"Why don't you get on your helmet and we'll put you on this bike today. We don't have the one you used last week today," Ali Stoll, Ph.D. and coordinator of the Adaptive Sports Program at Spaulding Rehab suggested at yesterday's adaptive sports program.
Caitlyn from AccesSportAmerica helped fit me with my helmet.
They adjusted the seat on the recumbent bike to accommodate my long legs and Ali suggested using a band to secure my feet to the pedals. They were back in a flash with therabands. I was intrigued by how they were able to make a sling for my feet to secure them to the pedals. I gave it a test drive to make sure everything was comfortable and off we went.
This was the second Thursday that the forecast was for rain but the sky was a beautiful blue with puffy white clouds. There was a strong wind which we used to our advantage when it was at our backs. I was amazed at how at ease I felt riding this week. I was mindful and attentive while feeling a comfort being on the bike thoroughly enjoying experiencing this new found skill of mine.
We talked about running, races, and life. We went farther than last week and there was a slope in the sidewalk. Ali reassured me that it was perfectly safe to ride down the incline and encouraged me to have fun along the way. We rode to where the USS Constitution is docked. Ali checked in with me to see if I needed to rest and to see when I was ready to turn around. I suggested we do the "turn around" at the Constitution. (Every year on July 4th, the USS Constitution does its annual turnaround.)
What comes down must go up so that meant I would have to get back up that slope we rode down on our ride out. I instinctively picked up speed as we approached the slope and almost made it to the top. I slid back down. Ali said that she wanted me to really push and would only help me once I absolutely needed it. I gained momentum and made it as far as I could and told her, "Now" letting her know I couldn't push beyond that point to make it over the slope. She said all I needed was a little extra push.
The ride back was relaxing and enjoyable. The more I biked, the more I enjoyed the feeling of maneuvering the bike and feeling a sense of empowerment and strength.
We approached the bump in the road that had stopped me cold last week. As Ali mentioned that it was coming up, I gained momentum and without hesitation made it up and over.
It's funny how one week, something seems like an insurmountable obstacle but when we figure out what we can do to gain momentum, feel our strength and believe in our abilities, that insurmountable obstacle becomes merely a bump in the road. I carry this new found confidence and strength with me into the final 6 weeks of training for the Tufts 10K.
"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.