So how do you know Alain?" he asked me. I told him about meeting Alain at the Runner's World Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon. Alain was cruising through the kitchen at that moment and said to me, "This is Pickle." "Oh you were trash talking about him winning the Hat Trick that weekend," I replied. {The 5K, 10K and Half}. They started talking about different races and fast fields.

I shared with him about how Alain cheered me on to a PR at the Bill Rodgers 5K. "I was there. I came in first in my age group. Oh my God that was you? Yeah yeah we all gathered around to cheer you on." He smiled warmly. We talked about the post race celebration surprise with Phil Lipoff.



Greg Pickelsimer is his full name and he said, "You seem like you might be tuned into this...Do you remember a proposal at the finish line last year?" Tom and I said of course we did. "Oh my God that was you?" we asked. He told us the whole back story of how while he was running Boston 2013 he wanted to propose to his girlfriend Carla at the finish line. He was frustrated that he hadn't planned it to happen that year. In hindsight he says that it would have been a terrible memory to have gotten engaged that year at the site where tragedy happened. He finished long before the bombs went off ... So this year he decided was the year to propose to Carla at the finish line but it was not going to be easy given the new security measures at the finish line. Through a BAA connection, he secured a VIP pass for Carla to sit in the bleachers. He carried the ring with him the entire 26.2 miles in his pocket. After he crossed the finish line, he motioned for her to come down but Security stopped her. Security stopped him as well. He explained the plan to the Security Guard and it was a Sleepless in Seattle kind of moment where the security team allowed Carla to proceed to the finish line. Greg said that he wished he would have thought to have one of his friend's be there to capture it on film. Little did he know there would be a media frenzy to capture the moment. Meb had crossed the finish line and the media was basically marking time. Greg and Carla became their story.





We talked about "Journey Well" and how Alain is an integral part of the making of Journey Well. He brought out copies of my book he bought on Amazon along with a copy of The Long Mile Home. He showed us a photo from the #onerun. Amanda is captured in a photo crossing the finish line. Alain introduced us and it was another Oh my God that was you moment?

So although the Super Sunday Crew party was not Camp Hyannis it was filled with magic and memorable moments where new friends were made and there was time to hang out with Alain, Kathleen and people who are part of the community of a fantastic sport.

Journey well!

"Journey Well" and all of my inspirational books are available on Amazon.

"Journey Well" is a book about resilience, strength, courage and how we are able to journey well no matter what conditions life hands to us. I profile the people who are Boston Stronger and share how 4/15/13 was a wake up call to me to return to my healing path from contracting paralytic polio at age 5 and 9 years of domestic violence as a child and adolescent.



50% of all book proceeds are donated to AccesSportAmerica where people of all ages and abilities achieve higher function and fitness through high challenge sports and training.



Friday, February 20, 2015

Fundraising Friday: Meet Brittney Castine



Brittney Castine started running about 7 years ago. She graduated college and was feeling the weight of her first job on her shoulders and needed to find an outlet. She loved her career, but she knew she needed to not burn out before her first promotion!

Her first marathon was in 2012. She was training for the New York Marathon which is in early November, raising money for a group called Tuesday's Children. That was the year that they had to cancel the NYC Marathon because of Hurricane Sandy. Since she had trained so hard for her first marathon, she signed up for the Harrisburg, PA Marathon in late November.

As Brittney recalls,
"I ran that in 4:59 with about 1,000 of my closest running friends. It was very different than what I was planning! The course was through neighborhoods, a bland industrial park, and a scenic wooded trail. The problem was that the trail also had many short, steep hills- which my IT band was not prepared for, so I was in a lot of pain and really struggled through the last 10 miles. But I finished!

I finally got my first chance in New York in 2013. It was such a beautiful day, a fun, loud race and I finished 4:47 with about 50,000 of my closest running friends.

I ran my 3rd marathon- New York, for a 2nd time in November 2014. It was so windy which made running on the bridges a lot more difficult. I pushed passed all my limits and cut my time to my current PR of 4:28. I was aiming for 4:30 and I couldn't have been happier with cutting that by 2 minutes."


"So you've run 3 marathons and you PR'ed in NYC last year under very challenging conditions. Why Boston for you and why now?"

"Being from Wakefield, just outside of Boston, I have always known that I wanted to run Boston as my last marathon. While I was tapering for New York in October 2014, I was past the hard part of the training, and my crazy brain wanted to sign up for Boston (which is just 6 months later.) And… well, here I am! I decided immediately that I wanted to run with the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team. I'm a member of the Dana-Farber Leadership Council, and knew all my fundraising money should go back to this amazing hospital.

My grandfather was diagnosed with esophageal and stomach cancer in late 2009. I was working in Sweden at the time and came home for Thanksgiving and all the ladies in the family told him he needed to see his doctor immediately because he didn't look good. He was so pale, almost a light yellow. He made it to the doctor, walked to the front door, and was so winded he needed a wheelchair. He was diagnosed with stage 2 esophageal and stomach cancer, which has a 17% survival rate. The Dana-Farber doctors and surgeons immediately came up with an aggressive action plan. After 1 major surgery and rounds of chemo and radiation, the cancer was removed. He is going to celebrate his 4 years cancer free at the end of this year. My family couldn't be more thankful to the doctors and research teams at Dana-Farber."


When Brittney is not training for Boston, fundraising or at work at Genuine Interactive, a digital ad agency in the South End traveling back and forth for monthly visits to her clients in Parsippany, New Jersey, and when she's not launching a website, filming a Facebook video or working with the UK for new online ads, you can find her working part time for RaceMenu and RACE Cancer Foundation helping with races that kick cancer's ass.

"Tell me a little about your connection to Alain and RaceMenu and RACE Cancer Foundation."

"I joined RaceMenu late summer of 2014, when I was looking for a fun weekend job that I could enjoy while also training for the New York Marathon. I happened upon an ad looking for an assistant timer and crew member for RaceMenu. I realized that I had run 2 races for RaceMenu- the Miss Santa 5K in December 2013 and the SuperSunday run on Superbowl Sunday in 2014. I emailed Alain (the founder and Chief Energy Officer of RaceMenu) and and he told me to join him and help the team set up and manage the Island Run in September 2014. It was so much fun, I was immediately drawn to the fun challenge of organizing races with RaceMenu. Since then, I've worked with the team timing three races, and helping registration and day-of set up/pull down two more. I'm looking forward to more races with RaceMenu in 2015!"


I met Brittney while volunteering for the SuperSunday 5K this year. Her energy is infectious and she exudes her passion to run her fourth and what she is planning to be her final marathon, the 2015 Boston Marathon, for Dana Farber.

Here she is with her beloved Grampy:


Brittney is hosting a fundraiser in Wakefield on March 28th at 7:00pm at the Wakefield Elks Lodge #1276 62 Bay State Rd, Wakefield, Massachusetts 01880. For $25, you will be able to eat to your heart's content, enter for drawings of a wine basket, The Pampered Chef basket, movie-night basket, and more! She will have a cash bar for your bevvie options and is aiming to sign on a DJ, so bring your dancing shoes!

You can make your donation to Brittney's run for Dana Farber via her fundraising page.

One hundred percent of every dollar raised by the DFMC team supports the Claudia Adams Barr Program in Innovative Basic Cancer Research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Based on a rigorous and highly selective process, the Barr Program funds the brightest, most creative scientists making basic research discoveries that are transforming cancer treatment. Here are brief descriptions of selected projects supported by the Barr Program, illustrating some of the program's most significant impacts to date.

Hundreds of Dana-Farber runners will take to the streets to participate in the 119th Boston Marathon® on April 20. The DFMC team runs and raises funds with thousands of special people in mind. From Hopkinton to Boston, we carry thoughts of those people every step of the way.

Thank you for your support! Together, we’re headed toward the ultimate finish line: a world without cancer.


Let's make this a fabulous fundraising Friday for Brittney! Please donate to Brittney Castine's personal fundraising page as part of the Dana Farber Marathon Challenge 2015.

Journey well!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

#tbt Hyannis Marathon, Half Marathon, 10K and Relay: It's So Much More Than a Race

For the past four out of six years, Team McManus made the pilgrimage over the Sagamore Bridge in the middle of February to travel to what we affectionately call Camp Hyannis for the Hyannis Marathon, Half Marathon, 10K and Relay.

In 2009 I emailed Paul Collyer, the race director, letting him know this was my first half marathon and that I was running with the late effects of paralytic polio. He reassured me that because there was also the full marathon happening at the same time, that I only needed to finish in under 6 hours.

The Expo and the pre-race pasta dinner was our introduction into the wonderful world of running or as Dick Beardsley said at last year's pre-race pasta dinner, "Running is a fantastic sport! In fact, many of the stories we runners tell have nothing to do with our races on the road but of the bonds that we as a running community share."

It was the beginning of friendships with people who are now like family.

In 2009 we met running greats Boston Billy Rodgers and Frank Shorter:


I shared my journey with Bill and Frank. When I came back into the ballroom after completing the half I was shivering and a little dehydrated having ditched my fueling and racing plan for the last several miles. It started sleeting and we just wanted to finish. Frank signed my bib and put both of his hands on my upper arms, looked me straight in the eye and said, "I know you are going to finish the Boston Marathon." He told me to have the hot soup that the 99 Restaurant has for runners in the ballroom and hydrate.

The apres race spread includes bagels, peanut butter, water, fruit, soup and rolls from the 99 restaurant. In recent years, Paul has added a post race celebration in one of the function rooms at the Hyannis Resort and Conference Center.

While waiting to talk with Frank Shorter and have him sign my poster, I met Ric Beaudoin. It was one of those not so chance meetings that sparked the beginning of a wonderful friendship not only with Ric but with two great running Clubs, L Street and the Merrimack Valley Striders who also make the pilgrimmage to Camp Hyannis. We don't see people throughout the year but when we gather at the Hyannis Resort and Conference Center, it's as though no time has passed.

Here we are at "our table" in 2011 when I ran the 10K with my friend, Deb Doiron who I met through her husband, Tim in 2009. Tim and I met on line through the "Just Finish" community and found each other in person in Hyannis in 2009:


Tom ran the half in 2011 recovering from a gastroc tear injury as he had his sights set on Boston running for Children's Hospital. Hyannis is a great training run for Boston which is what drew us to the race in 2009. It's also a Boston Qualifier and an opportunity to put a relay team together and enjoy the thrill of running as part of a team. These days, Boston Billy runs as part of a medley team and is part of the Friday night fun run out of Hanlon shoes followed by a gathering at Palio Pizzeria. It's a time for beer, pizza and story telling.

In 2010 I was recovering from my 2009 Boston Marathon run and had to take a running hiatus. Paul generously donated a table at the Expo for me to share the work of Spaulding, Rotary's End Polio Now campaign and to sell my poetry book. I donated a portion of the proceeds to Spaulding:


Tom and Tim ran the 10K that year:


And in 2010, Frank and Bill signed my Boston Marathon bib. Hyannis set the stage for my Boston Marathon run and gave me the confidence I needed to go the distance. Here are my signed bib, singlet, medal, picture of me crossing the 2009 Boston Marathon finish line, our Race for Rehab team book, and a copy of the Cape Cod Times from 2009 where I had my 15 seconds of fame:

"Mary McManus, 55, of Brookline completed her first half-marathon after making a remarkable recovery from a life-long battle against post-polio syndrome.

She spent time at the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital and began running just last February. She competed in her first race in June 2008, finishing a 5K.

"It's like having a new lease on life," said McManus, who ran yesterday's half-marathon with husband Tom. "I was limping my way through life, but then decided to do something about it."




Through the years Paul has brought in running legends to educate and entertain us and for meet and greets with the greats.

Here we are with Dick Hoyt:


Here are Jack Fultz winner of the 1976 Boston Marathon and ultramarathoner Jimmy Garcia who were the guests in 2011:


We had the opportunity to ooh and aah over Jimmy's ultra bling:


Last year's pre-race pasta dinner brought together Boston Billy and Dick Beardsley who came in 2nd to Alberto Salazar in a duel in the sun:


We were invited to celebrate as Spaulding Race for Rehab alumni at the 586 Bistro and Bar. It was great to connect with our former teammates and encourage last year's runners as they trained for Boston.


It was a perfect weather day and a beautiful weekend.



The energy and excitement was palpable as we came together as a community that is Boston Stronger. Tom was on pace to PR but he came across members of the Race for Rehab team who were struggling through their first half marathon race. He got them safely to the finish line and gave them pointers for the rest of their training as well as tips for running Boston.

Everyone was eager and excited to return to Hyannis this year.

There was a feeding frenzy on Facebook about who was going, where are you staying, when are you coming down, how long you down for ... but all of that came to a halt when Mother Nature had other plans for Camp Hyannis this year.

Paul worked every which way but loose trying to make this year's Hyannis weekend happen. He had told me that last year registration was low but this year, he brought back the 10K and was at 90% registration for the race. When the storm hit last weekend, already tenuous conditions became unsafe for runners, for volunteers and for everyone involved in the race. Hyannis ran out of sand and salt.

The Facebook feed turned from excitement to anxiously waiting word on whether or not the race weekend could go on to sadness.

Team McManus has many treasured memories of Camp Hyannis from our first half marathon race ever, to PR'ing the 2011 10K with Deb to making new friends and having annual reunions and to being able to meet and greet the running greats. While I feel sad that there will be no Camp Hyannis this year, I'll take some time this weekend poring over my photos and treasured memories from Hyannis Marathon, Half Marathon, 10K and Relay weekend where it IS so much more than a race. Thank you to Paul Collyer for creating this truly unique racing and running experience and for all you did to try to make this year's race happen.

See you in 2016!

Journey well!

"Journey Well" and all of my inspirational books are available on Amazon.

"Journey Well" is a book about resilience, strength, courage and how we are able to journey well no matter what conditions life hands to us. I profile the people who are Boston Stronger and share how 4/15/13 was a wake up call to me to return to my healing path from contracting paralytic polio at age 5 and 9 years of domestic violence as a child and adolescent.











Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Patience and Confidence



When we are in the midst of getting from here to there, it is so hard to have patience and trust that all will be well. It may take more time and effort than we had originally planned to get through whatever it is we need to get through but while we are on the journey we can imagine a wonderful "there". For me, I am imagining that first warm, dry day of Spring with the sun shining wearing only a light jacket to go outside.

When we have patience and don't panic, we are able to allow for the time needed to have things evolve and work out as they are meant to work out. Our angel roofer Eddie told us that the leak in our ceiling would stop after several hours. The phrase a watched pot never boils and a leaking ceiling never stops if you watch it applies here. We put old t shirts in a big pot and a pail, went to bed and when we woke up, the ceiling had stopped leaking! Initially there were no leaks anywhere but as the sun hit our house, even though the temperatures are freezing, melting began and we sprung a leak through our back door. I brought out the duct tape, Tom is coming home from work to help assess and tape and clear off ice on the top of the awning that may be the culprit for the dripping and I'll go to my Aquatics Therapy class entrusting our home to the angels.

I received a call from our insurance company. Homes are covered for damage caused by ice dams. He was so wonderful and supportive telling me that as a claims adjuster and a homeowner going through the same thing, he is working hard to provide support and expedite claims. When I told him I had to put down the duct tape and get a pen and paper, he said it's something new every day isn't it?

When all the leaking started, I freaked out. One thing that frightened me was a flash from the past when I was left all alone to figure things out and straighten out messes from a very messy family. Who was honorable and trustworthy who was going to help us? So many of my friends sent an outpouring of support and resources. Everything I need is available to us. I was and am never alone but there are those feelings of wondering when and how will it end and the panic of a child and adolescent mind. Through meditation I am able to calm myself and bring myself back to the present. I use that time to also reflect on the blessings and grace that abound in my life and the confidence that no matter what, I can indeed journey well. I reflected on the miracle of my emerging from my family situation and the goodness that was there. My Zadie, my grandfather had the roofing business with my Uncle Al in Philadelphia. He was a wonderful story teller and adored having all of his grandchildren in a circle around him after we'd feast on bagel, lox, chub fish and sticky buns. I know he had a hand in sending us Eddie the roofer. The name of Eddie's business is Brookline Roofing and Sheet Metal. My Zadie's business was Alper and Sons Roofing and Sheet Metal.

When I had injured my knee, in the midst of the swelling and pain I wondered if I would ever be able to walk again. After a few days of rest, I walked with a cane. After another week of building core strength, I walked without the cane. Would I be able to use my recumbent bike again without pain? Oh yes and now I am up to 40 minutes and 8+ miles. It takes patience and discipline for me to adhere to my health and wellness program. I need to trust in and feel confidence in my body's tremendous healing capacity. I am building a team of wonderful complementary providers to support the work that I do each and every day and that will help me to get back on the roads and age well.

Patience and time - powerful warriors to navigate through stressful times.

Journey well!

"Journey Well" and all of my inspirational books are available on Amazon.

"Journey Well" is a book about resilience, strength, courage and how we are able to journey well no matter what conditions life hands to us. I profile the people who are Boston Stronger and share how 4/15/13 was a wake up call to me to return to my healing path from contracting paralytic polio at age 5 and 9 years of domestic violence as a child and adolescent.



50% of all book proceeds are donated to AccesSportAmerica where people of all ages and abilities achieve higher function and fitness through high challenge sports and training.




Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Calling All Angels



The leaking began with the downstairs window frame in the kitchen last Wednesday. After not getting to Aquatics Therapy class on Tuesday because of yet another storm hitting Boston, I knew I had to get to Spaulding and into the pool. I unplugged the toaster and moved it out of harms way. I put saran wrap on the window sill, asked the angels to please watch over the house and went to Aquatics.

When we got home, I was inspired to suggest to Tom that we use duct tape to seal off the leak. It held. We began the quest to find someone who could remove our ice dams.

Fortunately no one was available. As we sprung more and more leaks, we escalated the search believing that the culprit was the ice dams. A search on Craig's List brought us one individual who was going to charge us $2500 and was not going to write up a formal proposal to do the work. We trusted our gut and despite the leaks, knew we had to move forward with care asking Spirit to guide us every step of the way. I cast a wide net filling out contact forms, contacting HomeAdvisor and networking with my friends.

We received an email from one company yesterday. Six men crew. $1900 cash or check or money order. We were planning to have him come on Friday but this morning at 4 am we heard 3 beeps wake us up.

"Is that your phone going off? Tom asked. "No is it yours?"

We got up and realized it was the CO detector. I immediately felt dizzy and nauseous and had a headache.

"Oh no what do we do?"

We googled the signals for the CO detector and found out that it's 4 beeps not 3 that indicate dangerous levels of CO. Besides our detectors in the basement and on the 1st floor had not gone off.

Whew! Dodged that bullet. It was the anxiety I felt that was causing the symptoms!

And then we heard the familiar drip drip drip. More leakage and that's what set off the detector.

We put a bucket underneath the leak and decided to get a bit more sleep before it was time to get up for Aquatics. With the drip drip drip as my meditation soundtrack, I repeated my mantras of "All will be well. All will be well. Let the Universe take care of you Mary." I prayed. I called on all of my helpers seen and unseen to see us through.

We got up and got ready for Aquatics leaving plenty of time for traffic. We made it to Spaulding in only a half hour.

We had an absolutely magnificent Aquatics Therapy class with only 3 participants. We channeled our inner ballerina, did water yoga and did gentle aqua jogging with a noodle in the deep end. We did a lot of stretching which felt amazing after all the tension I was feeling around the leaking in our house. I knew that staying home would only serve to increase my anxiety so as we left, I asked the angels to keep watch over our house and to please send someone to help.

I checked email. The company was going to try to get someone to the house tomorrow and would send a formal proposal.

I received voice mails for scheduling appointments in 3 weeks to remove ice dams. One company called and said he would do only snow removal for $1600 and that he doesn't recommend removing ice dams because you can destroy the gutters. One landscaping company told me he had a crew in the area and they would come and break up the ice dams. He couldn't give me an estimate and said that if they came to look at the job, we would have to hire them to do the work.

And then ... "Hi Mary - Eddie from Brookline Roofing. You left a message. What do you need me to do?"

I told him.

"You at home?"

"We will be in about half an hour."

"Great. I'll meet you there."

And my angel in the form of Eddie Linehan who has been in the roofing business for over 23 years came to the rescue. He explained to us that the damage from the ice dams was already done. If he removed the snow and the water that was trapped between the cold snow on top and the water trapped from the warmth of the house and the ice dams, the leaking would stop. Removing the ice dams is costly and dangerous. He and his partner worked for about an hour clearing the snow off the roof, freeing up the water to either refreeze or roll off of the roof and took care of the snow and ice on our awnings. They took off whatever ice they could safely remove. He told us to make holes in the ceiling to allow the water to drain and dry out and to call our insurance company to file a claim. He said it would take at least several hours for the leaking to stop.

Our window frames have stopped leaking and we have the sound of drip dripping into a bucket in our upstairs hallway. The droplets that extended the length of our hallway ceiling have resolved and now we are patient ... and grateful ....

grateful to have heat and to know that if we have any problems with our heat we have Boston Standard Plumbing to call. We are grateful for electricity and food and that the damage is contained to the hallway. We are grateful that Spirit intervened and we only had to pay $400 for the roof snow removal and the guidance about our next steps. I believe that my Aunt Barbara who was married to my father's brother, Uncle Al, who was in the roofing business sent Eddie to us. All of my friends' prayers and intentions to help us find a contractor manifested. We are grateful that Spring is on its way and that we have the practice of meditation to see us through. I am grateful that I have a wonderful partner with Tom. We work well together as Team McManus.

I'm calling all angels for my friends who need contractors, heat, electricity and the strength and fortitude to navigate these next few weeks until Spring arrives in New England. I'm calling all angels to watch over us and keep us safe knowing they are here with us before we even have to utter a word!

Journey well!

"Journey Well" and all of my inspirational books are available on Amazon.

"Journey Well" is a book about resilience, strength, courage and how we are able to journey well no matter what conditions life hands to us. I profile the people who are Boston Stronger and share how 4/15/13 was a wake up call to me to return to my healing path from contracting paralytic polio at age 5 and 9 years of domestic violence as a child and adolescent.



50% of all book proceeds are donated to AccesSportAmerica where people of all ages and abilities achieve higher function and fitness through high challenge sports and training.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Journey Well with Chiropractic Care: Meet Dr. Ryan Means



Don't let pain or fear of pain slow you down ~Dr. Ryan

The doctor of the future will give no medication, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, diet and in the cause and prevention of disease. " ~ Thomas A. Edison


His full name is Dr. Ryan Joseph Means but he likes to be called Dr. Ryan. The moment you meet him, you will feel his passion for his work as a chiropractic physician and be inspired to experience health and wellness in your body.

We met for coffee at the Diesel Cafe in Davis Square for me to learn about the scope and practice of chiropractic care and to get to know Dr. Ryan. I first met him at the book launch for "Journey Well".

Dr. Ryan received his undergraduate degree as a sociology major. He planned to get a master's degree in public health as a sex health educator. After experiencing a back injury and having his best friend insist he seek chiropractic care, he knew that he had a new calling in life. To become a chiropractic physician, Dr. Ryan attended school for four years full-time year round, and completed a residency. He began his studies at Palmer College of Chiropractic and completed his degree at Southern California University of Health Sciences (SCU). During his residency at California State University Fullerton, he worked closely with medical doctors, physical therapists and orthopedists. He became board certified after taking a challenging exam that spans 20 hours.

Q: I noticed on your website that it says you are a primary care physician. Are you an MD?
Dr. Ryan: No I am not an MD although chiropractic physicians complete a similar rigorous training as an MD. The first year is the same with core classes, but that last few differ a little bit. I received more anatomy and physiology where an MD does more diagnosing and pharmacology. For insurance purposes we are consider specialists although you do not need a referral to see me which is why I am categorized as a primary care physician. Many people ask me if I wanted to be an MD and didn't get into med school. I wanted to pursue a career as a chiropractic physician from my personal experience as a patient and from my uncle's experience with chiropractic care. He had seen many physicians but it wasn't until he saw a chiropractic physician that he was accurately diagnosed with ALS. He went for adjustments and was able to maintain functioning for as long as he possibly could.

Q: Speaking of insurance, do you or the patient submit the paperwork and what insurance do you accept.
Dr. Ryan: I accept many of the major carriers and am in the process of negotiating with Aetna and Cigna. I am able to accept Medicare which has wonderful chiropractic care benefits. I submit the paperwork and the patient pays the copayment at the time of visit. I accept cash, check and all major credit cards. I do offer a free 30 minute consultation.

Q: What happens during the 30 minute consultation?
Dr. Ryan: I ask lots and lots of questions and answer lots and lots of questions. I provide education about chiropractic care and my philosophy of care and explore what I can do to help the individual to achieve their health goals.

Q: And if we decide to work together, what happens next?
Dr. Ryan: The next visit is a 60 minute session where I take a complete history, do a full assessment and adjustment and discuss treatment goals and plan.

Q: What is your philosophy?
Dr. Ryan: I believe that the body has a natural desire to heal. The body wants to work and wants to work well. I work with your body to heal yourself. I am a facilitator to help your body find balance and wellness. Physicians in Western Medicine are symptom focused and work from the top down beginning with the symptom. I work from the bottom up exploring structure and function encouraging the body to adapt its internal experience to external stressors. I look at the whole person.

Q: What if I don't have insurance or I have to meet a deductible.
Dr. Ryan: I charge $45 cash. It is set reasonable, because everyone having access to healthcare is important to me. That includes full adjusting and basic soft tissue work. If the patient wants comprehensive soft tissue work I'll charge an extra $20 based on time.

Q: My back doesn't hurt, what does chiropractic care have to offer me?
Dr. Ryan: People typically think of back pain when they think of why they should see a chiropractor. However, I work with every joint in the body. The goal is to help everything work together and to break the cycle of pain while facilitating a better adaptation of the body. Most people also think that chiropractic care is all about the adjustment. For me, the adjustment is a tool I use to facilitate healing but I believe in treating the whole person.

Q: I saw on your website that you do advanced therapeutic taping. Can you tell me about it?

Dr. Ryan: The therapeutic tape I use lasts for 5 days. It's as though you are having me doing an adjustment 24/7 for 5 days. The tape is hypoallergenic and allows the joint to move and breathe as opposed to bracing a joint. I recommend taping prior to a race or recently I had a patient who had me tape her before she went skiing. I've seen wonderful benefits of taping knees in the older population as they go up and down stairs. The taping works with the mechanoreceptors and helps to retrain the brain. Taping also improves circulation to the area and releases the body's natural capacity to heal. Typically with taping I'll do one complimentary treatment so s/he can see what it is like. After that there is an additional fee that varies. From $10-20. If someone wants lots of tape, the most economical way is to have the patient purchase tape and bring it in, then it is only $10 dollars for expertise and time. I prefer Kinesiotape Tex.

Q: What are the benefits to exploring chiropractic care as a way to journey well?
Dr. Ryan: Chiropractic care is safe. It's non invasive. One of the misconceptions about chiropractic care is we use force and we don't. We use skilled touch to make adjustments. There are no side effects to chiropractic care. Many people also believe that once you begin to go for chiropractic care you have to on a regular basis in order to feel relief. I don't want my patients to rely on me. I believe in empowering my patients to learn how to optimize their sense of health and well being using the skills and knowledge I have to offer to facilitate their journeys.

Q: What do I wear for an appointment?
Dr. Ryan: Let me begin by saying what you shouldn't wear - yoga pants because they don't work well for chiropractic care. Jeans are great and if we are working on knees, I recommend shorts and a t shirt.

Be sure to visit Dr. Ryan's website and book your free consultation today.

I have my initial 60 minute appointment scheduled for March 2 and will be writing a follow up blog after my session which will include an orthotics assessment. I'm excited to journey well with chiropractic care to help me get back on the roads with Dr. Ryan -- safe, effective, non-invasive and no side effects with a professional passionate about supporting me and you on your journey to well being.

Journey well!

"Journey Well" and all of my inspirational books are available on Amazon.

"Journey Well" is a book about resilience, strength, courage and how we are able to journey well no matter what conditions life hands to us. I profile the people who are Boston Stronger and share how 4/15/13 was a wake up call to me to return to my healing path from contracting paralytic polio at age 5 and 9 years of domestic violence as a child and adolescent.



50% of all book proceeds are donated to AccesSportAmerica where people of all ages and abilities achieve higher function and fitness through high challenge sports and training.





Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Perspective, Conditioning and Living in the Moment



When I went through my Facebook stream this morning, I found this powerful and poignant post from my friend Donna Santoro Judge who has been living with cancer for the past 8+ years. She was given six months to live at one point but she is thriving and continues to move through the storms that cancer brings with grace, humor, integrity and a fierce Spirit.

As I look out our window all I see is snow. From the inside it's beautiful, magical, and mystical. On the outside there is a different view. The flakes fall one by one portraying their own story. How did this one shape and why are they all different. Each snowflake is created with it's own personality. They float down gracefully as if each one is an angel from heaven trying to touch our souls.
I know the snow looks angry and I know so many are sick of it, but take it in, each flake, each shape, each personality, and each angel. Maybe Mother Nature is not mad at us, Maybe, just maybe she sent so many angels to us, because let's face it a lot of us need angels.
I think maybe it's a lesson for so many. Everyone sees all this snow as overwhelming. We all wonder where will we put it? So many say how much they hate it. Well the clutter of snow everywhere you look is the same image in the mind of anyone who is living with a life threatening illness. It's so easy to look at the copious amounts of snow and so difficult to see each flake for what it is, just as for us, it's so easy to face your own mortality every day and it's so hard to get back to that moment you are alive and well.


She put the snow and storms of the past several weeks into perspective for me.

We are conditioned now to react to the weather and to the weather forecasts. We narrow our view to see how it is inconveniencing and impacting us and our world. We are in this cycle of fear and uncertainty. I found myself getting caught up in it. It's easy to do especially when I had a lifetime of being conditioned to experience fear and to want control over what I had no control over living in a chaotic violent household.

But we are not destined to be conditioned to fear.

When we live in the moment, all fear melts away. When we tell ourselves all will be well and all is well, all fear melts away. When we reframe our perspective as Donna did away from anger and to love and feeling the love and support of the Universe no matter the conditions, all fear melts away. The warmth and love in our hearts may not be able to melt the snow; we'll have to wait for Mother Nature's help to do that but caring for ourselves and one another in the midst of the storm can and does melt away the fear to reveal the gift of the present moment!

Presence from "A Celebration of Life"

Presents
gifts of awakening and awareness
come in the oddest of boxes
illness
old age
death
presence always presenting
opportunities
for transformation
the physical body
an illusion really
yet necessary
if we are to experience the fullness of life
the journey is the destination
being present
receiving all the gifts that presence presents.


Journey well!


"Journey Well" and all of my inspirational books are available on Amazon.

"Journey Well" is a book about resilience, strength, courage and how we are able to journey well no matter what conditions life hands to us. I profile the people who are Boston Stronger and share how 4/15/13 was a wake up call to me to return to my healing path from contracting paralytic polio at age 5 and 9 years of domestic violence as a child and adolescent.



50% of all book proceeds are donated to AccesSportAmerica where people of all ages and abilities achieve higher function and fitness through high challenge sports and training.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Wisdom from the Robin

Amidst the falling snow, a robin perched on what I affectionately call my little tree outside of my office window. My little tree has deep, strong roots and has weathered every major storm since we moved to our house almost 20 years ago. Its branches are deceptively fragile in appearance yet it can hold the weight of any bird that chooses to light there.



Here in New England we are braving a series of snowstorms that has gridlocked traffic, closed businesses and schools and wreaked havoc with everyone's routine. The ground was bare until just a few weeks ago and as we turned the corner into February we believed that we were heading toward Spring home free in terms of snowfall for the winter. Mother Nature always has a mind of her own. There will be no shortage of water in our reservoirs once warmer weather returns that's for sure and each of us is learning soul lessons as we move through these moments.

The robin isn't always a harbinger of Spring. If there is adequate food in the area, robins won't migrate. They are here to help us through the winter!

From Spirit Animals:Robin:

If Robin has flown into your life;

He signifies stimulation of new growth and renewal in many areas of life. He teaches that any changes can be made with joy, laughter and a song in your heart. Robin shows you how to ride the winds of passion within your heart and become independent and self reliant through this change. Robin will teach you how to move forward with grace, tenacity, perseverance and assertion. Are you letting go of personal dramas? Ones that no longer serve your higher purpose? Are you exercising compassion and patience in mental, spiritual and emotional areas? Robin will teach how to incorporate new beginnings with faith and trust in the process. It is time to believe in yourself and use the inspiration that is given. Listen carefully. It is time to sing your own song for a new period in your life.

If Robin is your Animal Totem:

If Robin is your personal animal totem you have the ability to will new growth into your life at any given moment. All you have to do is make a wish, be patient, and watch how it comes true. You have the ability to find contentment in all types of circumstances and find pleasure in the simple things in life.


Robins teach us how to weather the storm and to manage conflict and adversity with a song. Did you know that male robins immersed in territorial disputes sing to each other?




It's often a challenge to see beyond the falling snow and the piles of snow that are already on the ground and remember that Spring will come again. It's easy to fuel our fears and doubts and frustrations bracing against what is rather than surrender to Mother Nature's offerings.

Let's harness the wisdom from the robin knowing that with patience, faith and trust, that all will be well; that we can navigate these storms with grit and determination making the best we possibly can out of the situation focusing on gratitude for our homes, for our food. Like the robin that flies in the face of the storm, we get to discover our strength and courage and trust that Grace is happening. As the robin lands with faith and confidence on my little tree, so too can we allow ourselves to land with confidence in this moment, knowing we are being supported by the Unseen Hand of Love.

Journey well!

"Journey Well" and all of my inspirational books are available on Amazon.

"Journey Well" is a book about resilience, strength, courage and how we are able to journey well no matter what conditions life hands to us. I profile the people who are Boston Stronger and share how 4/15/13 was a wake up call to me to return to my healing path from contracting paralytic polio at age 5 and 9 years of domestic violence as a child and adolescent.



50% of all book proceeds are donated to AccesSportAmerica where people of all ages and abilities achieve higher function and fitness through high challenge sports and training.



Friday, February 6, 2015

Fundraising Friday: Meet Kaitlyn Greeley

It's not her first marathon, but it is her first Boston Marathon. She is running it with passion and purpose for the Liver Foundation. Meet Kaitlyn Greeley.



As many of you already know, I actually hate the idea of running but absolutely love how I feel during and after a run. Well, now two months out, I am planning on running and completing the Boston Marathon for the American Liver Foundation. While the thought of running 26.2 miles makes me want to cry, the experience of training, fundraising, and completing those 26.2 miles makes me feel incredible. It gives me strength, serenity, drive, euphoria, and a strong grounding feeling of the person I am every time I head out for a run.

Liver disease is one of the top 10 causes of death in the U.S.
Thousands of individuals wait every year for a life-saving liver transplant.
There are 5.4 million people in the United States living with chronic Hepatitis B or C.
25% of Americans are being diagnosed with fatty liver disease, and 10% are children.

Every step I take and every dollar I raise will make a difference in the lives of more than 30 million Americans living with liver disease. By making a donation on my behalf, you will be helping the Foundation provide community-based education, research, support, and advocacy related to help prevent and treat liver disease.


As a health care professional, beginning her journey entering into the Physician Assistant profession, Kaitlyn knows all too well the devastating effects that liver disease takes on her patients and their families.

When asked why she chose to run for the Liver Foundation, Kaitlyn said,

"The Liver Foundation is important to me because of all the patients I have worked with and continue to work with that have come in with acute liver failure and have no idea what has happened. They have gone from normal lives to hanging on to every thread of their lives within one diagnosis. Its scary and aggressive and anything we can do to not only find more aggressive treatment but also donate resources to prevention and educational resources will help to alleviate the suffering that liver disease causes."


Let's make this fundraising Friday a very special fundraising Friday for Kaitlyn. As she trains to toe the starting line at Hopkinton to make a difference in the lives of those living with liver disease, let's get her miles closer to her fundraising goal!

You can make your donation to her fundraising page.

Journey well!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

"Don't Overdo It" - If I don't test my limits, I won't know what they are!




I love Dr. Darren Rosenberg, the physiatrist I see to manage living with the effects of paralytic polio. As a recovering Type A personality, I do have to be mindful about how I care for and train my body but then again so does everybody. It's a little more challenging for me because I was trained early on to push myself to get myself out of my leg brace and be able to walk again without a mobility device.

That early training served me well as I trained for and ran the 2009 Boston Marathon and in my several running comebacks but it can lead to injury, overdoing it pain, and hitting the wall with an "I can't do another thing" fatigue. I'm not playing with a full deck so to speak in that, as we learned from the results of the MRI, the gastroc muscle on my inner left leg atrophied as a result of "chronic denervation" meaning because of the polio. And I know there are other muscles that have atrophied engaging other muscles to do their job. So there's a greater likelihood for injury given that other muscles are compensating for what is not there - as of now that is! I believe in playing in the field of infinite possibilities! As I was leaving my appointment with him, his parting words were, "Don't over do it." I teased and said "Me? When have I ever overdone it?" He looked at me with warmth and said, "Yeah right."

In keeping with yesterday's theme, "We can't control the weather..." , I've been thinking a lot about how I do manage my life. My life used to manage me as I felt I had no control over what was happening in my body. I have my meltdowns and frustrations especially during winter storms where I have to be especially mindful and careful with what I do but for the most part, I am finding a rhythm and acceptance of what is while always striving for higher and higher ground in my rehabilitation journey.

Truth be told, I DID overdo it last weekend! Friday is usually a rest day for me but after the PT fiasco, I needed to sweat it out. I volunteered for Super Sunday 5K bib pick up on Saturday. I made sure I had a chair and sat when I was able to but it's a high demand job and I loved every minute of it. We had to get up very early on Sunday for Tom to run the race. I walked around in the freezing temps and did more walking at a brisk pace than I had since my knee injury in December. I was able to sit in the car and spectate and then we walked around after Tom crossed the finish line. On Monday, since I could not and should not go out to help with snow removal, I decided to clean our house from top to bottom. Spring cleaning. On Tuesday I was up uber early to make it into Aquatics Therapy and had an intense and wonderful workout. Driving home took a lot longer than usual and by noon, I had hit the wall. Big time! I could not do anything other than lay down and rest. It's not a comfortable kind of tired but rather one where I have no choice but to stop everything and rest; it's the kind of tired where I have to tell myself to not be afraid and that with rest I will recharge and recover.

I napped on and off Tuesday afternoon and got 12 hours of sleep Tuesday night. On Wednesday, I paced myself throughout the day, resting, meditating and listening to music to make sure I had a good store of energy for Wednesday afternoon aquatics. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

While being as mindful as I can be and making choices based on the knowledge of what is right for me, now, I also choose to live my life with passion even if that means overdoing it at times. I told Tom that last weekend was my training for when we go to Hyannis for the Hyannis Marathon Weekend. I'll have a table at the Expo and it will be a high energy weekend for sure.

I use my mantra, "I have all the energy I need to do what I want and need to do." I also believe that my body is constantly renewing itself and surprising me. There was a time when I experienced chronic fatigue, anxiety and depression and it took so much effort just to make it through the hours in a day. Now I listen to my body and am mindful of how I choose to expend my energy. I no longer fight against myself or beat myself up when I do "hit the wall" nor do I have to get sick in order to take good care of myself. And there are going to be times when I do overdo it because if I don't test my limits, I'll never know what they are.



Journey well!

"Journey Well" and all of my inspirational books are available on Amazon.

"Journey Well" is a book about resilience, strength, courage and how we are able to journey well no matter what conditions life hands to us. I profile the people who are Boston Stronger and share how 4/15/13 was a wake up call to me to return to my healing path from contracting paralytic polio at age 5 and 9 years of domestic violence as a child and adolescent.



50% of all book proceeds are donated to AccesSportAmerica where people of all ages and abilities achieve higher function and fitness through high challenge sports and training.