Saturday, May 6, 2017

Celebrating 10 Years of Healing: The Gift of Running Part V

The gift of running is the gift that keeps on giving!

It's a gift I give to myself every time I lace up my running shoes and go out for a run. It's the gift of health and wellness and the gift of challenging myself; of being One with nature and testing myself out in the elements. It's the joy in the journey of preparing to get to a starting line and the sheer exhilaration of racing and crossing a finish line.

Running is a sport like no other where you can get up close and personal with running greats.

I had the privilege of meeting Bart Yasso during Bermuda Race Weekend and here in Boston and Tom ran part of the Bermuda Triangle Half Challenge 10K with Bart:

Bill Rodgers and Frank Shorter signed my 2009 Boston Marathon bib. They have been so supportive of my running journey whenever our paths have crossed through the years:

And I was blessed to meet Jacqueline Hansen at the Hyannis Marathon Weekend in 2016:

She touched my heart in this moment during the Hyannis 10K - from "Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance":
In the distance a figure came toward us. The expanse of ocean was to our left and this beautiful woman came up on our right. She stopped me to give me a hug. She whispered in my ear," Run with all your heart." I felt she was my fairy godmother and I was Cinderella being told, "You will go to the ball." It was Jacqueline! You see growing up as a survivor of paralytic polio I was always the outcast. When it came to gym I was "easy out Alper” and those words were seared into me. I was bullied and teased and struggled with my identity as a runner when I first started running....
After Jaqi's hug I felt something ignite within me. My pace picked up and a woman behind us said, "Excuse this the right course for the 10K?" We told her it was and laughed and shared with her my fear about losing our way on the course. She asked if she could run with us. She was supposed to run the half but had an injury and was running the 10K course but wouldn't cross the finish line. I had the opportunity to share my journey with her and she asked me when the book was coming out. Coincidentally, several years earlier, she had run Bermuda. We took in the beautiful views of the course and shared our memories of running Bermuda. Suddenly mile 5 was upon us. I had not stopped for 5 miles. I slowed down to take water and have a half of a Luna bar at mile 2 (when our bodies told us we needed to refuel) but I was running non stop for 5 miles! I knew that I needed to take a brief pause remembering how Jeffrey {my muscular therapist} told me that our bodies can reset in as little as 30 seconds. I hydrated and knew I wanted to run the last 1.2 miles strong.

And Jacqui wrote the Foreword to my book, "Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance"!

There are moments and friendships to last a lifetime that I will continue to share as I share my running chronicles and adventures as I continue to go the distance on the roads and in my life.

For today, I leave you with this precious memory that happened on Heartbreak Hill during the 2009 Boston Marathon.

From "Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing, Hope and Possibility":
At mile 20, there was Dom, our team trainer. He had tears in his eyes as he embraced Team McManus. He put his hands on my shoulders and said, 'you're gonna qualify - go finish. I'm so proud of you. Go get your medal'

As a mobility impaired runner, I was on pace to finish to qualify for the Boston Marathon. Back then a finish under 8 hours meant that I was qualified to run Boston again. However, one time would be enough!

On May 25th, I will celebrate my 10 year anniversary of when I left my award winning career as a VA social worker to "heal my life." I had no idea that the gift of running would become a part of my life nor that I would be able to go the distance again after a serious knee injury in December of 2014. I am deeply grateful to Dr. Ryan J. Means, my earth angel healer chiropractor who came into my life at precisely the right moment to get me back on my healing path.

Here's to the next 10 years!

To going the distance with strength and courage!

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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