Saturday, January 24, 2009

Heartbreak Hill for the First Time

This morning at 8 am as we had the cooler packed and ready to go around Jamaica Pond (it was 39 degrees and sunny; there were predicted wind gusts but we just had to take our training outside), I felt God speak to me - go to Marathon Sports and get a route from Domenick (our trainer for Spaulding Rehab's Race for Rehab Team) - it's time to get out on the Marathon Course. This meant that we had about 15 minutes to fill up the water bottles for our fuel belts, pack clementines and Power Gel into our pockets and get down to Marathon Sports. I felt throughout my whole being that we were meant to do this today.

When we arrived, Domenick was there along with some other runners. Team McManus was a wee bit nervous not knowing what to expect or what was going to happen today. Ruth Anne had forgotten her hat in our haste to leave the house, but fortunately there was no shortage of hats at Marathon Sports. Domenick said we could pay when we got back to the store. He was deep in thought about what route we should run today, "Have you run outdoors? Have you done hills" and with a yes answer to both those questions he sent us down Beacon Street to Newton Wellesley Hospital, over to Wellesly, up Concord Rd, over to Route 30 via the Marriott, down Route 30 through Heartbreak Hill, through BC to go around the Reservoir and then back to Marathon Sports for a total of 17.5 miles.

I won't lie here - it was not easy! We did not know where we were going at times; we had to watch out for black ice and negotiate our way through snow and slush at times along the route; there was a stiff headwind and temperatures were dropping throughout the afternoon; Ruth Anne is recovering from a head cold; at times Tom would set a pace that I couldn't keep up with and I vacillated between sheer exhilaration and dealing with demons from polio days. BUT we did it!!!! 4 hours and 45 minutes after we left Marathon Sports, we returned to a jubilant staff. Alison, the store manager, just back from her own vacation, hugged me so tightly and wanted to make sure we were all okay. I remember her on the Marathon Sports 5 Miler, giving me a high five and also checking in to make sure that I was doing okay. Her love, faith and beautiful Spirit is such a blessing to Team McManus.

So this polio and post polio survivor ran Heartbreak Hill - all of it and I felt God's Presence so palpable with each step I took - and no matter whether we were running or walking, we did a 17.5 mile run today including Heartbreak Hill. I also felt Johnny Kelley's spirit blessing us and felt angels were just moving us along the route. We never got lost and whenever we needed a landmark - there it was. God bless Domenick for planning out this route which included a pit stop at the Marriott and we refilled our water bottles.

In 3 weeks, we will be doing a 16 mile long run and to be honest, I was terrified - until today. When I felt that little knot of fear, I would pray about it and the answer to my prayer came today when God told me to go to Marathon Sports and just do it!

God smiled with sunshine and the wind at our backs when we got to Heartbreak Hill and She told me you are going to run the Marathon and finish the course - you deserve all the joy and triumph and courage and celebration that saying Yes to me is bringing you. And you are going to touch so many people's hearts and lives with this journey - you are blessed and you are going to bless the lives of others.

In yesterday's healing energy session, Janice and I were very talkative as she went about clearing out my energy and helping me to deepen my connection to Source as we intensely prepare for April 20th. God's Love is transmitted through her loving hands and God spoke to me through her as she said, "You have everything you need. You are overflowing with God's light so don't worry". Today, Team McManus took the plunge and ran a good portion of the Marathon Course with God's guidance and love leading the way. I felt as though I were Luke Skywalker listening to Yoda and she smiled when I shared that image with her.

It was a magical day and I feel so incredibly blessed to be on this wild adventure with my beautiful daughter and loving husband. My son reassured us that although he has to work today and tomorrow, he'll do the laundry on Monday to get our running clothes ready for next Saturday's run. God is good!

Please check out to learn more about my transformation from the crisis of post polio diagnosis to running the Boston Marathon and be inspired to donate so that Spaulding can continue their tradition of remarkable recoveries just like mine!

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