Wednesday, May 31, 2017

A New Decade Begins - Team McManus' Hyannis Adventures - Part III -Celebration!



Team McManus had so much to celebrate after Sunday's 5K race. We crushed the course thanks to a flat, fast course and perfect weather conditions but more than the time, we celebrated Team McManus' reunion. We celebrated my anniversary of 10 years of healing after the diagnosis of Post-Polio syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease by Western Medicine standards and being able to run strong and healthy. Instead of being in a wheelchair, needing a sleep apnea machine, possibly needing a feeding tube and experiencing a rapid physical decline as I aged, I was feeling whole, vibrant and free!

We celebrated these last two years of quantum healing and steady, positive momentum in my healing journey after 8 years of experiencing a relapse of symptoms and injuries. We talked about how Dr. Ryan J. Means, a healer chiropractor got me back on my healing path after a serious knee injury in December of 2014 that Western Medicine said would be the end of my running career and that "they" said was the resurgence of Post-Polio syndrome. Dr. Ryan turned me onto the work of Dr. Joe Dispenza and the fire within me for self-healing partnering with a healer to go the distance was re-ignited. Dr. Ryan primed the pump for me to receive the power of positive therapeutic touch with Jeffrey Spratt, MT. Jeffrey pioneered his own method of muscular therapy that was exactly what I needed to heal the effects of paralytic polio and trauma.

After the race, we went to a Hyannis classic restaurant, The Egg and I for brunch. It was great to greet other runners wearing bibs and medals on Main Street as we congratulated each other on another finish. One runner said, "There's nothing like starting the day off with a 5K race."

Our first server was having a VERY bad day and we were about to leave when this young man with exuberant energy came over to save the day. He was a student at Lasalle College in Newton not far from where we live. Food always tastes amazing after a run and even more amazing after a race!

We went back to the Hotel where runners for the Great Hyannis Road Races 10K and Half Marathon were coming into the final stretch of their run. While we waited in the parking lot to get the all clear to go, we cheered on the runners spotting one runner, Mary who is a regular at the Hyannis Marathon Weekend, aka Camp Hyannis every year and gave her a rousing shout out!

We decided to spend the rest of the day in Falmouth. The benefit of a 7:30am race start is that you have the whole day ahead to celebrate.

The sun was shining but there was a cool breeze which kept a lot of the Memorial Day beach goers away from Falmouth Heights Beach.



There is a delicious fragrance to the air in Falmouth that evoked so many wonderful memories of summers past in Falmouth. We reminisced about great times at different hotels on the Cape, walked on the beach, watched kites fly and continued to bask in the glory of our race.

We went into Town to do some shopping on Main Street. As we passed the 7/11, we remembered when we'd go to Falmouth when the Sea and Surf Anglers Club of Boston and Blue Waters Angler Club from Bermuda had their annual fishing tournament. The Bermudians were a lucky lot winning money on scratch tickets they bought at the 7/11.

We poked in and out of the quaint shops and enjoyed walking up and down Main Street soaking up all that is Memorial Day Weekend on Cape Cod.

It was time for a celebratory lunner (lunch and dinner) and there was only one place we were going to go ... The Flying Bridge! So many incredible memories of meals relished on the deck overlooking the harbor while we created new memories to last a lifetime.



Sharing is caring especially since we couldn't decide between different dishes. Salmon, a seafood stew and a seafood sampler were our final choices and satisfied our palates:


It was time to bid farewell to Olde Cape Cod and return home with beautiful race swag, medals, full and happy bellies and wonderful memories to kickoff a new decade of healing.

Team McManus is building a strong base with running, cross training and strength training because next month, we begin training for my 3rd CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Half Marathon and Team McManus' first endurance event since Boston 2009.

To going the distance with strength and courage!
~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, May 30, 2017

A New Decade Begins - Team McManus' Hyannis Adventures Part II - Race Report



We woke up at 5:30am on Sunday morning. I reminded myself, Tom and Ruth Anne that there is no such thing as only a 5K. While the distance may be only 3.11 miles, the Great Hyannis Road Race Michael Aselton 5K marked the ushering in of a new decade of healing for me and the reunion of Team McManus. We had not run a race together since we ran the Boston Marathon in 2009.

We did core work on Saturday along with a lot of walking but spent the afternoon resting up. It was an extra rest day added on to my usual Thursday and Friday rest days.

After core work on Sunday morning, I was inspired to use our in room coffee maker to boil water for our oatmeal. Since gun time was at 7:30 and Starbucks in the hotel lobby didn't open until 6:30, I wanted to make sure that we had enough time to eat at a leisurely pace and get to the starting line without stress.

It was a gorgeous day for a race and as one finisher we passed on Main Street after the race said, "What better way to start the day than by getting up and running a 5K race?"

We totally agree!

Parking was easy and we had plenty of time to stretch our legs and take a pre-race photo:


After a beautiful rendition of the Star Spangled Banner and welcoming remarks from a Barnstable Police Officer, we were off.

Ruth Anne was my pacer as she had been at our first 10K together - the Tufts 10K in 2008. After not running together in 9 years it was amazing to feel the muscle memory fire up as we ran together, Running with God. Seeing her pacing me, running with ease and joy fired up my mirror neurons to make for an incredible race. Tom checked his Garmin and I was running sub 16 minute miles which I hadn't done in over a year!

Thanks to race director Paul Collyer of BA Event Promotions, the course had spectacular views:



Ruth Anne kept checking in with me about the pace as she had during the Tufts 10K in 2008. She asked me what my goal for the race was. I decided that if I broke 50 minutes which I had been trying to do for the past year on the treadmill and on tempo runs without success, I'd be thrilled.

I ran from the inside out being mindful of when I needed to ease up on the throttle of my pace feeling my heart rate soar. We walked at each mile taking a water break and decided to stop at the water stop.

A sign of a great race with perfect weather conditions is when you wish the race were longer than a 5K!

Tom happened to catch a glimpse of the finisher's clock as we turned a corner to come into the finish. "Hey it's 49:14," Tom said and we kicked it through the finish line. 49:49! SUCCESS! I broke that 50 minute mark that had been bugging me for the past year.

As always, however, it's not just about the time on the clock but about the time we share together on the roads and what we learn about ourselves as runners.



Sunday's race was the first time that I didn't have that trigger fire up from lugging my leg brace after I contracted paralytic polio. We were last in the back of the pack. It was a my race, my pace moment for me enjoying running with Ruth Anne and Tom by my side. I didn't feel the pressure to speed up and push myself to catch up. I was running at a great pace for me during that first downhill. We caught up with a woman of short stature who was coming off of an injury. We both felt proud and honored to be running with each other. We passed her and then came upon a mother with a little girl wearing a t-shirt, "We run this town." As we ran along we chatted about the running club in Connecticut that has children ages 3-12 in it. We talked about the joy of running and how wonderful it is to get kids interested in running at a young age.

We passed them and went onto a very strong finish for our race being cheered on by spectators, volunteers and runners who had already finished the 5K.



What a wonderful way to begin a new decade of healing!

In tomorrow's blog - how we enjoyed our post-race celebration....

To going the distance with strength and courage!
~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):





Monday, May 29, 2017

A New Decade Begins - Team McManus' Hyannis Adventures - Part I



Last week I celebrated 10 years of healing after being diagnosed with Post-Polio Syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease by Western Medicine Standards marking the day I left my 20 year career as a VA social worker to heal my life.

This weekend marked the beginning of a new decade - for me and for Team McManus. After 9 years, our daughter Ruth Anne is joining us once again to train and run. Our last big race together was the 2009 Boston Marathon:


Whenever there's a Paul Collyer/BA Event Promotions race in Hyannis, there is bound to be magic!

Our usual annual pilgrimage to Hyannis happens in February where we gather for Camp Hyannis. When I saw that Paulie (as he likes to be called) was going to have races on Memorial Day Weekend, including a 5K distance, Tom and I decided it was time to have a warmer weather adventure to Olde Cape Cod. I wasn't able to run the Hyannis 10K this year and so it was an extra special treat to be able to run Sunday's race.

The "magic" began when David O'Leary who I was blessed to meet two years ago as part of his work with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and on air talent for Boston's radio station Magic 106.7 posted this on Facebook: "I NEED RUNNING SONGS!!
The Johnny Kelley Half-Marathon is less than a week away!! I'll be running 13.1 miles this Sunday to raise awareness about depression and mental illness, and to fund raise for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. You can help me! For a donation of ANY AMOUNT I'll add whatever song you suggest to my running playlist. You name it!! Frank Turner, Loverboy, Nat King Cole, ANYTHING!! Please leave a song title for my playlist in the comments, then click the link below, make a donation and know that I'll be thinking of you with every step on Sunday. In gratitude- D.
#StopSuicide #Project20205 #AFSPNational"


He followed it up with a post and tagged Tom and me in it:
"Getting ready to run! THANK YOU to Nancy Farrell, Tova & Ron Cohen, Savita & Michael Brewer, Melissa Rogers, Teri King, Jenn Adams, Cynthia Durney, Colleen Bresnahan Creamer, Jim & Sheryl Stockless, Kathy Schreiber, Linda Marino, Mary & Tom McManus, Susan Davies. Maureen & Steve Condon, Alicia O'Leary, Jill& Mark Andrew, Peter Miller, Carolina Sala-Kotz, Kathy Davies O'Leary and everyone else who has made a donation to AFSP.

Click the link in the comment below to make a donation of your own and help save lives. With thanks- David"


The excitement for race day began to build.

Suicide has touched our family with the loss of my father in 1971 and my nephew in 2011. Knowing that we had donated to support David's run and that part of the proceeds from the race were going to the AFSP fueled my excitement for Sunday's race!

A Facebook post from one of our friend's that we made in Bermuda in 2016 said that she had hoped to see us on Sunday. She was running the Half and we have seen her at Camp Hyannis 2016 and 2017.

We made it over the Sagamore Bridge and into Hyannis before 9am. We decided we wanted to do all the things that were unique to the Cape. We pulled in to have breakfast at the Hearth and Kettle.

The skies that had brought misting and showers during some of the drive to the Cape and the clouds that hovered in the early morning would later give way to glorious Sunshine!

When we arrived at the Resort and Conference Center in Hyannis we were greeted by the manager Jim who kindly upgraded our room for no extra charge since Ruth Anne would be joining us for the weekend. He gives a whole new meaning to customer service! He warmly welcomed us back. We had a room at the end of the first floor hallway overlooking the golf course:


After we unpacked we went into downtown Hyannis. I've never had the opportunity to play tourist in Hyannis because I would be working a table at the Hyannis Marathon Expo Weekend. You can see how the skies cleared! We went to the JFK Memorial, and the Korean Veterans Memorial, enjoyed walks on the beach on Ocean Street and Craigville Beach before heading to Main Street.



What better touristy thing to do than to take this kind of a photo:


We strolled up and down Main Street, had a delicious lunch at the British Beer Company and then went to Bib Pick Up:


We spent the afternoon relaxing in the beautiful Hyannis sunshine at the hotel, watching golfers out on the course, playing cards, reading and checking in on Facebook. So many of my runner friends were getting race ready for Sunday races from the Cape to Boston to Vermont.

Our go to place for dinner when we are in Hyannis is the Roadhouse Cafe. What a treat to experience the restaurant with the uniquely Cape light streaming in through the windows. We savored their salad with their homemade salad dressing. Ruth Anne and I fueled ourselves with their Cedar Planked Roasted Salmon with orange Jack Daniels glaze, sauteed spinach and jasmine rice and Tom devoured their Chicken Saltimbocca boneless chicken breast topped with parma prosciutto, fresh sage, spinach and fontina cheese in a marsala wine sauce, served with parmesan risotto:


To relax and get ready for race day, we returned to the beach.

We tried to take a selfie and laughed so hard at our foiled attempts:


There were two lovely young ladies playing around on the Lifeguard stand and were gracious enough to take this photo:


I captured this beautiful father/daughter moment:


Tom and Ruth Anne captured me in my happy place:


We watched the sun set:


It was early to bed Saturday night after showers and getting everything ready for the return to the roads of mighty Team McManus. We had a 7:30am gun time which meant we had a 5:30am wake up call.

To be continued....

To going the distance with strength and courage!
~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, May 26, 2017

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! On Running, Speaking My Truth and Loving My Life!



Having been so severely battered and bruised as a child after contracting paralytic polio, I despised my body and loathed my life. In December of 2006 I had a wake up call after receiving the diagnosis of Post-Polio Syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease. I was at a crossroads in my life and had to make a choice.

I got still and asked for Divine Guidance. The answer came in the form of a poem, "Running the Race" that foreshadowed my 2009 Boston Marathon run.

It was a profound challenge for me to dig deep and find the courage to put myself out there as a runner in my mid-50's. The wounds from being taunted and teased as a survivor of paralytic polio and the shame that accompanies rape and beatings were deep but the beauty of running is that those wounds are transformed through the unconditional love and acceptance by the running community of my journey.

It took a long time for me to find the courage to speak my truth about what happened to me.


Runners are an amazing tribe! When we hear inspiring stories we regale and celebrate the runner's accomplishments. There is no shame or shunning where the running community is concerned.

One of my inspirational Facebook friends, Melissa Betkowski Platt, posted a link to this article, "Someone called her fat and a fake runner and her response is perfect." The outpouring of support from the running community was overwhelming as well as her response to the hater's email.

On Sunday, Team McManus is heading to Hyannis to run the Michael Aselton 5K in Hyannis. Our daughter asked me what our race strategy is. She knows that sometimes we run to crush a race or I have a specific time goal in mind.

I told her that I want to go out and enjoy every footstep of the run. Next month we begin training for my third CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Half Marathon and I want to focus on endurance and distance. Race Director Paul Collyer told me that he loves all paces during his Memorial Day Weekend races!

Yesterday I celebrated the 10th year anniversary of when I left my award winning career as a VA social worker to heal my life. I had no idea what that meant or what needed to be healed or how I would go about, as I wrote about in my poetry, reclaiming my life and running unencumbered and free.

I was so blessed to meet my Hero Healer, Dr. Ryan J Means in March of 2015!

Partnering with Jeffrey Spratt, MT during these past two years, I have been able to speak my truth unapologetically. With tears and trembling and through the power of positive therapeutic touch and compassionate presence, I discovered that it was the trauma stuck in my body combined with how my body did not have a chance to recover from paralytic polio that resulted in the symptoms of Post-Polio Syndrome.

I found my way to Jeffrey in April of 2015, after a serious knee injury in December of 2014. Western Medicine told me that I needed a total knee replacement and that I needed to limit my running. They knew better than to tell me to stop running all together. Instead of a total knee replacement and limiting my running, I am running free and unencumbered living by the motto, "My race. My pace."

I have spoken my Truth and I no longer live in fear!



I am so blessed to be able to run and am so excited for this Sunday's 5K race. I am free! I have spoken my Truth. I am blessed and I am loving my life.



To going the distance with strength and courage!
~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):