Friday, April 24, 2009

Running a Marathon – Running my Life

Whether running the Boston Marathon or running my life, there are invaluable lessons which I learned during this journey.

Keep my own pace – in this world of cut throat competition and everyone wanting to edge everyone out, it is crucial that I stick to my own steady pace. It is important to be self contained and not allow the crush of the crowd to overwhelm me or veer me away from what I know to be true. There was a crush of runners after the first wave of runners started in Hopkinton who caught up with us after we had our early start. They were pushing and shoving me and one person even commented, “Lady, you can't be walking here.” Part of my race strategy was to walk through every water station to ensure that I had adequate hydration. I ignored him and felt that I had a right to be walking. Despite the jeers from some runners that I was running slowly, I was not going to speed up my pace just to please someone else and risk an injury.

Stay focused and balanced – there are many distractions in life with email, cell phones, Twitter, on line communities as well as the lure of the get rich quick schemes. I am so grateful for modern ways to communicate and especially for social networking but it is important that I not lose sight of my goals and dreams and get swept away by the lure of just so much stimulation. It is important to remain focused and balanced. During the Marathon, there were many distractions – runners passing us by and some even splattering gatorade at our feet, well wishers wanting hi fives and low fives, and an incredible offering of food and beverage – sausage, beer, cookies. Just as I do in life, I had to choose wisely from the crowd (and I am so grateful to the wonderful thoughtful people who peeled bananas and handed them to us and orange slices in plastic bags so we could carry them on our way) and conserve my energy to stay focused for the 26.2 mile journey. I learned the importance of having cheerleaders in my life and am so grateful to those who chanted, “Go Mary, Go Mary!”

Believing in myself – I held fast to the belief that I would, no matter what, finish the Boston Marathon. As runners who were younger, faster, obviously more comfortable than I on the marathon course were passing by, I had to tenaciously hold to this belief or I would have just quit. I could not look to the left or the right of me but put one foot in front of the other and know I was on the right path. I have chosen a career as an entrepreneur and poet. The same unwavering faith which I held to which allowed me to cross the finish line of the 113th Boston Marathon against all odds, is now being channeled into expansion and continuing to create the life of my dreams.

Confidence and strength comes from within – I felt God's presence with me with each step I took and I know that God is with me on every step of my life's journey. With confidence and strength I move forward knowing that I can accomplish anything I set out to do if it is aligned with my highest good.

The only thing I can control is my thoughts, feeling, perceptions and attitude – Peace and going with the flow is the only way to run a Marathon and to live my life! Oh how I wanted to control the weather (although at times I would talk to the wind and ask it to please change direction and it would listen at times), control my teammates, and control my body but the lesson I learned is that when I let go and accept and then create my thoughts and feelings in response to whatever is presented to me, there can only be positive outcomes. When the headwinds would blow, it reminded me of my own inner strength and it reminded me that I cannot pay attention to the clock but steadfastly put one foot in front of the other, and know that I will arrive at my destination. When the snow and ice fell, God had always created a path for me to run on and on days when we could not run outside, God provided us with an indoor track or the inspiration to cross train on the bicycle. I had prayed that this would be the mildest winter ever because, after all, I had to go outside and train for the Marathon. God taught me that I could overcome my intolerance to cold and behold a world I had never seen before in winter – a true winter wonderland. When I saw my teammates take off or run up a hill with relative ease, at first I would be reminded of my days as a polio survivor and feel such resentment and anger. I wanted to control them and have them go at my pace. That attitude was not going to get me to any finish line – so I had to celebrate me and focus on my life's journey releasing the anger, resentment and jealousy I felt. God taught me that I need to be still and listen to the Voice within – to stop fighting against and to find the way to go in the flow.

And on Monday, April 20th, I was in the flow and crossed the finish line of the 113th Boston Marathon which is also the starting line for the next phase of my life's journey. Wonderful adventures await......

Be sure to log onto and order a book of my inspirational poetry, "New World Greetings:Inspirational Poetry and Musings for a New World". I donate 20% of the proceeds to Spaulding Rehab's Polio Fund.

Mother's Day is right around the corner - check out my samples of customized poems at and contact me to create more than a card -- a gift from the heart.

There's still time to donate to Team McManus; log onto and donate to Spaulding Rehab Hospital where remarkable recoveries like mine happen every day!

No comments: