Thursday, October 3, 2013

Why Do I Run?

After a restless night on Saturday because I was so excited about Sunday's Brookline Symphony Orchestra 5K Fun Run & Walk, my inaugural 5K after a two year running hiatus, I turned over and said to my husband, "Why do I do this to myself?"

Running does not come easy to me. As a matter of fact, I had never run before I laced up my first pair of running shoes in February of 2008 to begin training for the 2009 Boston Marathon. As a survivor of paralytic polio, I hated my body and felt as though my body had betrayed me. I decided in the moments following my collapse on the gymnasium floor in kindergarten that I had no use for my body.

I learned early on to dissociate from my body and then with years of sexual assault followed by physical assault and experiencing torturing rituals at the hands of my grandmother, I left my body for good harnessing the power of my intellect to succeed in the world. Of course I paid a terrible price and at the age of 53 years old, my body shut down in the guise of post polio syndrome.

These past seven years have been quite the adventure of finding my way home. When I took my first steps running in Spring of 2008, my heart rate went up to over 160. I remember the thrill of being able to run for 30 minutes straight. The miles began to build and on April 20, 2009, Team McManus crossed the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon.

I stopped running because my body crashed after the marathon. Then I began running again complete with trash talk about PR's and rode a runner's high until the Spring of 2011 when my nephew's suicide devastated me mind, body and Spirit. The last race I ran - the last race I thought I would ever run was the 2011 Brookline Symphony Orchestra 5K Fun Run and Walk.

Coming back to running this time is so different for me. There is no trash talk; no PR's although on Sunday I had a wonderful time testing the limits of my body. I felt a deep satisfaction after the Brookline Symphony 5K Fun Run and Walk.

I couldn't really articulate the feelings. I begin training for the Feaster Five 5K happening on Thanksgiving morning. Training doesn't come easy to me but I sure do love getting out there with Tom to get in the miles and working in hill training.

This evening we had a wonderful aquatics therapy class Find Your Core Strength at Spaulding Rehab. Diana Fischer, the physical therapist with boundless energy and enthusiasm who teaches the class, knows that I am training for another event and is so supportive and encouraging of the cross training I do in the pool. She lets us know the purpose of the different paces she puts us through as we do upper body, core and lower body strength training. It's exciting for me to feel the strength build and to experience how this training is serving me in good stead when I am out on the roads.

And yesterday I came across this quote on running on my friend Chelsea's page:

“People sometimes sneer at those who run every day, claiming they'll go to any length to live longer. But don't think that's the reason most people run. Most runners run not because they want to live longer, but because they want to live life to the fullest. If you're going to while away the years, it's far better to live them with clear goals and fully alive then in a fog, and I believe running helps you to do that. Exerting yourself to the fullest within your individual limits: that's the essence of running, and a metaphor for life — and for me, for writing as whole. I believe many runners would agree.” Murakami

And that dear readers is why I run!

A Neighborhood Run from the soon to be released A Celebration of Life. My books of inspirational poetry are available on Amazon

Early on a weekend morning
lacing up
heading out
heart open
feeling free
runners pass me left and right
but no matter
I run my own race
keep my own pace
peaceful and content
celebrating health
feeling well and whole
holy integrated
in my sacred earthly home
remembering a time not so long ago
of estrangement from myself
isolated and apart
unworthy and wretched
oh the stories we tell ourselves
but no more
on this late summer day
my neighborhood
coming home in my body
I come home to my life.

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