Friday, July 28, 2017

Going the Distance: On Phantom Pains, Puzzles, Patience, and Persistence



As I crossed the finish line of 10 years on my healing odyssey this past May, a new starting line of healing has begun! After a serious knee injury in December of 2014, I was blessed to meet Dr. Ryan J. Means, a healer chiropractor who turned me onto the work of Dr. Joe Dispenza, Dr. Candace Pert, What the bleep do we know and set ablaze in me what I already knew...that I am the placebo and we can change the body by thought alone!

There are times when I feel so impatient in healing the effects of paralytic polio and trauma. I experience what I call phantom pains both in my body and in my heart from the experiences of my past. Rather than them owning me I can own them and bring compassion and healing energy to the tender areas that still need healing mind, body and soul.

I recall the words of Candace Pert in her book, 'Everything you need to know to feel Go(o)d' as I begin this new starting line of my healing odyssey. She talks about how our thoughts create our biology; how we interpret sensations in our body is how our body will respond. I choose to interpret everything I experience as being in the service of healing.

Listening to Dr. Joe Dispenza's meditation every night, "Rest and Renew" helps Team McManus to create new neural pathways to heal whatever needs to be healed through his powerful guided meditation. His phrase from "You Are the Placebo", "Focus on the wave, not on the particle" reminds me to look at the miracle of my healing and how this process has powerful momentum now.

As Dr. Joe reminds us every night through the meditation, "Gratitude - the ultimate state of receivership." I am grateful and imprint every moment of feeling a sense of peace, healing and well being in mind, body and soul!



By adopting the pace of nature - patience, I am enjoying the process of creating complete healing in my life now.



Coincidentally, this image came up in my Facebook memory this morning:


I am reconditioning my body to a new mind; a mind and heart that knows I deserve to be treated with the utmost respect and care. Anyone who does not appreciate me, my gifts, my time, my talents and my treasures cannot occupy space in my life or my mind. I am reconditioning my body to a mind that believes in goodness, happiness, peace, equanimity, compassion and love believing deep in my soul that I never deserved what happened to me as a child or adolescent. I am rewiring myself to experience the joy, wholeness and strength in mind, body and soul that I have forged out of the horror of my past. I am invincible and unstoppable! It's uncomfortable to make the shift, but as an endurance runner, I know how to find comfort in the discomfort.

And it does take time and patience!

In addition to coloring as an evening activity, we are working on a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle.

Talk about adopting the pace of nature ....

It took a few weeks to study the puzzle, organize the pieces, harness the power of patience to begin to gain momentum in putting it all together. We had moments of frustration and saying, "We should have tried a 500 piece puzzle to start." Calling upon our training as endurance runners, we know how to get through frustration and "tough miles" on the road and in life.

Last night we were amazed at how things came together and the top and beginning of the sides are now in place:


It takes patience and persistence to move forward in healing after the diagnosis of Post-Polio Syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease by Western Medicine standards, having experienced severe trauma for 9 years at the hands of family members and having "life happen" as it does to all of us.

Tomorrow Team McManus takes to the roads to run 6.5 miles again and slowly build our miles on the road to Bermuda Marathon Weekend. We begin our next 5 day training cycle.

There will be phantom pains and challenges, the soreness that comes with training for a Half Marathon along the way but with faith, patience and persistence, reminding myself I AM the placebo and everything I need is inside of me, I go the distance!

Go 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):




Thursday, July 27, 2017

Going the Distance: On Footstrikes and Freedom



These two quotes showed up on Facebook today inspiring me to reflect on the power of footstrikes - in running and in life.

As a survivor of paralytic polio and trauma, I've had difficulty putting my foot down with people. It was always a challenge for me to say yes to myself and no to another. I have trusted people and worked hard to see their goodness even when they were not allowing their goodness to be in the forefront. Recently, I carefully and as gracefully as I could disentangled myself from a working relationship and therapeutic relationship with my massage therapist of two years. There were many positive aspects to my working with him both in treatment and to help him build his business. In recent months it became apparent that it was no longer serving me to continue in the relationship. I was hoping I could go the distance with him on the road to my threepeat of running the Bermuda Half Marathon but everything changes and it was not meant to be.

What was important for me was that I had to free myself from the patterns of the past. It's never easy to change because the past and our reactions to the events of our past get hardwired into the very fiber of our being and body. But setting out on runs transforms the ways of the past and gives time and space to clear out the clutter mind, body and soul.

I love this quote from John L. Parker's "Once a Runner":


and this quote about running and freedom:


I discovered the healing and transformational power of running late in my life at the age of 53! As I recall the moment I declared that I was going to run the Boston Marathon, I had no idea the tremendous gifts that running would give to me.

From my memoir, "Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing, Hope and Possibility":

At my six-month evaluation in February, I had dramatically improved in every area of the assessment. I had come out of my leg brace and I knew that I was on a healing path. Janine asked me what my next health and fitness goals were.
“Well I want to feel free in my body. I want to dance. I want to be able to walk outside and feel unencumbered when I take a walk.”

Janine wrote feverishly and we worked out a plan. She gathered up her belongings and had her hand on the door knob.

“Wait. I have one more goal.”

Janine stopped and turned around.

“I want to run the Boston Marathon for Spaulding Rehab Hospital. I know they have a Race for Rehab team and I want to do it next year.”

Janine was non-plussed. I don’t know what kept her from turning tail and getting as far away from me as she could. She came back into my house and put down her things. She said that the first thing I would need is a pair of running shoes. She told me that Marathon Sports on Beacon Street would be able to help me. She laid out a cursory training plan and said that we would begin indoors to build up my cardio endurance. As soon as the weather got a little warmer, we’d go outdoors and I would learn how to run.

What had I just done?


What had I just done indeed!

I entered a world where I learned how to put my foot down and where footstrikes lead to transformation and freedom!

Go 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):







Wednesday, July 26, 2017

My Life on the Run by Bart Yasso: Book Review

"Never limit where running can take you." ~Bart Yasso's inscription in Team McManus' copy of "My Life on the Run."

Tom looked over while running the Bermuda Marathon Weekend 10K as part of his Bermuda Triangle Challenge and realized he was running next to Bart Yasso.

At the after race weekend party at the Fairmount Southampton Princess, we snapped this photo of Tom and Bart:


We stayed connected on Facebook with Bart and Runner's World, and reconnected with him at the Runner's World pop up store during Boston Marathon Weekend. We picked up a copy of his book, "My Life on the Run."




From p. 201: This acceptance of all abilities is what differentiates running from every other sport. In football they were 22 people in the field and 60,000 in the stands. It's the opposite in running. Everyone's on the field and in the fold. Running is egalitarian and you're never too young or too old.

There is no other sport where, as a back of the pack runner I would be able to share in our love and passion for the sport with a running great like Bart Yasso.

Bart takes us on his journey as someone who found redemption and healing in running. He, in turn, brings the gift of running and inspiration to others around the globe.

I have never won a race of the mythical 26.2 miles distance and at the age of 43 I probably never would. It was time to appreciate the sweaty exertion for what it was an affirmation of life. Running was magic and I never wanted to lose my ability to conjure up that altered state again.

Running is the ultimate faith healer, restoring belief not only in oneself but life's possibilities.

Glory isn't the pay off. This may sound cliché but the reward is living the lifestyle and embracing the journey. It's not only about finishing it's about moving forward.


Pay it forward is a consistent theme in Bart's life as he shares the redemptive and healing power of running with others. He trained a group of recovering drug and alcohol addicts for the Lehigh River Relay Race.

From the Chapter, "Clean Streaks":
I had once walked in their shoes and now they could run in the ones I had given them.

No one cared where they had come from or what they are done. They were runners here, same as everyone else.


Although they finished 110th out of 150th, they experienced a much bigger win than what place they finished in as Bart eloquently explains:I couldn't stop smiling. I felt their achievement was my own. For 8 long weeks I had pushed them out of a lethargy brought on by poor choices. They got a taste of a better world, but now it was up to them to stay sober.

I wished them resolve. Luck wouldn't be enough.


As you read Bart's book, you will find yourself laughing out loud as Bart's warmth and wit take you to destination races around the world, and then finding your breath catch as Bart finds out he is diagnosed with Chronic Lyme Disease.

There are training tips, a chapter on inspirational runners and must do races.

Bart's wit and whimsy for his life adventures are juxtaposed with his journey of triumph and resilience, and communicating his love and passion for the sport of running.

One of my favorite moments happened on p. 159 as Bart paces a group of runners at the Portland Marathon shortly after recovering from another bout of Lyme Disease:
At mile 25, a middle-aged runner on my pace team told me he had tried to qualify for Boston 22 times. 'I'm going to make it this time,' he said.
'You got it in the bag,' I told him.
He started crying.
'Dude, what are you doing?' I said.
'I can't believe it. Boston's my dream.'
'No crying in pace teams. We still have a mile to go. You can cry at the finish line.'


Never limit where running can take you - on the roads and in your life!

Thank you Bart Yasso for letting us know about where running has taken you!

Go 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, July 25, 2017

Run Bermuda! Run Happy! On Optimism and Impossibility



Ten years ago I had quit my 20 year award winning social work career at the VA to "heal my life" after the diagnosis of Post-Polio Syndrome, a progressive neurommuscular disease by Western Medicine Standards. I imagined a new life for myself through the healing power of writing poetry. My pen became my divining rod for healing.

I wrote the poem, "Running the Race", and, even though by all appearances there is no way I should have been able to run - never mind run a marathon - and not just any marathon but the 2009 Boston Marathon, I did! I came out of using a wheelchair at times for mobility, a leg brace and a cane to go on to train for and cross the finish line of the Boston Marathon!



Fast forward to December 2014 when my left knee "blew out." By all appearances on the MRI, I should not have been able to run again and was in need of a total knee replacement. Instead, I found my way to a healer/chiropractor Dr. Ryan J. Means who introduced me to the work of Dr. Joe Dispenza. Here we are a few days before Dr. Ryan left to practice chiropractic medicine in China:


He reminded me that I am the Placebo and infused me with the power of belief in my body's ability to heal itself as he cued my body to heal through chiropractic care. As a trainer, he helped me to create a cross training and strength training program.

I set the goal of running the Bermuda Half Marathon at his urging of "Why set limits? Set goals!" replacing fear of my body breaking down with optimism and the belief of potential and possibility to go the distance.

I'm training for a threepeat now......Like the bumblebee I should not have been able to run after suffering the effects of paralytic polio and trauma. Like the bumblebee I keep on running anyway.

I'm training with intention, passion and purpose. Today I swam and did a cross training workout in the pool at Boston Sports Club.

I'm now partnering with Dr. Lizzie Sobel, a gifted chiropractor and healer. On her LinkedIn profile she states, "I offer complete holistic healthcare, offering a true alternative to traditional medicine. I will take the time to listen to your questions, offer you solutions, and heal your symptoms at their root." I had been experiencing left arm pain for several months; residuals from having contracted paralytic polio at the age of 5, and trauma. After two treatments with Dr. Sobel and no longer incorporating holding plank as part of my core work, the pain is almost gone but as importantly, I feel new neuromuscular connections happening that are allowing me to build strength in my left arm. I have a newfound confidence in my body with a sense of greater balance and opening as Dr. Sobel's gentle, holistic approach encourages my body's natural capacity to heal and my energy to flow. Dr. Sobel works with my entire body finding areas that need adjustments and encouraging balance and healing with her professional yet gentle, caring hands!

I am in awe of how the Universe has delivered everything and everyone I've needed to go the distance.

It's been a little over 10 years since I first set out to heal my life. Optimism, seeing beyond appearances and having fun doing the impossible are the torches that light my way on the road to the Bermuda Half Marathon and on the road of the marathon of my life.

Go 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, July 24, 2017

Run Bermuda! Run Happy! 6.5 Mile(stone) and a Visit with the Race Director

Team McManus is feeling the momentum of being on the road to the Bermuda Half Marathon.

It was a hot and steamy Saturday as we ran along the Boston Harbor from Castle Island to U.Mass. We made sure we dialed back our pace, hydrated and fueled and kept our eyes on the prize. There was an older runner who passed us, also dripping with sweat who said, "Great job guys. Keep it up." Thank goodness for the cloud cover at the start of our run!



We sought out shade whenever we could along the course. We felt triumphant when we heard Nike+ say "Congratulations! You've reached your goal of 6.5 miles."

Our selfies reflect the effort of the run:


On Sunday, Team McManus went to Boston Sports Club in Newton to do our cross training on the Bike and Arc Trainer. I was amazed at how well my body recovered from the 6.5 mile run. Ruth Anne led the charge and I found myself trying to match her exuberance as an almost 30 year old training for her first Bermuda Half Marathon. We felt accomplished after a rigorous cardio workout.


We were supposed to have dinner with Clarence aka "Stoker" Smith and Anthony Raynor as I wrote about in last week's blog. There was a serious car accident on their way to Boston from New York and they did not get in town until very late! Fortunately they were fine and there were no fatalities. We resigned ourselves to the fact that it wasn't meant to be to get together this trip and Anthony was planning another trip to Boston to see us but.....

Clarence and Anthony called us Saturday evening. They would finish at the DMSE Sports Classic Expo at 11 on Sunday. "We'll come to you," Clarence said in that warm Bermudian accent. "Anthony says he knows where Brookline is."

They called at around 11:30 and said they were leaving Andover (about an hour and change away from where we live).

"Would you like to come for lunch?" I asked.

"Well that will need to happen love," Clarence replied.

Tom, Ruth Anne and I rummaged through the fridge to see what we could put together for a luncheon. They went off to Star Market while I cleaned off and set the outside table. Ruth Anne made up platters when they returned. Over a wonderful array of foods and sparkling water, we had sparkling conversation!

We talked about the great time they had at the DMSE Sports Classic and the fever pitch energy of Race Weekend 2018. We laughed and shared stories about our relationship with Bermuda. We talked about the entourage of Boston runners who will descend upon Bermuda in January. Anthony said that he wants any of us who arrive on Thursday to be at the kickoff party for Race Weekend.

"So let me ask you....is there a time limit on the Half? Do we need an early start?" I asked Anthony and Clarence.

In true Bermudian style, Anthony and Clarence gave us a rather lengthy detailed explanation about why they had to put forth a time limit along with anecdotes from previous year's race experiences.

Having said all of that, Anthony said, "As long as you get in before my last marathoner crosses the finish line, you'll be fine."

"We figure we will finish in just under four hours," I said.

With a warm Bermudian smile Clarence said, "Oh my you'll be fine!"

We talked about the rest of their trip Stateside and about the design of the medals this year.

Speaking of medals, Anthony is going to connect with Blue Diamond Athletic Displays, Inc (captured in one of our photos below) to talk about designing a medal display to adorn the Bermuda Marathon Weekend Medals.



We had a long goodbye with lots of hugs and more joy and laughter with stories about the America's Cup but they couldn't leave before I presented them with a copy of Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance. I signed their copies and read from the section where I first met them in July of 2015.



The excitement for Bermuda Marathon Weekend is on and Team McManus hit a 6.5 mile(stone) in style!

Go 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, July 21, 2017

Run Bermuda! Run Happy! On Confidence, Determination and Going the Distance




Tomorrow, Team McManus marks a milestone for their training. 6.5 miles - halfway to 13.1 miles on the road to the Bermuda Marathon Weekend.

When we first started out on this epic journey to a threepeat for Tom and me running the Bermuda Half Marathon and having our beautiful daughter Ruth Anne join us for her first Bermuda Half Marathon, we struggled to find a rhythm together. I was anxious about whether or not I could go the distance for a threepeat especially since I was no longer working with the massage therapist who partnered with me for my first two half marathons in Bermuda. Ruth Anne was just getting back into running. After several runs, Team McManus found a rhythm and stride that was even better than when we trained for the 2009 Boston Marathon.

With each run we are gaining confidence; with every strength training and cross training workout we are feeling more determined. We are experiencing joy in the journey and a fire in our souls to go the distance.

This evening we get to host our Bermudian friends Anthony Raynor and Clarence Smith for dinner. I love to remember our first meeting with Anthony and Clarence two years ago. From "Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance":

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."


Anthony and Clarence are here to promote race weekend at the DMSE Sports Classic Race Expo. We volunteered last year and were pleasantly surprised to see Anthony:



Having dinner with them tonight is Divine timing as we get ready to run 6.5 miles tomorrow.

Team McManus is transforming the pain of the past into the joys of today by training to go the distance! 6.5 miles we are coming to get ya!

Go 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, July 18, 2017

Run Bermuda! Run Happy! Sweat - Smile - Repeat -- Training for a Threepeat!



It was invigorating to walk into Boston Sports Club on Boylston Street this morning being greeted by the staff who signed me up for my membership and having them say, "Have a good workout."

It's day 4/5 of our training cycle. Ruth Anne went for a run with a friend. Tom is going to run this afternoon and I, who runs twice a week and cross trains 3 days/week (learning the hard way of what happens if I don't - can you say knee injury?) headed to Boston Sports Club!

Part of me missed the comfort and familiarity of my old health club at Wave Health and Fitness but being surrounded by trainers, sweat and people who are fierce about their training fired me up to get in a great workout. Changing things up a bit is vital to creating change in the mind/body!



About halfway through my workout on the Arc Trainer one of the new Team members came up to me to hand me a towel. He told me he is new at the Club and this is one of his jobs. We smiled and exchanged names. Was it the power of suggestion or my renewed dedication to being the best I can be on the road to my threepeat of the Bermuda Marathon Weekend that I felt sweat pouring out of me!

After my 20 minutes on the Arc Trainer I stretched and headed for 30 minutes on the upright bike. More sweat poured that seemed to emanate from the fire that is lit within me as I go the distance for January 2018.

I posted this photo on Facebook with this description: #runbermuda #runhappy #transformationtuesday #momentum Day 4/5 --- Cross training with Arc Trainer and Bike today on the road to Bermuda Marathon Weekend for a threepeat! Feeling fierce and fired up! And this my friends is what determination looks like! #postpoliosyndrome #traumasurvivor I'm a thriver going the distance!


I have my mantras in place that my body recovers from workouts and training runs with ease. I remind myself to focus on the wave not the particle as Dr. Joe Dispenza emphasizes in his book, "You Are the Placebo." I remember how I felt training for the 2009 Boston Marathon. Even before knowing the work of Dr. Joe, but knowing the work of Dr. Bernie Siegel and having his unconditional love and support, I was creating change in my body through thought alone.

I'll be 64 years old in December. My body, mind and soul have been to hell and back. Training for my threepeat of the 2018 Bermuda Half Marathon is the journey of a lifetime. During these next 6 months I look forward to a lot of days where I sweat - smile - repeat!

Go 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):