Friday, May 5, 2017

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

It was on my bucket list since 2010. My plan was to run the Bermuda Marathon in honor of my 60th birthday ... but life happened and I could not seem to get traction on my journey healing the effects of paralytic polio and trauma. Even though I had run the 2009 Boston Marathon, I could not get positive momentum nor did I feel well enough to be able to go the distance again. A 10K was my maximum distance goal.

Running in Bermuda continued to both gnaw at me and frustrate me - especially when I would see their booth at Race Expos.

In April of 2015, after a very serious knee injury in December of 2014, I was led to Ryan J. Means, DC or Dr. Ryan as he prefers to be called. He believed in the body's tremendous capacity to heal through the art and science of chiropractic care and led me to the work of Dr. Joe Dispenza.

I was ready for my running comeback training for the Finish at the 50 5K. I didn't know what surprise was in store for me.

From "Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance":

Despite feeling pre-race jitters, I kept an even keel and sat outside listening to music while Tom had time to unwind from his work week. As I had predicted, there was no traffic on our way to Patriot Place. We picked up our bibs and walked around the Expo. The Boston Globe was there offering a subscription to the Sunday Globe and as an incentive, two tickets to tomorrow's Red Sox game. Sure why not we decided and will be going to the game tomorrow!

Next up was the Bermuda Marathon Weekend booth.

Now what's pretty amazing here is that I had set my sights on running the Bermuda Marathon for my 60th birthday in 2013. But then life happened. I never thought about it again. Tom and I had stopped by their booth at other Expos and quickly dismissed ever going back to Bermuda never mind running a race there. Never say never! Tom started chatting with Clarence "Stoker" Smith and I joined in the conversation. We both felt a tug at our souls and the more we talked with Clarence and Race Director Anthony, the stronger the tug. We reminisced about when we used to go there with Herb Simmons and the Sea and Surf Anglers Club who had a tournament with the Bermudian Blue Waters Angler Club. I felt goosebumps and a warm feeling all over. Anthony told me that I'd be better off running the Half Marathon rather than the 10K because of the steep hills on the course. I told them that the last time I was in Bermuda I was in a leg brace and using a wheelchair to travel. Clarence's wife said, "Look at you now girl."

We exchanged information. Clarence told us he'd take us out on his boat when we came down for the weekend. I chatted with Anthony about the weather in January. "Look," he said in that delicious Bermudian accent. "I was told you people still have piles of snow near the Seaport Hotel from this past winter. I can guarantee you this. You will have no snow in Bermuda in January."

I was focused on running a great race that evening testing out the power of healing through the power of positive therapeutic touch, chiropractic care and my own regular meditation practice that used visualization of seeing everything healed plus using visualization before race day.

On the way home from our fabulous finish at the 50, Tom and I talked about Bermuda. I hadn't traveled in 8 years. I hadn't gone a distance longer than a 10K. Anthony said that if I could get up to the Half Marathon distance, that would be a better race for me since the 10K was a very challenging course with all the hills.

With Ryan's support reigniting my belief in my body's tremendous capacity to heal and the progress I was making working with them, I decided to go for it!

From "Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance":
“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.

I was astounded although I really shouldn't have been astounded by how easy and affordable it was to book the flights and hotel for Bermuda. We are returning to the Rosedon Hotel. I called to make our reservation and Lesiline who used to book our reservations remembered us! She said that they even have a discounted rate for those participating in Marathon Weekend!

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.

And so it was! We celebrated my healing with a run-cation in January of 2016.

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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