Monday, September 26, 2016

Going the Distance: Never tell me the odds...

As I am editing "Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance," I realize how the odds were stacked against me since I was 5 years old having contracted paralytic polio and enduring unthinkable acts of horror. At age 53 when I was diagnosed with a progressive neuromuscular disease, I was told odds were I'd spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair, needing a sleep apnea machine, possibly a feeding tube. The odds of me being able to reclaim my life were not in my favor ... that is until I met Ryan J. Means DC, a healer chiropractor and now a dear friend!

In some ways my life was like an adventure movie where I had brushes with death at every turn. I've faced evil and violence and would not wish the horrors I experienced on another living soul. Yet now that I am blessed with the grace of healing, I can look back on it all as one wild adventure in which good triumphed over evil and my light, my love, my joy prevail. We can now polish and restore the treasures of my body, my mind and my Soul and make everything factory new restoring everything to my original settings before polio and before trauma.

Saturday Tom and I ran 8.5 miles on our road to the Bermuda Half Marathon. Sunday I did a strength training work out in the pool. Since there is rain in the forecast for the next several days, Tom and I decided to get our 5K run in this morning. It was a cool, clear Autumn New England morning and I loved the sound of my footsteps around the path of the Reservoir. We had a delightful run as I picked up the pace doing negative splits and experienced the dawn of a new day and a new week. We debated about whether or not we were going to watch tonight's Presidential Debate and decided we are going to watch "The Office." We played "The Office" trivial pursuit as we ran and during breakfast googled our answers.

You can see our radiant smiles and the splendor of an Autumn morning in our post run selfie:

It will be ten years in December since the odds were that I'd be withering away in a wheelchair by now but as Han Solo and I like to say - never tell me the odds.

To your health and wellness,

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Going the Distance: Just Imagine!!!

In editing my next book, "Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance," I'm realizing how I harnessed the power of my imagination to create my life today. After receiving the diagnosis of post polio syndrome in December 2006, I harnessed the power of my imagination through my pen, my divining rod for healing and imagined myself winning a 10K race.

I imagined myself running and running free, dancing in the rain without a leg brace, celebrating my life, expressing gratitude in spite of all the pain and suffering I lived through seeing my life as a gift rather than a burden. When I suffered a serious knee injury in December of 2014, I once again took to my imagination to help my body heal and affirmed the type of healer that I was worthy to have partner with me. I asked the question how would I ever reclaim my life and affirmed running free and unencumbered.

I imagined healing hands and healing hearts and was so blessed to meet Dr. Ryan Means. As I edit sharing the work I did with Dr. Ryan, I can feel the heal in my body once more. After a fall a few weeks ago, my left knee was swollen and I had pain. I would imagine Dr. Ryan taping me and using his hands and heart to support my body's natural ability to heal.

After a wasp sting, I imagined my thumb factory new as though the sting never happened.

Now here's the thing. Many people have said to me that they don't have that kind of imagination or that I must have some special powers that they don't have. That's just not true. Have you ever seen a commercial on TV for a juicy steak or a delicious dessert or a food you absolutely love? What happens? You can feel the desire to have that food and you might even start salivating AT THE THOUGHT OF HAVING IT!

Research is now documenting the power of the mind in affecting the body. Dr. Joe Dispenza's book, 'You Are the Placebo' is filled with anecdotes about his own healing and the healing of others; and changing the body by thought alone. There have also been examples cited by Dr. Joe and Dr. Bernie Siegel where negative messages about a diagnosis and research on a drug led to the death of patients. It was Dr. Ryan who led me to Dr. Joe Dispenza's work that expounds on the work of Bernie who pioneered the power of the mind/body connection back in the 70's.

Recently Dr. Joe shared this article from Scientific American about the power of the mind to build muscle.

Athletes visualize their races. I love a story Meb shares is 'Run to Overcome.' He visualized his race before he went to sleep the night before the race. He woke up sweaty and exhausted. His body felt as though it had in fact already run the race and his performance was compromised that day.

What do you need to conjure up in your life? It takes intention, attention, focus and action to manifest a positive outcome in your life. I could have easily listened to the naysayers and the doomsdayers in my life beginning with the messages I received being traumatized as a child and then from Western Medicine and even the body workers I worked with. But rather than set limits I allowed my imagination to run wild and free. Just imagine that!

You'll be able to read all about it in 'Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance.'

To your health and wellness,

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Going the Distance: 8 Bermudaful Miles

Last week's 8 mile training run was filled with struggles and challenges yet Team McManus felt a sense of triumph after those 8 miles.

When we woke up this morning to another glorious sunny day we decided to head over to South Boston to get in our 8 mile training run for Bermuda Marathon Weekend. The weather is reminiscent of Bermuda in January and while there is nowhere in the world that has the blue waters of Bermuda, the water hugging the coast in South Boston was a radiant blue.

Rather than run our typical out and back course from Castle Island to U Mass, I suggested we park at Carson Beach, run to Castle Island, circle the Castle and then head out to U Mass. It's always important to give your body something new and interesting out on those long runs.

The miles seemed to fly by! There was ease, laughter and joy in this run as we relished a day that was a true gift from the Universe on 9/17 in Boston. We talked about our jobs, our dreams (yes you better believe you still have dreams in your 60's!) and healing.

I realized there are still some things in my life that reflected my old behavior patterns and on the run was able to get clarity on what I needed to release. Tom and I formulated my exit strategy. There is no time to waste and as Christopher Walken posted on Facebook:
"None of us are getting out of here alive, so please stop treating yourself like an after thought. Eat the delicious food. Walk in the sunshine. Jump in the ocean. Say the truth that you’re carrying in your heart like hidden treasure. Be silly. Be kind. Be weird. There’s no time for anything else."

I really had to push through the last mile and wondered what was going on. Tom realized that we had not stuck to our hydration and fueling plan on our run. We were so caught up in how good we felt and the beautiful day that we lost track of our hydration and fueling plan. I cramped up at the end of our run; fortunately it was at the end of our run. I have total confidence in my body's ability to recover from our long runs, even if we mess up a little. This runfie captures the joy of the day:

Tom and I shared a grapefruit and I drank a lot of water. I stretched and we went into the ocean for an ice bath to encourage our bodies to begin their recovery.

We had a fantastic lunch at 75 on Liberty. I had their Salmon BLT with a side salad and we indulged in a dessert following Christopher Walken's advice.

We felt as though we had a wonderful vacation day together. As we pulled into the driveway, for a moment, I was wondering why I was feeling so sore... and then I remembered ... it was because we ran 8 Bermudaful miles together preparing for our return to Bermuda Marathon Weekend in January.

To your health and wellness,

Friday, September 16, 2016

Fundraising Friday: Jess Lanzoni and Back on My Feet Boston

Jess Lanzoni at the Tufts 10K with the ladies from Back on My Feet Boston:

"Homelessness can happen to anybody," Jess Lanzoni shared with me when asked about her upcoming marathons in Berlin and Chicago to raise money for Back on My Feet Boston. (BoMF)

Operating in 11 major cities coast-to-coast, Back on My Feet uses running and community to motivate and support individuals every step of the way from homelessness to independence. Our success is measured not only by the health impact of miles run, but also by how many individuals obtain education, employment and housing.

Back on My Feet recruits members (individuals experiencing homelessness) at homeless and residential facilities around the country and begins with a commitment to run three days a week in the early morning. After 30 days in the program, members with 90% attendance earn the opportunity to move into the second phase of the program called Next Steps, which provides educational support, job training programs, employment partnership referrals and housing resources. Almost 80% of individuals who start the program move into Next Steps.

Three years ago, one of Jess's friends invited her to volunteer and run with the ladies at Rosie's Place. While Jess thought she was going to volunteer and give back, she said that she receives way more than she ever gives by running with these inspiring women. "They will be in my life forever," she says from deep in her heart.

Jess already ran the Boston Marathon in 2015 through pelting rain and driving winds to raise money for Back on My Feet.

She is a woman dedicating her life to social justice and philanthropy. In addition to running with the ladies each week, she is on the Young Professionals Advisory Board to explore program improvement, and creative and effective ways to fund raise.

I asked Jess why two back to back marathons? "I've done back to back marathons before. I'm already trained so it's not a big deal and I am so passionate about supporting Back on My Feet."

And when the miles get tough? Jess thinks of the women she runs with and all they have had to overcome on their journeys. "I'll think about the ladies and their stories and know I can always run a little farther."

Let's help Jess exceed her fund raising goal. Please donate to her Back on My Feet Fundraising Page.

Safe travels Jess! Run strong, happy, healthy and with ease!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Fundraising Friday!

Meaghan O’Sullivan runs a marathon and the marathon of her life with passion, dedication, determination and an infectious smile that you just want to be around. She ran her first marathon in Boston in 2015. She braved the high winds and pelting rains running for the Dana Farber Marathon Team raising money for cancer research.

And now Meaghan is lacing up her running shoes to once again go the 26.2 mile distance for the New York Road Runners Team for Kids at the NYC Marathon on November 6th.

As Meaghan said, “Running has done so much for me and my journey through all the challenging and trying things life has thrown at me and I want other kids to have the same opportunity as me to discover the healing power of running.”

From Meaghan’s fund raising page:
Running the 2015 Boston Marathon was an experience like no other in my running career. It was filled with many great moments that made lasting impressions on me, but also came with some of the toughest that challenged me beyond what I thought I could handle. Thankfully, these are now goals to beat and challenges to face head on. I look forward to having success with this in the 2016 NYC Marathon!!

I’ve decided to run with Team for Kids and I am asking for your support of their inspiring mission. Team for Kids is a team of adult runners who raise funds for critical services provided by New York Road Runners Youth Programs. These programs combat childhood obesity and empower youth development via running and character-building programs across the country.
Whether you are a runner, have worked with children, or have kids yourself, I hope you will join me to further this great cause.
See you at the finish line!
Love, Meg

Team for Kids was established in 2002 as NYRR recognized the need to help city kids become more physically active. The goal of all NYRR youth programs is to equip children with the tools they need to become physically fit for life, in programs that focus on goal-setting skills, character-enrichment, and nutrition education.

Where does the money go?
All funds raised through Team for Kids benefit New York Road Runners youth programs, which represent a national and international effort to transform the lives of tens of thousands of children, many of whom have no access to the regular physical activity they need to live healthy, productive lives.
Funds raised by Team for Kids members help provide:
• Training for teachers, coaches, field managers, and coordinators, most of whom volunteer their time to NYRR youth programs.
• Incentives for children to encourage them to attend events and practices, demonstrate sportsmanship, and strive for fitness and personal milestones.
• Incentives for teachers to encourage them to run with students, and enable them to share their own achievements in physical fitness through NYRR youth programs.
• Entry fees and transportation to races and related sporting events for the kids.
• Necessary resources to establish programs in areas of greatest need.

We know that Meaghan will go the distance through the Boroughs of New York City. Let’s help her go the distance to exceed her fund raising goal.

Follow this link to make your donation.

Good luck Meaghan!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Going the Distance: Sole Sisters

As I am writing, "Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance," I am reuniting with treasured memories of my sole sisters who have been with me throughout this amazing journey.

I first met Deborah through her husband Tim through an on line dating running site. We often joked about how we met. Tim, Tom and I were training for the 2009 Boston Marathon. I met Tim in person at the Hyannis Marathon Weekend in 2009.

Deborah and I became on line and in person friends. I was so blessed to provide her with support and encouragement as she set goals not limits. We had so much fun running the Tufts 10K in 2010:

And then we ran the Hyannis 10K together setting a PR on what we ran at Tufts despite slushy and snowy conditions. You can read all about it in my Race Report.

We've been FB friends through the years and as I posted about remembering our runs together, she is now considering the possibility of running the Hyannis 10K again!

My sole sister Jess Lanzoni has been such a cheerleader and supporter of my journey through the years. She joined with my intention to set a PR at the Bill Rodgers 5K for Prostate Cancer on Facebook the morning before the race and was there in person at the finish line to get me to my PR at the Tufts 10K in October of 2014.

Race Directors Geoffrey Smith and Charlie Breagy are keeping the tradition alive of the Hazelwood 5K, the oldest women's road race. Ever since the October snow fall several years ago that cancelled the Super Hero 5K (or at least our running in it), my sole sisters Laura and Kerry and I have been looking for a race to run together. I think these 3 sole sisters have found it. We have championed each other on and off the roads.

Although we have never met in person, one of my cherished on line sole sisters is Nicole. She was training for her first marathon in Houston and I was training for my comeback Half Marathon in Bermuda. Shortly before our races we realized that they were on the SAME DAY! It was such a joy to share those final training moments and taper madness together. We'll be doing it all over again this year as we return to our respective races.

The list goes on and on!

Sole sisters is just one of the many reasons I could not possibly give up my running career after a serious knee injury in December of 2014. As I look back on the journey through writing "Going the Distance" I see clearly how running is such a vital part of my life. How blessed am I loving and living this amazing journey sharing it all with my beautiful sole sisters.

To your health and wellness!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Going the Distance: Liberty - Dimes From Heaven!

Before meeting Dr. Ryan J. Means, a healer/chiropractor and dear friend, I was carrying around a ton of trauma. I carried it in my body, in my beliefs and in the very fiber of my Being.

As I was writing in my journal yesterday I had a totally new thought and feeling that came to me: "And how is that my fault?" And then another thought that I have "known" intellectually but was able to feel, "Every problem has a solution."

I held the blame, the guilt, the shame for everything that happened to me. It was like a window opened in my brain and let in this fresh, clean air. Part of what keeps trauma survivors locked into their past is that the brain is looping the same beliefs that lead to the same behaviors over and over again thereby creating the same reality. (For more on this phenomenon, please refer to the work of Dr. Joe Dispenza). With this light bulb moment of a new thought (yes bear with me as I mix metaphors please) the prison cell door and my heart opened wide!

Coincidentally, I'd been finding dimes on the street all over the Seaport District. It started with a nickel. And the very next day I found a dime...and then found dimes during the past two weeks.

I found one with Tom after Saturday's long run and asked out loud, "Why do I keep finding dimes?"

I looked at the dime and the word "Liberty" jumped out at me. "Of course," I said, "I am liberating myself from the past and experiencing freedom in my life for the first time in this 10 year healing odyssey."

And then I went to google a picture of a dime for this blog:

and it became so clear to me as I looked at FDR's image and just happened to find this quote:!

And that is the reason Franklin is on the dime. He’s not on the twenty-dollar bill, or something fancy. He’s on the dime. He’d love that, because a dime is something everybody can have in their pocket. It’s not a thousand-dollar bill, it’s the dime. And it connects him to polio and to the March of Dimes, which is still doing all this amazing work for spinal cord injury today all over the world. Franklin created the March of Dimes.

FDR gave an address to the nation asking that everyone send in just one dime to fund the research to put an end to paralytic polio.

Liberty and liberation -- new beliefs creating new feelings and new feelings creating a new reality of my life -- one free from the effects of paralytic polio and trauma and the Universe blessing and affirming my journey with dimes from heaven!

To your health and wellness!