Sunday, November 23, 2008

God Provides!

The wind was supposed to die down and temperatures were supposed to rise. I woke up this morning to see the sun; I cleared my energy for the day doing my meditation and set my intention that I would thoroughly enjoy running in the crisp air. I visualized going around Jamaica Pond. When I let our cat Alex out, I realized the temperatures were still frigid. I knew we had to get miles into our legs so I began to psyche myself up...and then God spoke through my husband who asked about finding an indoor track. I called Boston College where I am an alum and received a voicemail. I called Boston University where I am also an alum and just happened to have my alumni card. They told us we could get a monthly membership; the track is 1/7 of a mile so I started doing the math - 91 times around but who cared? We would not be in the bitter cold. When we arrived, we learned to find out we can do a guest pass for only $10/person for the day so we opted for that. We got oriented to the FitRec center and got on the husband set his watch to record our laps; it was my job to time our splits. We were doing 16:00 minute miles for the first 6.5 miles and then, since we had done 13 miles last week, it was time to try to pick up the pace for the back half of the miles. And we're running and running and we're doing 15 minute miles but running really fast and then when we reached 3:30 (which was our previous time for 13 miles) we're still running according to the lap o meter. I thought, well gee, maybe the mileage was off for Jamaica Pond and we're running really fast now because we want to finish when my husband realizes that we had been running on the OUTSIDE of the track and the mileage is for the INSIDE of the track. No harm no foul as they say - 14 miles and 3 hours and 45 minutes later, we finished! And for the first time, we really felt like Marathon Runners. I am learning what to do if I feel cramping - water, gatorade and/or power gel and I also pray, inviting God to keep the muscles nice and loose. Interestingly enough, when we picked up the pace, I was distracted from the pain and focused only on finishing. I ran 14 miles today....I thought back to when I first started walking Wollaston Beach - I could only walk for 20 minutes and today, I ran for 3 hours and 45 minutes. I celebrate and give thanks to God for setting forth everything I need to make this journey. It is mystical and magical and marvelous and magnificent. And of course post long run care is as important as care prior to and during the training run. I drink tons of water to flush out the lactic acid and stretch, stretch, stretch.
This journey is phenomenal because I am learning to transcend what my physical body is telling me - like it's time to sit down; let's go have lunch; why are you doing this to me? and I listen to my Spirit which is fueled to the starting corral at the Boston Marathon and this Spirit along with the crowds and the love and support of so many will fuel me to go from Hopkinton to Boston on April 20, 2009.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Training Day

The scales are falling from my eyes and I see Truth...I shed the beliefs that no longer serve me that support me being less than Divine, less than beautiful, less than a radiant Spirit, less than capable of whatever I put my mind and heart to, that creates problems and crises out of 'thin air'. Instead, I focus my eyes on God, our Loving Creator, the powerful Source of life within me. It is this force that enabled me to, at 3 pm yesterday afternoon, to go outside in the 29 degree wind chill temperatures and run with my daughter. We had an amazing training session - we ran more hills than ever as my daughter chose a rather rigorous route after we sprinted up and down our 'usual' hills. Going out and running is a way for me to feel empowered and to connect with the Divine Force within me. It's an integral part of my transformational process - mind, body and spirit as I push myself to do and be more than I was the week before. I transcend the physical by focusing on spiritual and mental toughness. At times do I want to just sit and revert to old, familiar comfortable bet I do! What do I do to conquer that? I move forward in joy celebrating ME...celebrating all that I meant to BE...and to take the challenge to live my life as fully as I possibly can. To let words flow from my soul to create joy for others through customized poetry and through the words of poems already written. I am so blessed that I touch people's hearts and souls through my words. Darien Marshall and Darius Jones of Its All About You on and Darimar Entertainment, now talk about reading my poems as part of the tradition of their show! And the joy of donating poetry to Jordan Rich's 2009 For the Children Calendar which will benefit Childrens Hospital Blessing Fund ( I have met so many beautiful people on this journey...confession - I do get really anxious when I connect with people at this higher vibration...and I realized that this anxiety comes from that kernal of untruth at my core that believes I am not worthy to be hangin' out with the likes of Jordan Rich or Jennifer Skiff or Michelle Epiphany Prosser who celebrate me and whom I's easier to retreat into relationships in which I have to 'work' to be recognized and then of course, there's never enough or it doesn't happen - it's easier because it is familiar like an old shoe. (And if you would like to read a poem about The Old Shoe, you'll have to check out my book, "New World Greetings:Inspirational Poetry and Musings for a New World" - I donate 20% to the Spaulding Rehab's International Rehab Center for Polio) But you know what? It does not reap the rewards of living life with the Divine! My energy comes alive when I go out and run (even in the cold - especially in the cold). When I was dealing with symptoms of post polio syndrome, cold was my arch enemy...I would shiver and feel the pain in my I have Divine Protection (along with some fabulous equipment from Marathon Sports here in Brookline). And it is this Divine Protection which guides me every day when I open my heart to receive all the love, all the joy, all the bounty, all the wisdom and inspired action to go forth and be a shining light of God's beacon of love!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Blessing The Journey

God is blessing our journey...this morning, we woke up to torrential downpours...the weather forecast said torrential rain and wind all day but tomorrow is supposed to be sunny although colder. I kept saying I am going to look beyond appearances and not listen to the forecast. The temperature was a balmy 60 degrees and I'd rather run in warm and rain than cold and I said a prayer to God thanking Her for making the rain stop. My husband said, let's say a prayer thanking God that we can run in the rain! When we arrived at our running site, the rain had stopped. After about two hours into our run, the skies opened up and it poured for maybe 2 or 3 minutes and then the sun peeked out through the clouds and we had no more rain during the run. My daughter tried to catch the falling leaves as we ran around the Pond...were we not training for the Marathon we would not know this joy and it is wonderful to share it all with you!
I have never known unbridled joy coupled with such incredible hard work! Today was a milestone...we ran for 13 miles and then had to walk another mile to go back to our car...this week I have put 22 miles on these beautiful legs...and I am so grateful to God for blessing our journey. Five months and five days to Marathon Monday! Wow!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Little Engine That Can!

The last thing I ever wanted to do was focus on my body – it was my enemy – an entity to be tolerated. I walked with a limp, felt tired all the time and I had, unknowingly, internalized the teasing and taunting voices of my peers – 'easy out' 'we don't want HER on our team' ' what's the matter with her? Look at those funny shoes!' But just like the ugly duckling, I am now a beautiful swan. Spaulding Rehab helped me to begin the process of reconnecting with my body, and through the grace of God, I learned at the age of 53, how to love myself – just as I was – with polio shoes and a brace. And a little over a year ago now, Janine Hightower, a dear friend and personal trainer, helped me to believe that my body was capable of more. She would often quote Henry Ford – 'whether you think you can or think you can't – you're right!' I remember how, after our first session, I could barely move feeling muscles I did not even know existed. I wondered if I was doing the right thing and wanted to just quit at times. But something kept moving me forward. That Divine force fuels me on each training run as Janine and I challenge my body to do more than it did the week before. I celebrate the transformation and every step on this amazing journey. I also listen to the wisdom of my body, treating it with tender loving care as I train it to run 26.2 miles. “Believe and your belief will create the fact.” - William James
And today, once again, after a brief morning shower, we had perfect running conditions -- time for a Tempo Run Janine told we warmed up walking for five minutes and then ran for another five minutes -- I thought we were going at a pretty good pace and Janine told me it was now time for the tempo run....without giving any thought to how fast I was pushing my body, I kept pace with this beautiful angel whom God sent to me to know that I can transcend the physical and focus on the Spirit. It was so funny because as we were running, she told me that when she first started running she used to imagine that she had a belt around her waist and was just being pulled along; I had this image of her being my trainer and I was a dog and had a leash and she was just pulling me along and I effortlessly kept pace! And what a pace - how about 11:40 for the first mile; 12:40 for the second mile and 12:00 for the third mile. My heart rate averaged 165 for the 41+ minutes of running...I am a 54 year old woman whose maximum heart rate is supposed to be 170 -- in other words, I am in damn good shape for a woman my age...for a woman at any age I might add. And Janine pushed me to a sprint at the end at which point my heart rate went up to 173 and I could still once again, we proved that I AM the little engine that can THANKS BE TO GOD!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

What Makes Mary Run?

A friend of mine asked me what does running mean to me - it is freedom; it is love - I am making this journey with my loving husband and daughter Ruth Anne and feeling the love and support of my son who is so proud of my strength and courage; it is doing something not just for me but to help raise monies for Spaulding Rehab Hospital; it is an opportunity to inspire others and to allow God's Spirit and Love to Shine through me....
I am connecting to my body in new ways and feeling muscles and aches that I never experienced before. I am embracing these and telling myself that this is marvelous - my body is building and moving forward in ways that I never dreamed imaginable having been a polio survivor. The key is to know and to trust in the process and to LISTEN TO MY BODY! Okay now sometimes my body says let's pull the covers over our head and just stay in bed 'cuz baby it's cold outside...that's not what I mean of's about the pacing and knowing what my body needs in terms of nutrition, exercise other than training runs, sleep, hydration, and to also nourish my Spirit...taking time to meditate, pray, journal and invite God into every moment of my day is crucial...and to know that God has called me to do this amazing journey. I celebrate myself -
And I am celebrating the great outdoors -- when once I feared going out into the cold and rain because I was so sickly and frail, I now embrace the wind and see the season of fall here in New England with new eyes. What makes Mary run? The answer can best be summed up in one word - God!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Staying Positive!

This morning I woke up to rain...but it is warm 55 degrees and it's a tempo run so the rain motivates me to go faster .:) - and interesting how God helps to plan my day. My trainer, Janine, had a scheduling conflict so we rescheduled for next week. Home Depot was coming to replace a window so I could not go on an early morning run and I was supposed to meet with my publicist this afternoon but she had to reschedule so now my daughter, Ruth Anne and I can go on a tempo run together this afternoon after her class. Trusting, remaining positive and knowing that all is well and in Divine Order is the fuel to guide me along this amazing journey. It's also about listening to the Voice within and making choices using my intuition to guide me. It is so easy for the internal critical voice of fear and doubt to take over - but move over fear and are being replaced with God's abundant Love which showers us all with Grace and strength and courage and light. I use a broom to sweep away the cobwebs of negative thinking and unleash the energy which is going to be needed for every training run.
Oh and guess what? The downpours have stopped - God's grace once again ever present in my life!
I'll be back after the run....
With dinner cooking away, I'll finish today's entry. As soon as we finished our run, it began to rain buckets again. In my book, "New World Greetings:Inspirational Poetry and Musings for a New World," I have a chapter entitled "A Little Rain Must Fall" -- and I have a whole new appreciation of the rain. Actually, since having been diagnosed with post polio syndrome, I have a new appreciation for all of life! But today, with the rain stopping long enough for us to get in our run is another sign of God's grace in my life. It was misty and some wind but for November 6th, the weather remains mild...God is blessing me with everything I need along life's journey! I am so grateful....Time to refuel...blessings to you all.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Labor of Love

Training to run the Boston Marathon is like being pregnant...I had this aha moment one evening as I looked at my big toe nail which had turned purple on my left foot and had a blood blister on my right foot. “Oh my God,” I felt, “what's happening to my body is like what happened when I was pregnant” - it's going through changes at light warp speed and while I am amazed at how I feel spiritually and physically since I started running, there are aches and pains and things happening to my body that never happened before.Oh and of course rather than putting on the pounds, they are shedding like magic! I have what is called a contracture on my big left toe...a small reminder of polio...the toe likes to stay in a crooked position. So, as I was increasing miles, and forgot to keep my toenails trim, it took a real pounding. I feel like a real athlete now because I have to tape the toe before my run and it is healing beautifully. As for the blood blister...a blister kit from Marathon Sports and allowing the body with God's help to heal naturally enables me to continue running without missing a beat!

There is new life and transformation growing within me. This is an incredible labor of love – I don't mind the aches and pains or the blisters because I am on a mission. I am stretching and growing in ways I never knew possible before I said to Janine, my personal trainer, 'do you think you can help me get off of a low toilet seat?' And with Janine's loving guidance, I trust in the body's natural healing process and pay loving attention to what my body is telling me. I am so blessed to be surrounded by love – and to let in the most glorious love of all – the love from Source...God. I am learning to love myself and hence take exquisite care of my body. Is this selfishness? You bet it is and I highly recommend it...paying attention to nutrition and sleep and managing stress and taking time out for meditation each day is crucial. The body is the temple which holds our sacred self.

And just like during the nine months of pregnancy, there is also the air of expectation – what will it be like on Marathon Monday as I stand in the corral waiting for the starting gun to go off? Just like going into labor, all distractions are shut out, Spirit takes over mind and body as I will focus on a single goal – and feel the rush of tears, exhilaration and joy when I cross the finish line where loving arms await to embrace Team McManus.I am overflowing with gratitude for this amazing journey!!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Twelve Miles!

God is truly amazing! All I have to do is open my heart and soul and let all the love in. Today, God's love came in the form of a perfect weather running day...air was as calm as could be except for an occasional cooling breeze; there was bright sunshine glistening off of Jamaica Pond and the air temperature was almost 60 degrees -- for November 1st in New England - a total blessing!!! I prayed and told God that I had been running into headwinds during training runs for the past couple of weeks...especially on the weekends (of course we were training at Wollaston Beach where we were met with a stiff sea breeze). Today, we decided to change our venue and ran 8 times around Jamaica Pond which is 1.54 miles around. We found a parking space exactly where we needed it for easy access to our refueling - water, bananas, gatorade and saw some familiar faces (our former yoga teacher and a coworker that my husband worked with many years ago). There was incredible energy among walkers and runners; one woman was wearing her Tufts 10K T-shirt and we shouted out - finish stronger (the motto on the T says to start strong, finish stronger -- a wonderful motto for us to live by!). Oh, and God told me that I needed to learn how to run into the headwind and push against it to feel my own power -- so often I would have to push against the many physical therapists I encountered through the years to have my strength tested or to help me to strengthen these limbs which had been weakened by the polio virus...well now...strength and power are mine -- and they are yours as well you know -- all you have to do is ask and you shall receive; knock and the door will be opened and seek and you will find....
We are blessed to be on this journey prayer is that you have the joy and health and peace and happiness and love and prosperity that is your birthright - our birthright. And let us join together in prayer that from our hearts overflowing with love our world is healed and together we can create a New World!