Monday, February 23, 2009

From Hyannis to Hopkinton - Getting Ready!

A little over a year ago I answered God's call to run the Boston Marathon for Spaulding Rehab. I found myself in the Hyannis Resort and Conference Center milling among tons of people wearing BAA Marathon jackets, buying running shoes and running gear and found myself feeling totally out of place. God would not let those thoughts and feelings last for long; as soon as I started feeling that I did not belong here (clearly a belief which no longer serves me) my cell phone rang. My son was doing a delivery for TJ's Vegan House of Pizza where he is part of the collective, and he told me his CD was skipping; he popped it out and the radio came on. It was tuned to WERS FM and at that very moment, they were promoting our benefit concert on March 14th. He just had to call me and it was God calling me to say - you do too belong here and here, I'm gonna show you....

I was expecting our room to be a small double room as we had stayed at the Conference Center just a year ago to see Bernie Siegel, MD at the health and fitness expo. We walked in to discover a spacious suite with a pull out couch in one room and a king size bed in the other along with a microwave, refrigerator and two flat screen TV's. I had a place to chill our clementines and our water bottles and knew that God was going to provide for our every need. Having the two rooms was an incredible blessing since the flu virus had decided to invade our house last week and both my husband Tom and daughter Ruth Anne had this residual cough - and my husband's snoring was at an all time high. But I was prepared for whatever - my husband was happy to have his own space to watch his TV shows before drifting off to sleep and their coughs awoke me a few times in the middle of the night. I did awake at 4 am with the pre race jitters and as I expressed my fears to God, She asked me, 'is that what you want to have happen?'. Instead I focused on believing and trusting that all is well and in Divine Order and to let go and let God. But back to the day's events --

We had lunch at the hotel restaurant, Bogey's. Not the best food on Cape Cod but we had a wonderful waitress and ate this amazing appetizer of green beans which were coated and fried. We all had tuna sandwiches for our protein and french fries. We also made sure to eat a lot of fruit we had brought throughout the day and drank a lot of water. Off to pick up our numbers and free swag at the Running Expo. We got to meet Dick and Rick Hoyt. I shared my story with Dick and he invited us to the pre Marathon expo for Boston.Talk about inspiration!

My husband decided to go to the Jacuzzi while Ruth Anne and I played air hockey. Then off to take a stroll around the grounds to see where the starting line was. As soon as Ruth Anne walked out into the cold air, she started coughing and when we came inside to have sodas in the hotel lobby we had a discussion about whether or not she could run the half marathon. She had been down for the count on Thursday and Friday but did not want to stay home. She was feeling better but hadn't really kept down a meal for two days. We bantered back and forth and decided to make a final decision on Sunday morning.

We all watched TV and relaxed for the rest of the afternoon. I then got the feeling that I should call Tim from Just Finish - and he just happened to be in our hotel when I called. He was staying at another hotel a few miles from the race. I wanted to wish him luck on his run tomorrow. He is an inspiration - he began running just a year ago and is also going to run Boston. He has overcome his health challenges with a vigilant approach to taking care of himself. As a bonus, I got to meet his lovely wife and delightful son who told me he likes to run on Wii Fit.

Time for the pre-race Pasta Dinner - the ballroom was filled and we did not know anyone there. My daughter chose a table where there was a mother and baby and two other men. We had the most delightful dinner conversation with three siblings who had such a close loving family. and the baby added a delightful touch to our table selection. Time for the speakers - Frank Shorter and Bill Rodgers. I met with each of them afterwards and told them the story of Team McManus. We had a lot of photo ops, a poster signed from a 1960's Boston Marathon and then as I went to meet the race director, there were two gentleman from L Street Running Club in South Boston standing there. After the race director left, I just started talking and we became very fast friends. They even bought two tickets to our benefit concert. But they were so moved and inspired by my courage and faith and determination. Ric, one of the members told me that he wanted to join me in our corral to start the race with me the next day. Nobody has ever wanted to run with me before because I was always too slow...As we drifted off to sleep, I reflected on all of my blessings, the amazing synchronicity that happened and how God was showering us with love.

Ruth Anne awoke feeling ready to race - not her 13 minute mile which she had done on the 17.2 mile long run, but she wanted to do this. After all, she was determined to get her medal. One of my 4 am anxieties was around making sure we could have our usual pre race breakfast. I had email'ed the race director and he assured me they were serving breakfast. Only it was a buffet with scrambled eggs, sausage and bacon - not for us. I had brought our oatmeal packets and we went to the Starbucks station in the hotel lobby. I took spoons from the dining room and we improvised with hot tea water and cups. They also had 3 english muffins left so we were able to have our 'toast' equivalent. We went up to our room which had an area to eat our breakfast and we began to prepare for the race. The sun was shining although the forecast was for rain...

It became overcast at gun time but the temperature was moderate as we crossed the starting line. We were in the 14 min. corral just in front of the walkers. I had an energy healing session on Friday during which I worked with Janice to continue to transform the trauma of polio and abuse with God's love and to really open and get my energy flowing. We are an incredible team. I knew she was sending positive energy our way and so I was just out to enjoy this run. We took off at a fast pace - a 13 minute mile. Tom was feeling fantastic and with iPod music in place and a full recovery from the flu, he set the pace. I told myself to release all feelings of lack and limitation and go with the flow. This was a training run so I needed to push but I also monitored my heart rate: I knew it would take awhile to warm up but I also knew we had to run 13 miles. It was a balance but the most important part was that I overcame feeling victimized seeing him take off. Ruth Anne was happy to stay with me at my pace and we decided he needed his time to run a good race and not stay with me. However, he did wait up for us at certain points during the race and Team McManus crossed the finish line together having run a 15:38 minute mile.

The post race reception was awesome and Frank Shorter signed my number. I was so excited to receive my first medal for a sport - ever. I did not see Ric at the starting line or the post race reception. He called later that evening to tell me he was so sorry he couldn't be at the finish line to watch us cross. He wasn't feeling well after the race and needed time to recover. He told me that he had a hard race but he thought about me and he knew that if I could do it, so could he! There were swarms of people running so we couldn't find each other in the morning but he told me he told everyone about me and Team McManus. And speaking of the post race reception, I saw a reporter interviewing another runner. When he was through, I asked him if he were with a newspaper and when he said yes, I told him I had a great story for him. Today, I am in the Cape Cod Times:

But something happened to me after the race that never happened before and it is a wonderful learning opportunity as we plan for the Boston Marathon. I felt extremely nauseous and actually got sick; I had stopped at every water station and even got a banana and chips to fuel but I realized that I had not had enough fuel with my gel nor did I have enough clementines. I went into the race coming off of a week of caring for my children who were ill and also realized in retrospect, how hard I was pushing myself with my business and with fund raising. Another key factor - I was really,really anxious about participating in this race. After all, it was a half marathon - the longest distance we had ever run in a race. I wasn't concerned about the distance at all but in spite of myself, was focused on the time. We also really pushed at the end of the race to try to make a 15 minute mile - yes the spirit of competition took over and it was also rainy and windy and we just wanted to finish. I had completely tuned out what my body needed and focused on running fast and hard. We had also started out running fast and were very focused on trying to keep a 15 minute pace. I meditated and focused on calming down the peristalsis in my stomach as well as not fighting what was happening to my body. I went with it reflecting on all of the factors which contributed to my getting sick as well as releasing any judgment or fear that went along with it. It's all lessons and blessings as we look to the future. We went to the Roadhouse Cafe in Hyannis for a fabulous dinner. After about five pieces of homemade crusty bread, an incredible salad with a delicious creamy Italian dressing, salmon, garlic mashed potatoes and spinach and a coke as well as about 3 more glasses of water, I felt like a new woman. I even have leftovers for tonight's dinner .:)

It was a phenomenal weekend with God's love overflowing with events of synchronicity, laughter, joy, rain, and wind, connecting with amazing people - like my friend Tim from Just Finish and Ric from L Street and having the opportunity to shine my light! I am so proud of my daughter Ruth Anne for being able to just finish despite the physical challenges she experienced the previous week and I am so delighted that my husband had the opportunity to take off in the crowd and enjoy a great pace for part of the race. I am so blessed and now, with just 8 weeks left we look ahead to the starting line at Hopkinton.

To purchase my book of inspirational poetry and to order your customized poem for any occasion, please be sure to visit

For a you tube video of my journey and for the opportunity to donate to Team McManus, visit

To purchase tickets to our benefit concert, please visit

See you at the finish line,


Sandy said...

Boston Marathon! Wow. I knit and crochet for charity and try to make my donations that way in lots of charities...but hats off to you for the marathon.

Doing some blog walking today, I see we have giving and traveling in common.

Please stop in for a visit, the travel blog doesn't even require packing! lol


Tim Doiron a.k.a "Derv" said...

Mary, great race....