It's still a week and a half away and my chatter and nervousness begins about running the Bill Rodgers 5K Run and 14th Annual Walk for Prostate Cancer. I notice it and then I lovingly tell myself to come back to the present. I love Bill Rodgers who I have had the pleasure of meeting several times at the Hyannis Marathon Race Expo.
I know it's an all ages, all abilities race. I know the Race Director, J. Alain Ferry of RaceMenu from when we worked Bib Pick Up at the Runner's World Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon Festival Weekend. He is the one who invited me to the race.
I have absolutely nothing to worry about as long as I stay in the present moment.
We can all get caught up in the past and worry about the future. We tend to have this mental habit of remembering and sticking with thoughts and perceptions of a negative experience. For me and running a race, there are quiet echoes of when I was in a long leg brace after contracting paralytic polio trying to keep up with my peers and feeling so different and isolated from my friends.
But now I run with the pack; even if I am in the back of the pack. It is an inaugural race so I don't know how fast the field will be and it doesn't matter. I imagine myself dead last watching the pack of runners take off in front of me and I can be totally okay with that. I can allow myself to become excited about the race. The course is practically in my backyard and one that Tom and I have run more times than I can remember. There is nothing like the thrill of crossing a starting line, leaving nothing on the roads and then crossing the finish line.
I love Amby Burfoot's quote about winning:
Coincidentally, Amby and Bill were roommates and it was Amby who helped to train Bill in endurance running.
And another one of my favorite quotes from John "The Penguin" Bingham: "What distinguishes those of us at the starting line from those of us on the couch is that we learn through running to take what the days gives us, what our body will allow us, and what our will can tolerate."
So rather than allow those nervous thoughts to dominate, I breathe and come back to the present. I tap into my own feelings of empowerment knowing that no matter what the finisher's clock may say, I will make the race my personal best. I will celebrate and enjoy what is. I am reprogramming my thoughts even as I write this.
I repeat my new healing mantra, "I have all the energy I need to do whatever it is I need and want to do." I repeat my old healing mantra from Emile Coue of "Every day in every way I'm getting better and better."
I come back to the present and give myself the gift of peace.
gifts of awakening and awareness
come in the oddest of boxes
presence always presenting
the physical body
an illusion really
if we are to experience the fullness of life
the journey is the destination
receiving all the gifts that presence presents.
"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.