Sunday, January 24, 2016

Bermuda Marathon Weekend: "I want you to run unencumbered..."-On Foot Strikes, Taper Madness and Triumph!

I wrote a race report but when one accomplishes something as epic as coming back from a knee injury and overcoming all the obstacles I have had to overcome, one race report does not suffice.

I thought I'd take you back to the Saturday before race day. On Friday evening we were blessed to be joined for dinner by Annie, a runner from Massachusetts who came down by herself to run the 10K. We were all staying at The Rosedon and we know what happens when runners get together. Friendships form like instant oatmeal - just add water and 2 minutes later it's done.

She got up early on race day to cheer us on at the start and snap this photo of Team McManus:

She shared with us that she had seen a PBS special about the Roosevelts. As pre-race jitters began to come to me full force on Saturday I wrote this in my journal (excerpted):
"Annie talked about how FDR contracted polio at age 38. Tom said, “Just imagine experiencing that at age 5.” His compassion was palpable. As monsoon like winds and rain swept across Bermuda, I experienced the awareness of the fear of being left behind lugging my leg brace. It's time for healing that wound. Tom said to me that I am no more a back of the packer. It’s all about perception. I could feel both the excruciating pain of being all alone to manage the leg brace, the shame, the humiliation, the bullying, the taunting and teasing and the triumph of crossing that finish line tomorrow. Everyone from around the globe is cheering me on and I run both in defiance of what family members tried to do to me and I run in celebration of my Spirit. I can feel the magic. I see myself through the wonder filled eyes of a child - a child of God who now knows that anything and everything is possible. I have gone from survival to creation; from doubting to believing having the courage to heal the pain of the past and create an amazing new present for myself.

I imagined all sorts of untoward events happening. And then coincidentally the sun came out and there was a huge tropical bird cawing as if beckoning me to focus on being there now.. Sitting by the pool listening to my marathon training playlist, the fears began to dissipate. It was a memory from a year ago when I injured my knee but I reminded myself, It’s just a memory. I’ve got this and it’s as though every time he does energy work on my left leg he is draining the memories of polio, last year’s knee injury, the rape that pinned me down after being paralyzed and all the violence. But I HAVE THE POWER TO CHANGE it all.

I realize that my body has stored all this energy to be released tomorrow....

We were well trained and well prepared so that I could experience race day with unbridled joy.

Each vista was more breathtaking than the one before:

Tom teased me and said that I was having a runner's orgasm saying Oh my God as we'd turn a corner or have my breath catch at the beauty of the farms, the architecture and of course the blue water that is uniquely Bermuda. The roosters were crowing as we ran by cheering me along on my victory lap.

I felt strong and knew in every fiber of my being that all the fears of collapsing as I had without warning when I was 5 years old freely dancing around the gym, and not being able to trust my body melted away with each foot strike.

The locals made the race one big party celebrating life, running, the race and each runner. They expressed the true meaning of what the Bermuda Marathon is all about for every day runners who were not competing in the race: to enjoy their beautiful Island.

I danced my way along part of the course:

There was no jeers because of my pace; only cheers and celebration and great job and do you have enough water? would you like an orange slice? Be sure to enjoy the view.

I enjoyed every mile, every view, every sight, sound and scent along the Bermuda Marathon course. I felt unbridled joy and with each foot strike I was transformed. I went from experiencing taper madness in all of its glory to triumphantly crossing the finish line. I ran unencumbered going the distance!

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