Thursday, April 7, 2016

Inside Out: Reflections on #OneBostonDay and Boston Marathon 2016

The movie "Inside Out" reminds us of the importance of core memories and how, in order to experience the rich fabric of our existence, we need to experience and honor all of our feelings and all of our experiences. Part of me wanted to just forget about One Boston Day and the 2016 Boston Marathon, head in the sand and just wait until it all passed. But as so often happens in my life, the Universe has other plans for me.

On 4/15/14, after seeing Meb streak past us on Beacon Street, Tom made a sign that said, "Meb Won!"

Because incredulous runners would ask "Really?" Tom added "Really" to our sign. One runner paused and said, "Here this is for you."

Tom handed it to me, I put it in my jacket and didn't give it much thought until a few days after the marathon. I added it to my collection of treasured memorabilia from the weekend of events and something moved me to take a second look at it.

It led to this beautiful story and connection to Maureen Jones, a physical therapist from the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota!

Maureen sent me a message on Facebook and said she is coming to town for the Marathon and we just have to meet up! So much for head in the sand and just letting the marathon pass me by this year.

And just think about all I would have missed!

It's the 50th anniversary of women running Boston! In February I was blessed to meet Jacqueline Hansen in Hyannis. 50 years of women running is an incredible milestone and the Boston Marathon is going to celebrate Bobbi Gibb, the first woman to run Boston. Jacqueline is going to be a part of the First Ladies of Running at the Expo and asked that I be sure to attend it.

Speaking of the Expo my dear friends Ken and Nell of Blue Diamond Athletic Displays will be at Booth #800!

The Boston Marathon has been a part of my life since 1971 when I moved to Boston from New York. When I had reconstructive leg surgery and subsequent surgeries which somehow managed to come around the time of the Marathon, I would hobble around on crutches and joke, "No I don't think I'll run the Boston Marathon this year." Be careful what you put out there... because on April 20, 2009, I crossed the finish line of the 113th Boston Marathon and Team McManus raised $10,535 for Spaulding Rehab Hospital.

which brings us to

4/15/13 was the first year I gathered at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel with my teammates from the Race for Rehab team since being regaled when we entered the reception after spending 7 hours and 46 minutes on the roads from Hopkinton to Boston.

It was a beautiful and joyful day and we were excited to welcome the returning runners as we had been welcomed after crossing the finish line but at 2:49 we heard something out of the ordinary for Marathon Monday and a few moments later our hotel shook and smoke wafted up from Boylston Street. It was a miracle the floor to ceiling windows sustained the explosion and a miracle that we had not been looking out the window to see what happened. We were blessed to have safely evacuated the area and to begin the frantic Facebook check in with our runner friends and family.

With each year I find myself looking inside sifting and sorting the memories and exploring how do I want to honor the day and how do I want to move forward from that day.

I have a new memory of 4/15. I was on the quest for a new massage therapist shortly before the anniversary of 4/15/15. I was volunteering to share my journey of resilience as a survivor of childhood trauma and the events of 4/15/13 and provide support to those attending One Boston Day: A Day of Resilience at Old South Church. Because I was a part of the planning committee I knew they were going to provide chair massage as part of the day. At 4 am I went to the poster for One Boston Day: A Day of Resilience to see who was going to do chair massage. Jeffrey Spratt,MT of Spratt Muscular Therapies. I smile to remember the bare bones website that I struggled to navigate on my iPhone at 4am but I had enough information to know that as soon as daylight came, I was going to schedule a massage with him.

With voice trembling I asked Roy at Wave Health and Fitness the questions I needed to ask and there was one question he needed to ask Jeffrey and get back to me. When he did, he suggested that I introduce myself to Jeffrey the next day. "You can't miss him..he's a tall guy with greyish hair."

I was blessed to share a table at Old South Church with Dr. Ryan Means who was offering free chiropractic consultation to survivors and families and providing education about chiropractic care and wellness. It was heart warming to spend the morning side by side with him.

When the flow of people coming through slowed down, I asked Ryan if I could go upstairs and meet Jeffrey.

As I introduced myself he said, "Oh you're the one Roy asked me about." He warmly took my hand in his two hands and said what a pleasure it was to meet me. I took a deep breath and told him I just needed to make it through the day. I told him where I was on Marathon Monday. He asked me if I wanted to get in the chair and I told him I needed to get back to my table. "We'll talk more about this when I see you on Sunday," he said to me and then said, "Let me give you a hug." It would be one of countless healing hugs I've experienced with Jeffrey during this past year.

I'm not sure what I will be doing next Friday. I do know that this is a time of reflection and gratitude. It's a time to celebrate resilience and how out of the darkness beautiful things happen. In my role as Communications and PR Director for Spratt Muscular Therapies I've been putting together stories of resilience and fortitude and strength and how we move beyond the events of 4/15/13. You can read about in our latest website blog.

There's definitely a different vibe in the air this year than there was last year and certainly than there was the year before that. Mayor Walsh has made 4/15 a day of service. Rather than having any organized activities as we did last year with A Day of Resilience at Old South Church we will be together in spirit as a community each doing our part to honor, commemorate, look back, and move forward. At Spratt Muscular Therapies, anyone who does not qualify for any other special rates, receives a $10 savings on treatments 30 minutes or longer (excluding Hot Stone Massage).

There is a lot to celebrate for the Boston Marathon 2016 as there is with every Boston Marathon. It's a time for the whole world to descend upon Boston to celebrate Spring and to celebrate new beginnings. Hope Springs eternal as the Red Sox play ball at Fenway Park.

On Marathon Monday, it's a time for runners to test their mettle from the elite runner to the charity runner to the runner, like myself who ran the Boston Marathon to experience redemption and to transform those core memories of me as disabled, a survivor of paralytic polio and violence, to a strong, resilient athlete to know that I could go 26.2 miles from Hopkinton to Boston. That's the spirit of the Boston Marathon and each one of us turns ourselves inside out as we sift and sort the memories while creating new wonderful memories and celebrating the true meaning of the Boston Marathon.

To your health and wellness,

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