I remember the morning that I woke up during our 2009 Boston Marathon training and knew we needed to start training on the course. Our coach and trainer, Domenick D'Amico was in charge of the Saturday morning Run Club at Brookline Marathon Sports.
From my memoir, "Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing, Hope and Possibility":
When we arrived, Domenick was there along with some other runners. Team McManus was a wee bit nervous not knowing what to expect or what was going to happen today. Ruth Anne had forgotten her hat in our haste to leave the house, but fortunately there was no shortage of hats at Marathon Sports. Domenick said we could pay when we got back to the store.
He was deep in thought about what route we should run today, "Have you run outdoors? Have you done hills?" We answered “yes” to both those questions.
He sent us down Beacon Street to Newton Wellesley Hospital, over to Wellesley, up Concord Rd, over to Route 30 via the Marriott, down Route 30 through Heartbreak Hill, through BC to go around the Reservoir and then back to Marathon Sports for a total of 17.5 miles.
I won't lie here - it was not easy! We did not know where we were going at times; we had to watch out for black ice and negotiate our
way through snow and slush at times along the route; there was a stiff headwind and temperatures were dropping throughout the afternoon; Ruth Anne is recovering from a head cold; at times Tom would set a pace that I couldn't keep up with and I vacillated between sheer exhilaration and dealing with demons from polio days. BUT we did it!!!!
4 hours and 45 minutes after we left Marathon Sports, we returned to a jubilant staff. Alison, the store manager, just back from her own vacation, hugged me so tightly and wanted to make sure we were all okay. I remember her on the Marathon Sports 5 Miler, giving me a high five and also checking in to make sure that I was doing okay. Her love, faith and beautiful Spirit is such a blessing to Team McManus.
We trained with the Run Club every Saturday. Here are photos from our last run before Boston captured by a BU photojournalism doctoral student, Johannes Hirn:
Yesterday I was having one of those "off" days that can happen when living with the late effects of paralytic polio and trauma. Now the off days are a result of overdoing it as opposed to just having days on end of not feeling well. Interestingly enough, even when I feel tired, sore, achy and nauseous, I have a feeling of well being now.
The 6 hour volunteer shift at the Runner's World Expo, training and racing two Sundays in a row along with the regular stresses that happen in life had caught up with me.
By the time 5:30pm came around, I wanted to curl up in bed with a good book but I knew better than to do that.
I headed out to Run Club to meet Tom and to get my run on.
I hadn't seen Spencer in a long time. The great thing about good friends is, you pick up right where you left off.
I was finally able to sign a copy of my memoir for Spencer. The feelings of gratitude for the time he took to fit me with my first pair of running shoes ever grows with each year. His unwavering support for Team McManus and for me warms my heart. He told me once that I am not race walking, I am gliding. He is a coach for Team in Training and coached The One Fund Team for this year's Boston Marathon and his support and encouragement are a blessing to any runner.
Tom and I had our early start and did our own run around the Reservoir while the rest of the Club did Jamaica Pond. It was going to be a recovery run of sorts but I found myself pushing myself at times and enjoying moments of sprinting. I did an average 16 min/mile pace for 3.55 miles with negative splits. I was sweating and feeling much better than before we set out on our run.
We met back at the store. There's an energy of satisfaction that accompanies the sweat and smiles after a run.
I've traveled many, many miles since Spencer fit me with my first pair of running shoes and since our first run in 2009 with the Marathon Sports Brookline Run Club. Here's to making it to the 100 mile club!
My memoir, "Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing, Hope and Possibility" is now available on Amazon.
"Wait, I have one more goal," Mary McManus told her personal trainer in February of 2008 shortly after coming out of her toe up leg brace. "I want to run the Boston Marathon for Spaulding Rehab Hospital." Mary traded in her polio shoes for running shoes and embarked on the journey of a lifetime. Mary McManus was at the height of her career as a VA social worker when she was told by her team at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital’s International Rehab Center for Polio in December of 2006 that she needed to quit her job if she had any hope of preventing the progression of post polio syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease. In “Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing, Hope and Possibility” Mary takes you on her seven year healing odyssey as a survivor of paralytic polio and trauma from her diagnosis, to taking a leap of faith to leave her award winning career at the VA to heal her life and follow her passion as a poet and writer. You’ll experience her trials, tribulations and triumphs as she trains for and crosses the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon and discovers the opportunity for healing in the wake of new trauma: the suicide of her nephew in 2011, and the aftermath of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. This is Mary's journey of coming home to her human form free from the influences of the ghastly ghostly invaders who had invaded her sacred earthly home. Her memoir includes journals and blog posts from her seven year healing odyssey. This is her journey of transformation and her message of healing, hope and possibility.
I donate 50% of royalty payments through on line sales to The One Fund to help Boston Marathon survivors and their families. Copies are also available at Brookline Marathon Sports. $5 of each book sold at Marathon Sports is donated to The One Fund.