Thursday, February 22, 2018

Just For The Health of It - I Can Do It!



When I woke up yesterday morning I was feeling out of sorts. I realized that it was quite a week with Ruth Anne's hospitalization for an acute episode of depression and the weeks that led up to it where she needed more support and guidance. I wanted to turn off the alarm and go back to sleep. My body seemed to absorb the emotional shock of it all and the last thing I wanted to do was to get my strength training workout on.

I could have listened to my body but I know how powerful the mind is in health, wellness and well being. I couldn't give in to those feelings of exhaustion and physical pain. I knew they would pass if I did not give them more energy and attention. I got still and began the day as Tom and I always do - with a meditation. I began to feel a little better although still sore and stiff. I stretched and used my massage stick.

I knew that I needed to just keep moving forward. Out came our home gym equipment:


along with my training journal to track our core work and strength training routine.

By the time I finished our workout, I was ready to enjoy a nutritious breakfast and felt energized to start my day.

I went through my journal and old blog to pull out content for my new book, "The Adventures of Runnergirl1953."

I let the creative juices flow through me and the Divine to inspire how I am going to put the book together.

Tom works from home on Wednesdays. It was a treat to be able to have his lunch hour together and share an afternoon smoothie.

I don't have any events on the race calendar. I'm looking at the Michael Aselton 5K in May on Cape Cod which was the race that reunited Team McManus as we began our training for the Bermuda Half Marathon.

My training now is just for the health of it. I'm excited to focus on speed rather than endurance for now and I also bask in the accomplishment of having run 3 consecutive Bermuda Half Marathons! Bear in mind that I did so despite having been told in December of 2014 that I needed to stop running or cap my distance if I continued to run and that I'd need a total knee replacement in a few years.

I feel that it's a new starting line in my training as I recover from training for 3 half marathons in as many years and move forward in my journey to heal the effects from childhood paralytic polio and trauma with renewed fervor and passion even if some days are more difficult than others to fire up the motivation.

As I have with every challenge I have ever faced in my life, I know that I must and can do it!

To your health and wellness
From my heart to yours,
Mary

Proud to be a part of Friends of Blue Diamond Athletic Displays, Inc. Be sure to visit us at Booth 758 during Boston Marathon Weekend.

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, February 20, 2018

The Rest Was Still Unwritten....The Adventures of Runnergirl1953



I didn't know Abraham Lincoln was the one who said, "The best way to predict your future is to create it." I thought it was some new age philosopher. What a wise man he was....

It's a philosophy that I have worked hard to live by ever since I was diagnosed with Post-Polio Syndrome eleven years ago. I wasn't going to take the diagnosis sitting down. At first I was afraid - very afraid and then I got still and asked for Divine Guidance. The answers came through what I came to call my divining rod for healing - my pen - in the form of inspirational poetry; poetry that inspired mind, body and soul to heal through the power of visualization and imagination. I was creating my future - a future very different than the ones the doctors predicted for me.

After writing "Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance," my family and friends encouraged me to write another book about my healing odyssey.

The theme of the book came to me during a run - no surprise there - with the prompting of Tom and Ruth Anne.

I'm now getting into the writing of the book. It's like putting together a quilt. I have all these beautiful patches of different stories and adventures that I will weave together into a beautiful tapestry.

At the time we gave birth to the book idea, the rest was still unwritten. I was in the middle of training for the Bermuda Half Marathon 2018. We were at 8 miles on our training runs. We had yet to run through a range of weather conditions and conditions related to Ruth Anne's recovery from severe depression. I also developed tightness in my right hip/groin/back area that eventually led to a painful muscle strain in my right hip/buttocks. I had to work through a lot of mental barriers and fears to get me to the starting line and I am so happy that I did not let my fears prevail.

The story that was written was more wonderful than I had imagined and even though the struggle was great, the triumph was even sweeter!


I'm taking a break from endurance running but of course I continue to create my future. I look forward to building strength while I recover from the Bermuda Half Marathon and experiencing different adventures of how I can move and be in my body.

But for now ... I've got a new book to put together and it's going to be a labor of love and joy!

To your health and wellness
From my heart to yours,
Mary

Proud to be a part of Friends of Blue Diamond Athletic Displays, Inc. Be sure to visit us at Booth 758 during Boston Marathon Weekend.

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, February 19, 2018

It's All About the Journey



Taking on back to back half marathons was a very ambitious goal for Tom and Ruth Anne. Since we had the base mileage from running the Bermuda Half Marathon, they decided to take on the RunTheBluegrass Half Marathon and work on their pace. My next goal was to recover from three consecutive Bermuda Half Marathons and train #justforthehealthofit and find harmony and healing in my training.

Tom and Ruth Anne had a rigorous Half Marathon training program to be sure that they met the time requirement for the cutoff for the Half Marathon at RunTheBluegrass.

There was a confluence of factors that precipitated Ruth Anne's recent hospitalization for severe depression. But Ruth Anne shared with us that one of the things she really missed was our Saturday morning runs getting ready for Bermuda. We also had unknowingly put way too much pressure on her with the training for RunTheBluegrass.

We were so focused on Tom and Ruth Anne's pace and the destination of the RunTheBluegrass race that we forgot all about the journey!

Last Saturday as I joined Tom and Ruth Anne for the first part of their run, a 5K at my pace right now, I introduced the idea of ditching the Half Marathon for the 7 miler. They would still get to experience a beautiful race through horse country and we would enjoy the weekend with our Bermuda buddy, Denise and her family, but there would be no timing deadline and it would ease the stress of training for another half marathon.

They even realized we could do "just a 5K" on Saturday and they could run the errands without stress or pressure.

Reunited and it felt so good - especially after Ruth Anne's hospitalization earlier in the week:


When we got home, we changed the registration from the Half Marathon to the 7 miler with ease.

It is a miracle that I continue to run and maintain a health and wellness routine after the diagnosis of Post-Polio Syndrome 11 years ago and that I continue to soldier on in my journey healing the effects of childhood paralytic polio and severe trauma. It's a miracle that Ruth Anne has the fortitude, strength and courage to go the distance in her journey healing severe depression and the wounds of trauma. We are blessed and grateful that we are able to do all we are able to do; that we are blessed with so much abundance and are reclaiming our lives and our mental, physical and spiritual well being. Somehow 6 miles of a race course pale in comparison to all we have already overcome and the way we run the marathon of our lives.



While I know there are many wonderful quotes about life happening outside of your comfort zone and it's where the magic happens and always setting greater and greater goals to challenge oneself, sometimes it's just as important to take a step back and remember that it's all about the journey of this miracle called life!

To your health and wellness
From my heart to yours,
Mary

Proud to be a part of Friends of Blue Diamond Athletic Displays, Inc. Be sure to visit us at Booth 758 during Boston Marathon Weekend.

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, February 16, 2018

Life is a Marathon - I'm Grateful I'm An Endurance Runner



"Life is hard. That's why we run," Bill Rodgers has said to me on several occasions.

That is the truth! He went on to say that when the going gets tough on the roads and we know we can endure, then we can take that into our lives.

I am deeply grateful that I am an endurance runner for that has held me in great stead when it comes to the challenges in life. Being an endurance runner has taught me patience, strength, taking things mile by mile and being in the present moment, knowing that when I feel as though I cannot take another step, there is always enough in the tank to keep me going and, if I need to pause, I can always catch a second wind.

I have been joined on a marathon of healing from the effects of paralytic polio and trauma by our daughter Ruth Anne who is in the marathon of her life healing from severe depression. Three years ago she crossed the starting line of a journey to reclaim her mental health and sense of well being. Severe depression precipitated by trauma reared its head. Her life came to a screeching halt much as mine had 11 years ago after the diagnosis of Post-Polio Syndrome.

Last week, Ruth Anne experienced an acute episode of depression necessitating a brief inpatient psychiatric hospitalization.

The thing about running and life is you never know when something may catch you unaware. The thing about running and life is we are blessed with resilience able to overcome and move forward feeling stronger than we ever have before. It's incredible to experience that second wind after you feel as though there's no way you can go any further in the race.

It seemed as though things were falling apart again but with intensive inpatient therapy, an outpouring of love and support from our village and an increase in medication plus Ruth Anne's fiery warrior Spirit, she is putting the pieces of her life back together in a more meaningful and profound way than before things fell apart.

When my life fell apart 11 years ago after the diagnosis of Post-Polio Syndrome, I had no idea that I'd be living the healthy, vibrant, abundant life that I am blessed to live today.

It's been a lot of trial and error, twists and turns in the roads for each of us but life is a marathon, not a sprint and I am blessed to have a warrior daughter, who, like myself, goes the distance!

To your health and wellness
From my heart to yours,
Mary

Proud to be a part of Friends of Blue Diamond Athletic Displays, Inc. Be sure to visit us at Booth 758 during Boston Marathon Weekend.

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, February 15, 2018

On Faith and the Power of Prayer - It's Okay to Say



As Tom and Ruth Anne waited in the MGH Emergency Room for Ruth Anne to get medically cleared for an inpatient psychiatric admission to treat an acute episode of her depression, I stayed home. I circled the wagons with a prayer request on Facebook and was deeply blessed and grateful for all of the responses. At about midnight, I decided to go off line and go on line with the Divine. We were told by the clinician from the BEST Team, the crisis intervention Team for mental health in Boston that there was a bed available at a private psychiatric hospital in Brookline. I put on my best poker face for Ruth Anne saying that it was a wonderful hospital and wherever she went she would get outstanding care. While I wanted to pray that there would be a bed somewhere else, I knew that I needed to completely surrender to the Divine.

As thoughts filled with worry would intrude on my meditation, I kept coming back to feeling God's Love and Protection. I resisted the urge to text Tom for updates and he was hoping that I was getting sleep. I felt myself going deep into meditation. One of my friend's called it feeling raw with God.

I may have dozed off and on and knew that stillness and trust were the order of the day or late night or early morning not daring to look at my phone to check the time.

I heard a few cars in the background and hoped that one of them would be pulling into our driveway.

Finally at what was 4:30 in the morning I heard the car door close and the key turn the lock.

"They gave away the bed at the other hospital," Tom told me.

"Where is she?" I asked eagerly.

"They had a bed at Mass. General."

God orchestrated everything on our behalf.

In addition to Mass. General having the best in psychiatric care, it has a healing environment like none I've ever seen in an inpatient psychiatric facility.

There are large picture windows in the day room which is furnished with comfortable leather chairs, an aquarium with low lighting and leather couches in the sensory room where people can go to find a quiet space, a piano, jigsaw puzzles, and amazingly enough a room with cardio workout equipment.

The staff even at 4 am were kind, compassionate and caring. All of the staff that we met during Ruth Anne's stay were dedicated to mental health recovery and healing. They genuinely wanted to work there. Ruth Anne's team of an attending, 3 residents, a social worker and case manager along with one on one Occupational Therapy, groups throughout the day and one on one nursing staff were all committed to a positive outcome for Ruth Anne and a seamless continuum of care.

I was most impressed with her social worker who took an efficient history with compassion and focus.

In other hospitalizations, and even in her outpatient treatment before her current dream team, the Team wanted to reinvent the wheel and change meds. This Team increased the dose and gave her a wealth of information about coping strategies.

Ruth Anne found the courage and strength to share on Facebook what was happening to her. She was amazed and in awe of the outpouring of love and support from friends she recently reconnected with.

Part of the shame about experiencing mental health issues is the shame and stigma that has been associated with it.

The Okay to Say campaign and the Heads Together Campaign are making inroads to address eliminating the stigma and shame associated with struggling with mental health issues:


Ruth Anne experienced the cycle of experiencing severe depression and feeling the shame of her struggles which created social isolation which fueled the fires of depression.

What powerful medicine she received in social media and the blessing of one of her friends from childhood coming to visit her. After the visit, her family sent Ruth Anne white tulips with a card hoping she would feel better soon.



Team McManus is deeply grateful and blessed that we live in Boston where we have access to the finest resources in psychiatric care and for our amazing village. I am deeply grateful that Ruth Anne found the courage and strength to let people know that it's okay to say and that she is at a new starting line in her marathon of healing.

To your health and wellness
From my heart to yours,
Mary

Proud to be a part of Friends of Blue Diamond Athletic Displays, Inc. Be sure to visit us at Booth 758 during Boston Marathon Weekend.

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, February 12, 2018

On Harmony and Healing



I wouldn't change a thing about my decision to run 3 Bermuda Half Marathons in as many years. I did end up with a pretty serious muscle strain on my right hip and a lot of pain with back spasms and groin pain but it is all resolving now!

Standing in the shower, a wonderful time to meditate, I realized how I've been at war with my body. I became keenly aware of how the struggles I experience in my body are from the past. The song Ebony and Ivory came into my head:



While I am awesome at pushing myself, setting and achieving goals, I realized that I need to heal the wounds that were inflicted upon me for years after contracting paralytic polio. I felt frustrated by the pain on my right side and back which of course does not facilitate healing. I felt God's love shower over me as the healing warm waters bathed me mind, body and soul. I realized that rather than embody the person who was in constant reaction to my environment of violence and torture, I needed to shower myself with kindness, compassion and Love.

I am using the massage stick we bought years ago to help us during training on a regular basis; especially first thing in the morning. I am stretching more. I am becoming more and more aware of when my body is responding to the past and finding my way to experiencing a new way of being in mind, body and soul....relaxed and in harmony with myself and the world around me.

This morning after I dropped Tom off at work, I got still wondering which gym I should go to. I was planning to go to the Boston Sports Club at Newton but then I felt a stirring to go to the gym near Fenway. They have windows that overlook Brookline Avenue and daylight streams into the gym.

As I settled on my bike, one of the membership managers who I met in the locker room a few months back came by to ask me how Bermuda was. She has her own inspirational story with MS. I got goosebumps recounting the magical experience we had in Bermuda and how I had to really psych myself up to get to the starting line in the wake of the muscle strain and back and groin issues I was having. She had a similar experience right before she was taking on her Bike Ride to raise money and awareness for MS. She was the last to finish and said how amazing it was to have the police escort into the finish blaring the Rocky Theme as she rode in!

"I wasn't supposed to be on this shift and this is my last week here," she said.
"I wasn't planning to come to this gym today but something told me I should."

She is going to take a leap of faith and do writing and inspirational speaking following her bliss and her passion. I wouldn't have had a chance to see her if I wouldn't have been in tune with the Universe to see where I should work out today.

We said our goodbyes and the woman on the bike next to me said, "Wherever you went and whatever you did sounds amazing." I shared my journey with her. She is an Emergency Room physician who at one time worked at the VA! She shared her journey of spiritual awakening with me and how she calls upon the Divine in her work and in her life. We had an incredible conversation as we poured sweat and were in awe of what came together for us to meet at that exact moment in time.

I looked down and realized that I had crushed my previous time of 6 miles in under 40 minutes from 2/3:


She lost track of her time as well.

Before I moved onto the Arc Trainer, we exchanged information and connected on Facebook.

I hadn't been on the Arc Trainer for several months while we were training for Bermuda. I was planning to do 20 minutes but my right hip was "barking" at me. I cranked up the tunes for my 12 minute/mile playlist and decided that 10 minutes would be a great way to work my time back up on the Arc Trainer.

It's all about being in harmony with my body, loving my body well and healing mind, body and soul from the effects of paralytic polio and trauma.

To your health and wellness
From my heart to yours,
Mary

Proud to be a part of Friends of Blue Diamond Athletic Displays, Inc. Be sure to visit us at Booth 758 during Boston Marathon Weekend.

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):



Saturday, February 10, 2018

Imagine!



People often ask me how I created myself as a runner at the age of 53 when a)I'd never run a day in my life and b) I was told I'd spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair after the diagnosis of Post Polio Syndrome 11 years ago.

It all began with a poem:
Running the Race
Early summer 1959 my kindergarten year
everyone around me filled with nervous fear
despite the Salk vaccine hope polio would disappear
the polio virus crept right up and knocked me in the rear.

Dancing all around the gym feeling free just like a bird
I dropped to the ground just like a stone and no one said a word.
The pain it was so searing-the diagnosis even worse
"It's polio" the doctor said...he was abrupt and terse.

Called one of the 'lucky ones' I had a 'mild case'
but with the other athletes I could never keep their pace.
Miss Holly physical therapist, curly hair and a warm, broad smile
it tempered the pain of being apart - to walk I'd take awhile.

I always wore those 'special' shoes the kids they poked and teased
With no support and much abuse with childhood I wasn't pleased.
But put nose to the grindstone and learned all that I could
I couldn't kick a ball but my grades were always good.

Years went by and no more thought to polio did I give
I accepted the limp and everything else and decided my life I would live.
But symptoms of weakness and muscle pain did grow
I kept a stoic face hoping no one else would know.

Life no longer was my own I struggled through each day
Suffered in silence, isolated from friends- trying to keep depression at bay.
And with the grace of glorious God my world it opened wide
I discovered there was a Post Polio team and they were on my side.

Using wheelchair to travel, set limits on what I could do,
resulted in joy to realize I could live life anew.
Celebrated my body- creaks, groans and need for a brace
While in my mind I focused on winning a 10K race.

Sought out paths for healing and my spirit flew free
for the first time in life, I could truly be me.
The chains are gone and possibilities abound
I'm a tree with my roots planted firmly in ground.

I'm now off the sidelines, no need to sit and whine
So much gratitude fills my heart and love and beauty shine.
After all these years I can join the loving human race
I exceed all expectations and now I set the pace.


I didn't have a plan to become a runner and certainly didn't plan on running the Boston Marathon, although I used to joke a lot after leg surgeries that I wouldn't be running the Boston Marathon - this year. Ha - be careful what you say out loud to the Universe!

It foreshadowed my 2009 Boston Marathon run.

Throughout training for Boston I wrote poems to fuel my journey releasing the past and focusing on feeling what it would be like to be at the starting line and crossing the finish line. I ran the race over and over and over again in my imagination. I focused on success and while I put in the miles, my mental game was vital to crossing that finish line.

Running 3 Bermuda Half Marathons in as many years required me to fire up my imagination and anticipate crossing that finish line with every long training run. When the going got rough in 2017, having had that store of future memories kept me motivated to go the distance.

It would be so easy to rest on my laurels of all I have accomplished in these past 11 years of my healing odyssey from the effects of paralytic polio and trauma but I can't stop the creation of me as an athlete.

During today's 5K I imagined myself running free and easy at a 12 minute/mile pace. I ignored how my body is still recovering from Bermuda and a muscle strain and hip/back/groin issue continue to heal. I saw and felt myself running 5K's as a mid packer thoroughly enjoying the race.

This morning during my meditation I had this wonderful image come to me about healing my right side.

Do any of you remember Wooly Willy?


It's a "magnetic personality" game where you use a magnet and pull the metal filings to create different disguises.

I had this image of having a magnet to pull the energy that was stuck in my right side up and over to my left side; the leg that was more seriously affected by the polio virus when I was 5 years old.

I had a great time outside for 3.14 miles enjoying the warm sunshine (well warm for February in Boston), hearing the birds sing and being among all the runners training for the Boston Marathon.

It was my time to imagine...to remember how I felt in my body as a ballerina before I contracted paralytic polio and endured years of violence at the hands of family members. It was a time to be with someone I met on line who is struggling with her healing from a neuromuscular condition and dedicate my run to her remembering back to when I was taking those first steps on my healing journey. It was my time to be grateful - so deeply grateful for how far I've come on my healing journey and to know there are no limits to the possibilities for healing in my life.

All I have to do is imagine feeling wonderful in mind, body and soul; focus on feeling grateful to my body for all it gives me and allows me to do, and work hard in my 5 days a week workouts.



To your health and wellness
From my heart to yours,
Mary

Proud to be a part of Friends of Blue Diamond Athletic Displays, Inc. Be sure to visit us at Booth 758 during Boston Marathon Weekend.

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):