Sunday, December 31, 2017

Countdown to Bermuda: Two Weeks from Today



The hay is in the barn. We trained for 5 days every week from May until December. We capped out our long run at 12 miles. We trained through heat, humidity, cold, rain and freezing cold. Team McManus is Bermuda ready!

It's time now to focus on the mental game as we count down the days to our Bermudaful vacation that includes a 13.1 mile run known as the Bermuda Marathon Weekend Half Marathon.

As we ring out 2017 and ring in a New Year, I've been meditating and journaling on what I want to leave in 2017 and what I am going to take into 2018.

I've been doing the work of meditation guided by Dr. Joe Dispenza. I have a powerful intention for healing along with a profound sense of gratitude for the healing I have already experienced and continue to experience in my life. I am more aware of how the past influences of paralytic polio and trauma affect how I feel in my body and how I feel in my body then affects my thoughts and feelings. By being keenly aware of how I felt in response to polio and trauma, I can now shift my beliefs, my thoughts and my feelings. I have all the wonderful feelings of being alive, thriving, enjoying my workouts and runs, knowing the power of my body's ability to heal and partnering with the Divine Mind to heal all that went before. It's all rather glorious and miraculous.

Dr. Joe talks about rehearsing something so many times that it feels as though it has already happened. Team McManus has rehearsed running the Bermuda Half Marathon with every training run; especially how it feels to come into the finish and cross the finish line with hands held high.

We go mile by mile on the map:


and on our copy of the map I've written out our fueling and hydration plan.

Since it is New Year's Eve, I am going to take a look back at the reunion of Team McManus through the year.

Ruth Anne came home in early May after 3 years of struggling with severe depression and PTSD. Tom and I were already registered for the Joseph Aselton 5K race in Hyannis and it was our first race since we ran Boston in 2009. After a few training runs together we were back in sync!

It was a magical race. Ruth Anne told us that she was auditioning for going to Bermuda with us.


And then it was time to begin building those miles.

We adopted the motto, "Hakuna Matata" - no worries. We were going to go the distance on the road to Bermuda.

We received signs that we were on the right path as we had when we trained for Boston first with a quarter and a penny followed by finding a dime.



We'd post videos from Bermuda Marathon Weekend 2016 and soak up the love and cheers from our running village lending us support and cheers as we added on the miles:


This was our selfie after a sweet, sweat fest and then soaking 7 miles:


And then the excitement mounted as we approached double digits.

Our 10 miler was in the pouring rain!


We knew we were Team McManus tough after that run!

We'd find out how tough with a hot hot hot double digit run the following week.


We had perfect weather for our 11.5 mile training run as I wrote about in "How Lucky Can You Get".



We experienced such love on our 12 mile run into downtown Boston and back during and after the run from our running village.





We had a snowy six mile run and the following week we were mighty winter warriors on Heartbreak Hill for 7 miles in 17 degree weather!


We were so proud of our outdoor running streak until last week when ice and plummeting temperatures forced us inside.

When we trained for Bermuda Half Marathon 2017, Tom and I had many indoor training runs and we did not have a solid 12 miler as we did this year.

It's now time to usher in a New Year and embrace our taper time.

We've worked hard and now it's time to celebrate all that we have overcome in 2017.

Two weeks from today we get to take our victory lap!

To going the distance with strength and courage!
From my heart to yours,
Mary

Be sure to listen to my interview with Keith Cartwright by following this link.

Proud to be a part of Friends of Blue Diamond Athletic Displays, Inc.

Be sure to visit my website by following this link.

My books are available on Amazon.

Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life


Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing Hope and Possibility that chronicles the first 7 years of my healing journey:


And my latest and greatest book - Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance (With a Foreword by Jacqueline Hansen):




Friday, December 29, 2017

Going the Distance: It's a Sign!



Earlier this month I wrote a blog about Puzzles and Teamwork. We finally did finish that Boston skyline puzzle BUT there was a piece missing:


We left the puzzle out hoping that perhaps the piece would appear. When we worked on our first puzzle there was a piece missing. We had a feeling that our cat might have had a paw in its disappearance since we left the puzzle out with many loose pieces. One day I came home and the felt that we keep the puzzle on was askew on the coffee table.

We moved all the furniture and looked in every nook, cranny and corner of the room. We did not find the missing puzzle piece but we did find two pennies - one from 1958 - the year before I contracted polio and one from 1984, the year I received my MSW from Boston College.

We left the puzzle out with the hopes that we would find the missing piece. I felt the joy of being able to say, "I found it!" and was sure we'd find it. I considered writing the manufacturer convinced that the piece may not have been in the puzzle in the first place and something told me to just let it go. After several days we decided to dismantle the puzzle and we recycled it.

The other day as we were heading into the gym Tom yells out, "Oh my God." I thought perhaps he had slipped on the ice because I didn't seem him standing upright. This is what he showed me:



We never took the puzzle out of the house yet there was the puzzle piece face down blending in with the color of the floor of our car, puffed up from moisture and wedged between the seat and the door. I decided to tape it to the front of my journal as a reminder of my connection to the quantum field.

I've experienced many signs and synchronicity throughout my life but lately, since doing the work of Dr. Joe Dispenza the signs and synchronicity have become incredible. There is absolutely no mistaking that what's been happening is being orchestrated by something Divine and the results of my regular meditation practice.

In addition to finding the piece in the car which defies all logic, Jacqueline Hansen, who wrote the Foreword to my book "Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance," commented on my Facebook post:
I think that missing piece looks like a runner in stride, or am I just imagining things?

It most certainly does and what an affirmation for me and Team McManus as we count down to the Bermuda Half Marathon happening two weeks from Sunday!

It's a reminder that I can transform my fear into faith and love. It's a reminder that I am healed, healthy and whole able to leave the remnants of paralytic polio and severe childhood trauma in the past. It's a reminder that I can transform and transcend the past and that the habits of health, wholeness, gratitude, joy and Love will eventually be as set in mind, body and soul as once were the habits of fear, doubt, feeling unhealthy and heavy. It's a reminder to release prerace jitters and celebrate our training from May to December. It's a sign that I can get ready for a Bermudaful vacation happening in just two weeks!

It's a sign - one of many many signs and synchronicity that surrounds and now abounds in my life.

It's a sign that I AM going the distance in my healing, on the roads and in my life.

To going the distance with strength and courage!
From my heart to yours,
Mary

Be sure to listen to my interview with Keith Cartwright by following this link.

Proud to be a part of Friends of Blue Diamond Athletic Displays, Inc.

Be sure to visit my website by following this link.

My books are available on Amazon.

Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life


Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing Hope and Possibility that chronicles the first 7 years of my healing journey:


And my latest and greatest book - Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance (With a Foreword by Jacqueline Hansen):









Thursday, December 28, 2017

Countdown to Bermuda: Feel the Heal - Writing the Next Chapters on My Healing Journey



One of my friends on Facebook started a thread asking about people's words for 2018. It's one word that sets the tone for the year. The first word that came to me was INTENTION.

I've been doing the work of Dr. Joe Dispenza on and off for the past 3 years - ever since a serious knee injury led me to a beloved chiropractor healer, Ryan J. Means, DC who told me I HAD to read Dr. Joe's book, "You Are The Placebo." I extricated myself from a toxic situation that was consuming a lot of my time and repeating the patterns of my past on July 4th of this year. Since then I have rededicated myself to my healing journey and been doing the work on a more regular basis with more passion, commitment and yes intention.

I remembered a poem I wrote shortly after the diagnosis of Post-Polio Syndrome. I was diagnosed 11 years ago and in February of 2007, poetry began pouring out of me inspiring me to heal mind, body and soul, creating my future self.

It's in "Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life" available on Amazon:

During a meditation, the image of a pinball machine came to mind. I played pinball as a child and remembered the feeling of when the flippers connected with the ball and all the lights, bells and whistles went off. But for years I was used and abused by many. I made the conscious shift from victim to a free soul with:

The Pinball Machine

Put in the quarters feel the flippers I can now take hold
feeling in control more valuable than gold
for many years that little ball bouncing from side to side
racking up points for others and risking my own hide.
Now I’m the only one who plays the game of life is mine
to win I feel my freedom and let my Spirit shine.


This poem from the next page jumped out at me:
It is easy to succumb to a diagnosis. There are many well documented cases of a person dying exactly when a doctor predicted they would. In one case, cited by Dr. Joe Dispenza in You Are The Placebo, a man believed that he had terminal cancer when on autopsy there was no indication of cancer anywhere in his body. He believed what the doctors told him and his body acted on those beliefs even though it was not the cancer that caused his death but his belief about the cancer. We embody what we believe and so I had to make a choice and I decided on:

A Well Chosen Path

PPS, MS, cancer stroke and more
many diagnoses exist in the doctor’s store
does diagnosis shape and a cripple does it make
or do I use the pain to choose the path I want to take?

No matter what the outcome there’s no way I can fail
for when I take the hand of God through adversity I sail.
The body is imperfect but my soul is shining free
there’s never any limit to the true essence of me.
I get in tune and get in step knowing every limb is healed
running wildly with the wind embracing flowers in the field.

I love myself beyond all words a message says to live
and from my open grateful heart to others do I give.


I've started writing poetry again and I love feeling the connection to myself and to Source within and around me as I write poetry and prose. I am creating "The Adventures of Runnergirl1953" the 3rd and next book in what I never set out to be a series of books about my healing journey.

Two weeks from today Team McManus is leaving for Bermuda to have a well earned and much needed vacation after these past 3 years. Ruth Anne has suffered from severe depression and PTSD that resulted in 6 hospitalizations, numerous med trials, adverse reactions to meds and her almost ending her life last Spring. I was working on my own healing and while I made strides in moving forward in healing the effects of paralytic polio and trauma that manifested in the guise of Post-Polio Syndrome, I was still very much stuck in the patterns from my past. We are each moving forward going the distance in our healing, in our lives and on the roads!

We have trained hard and we have trained well.

With intention we will be running side by side, stride by stride taking it one mile at a time along the Bermudaful Half Marathon course.


It's time for me to write the next chapters of my life overflowing with gratitude, joy, peace, love, creativity, health and wellness...faith in the working out of all things for the highest good leaving my old self behind.

Leave the Old Self Behind
From worrier to warrior to one who is a beast
Transformed from meek and mild who felt she was the least.
At 5 years old you took my hand although no hand to hold
If you decide to choose this life there will be treasures to behold.
The dark night of the soul I’ve known and choices came from pain
The old self behaviors from those I now refrain.
A new song stirs within my heart joy and love now fill my soul
They tried to beat and break me now I’m free and healed and whole.
The old self tried to fix and mend and tend to others strife
The new me binds my own wounds others journeys are their life.
Compassion kindness gratitude inspiration light my way
Fellow travelers like hearted come along and join my play.
The future is my present the past now cleansed with light
Leaving my old self behind all hope and healing now in sight.
Affirming my Divinity my birthright now I name
Never to be robbed again my life I now reclaim!


While New Year's Eve is right around the corner, I am not waiting for a New Year to set goals and create my life. As we count down to Bermuda, I am busy writing the next chapters of my life.

From my heart to yours,
Mary

Be sure to visit my website by following this link.

My books are available on Amazon.

Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life


Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing Hope and Possibility that chronicles the first 7 years of my healing journey:


And my latest and greatest book - Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance (With a Foreword by Jacqueline Hansen):

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Going the Distance and Countdown to Bermuda: 500 Miles




As everyone was posting how they ran the year for 2017, Ruth Anne encouraged me to tally up my miles for the year. She wanted me to post it on Facebook. I said "No - look - all these people have run 2017 miles for the year. I only ran 500 miles."

When I continued to decline to post my miles, while I was in the shower, Ruth Anne took my phone and posted this to Facebook:
Attention beautiful people,
Merry Christmas everyone! RA here! My beautiful mother is too shy to post this so I will....she ran about 500 miles this year! it truly is our Christmas miracle considering she was told she would not be able to walk much less run! #christmashack #miracles
PS: we are also on the eve of her birthday, Christmas Eve that is....so don’t forget to wish her a happy birthday! She is so embarrassed right now she doesn’t know what to do with herself!
Love,
RA


I was astounded by the comments that followed.

Ruth Anne thank you for posting. Happy Birthday Mary. What a blessing you are to so many people.

Wishing you the happiest of birthdays. And keep doing what you're doing because you're an inspiration to more people than you'll ever know!

Happy Birthday and a Merry Christmas. Mary McManus is a blessing and inspiration. Her mission is so important, how blessed are we to witness it.

Mary you are AMAZING and inspiring! Happy birthday, may it be blessed and bright!

Happy Birthday Mary!!! You are an inspiration! I'm taking your inspiration into 2018 with me. Things will FINALLY happen.

Thank you RuthAnn for taking the helm!! Mary McManus - you deserve every ounce of spotlight, lady! You are truly truly an inspiration to us all and I wish you an absolutely beautiful day today! (and for the record, your 500 is about 490 more than what I ran this past year...so you deserve bragging rights!!)

During my morning meditation on Christmas day, I had the image of the star shining in the East. I felt in every cell in my body how I am meant to shine brightly emanating the Divine within. I sometimes need reminders - and bless Ruth Anne for being that reminder on Christmas Eve. In order to go the distance I must embrace and relish my journey and share my voice and experience with others. To be psyched and ready for Bermuda Half Marathon 2018, it is imperative that I remember what I have overcome and the miracle that I run when not too long ago I was given the diagnosis of Post-Polio Syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease which in fact was the result of having contracted paralytic polio at the age of 5 followed by 9 years of unrelenting abuse at the hands of family members. I was able to turn my life around and now I need to keep going the distance on the roads and in my life.

The holidays and winter time here in New England can be overflowing with love and can also be a challenging time. I could feel myself struggling a bit to stay connected to Source and to remember all the miracles that I have co-created with the Divine and the miracle of Ruth Anne's healing from severe depression and PTSD. I am so blessed that my beloved friends and Ruth Anne reminded me to celebrate the miracles of healing and to not compare my accomplishments to anyone else.

I ran 500 miles in 2017 and I am ready to take on 13.1 on 1/14/18 at Bermuda Marathon Weekend. Sixteen days and counting!

From my heart to yours,
Mary

Be sure to visit my website by following this link.

My books are available on Amazon.

Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life


Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing Hope and Possibility that chronicles the first 7 years of my healing journey:


And my latest and greatest book - Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance (With a Foreword by Jacqueline Hansen):

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Countdown to Bermuda: 5 Mystical Miles on the Treadmill



I am so deeply grateful that we were able to get our outdoor runs in every Saturday since May as we trained for Bermuda Marathon Weekend 2018. The forecast for yesterday was 57 degrees and rain...and then the temperatures in the forecast slowly plummeted. Yesterday morning it was 28 degrees and freezing rain. Thank goodness we have a gym membership at Boston Sports Club. One thing that is a challenge when doing a treadmill run at most gyms is the feeling of being indoors but at the Prudential Center Club, there are floor to ceiling glass windows. Team McManus found 3 treadmills in a row in front of the windows to get in our miles for Bermuda.

As the rain fell, we watched crystals form on the bare branches of the trees outside the window. We chatted about Christmas, my birthday and our most remarkable training season. We trained consistently from May to December with cross training and strength training when we didn't run. Our 12 mile training run gave us the boost of confidence we needed to know we can and will go the distance. Friday night we reviewed the course map in exquisite detail:


I updated my Facebook cover photo and we talked about how we'll feel when we arrive at this spot just a little over 5 miles into the Half at John Smith's Bay:


We had some quiet time and I listened to the sounds of people running on the treadmill. Tom and Ruth Anne said they'd go at my pace since we train together. I set the pace at 20-30 seconds faster than race day pace since it was only a 5 mile run. I could sense how much faster people were running around us and I became aware of how broken I felt after contracting paralytic polio.

Dr. Joe Dispenza
often talks about the importance of coherence. Coherence can simply be defined as being unified as a whole. There is coherence within each of us as individuals and then creating coherence by being connected to the whole world and to the Source of all creation.

I experienced such clarity during this treadmill run. When I contracted paralytic polio at age 5, my body and mind became incoherent. I was initially paralyzed from the neck down. My mother, addicted to prescription pain medication glared at me while smoking a cigarette refusing to care for me. I was touched by grace and had a mystical experience that would sustain me through the horrors of my childhood and adolescence. Yet the break within me continued for decades and I was at a crossroads in my life 11 years ago when my my soul cried out for healing. I'd been diagnosed with Post Polio Syndrome a progressive neuromuscular disease.

Three years ago, after a very serious knee injury, I had another wake up call. I was led to the work of Dr. Joe through an earth angel chiropractor healer, Dr. Ryan J. Means. By doing the meditations, journaling and being aware of my thoughts, I am putting myself back together the way I was always meant to be creating a new me transformed by the experiences of my life.



While running on the treadmill, I started entertaining new thoughts about my running and my pace. I relaxed and allowed my mind and body to experience coherence. I felt my heart open and appreciate myself as a runner. I used the time on the treadmill to feel and imagine ease and speed, joy and gratitude for all my body CAN do. I realized that before I can run a 12 minute mile which has been a part of my intention for years, I need to feel whole and healed right now.

I reflected on all the healing I have done from the inside out and reminded myself that I can and will and am going the distance in my healing journey.

I reached back in my memory to before polio and trauma as I watched the wonder and miracle of the icicles forming on the bare tree branches...As long as I stay connected to Source I can generate the energy I need to heal everything and feel free and easy in my body. I reached back to when I was a ballerina - flexible, graceful, whole and healthy in my body and the apple of my teacher's eye. I AM whole and healthy. I felt a shift happen within me as I brought those subtle remnants of memories from contracting paralytic polio and then suffering violence at the hands of family members. I felt in rhythm with all of the runners in the room. It reminded me of this video about the synchronization of the metronomes:



Rather than pushing myself feeling that I was out of sync with runners, I felt my heart open and felt that I belong to myself, to the running community, and to the world.

19 days until Bermuda Marathon Weekend...what a wondrous and wonderful journey where once again I met myself on the roads - or as in yesterday's run - on the treadmill.



To going the distance with strength and courage
From my heart to yours,
Mary

Be sure to visit my website by following this link.

My books are available on Amazon.

Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life


Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing Hope and Possibility that chronicles the first 7 years of my healing journey:


And my latest and greatest book - Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance (With a Foreword by Jacqueline Hansen):


Friday, December 22, 2017

Countdown to Bermuda: It's So Much More Than a Race!



There's a magical story from Bermuda Marathon Weekend 2016 that I shared in "Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance":

We woke up at 5:45am on race day. The Rosedon Hotel, our home away from home, had a continental breakfast starting at 6:30. They usually don't serve breakfast until 7:00 but as happened throughout the weekend, everything we needed was set before us. There was wonderful energy in the main house as runners were getting ready to walk down to the starting line. This was our first international race and our first destination race yet one that we had imagined over and over and over again while we trained. We saw the sunrise over Hamilton Harbor and felt the excitement of race day! I was feeling serious pre-race jitters feeling like I might throw up before the race. We rushed our breakfast because we were in a hurry to get to the starting line. I took a lot of deep breaths and engaged in positive self talk as Tom and I walked around taking pictures of this miraculous moment.

"Hey there. I was determined to find you this morning. What are the chances that we would have our bib numbers in sequence?"

I was a little stunned to say the least. On the flight from Boston Tom and I met Denise and her husband from Kentucky. He was her support crew. We also bumped into them on Front Street on Saturday.

"I was on Instagram and looked for the hashtag #runbermuda. I saw the pictures you posted."

"What? I deactivated my Instagram account yesterday because I was frustrated and couldn't figure out how to use it."

"You Instagram account is linked to Facebook so what you posted there automatically went to Instagram," Tom explained to me.

"So I saw your photos and I found out about you and I said prayers for your health last night and wished you a wonderful run but I was determined to find you this morning."

A sign from God that I could relax and let go knowing that my body knew exactly what to do to run 13.1 miles.




One year ago, Denise tagged me in this post about running:

"4 years ago today I strapped on running shoes for the first time at the age of 51. I "ran" 2 mi in 27 min, which means I mostly walked with rare moments of running in between. What I didn't know then, was how that 2 mi in my neighborhood would turn into hundreds of miles and bring me so many new experiences. More than that, running was something I was doing for me. Feeling lonely? It's COMMUNITY. Feeling crowded? It's SOLITUDE. Head full of clutter? It's a MIND SWEEPER. Feeling good about yourself? It's HONESTY. Running has taught me a lot about my thinking, my body, and my potential. I've seen running transform LIVES....facilitate incredible weight loss (Melanie J. Williams), help overcome unspeakable trauma and illness (Mary McManus), help break cycles of violence and substance abuse, build up confidence when there's an asshat in your life telling you otherwise, runners pushing strollers, wheelchairs, pushing away bad habits. My running partners (Lanette Campbell Miller. Trish Freeman Broaddus, Nathan Rover) are dear to me, my race friends too many to name, my run club stretches my mind and my muscles. Life and injuries can get in the way of consistency and progress. I know that my mind will start whining long before my legs and lungs...and the first mile is usually a liar. I'm not fast, young, skinny, or cute when I sweat. No matter what, I know that runners, the road or a trail will always be ready to accept you."

I am so excited Denise is going to be in Bermuda for Marathon Weekend. She will get to meet Ruth Anne and we will get to meet her "running wife," Lanette Campbell Miller.

These past several months have been the embodiment of what running is all about for Team McManus. We have gone the distance on the roads and in our lives. Running has been my therapy, my medicine, my greatest challenge and my greatest source of comfort. Running for miles unplugged has been a beautiful way for Tom, Ruth Anne and I to reconnect after Ruth Anne's 3 year battle with severe depression and PTSD. Running is our redemption and our reward.

The race on Sunday will be the jewel in the crown of achievement of our work training since May. The weekend is going to be a time to reunite and celebrate and affirm God's Love and presence in our lives.

I'm savoring the gift of the present moment and the grace and Love of the holidays this year surrounding myself with the warmth and glow of stories like how I met Denise. I'm feeling the excitement of seeing her again and enjoying all that is Bermuda.

It's 20 days until race weekend according to the race website. We leave for Bermuda 3 weeks from yesterday. Next week will be a time for preparations after celebrating my Christmas Birthday on Monday.

Counting down the days til Bermuda and knowing how race weekend is so much more than a race!

To going the distance with strength and courage
From my heart to yours,
Mary

Be sure to visit my website by following this link.

My books are available on Amazon.

Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life


Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing Hope and Possibility that chronicles the first 7 years of my healing journey:


And my latest and greatest book - Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance (With a Foreword by Jacqueline Hansen):