Thursday, April 2, 2009

I've Come A Long Way Baby!!!! {but couldn't have done it without a lot of help along the way}

An incredible luxury today to relax and just run at an even, slow pace chatting with Ruth Anne and Janine and taking a look back at how far I've come -- did I ever think that running could be effortless and fun? Today the answer is a resounding YES! We talked about what makes an athlete - is it the winning or is it the grit, courage, determination, unwavering faith and believe in yourself and working hard at every turn to be the best you can possibly be - Janine told me that I embodied the spirit of being an athlete. Athlete and Mary McManus in the same sentence - wow!

October 15, 2007 - first training session with Janine
October 16,2007 - left for Bermuda for a vacation and every muscle in my body was wracked with pain. I could barely stand up to go to the rest room on the plane. What was I thinking? In truth, I hurt anyway; I could barely stand up anyway so what difference did it make? I'd stick with this and see what happened. I may as well hurt moving forward rather than hurting and keeping the status quo.
February 2008 - went to Marathon Sports and bought my first pair of running shoes ever! Thank you Spencer Aston for being so patient and finding the perfect pair of running shoes and figuring out that a heel lift was necessary to ensure running comfort. First time I ever ran on a treadmill - I just did it!
mid-March 2008 - Jogged outside for the first time in my life!
Summer 2008 - ran continuously for a half an hour
June 1, 2008 - ran my first road race - The Corrib Pub 5K - Thank you to all the wonderful supporters along the route and to Georgia and Paul for psyching us up before the race
Summer 2008 - Marathon Sports 5 Miler Thank you Alison for making sure I was doing okay and for being there at the water stations. Thanks to everyone at Marathon Sports who cheered me on as I finished last.
October 13, 2008 - Tufts 10K - Thank you to my daughter Ruth Anne for being so patient and loving and for helping us to have the most perfect running day ever (2nd only to the Boston Marathon of course)
November 30, 2008 - Tough Ten Mile Turkey Trot - Thank you to all the supporters who cheered me on as I finished last and for starting the race with a beautiful prayer.
February 2009 - 17.2 Mile Long Run from Natick to Boston - thank you Tom for not giving up on that day despite feeling lousy.
Hyannis Half Marathon - thanks to Paulie, Bill Rodgers, Frank Shorter, Ric Beaudoin, Tim Doiron and all the incredible people we met during the weekend. Thanks to the Hyannis Conference Center for the room renovations which made our stay so pleasurable.
March 28, 2009 - 21 mile long run - thank you Dom for all of your guidance, love, support, and encouragement as we departed from Marathon Sports to do our long runs. Thank you to the staff at the Wellesley Marathon Sports store for letting us refill our water bottles, use the bathroom and for providing us with so much support when we'd use the store for our pit stop.
April 2, 2009 - Last training session with Janine Hightower. Janine - you have been with Team McManus every step we have taken along this Road to the Boston Marathon. You have been a friend, a confidante, a tough trainer, a supporter, a cheerleader, a fund raiser and our gratitude to you just overflows. Thank you for the taper plan - it's funny how we are going back to not measuring miles but measuring time of a run. We have come full circle in the training but we are so strong, and so ready to run the 113th Boston Marathon thanks in great part to your loving guidance and incredible skill.

Thank you to the staff at Spaulding Rehab - to Ashley - for listening to my angst and anxiety and for guiding us through the wonderful world of fund raising. Suzanne - thanks for reminding me how much I inspire you - when I felt depleted and sore and ready to just give in, I realized that I could not afford to because I am inspiring you and so many people. Thank you for choosing Team McManus to run on the Race for Rehab team.

It's great to look back and see in fact how far I've come! Janine was wondering if she did everything she could to prepare us for the Boston Marathon and after today's gentle 40 minute run around the reservoir, she realized that she had. As we looked back, we noted how I made every single training run for the past year. We are healthy as we approach the starting line. She incorporated strength training, core training, hills, tempo runs, sprints and helped me to transform myself from polio survivor to athlete. I continue to integrate this new image of myself from being a sedentary person to one who is alive and active. Thank you to Janice Wesley - angel energy healer whose gift of being an intuitive and the gift of healing hands has blessed me mind, body and spirit along this road to the Boston Marathon.

It's now time to rest, hydrate, pay exquisite attention to nutrition and mentally and spiritually prepare for April 20th, 2009. It's time to celebrate the hard work, sweat and tears I've put in during the past 19 months. It's time now to give thanks to God for blessing me with the miracle of healing and sending so many wonderful angels to guide me along this journey. Thank you Ruth Anne and Tom for signing on for the adventure of a lifetime. And thank you to Tom Jr for your help and support on the weekends.

For more information on Janine Hightower, log onto

April is National Poetry Month (in addition to being the month of the Boston Marathon), log onto and check out my Poetic Reflections on the Journey. While you're there, be sure to purchase a copy of my book of inspirational poetry, "New World Greetings:Inspirational Poetry and Musings for a New World". Contact me to order your customized poetry for your spring and summer events.

To donate to Team McManus and help us reach our new goal of over 10K - log onto

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