Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Going the Distance: The Divine Intelligence of our Bodies

In the 1980's, I was hospitalized with a staph infection in my right arm. I was initially misdiagnosed and the staph infection went into my bone. Fortunately, an earth angel, Dr. Donald Reilly snatched me from the jaws of misdiagnosis and mismanagement of the condition which could have otherwise resulted in the permanent loss of use of my right arm. During my extended inpatient stay, I met another earth angel, Beth Jordan, RN who brought me cassette tapes of Bernie Siegel, MD. Through the years Bernie has been my labor coach through many rebirthings and healings. He was there for me in December of 2006 after the diagnosis of post polio syndrome and cheered me on in cyberspace to my Boston Marathon finish line in April 2009. The wisdom he shares, which is drawn from the Divine consciousness helped me to dissolve a breast tumor, to clear out the negative energy through interpretation of my drawings to help me resolve 10 years of infertility and his message of love, medicine and miracles fueled these last two years of my healing odyssey after a serious knee injury.

I often joke with Bernie about being a slow learner but it does take us all awhile to remember that we are worthy of love and healing especially when, in my situation, I had family members who wanted me dead.

I am so blessed that I found my way to Dr. Ryan J. Means who subscribe to the same philosophy of healing as I do. Dr. Ryan Means, a healer chiropractor reminded me of my body's Divine Intelligence and turned me onto the work of Dr. Joe Dispenza and the teachers in "What the bleep do we know..."

If I would have listened to the doctor and the team at Spaulding Rehab's International Rehab Center for Polio, I would be in a wheelchair by now with limited functional capacity. Their message was one of fear: If you use it you will lose it believing that because my nervous system was already compromised as a result of polio, as I aged, the decline associated with aging would be accelerated. Instead, I discovered the gift of poetry in my soul. My pen became my divining rod for healing as I wrote poetry that liberated my mind, body and soul and foreshadowed my 2009 Boston Marathon run.

Despite all outward appearances and what the Team was telling me, what the "experts" were saying about post polio syndrome, my inner wisdom told me I had to get moving! After being discharged from Spaulding Rehab's Outpatient care, I hired a personal trainer. She believed in the body's innate capacity to heal and get stronger and about the mind body connection. When I asked her if I thought she thought there was anything she could do for me to help me get a little stronger and build on the program Spaulding Rehab gave to me, her retort was:

In February of 2008 when she asked me my next goals for personal training, after a list that included I want to walk outside unencumbered and diversify my training, the words, "And I want to run the 2009 Boston Marathon to raise money for Spaulding Rehab" fell out of my mouth. Against medical advice, against the advice of the post polio expert Dr. Julie Silver at the time, I did use it - and I didn't lose it but I also could not get traction on my healing journey.

If I would have listened to the doctor, the physical therapists at Spaulding Rehab's Aquatics Therapy class, the physical therapist from hell I saw at Spaulding and even the massage therapist I was working with after a serious knee injury in December of 2014, I would certainly not be poised and ready to toe the starting line of my second CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Half Marathon two weeks from Sunday. Their admonishment was running was bad for me. Okay if I was going to run no more than a 5K - 5 miles at most but be prepared for a lot of pain and a total knee replacement in a few years. "You have no gastroc muscle. It was long gone after the polio. You've got no cartilage, bone spurs, degenerative osteoarthritis...." and the list went on and on!

Dr. Ryan helped me to plant the seeds to grow a new gastroc muscle using Kinesiotaping and joining with me harnessing the power of my imagination.

During these past 10 years I sought out many body workers in an effort to reclaim my life and experience freedom in my body. Now there are many paths to healing and each person finds their own way. However, I suffered at the hands of so called healers who were recreating dynamics of the very relationships that I was trying to heal using modalities that did not serve me at all!

KMI Structural Integration is a protocol of 12 sessions that begins with the client standing before the body worker clad in a sports bra and underwear or shorts or a two piece bathing suit. The body worker assesses with their eyes what they believe to be the body's imbalances and then imposing the protocol on the body to create change from the outside in. For me it was a method based on aggression and imbalance of power. There was not a sense of partnership between client and body worker. They knew what was right for the body and were going to be the ones to get the body to where it needed to be. As I experienced in Saturday's training run and when my feet hit the floor on Thursday morning.

Zero Balancing was the other extreme to KMI. It uses a very light almost imperceptible touch to try to help the body reorganize itself. The founder of Zero Balancing makes it very clear that the worker needs to maintain strict energetic boundaries and protect themselves from the client's energy. This distancing of feeling and touch and being left alone to sort out my body's reactions to the work recapitulated the trauma of abandonment and neglect from when I contracted paralytic polio and was left to manage on my own by my drug addicted mother. It's no wonder I suffered a knee injury in December 2014 working with a massage therapist who was non committal in touch, intention and presence.

Fortunately, through the grace of the Universe and all that I set in motion for my healing through my poetry conjuring up healers in my mind's eye, I found my way to Dr. Ryan. He gets out of the way to allow Divine Intelligence to flow through him through the power of chiropractic medicine.

It's fun now for me to harness the power of Divine Intelligence when I'm out on a run or going about my daily life. Morning and evening meditation keeps me connected to Source so I become the creator rather than the victim of my life and the circumstances of my past.

A powerful force gets unleashed when we harness the power of love and Divine Intelligence....

a very powerful force that I use to create the miracle of healing in my life, to go the distance and transcend the toxic effects of my past.

To your health and wellness,

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Going the Distance: Bermuda Ready

As I stepped on the floor Thursday morning I experienced muscle memory of being a 5 year old ballerina before the proverbial sh** hit the fan in my life. It was before paralytic polio and before 9 years of violence. I felt my feet inside my Capezio ballet slippers on the polished light wood grain floor in Miss Patricia's Dance Studio.

I felt graceful, strong, flexible and FREE!

On Saturday we had our last long run before toeing the starting line of my second CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Half Marathon on January 15th. It was a test of mind, body and soul being out there in the pouring rain and one that reminded me what I am made of especially at mile 10 when I wanted to quit.

My right IT band and right knee got really tight early on in the run. I softened reminding myself, that I no longer need to hold myself in the defensive stance of a child and adolescent who was brutalized every night for 9 years. What a joy when I was able to release the tightness and know that I am no longer a victim to my body or the memories of those who perpetrated such horrors upon me. As Dr. Joe Dispenza says, I AM the placebo.

I was imprisoned in my body after contracting paralytic polio and then family members imprisoned me with their violence, a result of mental illness and substance abuse. Layer upon layer of abuse built up inside of me until everything began to shut down 10 years ago this month in the guise of post polio syndrome. But now I am free to no longer fear my body is going to break or get injured or betray me again and to know that I can walk away from situations that are hurtful to me mind, body or soul.

The joy and freedom of being a child had been snatched away from me at a very early age. Little by little that joy and freedom returns to me mind, body and soul and out on the roads, going the distance, unleashes that sense of freedom within me.

Two weeks from Thursday we will be Bermuda bound on Delta Airlines. Two weeks from Sunday I walk from the Rosedon Hotel to the starting line of my second CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Half Marathon. I know that I am Bermuda ready!

To your health and wellness,

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Going the Distance: Christmas Magic and 12 Miles in the Rain

We pondered and pondered and pondered some more ...
we pondered and pondered til our puzzler was sore.
The forecast for rain and 12 miles we must run
It's Christmas Eve will Team McManus get it done?
With water and fueling a trash bag or two,
Team McManus decided there was only one thing to do.
A little rain won't hurt us we're hearty what's more....
After today's run there's Christmas and taper time in store.
With our Altras and Brooks donned we're layered and answering the call
Now dash away dash away dash away all!

We knew that sunshine was scheduled for Sunday. We would have missed out on so much Christmas magic if we would have waited to get our run on until today.

When we started out on our last 12 mile run before taper time for the Bermuda Marathon Weekend it was drizzling. We put on trash bags because the forecast was for steady rain throughout the day. We had a game plan. Park at the Cleveland Circle Reservoir and just do 8 times around. We'd have our water and refueling in the car and there was a Starbucks nearby for pit stops and to warm up and take a break from the rain if needed.

During our first loop around we bumped into several friends who were also on a training run. One of them is training for her first marathon in May. I gave her a pep talk. I said that it's "all up here" referring to the power of the mind (which coincidentally I would have to practice what I preached because I was almost ready to bail at 10 miles yesterday).

The puddles and mud became quite formidable by mile 4. I suggested that after our next loop we run down Beacon Street where the buildings would offer us some protection and then I got an idea - a wonderful awful idea to quote How the Grinch Stole Christmas - Why not stop into Marathon Sports Brookline to purchase dry socks and gloves and make a pit stop.

We were warmly welcomed by Will, another one of our running and Marathon Sports family friends and the store manager Katie. Will attended to us as one attends to ultra runners at an aid station. He anticipated our every need and selected the merchandise we needed off the rack. "What socks are you wearing Mary?" "Oh those are Balega Enduro. Do you care what color? What size are you?" "We don't have waterproof gloves but these will keep you warm." "We still need gloves for Tom." "Tom what socks are you wearing?" "Are those compression socks too tight ... we can get a different size." They let us leave our wet gloves and socks in a Marathon Sports bag to pick up on our way back. They gave us high fives and told us we got this!

A few blocks later, we bumped into another friend who works at Party Favors.

As we made our way down Beacon Street we chatted and got caught up for a few minutes. We left her to buy a last minute present before she was getting back to work (and Tom would see her later to pick up my cake). We hugged, wished each other Merry Christmas and Happy Birthdays for hers was a few days ago and her son's is Christmas Day and I told her to send our love and gratitude to her husband who is an Emergency Responder.

We were warmly welcomed back to the store. We refueled, hydrated, made a pit stop and Katie even put the Marathon Sports bag into Tom's running backpack. More high fives and cheers as they sent us on our way as we expressed our deepest gratitude for all the care and support they gave us.

We made our next mile pit stop at Starbucks in Cleveland Circle. I was so ready to bail at 10 miles. We were soaking wet. Our shoes were squeaking. Yet I knew I could not quit before 12 miles because everyone was watching me on Facebook. Although everyone would have understood, I knew this was as much if not more about getting me mentally ready for three weeks from today as it was physically ready.

"It's a great day for a the rain...while everyone waits for sunshine, you have the roads all to yourselves." I noticed his dog tags, "Are you a veteran?" "No I'm active duty?" "Army?" "No Marines." "Semper Fi." "I worked at the VA as a social worker for almost 20 years." "My dad worked at the VA as a psychologist." "Oh what was his name?" "Last name? - Eisenberg." "Oh my God I said, Mark Eisenberg?" I worked with his dad at Causeway Street.

"Well that's what the holidays are all about," John Eisenberg said to me. "Making new friends. Connecting with old friends and bringing warmth to everyone you meet."

And with that we went to finish our run. The rain slowed. The day got brighter and by the end of our 12 miles, the sun was beginning to poke through the clouds!

Sure we could have waited until the sun came out today - and it did but we would have missed out on so much Christmas magic and love.

Let taper madness begin as we countdown to Bermuda Marathon Weekend and celebrate the gift of my life (today's my 63rd birthday) and the blessings of the season having 12 magical Christmas Eve miles in the books.

To your health and wellness,

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Boston Marathon 2017: Meet the Fab Five Running for Fisher House Boston

Last year I was blessed to meet Alan Dyer, first on Facebook and then at his fund raiser at Loretta’s Last Call. As a retired VA social worker, Fisher House Boston is a cause near and dear to my heart. I remember when Fisher House Boston first broke ground on the West Roxbury VA Campus and one of my social work colleagues became the manager. The Fisher House Boston is a home away from home where our military families can stay while a loved one is receiving in house treatment at one of our medical centers. Any family member or loved one of an active military or Veteran's family, wartime or peacetime, is eligible to stay at the Fisher House. These homes are built on the grounds of major military and VA medical centers.

The homes enable family members to be close to loved ones at the most stressful times. There is at least one Fisher House at every major military medical center to assist families in need and to ensure that they are provided with the comforts of home in a supportive environment. There is NO Charge for any family to stay at a Fisher House. We are completely committed to helping those who have served for us and for our country. We believe these men and women are our National Treasures! Fisher House is a Four Star Charity, with an A+ rating.

Let’s meet the Fabulous Five who are going the distance of 26.2 miles from Hopkinton to Boston on April 17th, 2017 to raise money for Fisher House Boston.

Alan Dyer: “I am a Viet Nam Era veteran who joined the cost guard in the early 70's. I spent 5 years in the service stationed in Woods Hole on a buoy tender, then Block Island doing search and rescue and drug interdiction.

My connection to Fisher House Boston is through Mark Langley. Mark and I met at a local gym where be both became fitness instructors. I teach spin and he teaches boot camps. The two of us just hit it off and became best of friends. He mentioned wanting to run the Ragnar Relay Race to raise money for Fisher House Boston. He introduced me to Jen Deluca, Executive Director and I became fast friends with Jen and committed to the Fisher House Boston cause.

Funny thing about that Ragnar Relay run, six weeks prior to running the race I had neck surgery to fuse C-4 and C-5. I fractured those vertebrae many weeks prior, but continued to train and exercise. Mark wanted to replace me and I flat out told him no way. I ran with a neck brace. The team was made up of my Physical Therapist and my Chiropractor. That was a very special run for Fisher House Boston.

In 2015 Mark said that Jen was going to try and get some bibs for Boston and I said I was all in. Mark, Joe and I are the original Marathon Team and we continue to this day running, raising awareness and money for Fisher House Boston. As long as Jen keeps getting bibs and my knees hold up i will keep running and raising money for our veterans and their families.

I was supposed to get my knees replaced last year, but Jen called and asked if I could postpone the surgery and run one more time for the 2016 Marathon. And this year I told Jen right up front I wanted a bib and tada she gave me one. What’s a little bit of pain that I go through training to run the Boston Marathon compared to what these guys and gals go through to defend our freedom….”

Alan with Nic L. whose family was supported by Fisher House Boston during his recovery

Alan during the Super Hero long run training for Boston 2016

Mark Langley
“I have once again been given the privilege to run the 2017 Boston Marathon as a member of Team Fisher House Boston. I run to raise money and awareness for Fisher House Boston because they take care of our military men and women and their families. My son was an active duty Army Infantryman, my Dad was active duty Air Force and many other family members have served. Our veterans and their families deserve our attention and help. FIsher House helps keep families together while eliminating some financial obligations. I ran the 2015 and 2016 Boston Marathon as a member of Team Fisher House Boston and our teams raised over $80000! Please help me this year so we can continue to support our veterans. So, I will run the miles through rain, snow, sleet and freezing weather and all you have to do is donate! Thank you for your support.”

Joe Mascariello
“After twice saying "Never again", I'm back for for my third year of running the Boston Marathon in support of Fisher House Boston. With no military experience of my own, I am indebted to those who have sacrificed so much and am honored to serve our military through this effort.

I've now completed 9 marathons and a small handful of longer trail races and from that experience two things are clear: Experience doesn't make you better and 26.2 miles is a long way to run. My running has brought me to some of the coolest places in the world and some of the coolest people in the world have filtered through my life as a result of being a runner. A little fatigue is a small price to pay for those experiences. I am fortunate to have this ability and grateful that I can use it to give back.

For those who don't know, Fisher House allows the families of veterans a free place to stay on the grounds of the VA while the service man/woman or family member is receiving treatment at the hospital. The Boston Fisher House is unique in that they will fund hotel stays for the families of servicemen and women when are they are receiving treatment at other Boston hospitals.

The links below will provide more information on the Fisher House and a compelling story about the importance of providing this resource to our veterans. Fisher House is a 4 star rated (their highest rating) charity by Charity Navigator.

Fisher House Boston

A compelling story about why you should donate to Fisher House Boston:

I know the choices for giving are endless and I hope you'll find that supporting Fisher House is worthy of your hard earned support.”

Breda O’Connor
“I ran my first race in the 7th grade when my mom and I participated in the Susan G Komen Breast Cancer 5K. Oddly enough, that would be the first and only time I would place in my age division. I don't run for the medals. I sometimes run for the beer, but mostly I run because I can, because there are so many people who can't. Since that race, I have run for multiple charities, including the Boston Marathon in 2014 for a Marathon bombing survivor.

I am so excited to have been selected to run for the Fisher House Boston. Over the last year and a half, I have gained a new perspective of the aftermath of war and what military families must overcome. Through many events with The Warrior Foundation and interacting with my boyfriend's friends and colleagues, I have been able to witness first hand the village it takes to care for our veterans and their families. My boyfriend is a mechanical engineer at The United States Army Soldier Systems Center in Natick, working closely with veterans to protect our soldiers currently overseas. Through him, I have had the great opportunity of meeting many of of our country's bravest and their amazing families. I am so excited to bring more awareness to the Fisher House and cross that finish line on April 17!”

Kat Anne

"I've been running since high school cross country but it has taken on a whole new meaning for me. Since 2011, I've been running races with a team of friends and family in memory of a close family friend, 1st Lt. Robert Kelly. Robert was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines and was deployed to Sangin, Afghanistan when he was killed in action on November 9th, 2010. Most importantly, he was a husband, son, brother and a babysitter who probably let my brothers and I get away with way too much. Every race I've run, I'm always amazed by the number of people I get the share the Team Kelly story with and the incredible stories people share with me.

As I take on my 4th marathon, I'm so honored to be able to share the story of Fisher House as I run. The work they do to support military families is incredible. Instead of worrying about hotel bills, families can focus on healing in a supportive environment. Knowing that his memory lives on in the dedicated Fisher House healing garden, I'm so grateful for the chance to give back to Fisher House in Robert's memory and in thanks for the incredible work they do to support military and veteran families. Thank you for your support!"

Give a little…give a lot…give from your heart and let’s make this year the biggest year yet for the Sensational Six running from their hearts for Fisher House Boston.

Please donate to one or all of the Sensational Six by following this link.

To your health and wellness,

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Going the Distance: This just got real!

As runners we often say sh** just got real as we are aware of the start of a big event.

I've been training for the Bermuda Half Marathon since July. Unlike last year, when I had not run distance since the 2009 Boston Marathon, I had a very strong base after running the 2016 Bermuda Half Marathon. I added an extra day of cardio for training this year with the Arc Trainer and Bike at Wave Health and Fitness.

I've lost track of time as I've been building miles and strength.

Bermuda Marathon Weekend posted on Facebook this morning, "It's beginning to look a lot like race morning."

This is what we saw in January on race morning:

While I was cross training on the Bike after my work out on the Arc Trainer it suddenly hit me! One more long run and then taper time! We leave 3 weeks from Thursday and the race is 3 weeks from Sunday. I couldn't believe it. It's almost here!

I took pause.

Ten years ago I faced a frightening diagnosis and an uncertain future. The diagnosis of post polio syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease by Western Medicine standards was handed down to me. It could have been a death sentence if I would have let it. I had to use a wheelchair at times for mobility, wore a toe up leg brace, a cane, a wrist splint for carpel tunnel syndrome. I had to be on a semi soft food diet and use chin tuck for semi solid foods and drink liquids through a straw to not aspirate food and liquids into my lungs. Because of my compromised respiratory system I was told to get a sleep apnea machine - I refused that piece of advice! I was told to quit my award winning job at the VA as a social worker which I ultimately did and that the best we could hope for was to stabilize the symptoms. Adapt our Cape house because for certain I would be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life!

Instead, I got still and asked for Divine Guidance and discovered the gift of poetry in my soul that began to awaken a part of me to possibility. Ahhh the power of imagination!

Two years ago I had a serious knee injury and was told I'd need a total knee replacement in a couple of years. No running but if you do no more than a 5K oh okay they reluctantly agreed - 5 miles AT MOST!

I fired everyone and made way for the Universe to deliver my now beloved friend and chiropractor Dr. Ryan Means.

With Dr. Ryan on my team I've been able to go the distance in healing the effects of paralytic polio that I contracted at age 5 followed by 9 years of unending violence beginning when I was 8 years old.

So here I am...poised and oh so ready to take on my second CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Half Marathon.

The weather is looking okay for Saturday! If need be we can get in a swim on Saturday and run on Sunday. Temps are moderate both days for this time of year.

I've definitely beaten the odds and feel accomplished with my training.

It hit me today - this just got real and it's time to start making the list for packing and setting aside clothes. It's also time to celebrate healing and express my deepest gratitude to all who have supported me on the roads and in my life.

Ten years --- ten years! I am a woman transformed.

To your health and wellness,

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Going the Distance: "Cold is just an adjective!" 11.5 Miles in the Bank of Bermuda!

One of the women I met on Facebook after Bermuda 2016 posted yesterday that "Cold is just an adjective" as she was heading out to do a run in cold temperatures.

That gave me such a boost to psych myself up for today's 11.5 mile run and the longest distance we need to run this year in our Bermuda Half Marathon Training. The weather forecast was for 20 degrees and we really didn't want to look at what it would feel like with the wind chill.....

It's now ten years ago that I was diagnosed with post polio syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease and one of the hallmark symptoms of post polio syndrome is "cold intolerance." My thermostat was affected by the polio virus oh and as a side note, I can't wait until I publish "Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance" that chronicles my phenomenal journey including how my thermostat got fixed!

But I digress....

I could not tolerate being out in cold weather; actually any extreme of temperature would wreak havoc on my body. I would shiver in the cold and walking and breathing were a challenge. I had to limit the time I spent outdoors and was terrified of snow and ice. I was warned that if I fell, I was at a very high risk for a fracture. By the way, I had a major fall during training a year ago and a minor fall this year. I'm still in one piece! So I lived my life in fear and winter was something to be endured. Tom and I even considered a move to Florida but realized that would have been a horrible mistake for us.

This morning we did not set the alarm but allowed our bodies to wake up naturally. Yesterday, I organized everything we were going to need today for our run. After a wonderful meditation getting myself ready to run the longest distance I've run since the Bermuda Half Marathon 2016, we put our clothes in the dryer. We did our core work as a warm up, ate breakfast and then put on what I like to call #allthelayers to go out on our run including a layer of vaseline on our faces.

When we first stepped out of the front door, the wind was biting. By the time we got to the base of what I affectionately call "Billy's hill" because it was a part of the Bill Rodgers 5K Run/Walk for Prostate Cancer two years ago, Tom suggested that if the pain were too much, we'd abort the run and head to the gym. I told him that I trash talked on Facebook about running in the cold today and somehow we were going to make it through the run. I must say that that I was a little concerned about frostbite but then I remembered that my body would respond to what my mind believed. The wind died down and the sun was getting warmer and I had sent messages of warmth to my face and hands. I suggested to Tom that we take a break from the cold and head into Peet's Coffee for our water stop. We were going to do an out and back run along Beacon Street to Waban but when we got to Chestnut Street I was inspired to head over to Comm. Ave. and run Heartbreak Hill.

There's always magic on Heartbreak Hill and the sun shines a little brighter there. The wind had died down and the energy of runners out training for Boston 2017 was infectious. I reassured myself and Tom that no I was not going to run another marathon but I did experience wonderful memories of our training on Heartbreak Hill and what it was like to finally run it on Marathon Monday 2009. Tom snapped this pic of me 7 miles into our run out on Heartbreak Hill:

The wind started to pick up again and the air turned colder but we soldiered on.

I needed to make a pit stop. We considered going back to Newton Center via Center Street but the Heartbreak Hill Running Company beckoned to us. "Do you happen to have a bathroom here I can use?" The guy behind the register beamed and said, "We sure do. You guys out on a run? It's right down the stairs and around the horse shoe." I wasn't thrilled about having to go up and down stairs but hey I really needed a pit stop. Tom shared with him that we were going for 11.5 today training for Bermuda.

I smiled when I walked in their bathroom. I <3 free bathrooms. A newspaper clipping about Prefontaine. Instructions: 1. Sit down. 2. Take a selfie. 3. Post on twitter and Instagram with the hashtag.... 4. Do your business. They really get what runners need in a bathroom.

Between the pit stop and thinking how Bermuda is going to be so much warmer and also feeling incredibly badass that Tom and I were out there training with gusto for the Bermuda Half Marathon we made it through those final miles.

Last year we did a majority of our training runs around the Reservoirs or Jamaica Pond. We did not do a lot of training on asphalt and getting out on the open road.

I have incorporated training on the Arc Trainer and Bike this year and we are challenging ourselves on our training runs. Since Tom is going to be running the Bermuda Triangle Half Challenge which includes a mostly hill 10K, we wanted to be sure to include hills (and more hills I might add) in our training runs.

I am so blessed to have my bff Tom as my life and running partner to take on these challenges and prepare for our 2nd CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Marathon Weekend. Talking about nothing and everything makes the miles fly by.

So there you have it ... two more training runs til taper time. 11.5 MILES IN THE BANK OF BERMUDA. I am Bermuda Half Marathon ready and so grateful we were able to get in a great training run despite the frigid temps. No snow and no ice to contend with so we were able to get in a quality run.

Ten years ago I sat in a leg brace, wearing a wrist splint; was on a semi-soft food diet needing to use a chin tuck to avoid aspirating my food; using a wheelchair at times for mobility and facing a grim future. Today I ran 11.5 miles and ran on Heartbreak Hill from Chestnut Street to Boston College. One month from Monday we fly out of Boston to head to that tropical paradise where I will once again toe the starting line of the Bermuda Half Marathon. It will be even better than last year. I have reclaimed my life in ways that I only imagined in my poetry yet here it all is coming into physical reality.

To your health and wellness,

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Going the Distance: Transformation Tuesday: Recovery

December 13, 2014 - a day that will live in my infamy. The day that my left leg swelled and I could not put any weight on it after the Miss Santa Holiday 5K. It was just a few weeks after the massage therapist I was working with at the time said to me, “Right now your right leg is leading the dance and I am waiting for your left leg to speak to me.” He told me that my left leg was still encased. What an intention to set for someone but, as a trauma survivor, I learned to settle telling myself that he had my best interest at heart.

But that horrible knee injury and the pain and frustration that followed led me to Dr. Ryan Means who would help me complete what I set out to do 10 years ago when I left my award winning career as a VA social worker to heal my life.

I had not traveled in 8 years before going to Bermuda in January. Two weeks ago I went to New York City and in January we return to Bermuda to run my 2nd CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Half Marathon.

Yesterday I felt a lot of discomfort in my right knee with swelling. It's the anniversary of that knee injury; interestingly enough it was my left knee that was injured but body memories and imprints can manifest in interesting ways some times. I swam and had a great pool workout although I could still feel how my right knee was swollen and painful.

I took a hot shower and flushed with ice cold water. This thought came to me. "I created this so I can uncreate it." I felt this opening in my knee and leg and a burning sensation from whatever stale energy was stuck in there draining out. Today I did the Arc Trainer and Bike and the swelling and pain are completely gone. My right knee had been the site of a lot of violence and was also in an ankle to hip cast when I was 11 years old. My right knee had been buckling and since there were no MRI's or CT Scans back in the day, the orthopedist guessed that it might have been a loose piece of cartilage that could be fixed with being in a cast for 6 weeks -- oh and because they did not want me to miss school, decided summertime was the best time for me to be in a cast.

As I read through and edit "Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance,"

I am struck by how my life has changed since meeting Dr. Ryan (who turned me onto quantum healing). I no longer have to monitor my energy levels and make choices; I am training and living a full life. I no longer live in fear of my body betraying me again; I can trust in my body's tremendous capacity to heal and see myself as healthy, whole, healed and strong turning possibility into reality.

The process of recovery continues. Memories continue to surface and I can look at them through the eyes of compassion allowing myself to grieve for all that happened to me and for me AND I celebrate this miraculous journey of recovery. I continue to experience awe and wonder at how I can reclaim my life despite the horrendous events of my past.

Getting excited for Bermuda Marathon Weekend -- 38 days and counting!

To your health and wellness,

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Going the Distance: An Exhilarating 11 Mile Run

The weather was supposed to be great for yesterday's 11 mile run building miles and counting down to the Bermuda Half Marathon. The sun was shining and when it was out it was a wonderful gift for December 3rd. Winds of up to 25 mph were NOT in the forecast but as is true for running as in life we have to weather the wind and embrace the conditions set before us.

I knew that I did not want to run our regular Reservoir loops yesterday for our training run. I suggested to Tom that we run down Route 9, over to Jamaica Pond (one of my favorite places to train) and come back to our house seeing how many miles we needed to finish our run and then do an out and back somewhere from our house. As the winds picked up and as Tom got inspired for our route, he led the way to run the Emerald Necklace. He had run the route countless times on his solo runs but this was the first time we would run it together.

Because it was my longest run in a year, Tom decided that it was important to take photos along the way:
At 2 miles in:

At the halfway point:

discovering and embracing the beauty of our City and Tom capturing the fierce determination of this runnergirl:

I experienced such exhilaration to be on a completely unfamiliar route with different terrain and enjoyed seeing new sights in my beloved Boston. I felt fierce and determined knowing that after yesterday's training run there are only 3 more long training runs until taper time.

This morning, Bermuda Marathon Weekend posted on Facebook there are only 40 days until the weekend:

It's really happening!

I am training for my 2nd CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Half Marathon using all the resources available to keep me healthy and running strong and long. I feel transformed and through the power of my running, I feel in every fiber of my body and being that nobody should mess with me ever again. I feel that sense of empowerment that comes with an exhilarating 11 mile run with strong headwinds. I feel strong and confident reclaiming a sense of integrity and dignity.

Another 11 miles in the books counting down to Bermuda Marathon Weekend. What an adventure!

To your health and wellness,

Friday, December 2, 2016

Going the Distance: It's All About the Mettle

Ten years ago I did not know what was happening in my body nor did I have a clue of how I was going to get out of the dire situation I was in with my body. A diagnosis of post polio syndrome was my starting line as I was told about all the things that could possibly happen and what I needed to prepare for a future in a wheelchair, possibly needing a feeding tube, a sleep apnea machine and needing to walk away from my award winning career as a VA social worker. Energy conservation. Leg brace. Cane. Wheelchair. Wrist splint. Handicapped placard. Paratransit. If you use it you will lose it. The best we can hope for is to stabilize the symptoms where they are but only if you stop work and listen to everything we are telling you.

I was at a crossroads in my life and I had to dig deep and get still to figure out a way out of the mess I was in. I'd been in very messy situations before like paralytic polio at age 5 with a drug addicted neglectful mother followed by 9 years of unrelenting violence culminating with my father's suicide. I'd been touched by grace and had earth angels come into my life who would encourage me and support me seeing all that was right and good within me. I was high school valedictorian and received a free ride to Boston University my freshman year with scholarships.

It wasn't easy but I got my Bachelor's in Communications, went on to receive an MSW from Boston College and had an award winning career as a VA social worker. All those years of living from my intellect and ignoring/despising my body finally caught up with me in 2006.

So how does one find their way out of a diagnosis of a progressive neuromuscular disease? How does one heal a life?

I sat down in February of 2007 and got very still. Spirit flowed through my pen, what has become my Divining Rod for Healing, and poetry, initially in the cadence of Dr. Seuss poured out of me with images of health, healing, wholeness, dancing in the rain without my leg brace, forgiveness, gratitude. My very first poem was called, "Running the Race." which foreshadowed my 2009 Boston Marathon run.

So that's what got me going on my healing path....what keeps me on my healing path?

It's all about the mettle. I didn't need to register to run my 2nd CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Marathon. I could easily have rested on all of my laurels during this past 10 year healing odyssey. But something inside of me needs me to challenge myself, to have big goals and to attain those goals and to test my mettle along the way. It does get rather nippy in New England this time of year although we have been so blessed with moderate temperatures to get in our long runs. It's dark when we get up to get in our 5K run during the week. Core work, cross training, strength training and swimming take up the 3 days when I don't run. It's all about my grit and determination and remembering what Dr. Ryan J. Means, my healer chiropractor instilled in me before he left to work in China.

I am so incredibly blessed that my Facebook friend, Nicole, is running her 2nd CONSECUTIVE Houston Marathon which just happens to be on the same exact day as the Bermuda Half Marathon. Last year we "trained together" counting down the days, inspiring one another and now we are sharing in the excitement of experiencing the same race that will be entirely different this year. One of my friends from my old running Club, L Street, is going to be running the Bermuda Triangle Challenge and she is staying across the street from our hotel. Members of the Merrimack Valley Striders are going to be there and staying not far from where our hotel, the Rosedon Hotel is. In the midst of a New England Winter we are all fired up with training and having our eyes on the prize which for me will be this medal:

Ten years ago I was wearing this:

Today I am wearing this:

and tomorrow I once again test my mettle as Team McManus runs for 11 miles counting down to Bermuda Marathon Weekend.

To your health and wellness,