Thursday, August 14, 2014

Go Forward!

A few years back, one of my facebook friends sent me a dog tag and key chain from the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation.

I wore it when I ran my comeback Tufts 10K race in 2010.

As I look back on my healing journey living with the effects of having contracted paralytic polio at the age of 5 and experiencing assault after assault on my body at the hands of family members which did not give my body time to heal from polio, I am amazed at my Spirit's desire to always find a way to go forward. I didn't know if I would be able to run again after the 2009 Boston Marathon. Yet, with hope in my heart, I returned to my "master magician" physician Dr. El Abd at Newton Wellesley Hospital Spine Center and worked with a wonderful physical therapist who helped me build upper body strength and work to heal cervical spine disease. In December of 2010, I crushed the Somerville Jingle Bell Run with a PR pace of 13:43/minute.

And then life happened in March of 2011 and by September of 2011, I called it quits with running believing I would not be able to run again. This was my time in the chrysalis; a time of darkness and uncertainty and a time to prepare to transform again.

4/15/13 happened and the #onerun and I realized I had to get back running and I had to find a way to reclaim my life despite or maybe because of everything that happened to me.

Slowly, almost imperceptibly, I began to go forward.

I worked in Aquatics Therapy, in my training runs and beginning in March with a mind/body therapist to heal, to gain strength and endurance and then to see what this body could do at last week's Bill Rodgers 5K Run/Walk To Benefit Prostate Cancer.

This weekend is the Falmouth Road Race. Last year, it was just about four months after the events of 4/15/13. Everyone was reeling and healing. It's amazing to see how much healing has happened in our running community in the past year. The weight of loss and trauma has been lifted; celebration and joy are in the air.

Meb won Boston and is competing in Falmouth this year.

“I am so happy to be coming back to Falmouth,” said Keflezighi, who will be on the starting line in Woods Hole for the first time since 2009. “The Falmouth Road Race is run on one of the most beautiful courses I’ve ever seen, and the people there have embraced me as if I’ve lived on-Cape all of my life. I always run well there, and to return now as the Boston Marathon champion makes it even more special, knowing that so many of my Falmouth friends were there and cheering me on.

This will be the fourth time Keflezighi has run the New Balance Falmouth Road Race. He has twice finished as runner-up, in 2007 and 2008, and in 2009 he placed fifth. Each time, he was the first American finisher....

When Keflezighi crossed the finish line on Boylston Street last spring in an emotional victory, he became the first man to win the Boston Marathon, New York City Marathon (2009), and an Olympic medal. Now 39, he also won the 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials and finished a remarkable fourth in the 2012 London Olympics, and is the oldest man to win the Boston Marathon since 1931.

“We’re excited that Meb has chosen to run in Falmouth,” said Dave McGillivray, race director of both the Boston Marathon and the New Balance Falmouth Road Race. “Standing at the finish line and soaking in the chants of ‘USA! USA!’ as Meb ran up Boylston Street was a privilege, and seeing the impact that he and his win have had on runners and children since then has been eye-opening. Falmouth is a lucky town.”

Meb will also be hosting a charity run.

My friends Paul and Marcie DiLorenzo will be celebrating their raceiversary in Falmouth this year. They were married at last year's starting line. What light, love and joy they brought to us all four months after 4/15/13. One year later they have four month old Rad in tow. In a few short months, they will cross another finish line as they finalize the adoption of their two beautiful, awesome sons, Gino and Vann.

As for me? I have one more 5K race on 9/28th, The Blue Cross Blue Shield Island Run to benefit Boston Harbor Island Alliance, Big Sister Association of Greater Boston & The Greater Boston Food Bank before I return to the starting line of the 2014 Tufts 10K. With the Tufts 10K just two weeks after the Island Run, I won't be setting an intention for a PR for the day. It will be a wonderful opportunity to race and enjoy the day with friends.

My sights are set on Monday, October 13, 2014 when I return to the start of the Tufts 10K for Women.

My time to beat is:
1:36:10 15:29 Mary McManus

Long before I was on Facebook and long before I was following the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, I wrote the poem Running the Race and wrote these words:

I'm now off the sidelines, no need to sit and whine
so much gratitude fills my heart and love and beauty shine.
After all these years I can join the loving human race
I exceed all expectations and now I set the pace.

After last Sunday's PR, I have total confidence that I can work toward besting my time from 2010.

We are all so blessed to be presented with opportunities to Go Forward and unleash our inner superhero.

"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.

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