Thursday, March 23, 2017

My Boston Marathon Musings and Eddie the Eagle

As I watched the movie, "Eddie the Eagle," (with a box of tissues at hand), I was reminded of my 2009 Boston Marathon run. I closed my eyes on the bus ride out to Hopkinton. When Eddie the Eagle said, "It's a lot higher than I expected it to be," I remember how I felt going out 26.2 miles knowing there was only one way I was going to get back to Boston...and that was on my two feet.

So many wonderful quotes that I identified with in the movie:
"You can do your best and still finish last."
"I love proving people wrong."
"You've got more Spirit than any of those other jumpers out there."

I really had no business running the 2009 Boston Marathon yet it was a calling from deep inside my soul. Any of the nay sayers along the way were quickly unfriended by me on Facebook. I remember there was a FB post about whether or not Charity Runners should even be allowed to run the Boston Marathon. Team McManus raised over $10,000 - $10,535 to be exact for Spaulding Rehab which is where I began this crazy journey 10 years ago.

From "Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance" available on Amazon:

Running? Mary McManus? aka "Easy Out Alper" (my maiden name) - um a rather unlikely combination to say the least. But not impossible despite all appearances to the contrary. After intensive, extensive outpatient rehab through Spaulding Rehab, writing poems, visualizing myself as healthy, whole and free in my body, quitting my stressful job as a VA social worker, and then hiring a personal trainer, I felt this urge inside of me.

At my six-month evaluation in February, I had dramatically improved in every area of the assessment. I had come out of my leg brace and I knew that I was on a healing path. Janine asked me what my next health and fitness goals were.

“Well I want to feel free in my body. I want to dance. I want to be able to walk outside and feel unencumbered when I take a walk.”

Janine wrote feverishly and we worked out a plan. She gathered up her belongings and had her hand on the doorknob.

“Wait. I have one more goal.”

Janine stopped and turned around.

“I want to run the Boston Marathon for Spaulding Rehab Hospital. I know they have a Race for Rehab team and I want to do it next year.”

Janine was nonplussed. I don’t know what kept her from turning tail and getting as far away from me as she could. She came back into my house and put down her things. She said that the first thing I would need is a pair of running shoes. She told me that Marathon Sports on Beacon Street would be able to help me. She laid out a cursory training plan and said that we would begin indoors to build up my cardio endurance. As soon as the weather got a little warmer, we’d go outdoors and I would learn how to run.

There was one "ugly" moment on Marathon Monday. We had an early start but by the time we arrived in Framingham the waves of runners were catching up to us. There was a narrow water stop and one guy pushed me and said that I shouldn't be in the Marathon if I were walking. He dumped Gatorade on my running shoes.

I shook it off and went ahead undeterred believing that I had every right to be out on that course. I had worked hard. I had trained and ultimately I crossed that finish line!

I continue to work and at times struggle in my epic journey to heal the effects of paralytic polio and trauma.

That's what makes the triumph so sweet....

And to all of the Mary McManuses and Eddie the Eagles out there I have one thing to say - never ever give up on your dreams!

To your health and wellness,

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