Why am I doing this?
Training for my 2nd CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Half Marathon.
I crossed it off my bucket list so why do it again?
Can't I just take a Bermuda vacation free from the shackles of post polio syndrome and sit on the beach, lounge around and swim in the pool at the Rosedon Hotel?
Why push myself every weekend to add on miles and maintain the rigors of a 5 day training cycle to be in the best possible shape I can be this year when Team McManus toes the starting line of the 42nd Bermuda Marathon and Half Marathon? Ice baths, soreness, black toenails...running whatever the weather, getting up before the sun during the week to get in a run....
Ten years ago next month I was diagnosed with post polio syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease and told to prepare to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair, adapt our Cape style home, get a sleep apnea machine, go on a semi soft food diet using chin tuck swallowing techniques to avoid the need for a feeding tube...the list goes on and on.
I was at a crossroads in my life...would I wither and die as a result of the unhealed effects of paralytic polio followed by 9 years of unrelenting violence or would I go on a quest and heal my life?
I got still, asked for Divine Guidance and the answer came in the form of a poem in February of 2007 in the midst of the dark days of winter and the dark night of my mind, body and soul ....
Running the Race
Early summer 1959 my kindergarten year
everyone around me filled with nervous fear
despite the Salk vaccine hope polio would disappear
the polio virus crept right up and knocked me in the rear.
Dancing all around the gym feeling free just like a bird
I dropped to the ground just like a stone and no one said a word.
The pain it was so searing-the diagnosis even worse
"It's polio" the doctor said...he was abrupt and terse.
Called one of the 'lucky ones' I had a 'mild case'
but with the other athletes I could never keep their pace.
Miss Holly physical therapist, curly hair and a warm, broad smile
it tempered the pain of being apart - to walk I'd take awhile.
I always wore those 'special' shoes the kids they poked and teased
With no support and much abuse with childhood I wasn't pleased.
But put nose to the grindstone and learned all that I could
I couldn't kick a ball but my grades were always good.
Years went by and no more thought to polio did I give
I accepted the limp and everything else and decided my life I would live.
But symptoms of weakness and muscle pain did grow
I kept a stoic face hoping no one else would know.
Life no longer was my own I struggled through each day
Suffered in silence, isolated from friends- trying to keep depression at bay.
And with the grace of glorious God my world it opened wide
I discovered there was a Post Polio team and they were on my side.
Using wheelchair to travel, set limits on what I could do,
resulted in joy to realize I could live life anew.
Celebrated my body- creaks, groans and need for a brace
While in my mind I focused on winning a 10K race.
Sought out paths for healing and my spirit flew free
for the first time in life, I could truly be me.
The chains are gone and possibilities abound
I'm a tree with my roots planted firmly in ground.
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.
Why am I doing this?
Two years ago after a serious knee injury I was told I would not, should not and could not run any long distance again. They told me I shouldn't run at all but they knew better to tell me to stop running but were most emphatic about capping the distance. I was looking at a total knee replacement.
It IS kind of fun to do the impossible.
My pen became my Divining rod for healing and poetry poured out of me yearning for a healer to partner with me to go the distance; to live free from the effects of paralytic polio and trauma and to run unencumbered...to reclaim my life!
In February of 2015 Dr. Ryan Means entered my life reminding me of my body's enormous capacity to heal and asking me, "Why set limits?" On One Boston Day Jeffrey Spratt,MT was donating his time and talent providing chair massage at Old South Church to support survivors and their families on the 2nd anniversary of 4/15/13. I happened to be on the search for a new massage therapist and it was kismet that I would find my way to a massage therapy practice with the motto, Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! After my first session with him, which was unlike any other massage therapist's touch and technique I'd ever known, he looked deep into my eyes with his blue eyes and said, "I want you to run unencumbered."
Why am I doing this?
I get to see the sun rise over the Reservoir and go on a run with Tom, my life and running partner of almost 40 years and greet the dawn of a new day:
I am honoring the Divine within me - the Source of all that has blessed me with grace, wisdom and healing, strength and courage to transform a hellish past and create a vibrant fully alive present in mind, body and Spirit. I am running my 2nd Consecutive Bermuda Half Marathon as a tip of the hat to Dr. Ryan and Jeffrey for the innovative way they practice chiropractic care and massage therapy. I am doing this to inspire others to see beyond appearances and diagnoses and edicts from Western Medicine to find a healing path.
The body achieves what the mind believes. I am doing this to remind myself that indeed I am "factory new" a phrase coined by Jeffrey as we talked about transcending the effects of polio, surgeries and trauma. When I experience those inevitable knee pains, I remind myself to think greater than my circumstances as Dr. Joe Dispenza talks about in "You Are the Placebo". Dr. Candace Pert reminds us in "Everything you need to know to feel Go(o)d" that how we interpret sensations we experience in our bodies, affects our biology.
Running the Bermuda Half Marathon is a way for me to integrate my work of the past 10 years moving from healing the effects of paralytic polio and trauma to a journey of health and wellness. Running the Bermuda Half Marathon for the 2nd consecutive time is a way for me to celebrate what I've accomplished during these past 10 years. It is a thrill to be part of the International Race Weekend again.
Truth be told, I am embracing the soreness, the black toenails, the ice baths, running in all kinds of weather knowing that I am taking myself to greater and greater heights in my health and wellness journey. I don't have to worry I am going to be injured again because I go for regular massage therapy sessions with Jeffrey which helps me to recover from the rigors of training followed by two rest days. I've incorporated biweekly ShakeOut(TM) Massage therapy sessions now that we are adding up those miles. I train mindfully and am open to trusting the process of training knowing that I have successfully made it past the wall I would always hit in my healing journey until now! I have confidence in my body's ability to withstand the rigors of training - psychosomatic wellness as Dr. Candace Pert calls it! Running my 2nd consecutive Bermuda Half Marathon at the age of 63 years old is a way to celebrate the transformation from being broken and run down to feeling whole and holy integrated.
Why am I doing this again? Because Runcations are so much fun and I can't imagine a better way to enjoy Bermuda and all the days of training leading up to Bermuda Marathon Weekend.
To your health and wellness!