Saturday, May 2, 2009

Spiritual Spring Cleaning and Running is Fun!

I have spent the last two weeks recovering from the past fifteen months of training for and running the Boston Marathon. It was a very long winter. And now, as the sun is warming up the air, the birds are singing and everything is in bloom, I feel refreshed and reborn. I have been praying, meditating and visualizing the healing in my body once more - this time for healing blisters, easing the pain of battered quads and hamstrings and to alleviate exhaustion. Remembering to love my body as it recovered was key and to be patient knowing that in time, I would feel better. I had no idea what to expect for in truth, the anxiety was there - would my body rebel and would symptoms of post polio reappear, and what about all the other areas in my life - book sales, the business, relationships with family and friends - for the past 15 months I was consumed with one goal - well two goals because Team McManus needed to raise $9000 for Spaulding Rehab. How would I regain a balance in my life?

The answer came this morning as during my morning meditation I realized it was time for spiritual spring cleaning. As I felt the solar plexus clutch over many 'issues' that were swirling around in my mind, I took a broom and I swept out the thoughts and beliefs which are no longer true. I went through my spiritual closet packing up the thoughts which have stayed in the dark and haunted me for years. First, I turned on the light to see them more clearly and to understand their source. Then, asking God to lend Her Hand, I packed up those beliefs which need to be sent packing. This is not a package I want to give to Goodwill as hand me downs.

I noticed as I walked down the stairs that my hamstrings were no longer screaming at me. I noticed that I felt good and I noticed that I was ready to get out for a run again. It was supposed to rain this morning but there was no rain in sight. It was a little chilly so I layered - I forgot about the 15 degree rule and also to eat breakfast as soon as I first get up so my body has time to digest it before running - oh well - no harm... Team McManus went to Marathon Sports to join the Running Club. Dom, our beloved Team trainer from Spaulding greeted us with heartfelt congratulations and I met other runners who had also run Boston. As they talked about negative splits and times and the next challenge, I listened and smiled and felt so much gratitude that I had finished the Boston Marathon. All feelings of being less than or jealous that they could so much more than I banished for we all were awarded the same medal.

Dom told me that it takes about two weeks for a Marathon recovery - hey what do you know, my body was right on schedule. He agreed that a 3 mile run was the best way to start and told us of a route that was about 3.1 miles. He also suggested that we run on the gravel path to give our joints a chance to continue to recover. There was a woman new to Boston and the running club - Allison is her name (sidebar - God keeps sending these wonderful women named Allison into our lives). She had no idea where she was running to - a perfect solution for Ruth Anne to be able to keep her pace. They took off together and Tom and I walked for 5 minutes and then began to run. As my heart rate went up quickly, I remembered that I had not eaten my breakfast as soon as I woke up - my body was fighting to digest my oatmeal and toast. I relaxed but kept pushing myself to keep a running pace. I also remembered how, a year ago, I could run for only 33 minutes by May 28th (I know this because I had to review the story I submitted last year for the Tufts 10K; my story has been chosen to be featured on the Tufts 10K website this year to inspire other runners). I had to strip down the layers because I was over dressed It was a beautiful sky, the water was calm and I was overflowing with gratitude to be out. After once around the reservoir, I could feel my body falling into a wonderful rhythm and as we crossed Beacon Street, I broke out into a sprint - I would like to believe that my husband had a hard time keeping up with me but in truth, he was very happy to be running at a faster pace. Most importantly, as I picked up the pace and we headed toward Marathon Sports, I was having fun - I wanted to beat the time that I ran the Corrib Pub run last year and I did - by about a minute! This only two weeks after I ran 26.2 miles and trained for 15 months during one of the harshest New England winters.

When I returned to Marathon Sports, Dom greeted me with such a warm welcome. I told him that I had fun and that I am definitely a short distance runner to which he replied, 'there is nothing wrong with that. Dom has such a passion for running and such a respect for runners in all shapes, sizes and categories and wants everyone to just enjoy the sport. So now, I am an official member of a running club and every Saturday morning we get up early and meet up at Marathon Sports where we receive advice and support from Domenick D'Amico - an official BAA trainer for charity runners who donates his time and talent to help others achieve what he has achieved 17 times - "getting to the starting line injury free and getting to the finish line with a smile."

And now I have crossed the threshold of the starting line to what's next - I shall continue my spiritual spring cleaning as needed to free the energy and to feel the flow of God's love in my life. I am so incredibly grateful to all of the people who helped me to achieve my dream-my beautiful family, Janine my trainer, Janice, my energy healer, the hundreds of people who made donations, attended benefit concerts, Ball in the House and the Fenway Quintet for donating their time and talent to play our benefit concerts, the kindness of strangers along the marathon route who gave us moral support and nourishment, everyone at Spaulding Rehab and God from whom all blessings flow. I am gonna have fun running and doing road races and resuming strength training and doing different kinds of exercise. It is such a blessing to feel free in my body and it's never too late to have a happy childhood to quote Tony Robbins.

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