Thursday, May 4, 2017

Celebrating Ten Years of Healing: The Gift of Running Part III

There's no such thing as a fake runner and it doesn't matter how far or how fast you run ... you're a runner. Great wisdom from two running greats!

Tom and I are watching Mind Over Marathon on YouTube. It's a two part documentary that chronicles 10 people who struggle with their mental health on the road to the London Marathon. From the very first run, and mind you none of these individuals had run before or were part of the running community, a few of the runners went back to join the slowest runner in the pack.

We runners are a very special breed and we do travel in packs looking out for each other, honoring the runner's code and celebrating the accomplishments and success of individual runners without judgment about the pace. PR's are celebrated regardless of the pace.

Here's one of my favorite moments from these past 10 years of my healing journey at the Bill Rodgers 5K Run for Prostate Cancer.

Tom can easily run a 9 minute mile but he stays with me, paces me, supports and encourages me and celebrates every mile with me.

I was trained and ready to take on my second CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Half Marathon this year. Every week I did a 5 day training cycle that included a 5K during the week and a long run on the weekends.

Race day was not exactly how I planned it yet it turned out to be quite the story.

I went out too fast, did not honor the conditions of the day and the road conditions were not ideal. I let the voices of the past put pressure on myself to finish in under four hours which was the time limit for the Half Marathon rather than enjoy the race as I had in 2016.

I knew the Race Director and I knew that the course and finish line would stay open until the Marathoners completed their race but sometimes the voices from the past are stronger than reasoning in the present.

I began experiencing some cramping and back spasms at mile 9. By mile 10 I was listing to to my left and Tom was worried I was injured. By mile 12 I couldn't straighten up. We stopped and I stretched and hydrated. A beautiful woman stopped and asked if I was okay; did I need water? anything? We reassured her I was fine and she went on her way to bring in a friend of hers who was a marathoner and struggling to get to the finish.

At about mile 12.5 she came running up to us. I had decided at that point to put my arm around Tom to support my hip. She said in a delightful British/Bermudian accent that she was going to help me to the finish as other runners had done for her in Chicago and Philadelphia.

As we approached the finish chute she stepped out of the way so that she would not be in our finisher's photo:

It's taken me awhile to embrace and celebrate myself as a runner no longer apologizing for my pace.

Just the fact that I'm running at all is a miracle and the fact that I continue to run and train and strive for my optimal level of health and fitness is a miracle.

It's a miracle that 10 years ago I did not let a diagnosis define or defy me. It's a miracle I found my way to Dr. Ryan J. Means, a healer chiropractor who helped me recover from that serious knee injury in December of 2014, turned me onto the work of Dr. Joe Dispenza and reminded me to set goals not limits. It was a miracle that I found the courage to start and not quit before the miracle happened!

To be continued....

To going the distance with strength and courage,

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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