Saturday, August 23, 2014

Freedom and Solitude

I decided that I need to run the 2014 Tufts 10K on my own. I want to have the opportunity to run my own race. It's something I need to do for me and it's coming from the depths of my soul. So today, knowing that I need to and want to run the race alone, I set out on my training run prepared as I will be prepared on race day with fuel belt, a Luna bar for mid race fueling and a heart, mind and body focused on a PR from the last Tufts 10K I ran in 2010. My friend Gail Martin, a seasoned runner, always adds, conditions and body willing.

I simulated race day by parking near the T stop and walking over and around the Boston Common to warm up. I headed over to the starting line and off I went. I stopped where the water stops will be. I kept a strong and steady pace running from the inside out. There were moments when no one else was on the sidewalk. With the spectacular view of the Charles River on my left, I felt a sense of expansiveness and solitude.

There were times when I did a little bit of speed work by passing pedestrians and there were times when my body said, "Whoa girl. Slow down. You did a tempo run on Monday. Aquatics on Tuesday and Thursday you rode a bike outdoors for the first time and had your first bike riding lesson."

I took advantage of the downhills and the shade.

I visualized and experienced race day in my mind's eye.

Occasionally, I glanced at my pace and my time but know the importance of listening to my body. I remembered to focus on keeping the connection with my left leg so that my right leg doesn't get overused and injured. I was able to experience the benefits of Thursday's bike riding session. I wanted to see how close I could come to my time to beat for a PR of 1:36:10. I finished with a time today of 1:37:47. That's the best time I have run out on the Tufts 10K course and my best 10K time since I began training in June.

While I love the time spent with others when I run, there is something precious about running alone; especially as I find my own pace, my stride and have to be in solitude with my thoughts. Today's training run was a powerful moving meditation for me as I felt connected to myself and connected to something far greater than myself. It was a time to continue to heal from paralytic polio and trauma.

I enjoyed the silence and I enjoyed my own company. I enjoyed the freedom and the solitude of 6.2 miles along one of my favorite parts of Boston. The Tufts 10K is still seven weeks away but I know it will be here before we know it. I'll be ready to run the race in freedom and solitude among the thousands of runners and spectators. And when I cross the finish line seeing a time better than 1:36, body and conditions willing, I will celebrate with my husband, my daughter and my friends crossing another finish line of the miles in my personal marathon of healing.

"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.

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