Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Bermuda Marathon Weekend: Making a Dream Come True!



I had my sights set on running the Bermuda Marathon to celebrate my 60th birthday. I went to the race website and imagined myself out on the course. It was on my bucket list for years and then I let the dream die. Life happened.

But once that dream was resurrected thanks to partnering with Jeffrey Spratt,MT, who pioneered the Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy that helps me to heal the effects of paralytic polio and trauma, I went to work harnessing the power of my imagination to go the distance 13.1 miles - the longest distance since the 2009 Boston Marathon. Jeffrey coined the phrase, "Factory new," to help me move from my identity as a survivor of paralytic polio and trauma to imagining my body as factory new. We even talked about the new car smell that, to quote the West Wing, is the smell of freedom.

From "Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance":
My Running Chronicles: Momentum - Keep Your Eye on the Prize July 6, 2015

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, wine in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming ‘Woo Hoo’…what a ride.” ~Unknown

During this morning's meditation, I was reflecting on momentum and as if the Universe echoed my thoughts, I found this quote after I finished my meditation and was looking for something to post on Facebook for Monday Motivation: “One way to keep momentum going is to have constantly greater goals.” ~Michael Korda

There are many wonderful quotes about momentum:

“Enthusiasm is the energy and force that builds literal momentum of the human soul and mind.” ~Bryant H. McGill

“When you're that successful, things have a momentum, and at a certain point you can't really tell whether you have created the momentum or it's creating you.” ~Annie Lennox

I took one rest day after last Friday's race and yesterday I was back at strength training on land. I maintained my reps and weights and plan to do so for this recovery week. I want to keep the momentum going from how I felt during Finish at the 50 and the anticipation of running the Bermuda Half Marathon in January. After doing a plank that I now hold for 2'15" and 45 crunches, I had my breakfast and headed to the pool at Wave Health. During meditation, I imagined what I needed for the day. A parking space and the lap lane free for me to do my workout. There was not one but two parking spaces on Northern Avenue near the Seaport. While there was a family on vacation playing in the pool, the lap lane was free. I got in my zone and did my workout. It's interesting to observe what my default thinking used to be. Don't overdo it. You could get injured. You just ran a race. You need recovery time.

But now my thinking is, come on girl - you've got this! You are training for the Bermuda Half Marathon. I was even talking out loud to myself after I did several laps of freestyle getting my heart rate up and someone walked in at that moment. I just smiled! I can feel the healing and momentum happening within me mind, body and Spirit. Fears melt away. The waters heal and fortify me and are a perfect complement to half marathon training.

Crossing the finish line of the Bermuda Half Marathon - a race I imagined running since 2010 although it was going to be the full marathon in 2013 (but who am I to quibble with the Universe) is my sweet prize. I focus on healing and building strength and endurance every day between now and January 17th when Team McManus toes the starting line of the 2016 Bermuda Half Marathon. I have a lot of work to do between now and then. I am allowing myself to feel the absolute joy in the journey. I am keeping this momentum of healing going strong with my greater goal of the Bermuda Half Marathon.


With every training run, no matter the distance, Team McManus visualized coming into the finish chute of the 2016 Bermuda Half Marathon. Although I had not been to Bermuda in 8 years it was easy to fire up my imagination of Hamilton Harbor. I watched videos of the start and finish of the race. Often times, my imagination was so vivid that I could experience the sights, sounds and scents of the Island. Tom and I brought ourselves to the height of emotion as we wrapped up training runs and I would often cry as though we had already crossed the finish line.

On the race weekend website there's a picture of the Town Crier with finishers. I imagined Team McManus taking a photo just like it with our medals:


From "Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance":
When once I could barely walk the half mile to and from town from the Rosedon, I was covering 13.1 miles of Bermuda in the Bermuda Half Marathon! The miles were magical. It was a glorious sunny day with equal amounts of shade and cooling breezes when we needed it. We could not have asked for more perfect weather for running especially given the monsoon like conditions the day before. We paced ourselves and commented how along one stretch of the course it was just as we imagined it when we trained last summer near U Mass Boston. Of course it was even more magnificent and breathtaking than we could have possibly imagined.

I remembered when I cheered on runners at the Cape Cod Marathon at mile 10, being support crew for Tom. I would shout out, “Double Digits – Almost there” anticipating the excitement I would feel when I hit mile 10 in Bermuda. Tom had to hold me back a little to leave plenty in the tank for the finish but told me once we got to mile 11, I could begin to open it up. The scene unfolded just as we imagined it coming down the hill toward Front Street passing in front of the Rosedon Hotel.

I cried and I poured it on despite having just run 12 miles.

Mile 13 -- only .1 to go. I thought we would go straight down Front Street to the finish but we had to take a turn up a hill and down a hill to get back on Front Street. There was no stopping me now. After 13 miles we poured it on and came running down to the finish holding hands with hands held high. I was crying and laughing at the same time. Through every training run we imagined hearing the announcer say as only a Bermudian can, "And here they come to the finish -- Tom and Mary McManus from Boston, Massachusetts. Welcome back to Bermuda!" In fact the announcer said, “And here comes Tom and Mary McManus of Chestnut Hill Massachusetts. Welcome to Bermuda." He said something about our running together and people came up to us saying what a cute couple we were. It was exactly as we imagined it and more. We trained hard and we trained well so that we were able to sail through those miles pacing ourselves, eating up the hills and being mindful of the downhills. We claimed what we went to Bermuda for - to send a message of healing, hope and possibility; that the body achieves what the mind believes and of course for the beautiful bling! I felt triumphant that I did not allow others to dictate what was possible for me. I set goals not limits. What a thrill to cross the finish line of the 2016 Bermuda Half Marathon and cross that item off of my bucket list. It was an amazing journey!




Now I get to celebrate ten years of healing from the effects of paralytic polio and childhood trauma. Instead of a leg brace, a cane and a wheelchair, I sport Altra running kicks. Instead of experiencing chronic pain and fatigue, I experience a full, vibrant life! Ten years after being told I "had" a progressive neuromuscular disease and should prepare to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair, I am ready to train for my third CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Half Marathon.

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):


Mary McManus, MSW knew challenges since she was five years old beginning with contracting polio followed by enduring nine years of violence at the hands of family members. Those early challenges prepared her for taking on the challenge of the diagnosis of post polio syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease in December 2006 when she was at the height of her award winning career as a social worker at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Asking for Divine Guidance as she had throughout her trials and tribulations, she discovered the gift of poetry in her soul. Her first poem, “Running the Race,” foreshadowed her 2009 Boston Marathon run. “Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance,” chronicles Mary’s journey as a survivor of paralytic polio and trauma, as a runner and a woman who refused to quit. Eight years after her diagnosis, she was finally led to two healers, a chiropractor and a muscular therapist, who helped her reclaim her life and go the distance, a woman transformed who embodies the power of endurance.






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