This time tomorrow I will have crossed the finish line of the Inaugural Bill Rodgers 5K Road Race and Walk to benefit prostate cancer.
I've been piecing together why this race means so much to me and why I chose to trash talk about a PR tomorrow.
And the Truth of it all can best be expressed in this quote by Olympian Gold Medalist Billy Mills:
After my nephew's suicide in March of 2011, I was in dire emotional straits. I lost myself and sense of who I was and I became vulnerable to people who did not have my best interest at heart. Trauma survivors are wonderful at convincing ourselves something is good for us even when it's not.
And so I walked away from running and the running community.
But the events of 4/15/13 awakened me to how important running is for me. As Joan Benoit Samuelson said,
"As every runner knows, running is about more than just putting one foot in front of the other; it is about our lifestyle and who we are."
I worked and am working hard in Aquatics at Spaulding Rehab, on the roads and in my weekly mind/body therapy sessions to reclaim my body and my life.
In October of 2007, after being discharged from outpatient rehab at Spaulding Rehab, I hired Janine Hightower, a personal trainer to see if I could get a little stronger.
She quoted Henry Ford, "Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're right." And after our initial assessment, during which I was unable to even complete the tasks for assessment, as she pulled out all of her equipment for my first session she said to me, "Let's see what this body can do."
Six months later I declared I wanted to run the Boston Marathon for Spaulding Rehab. Totally non plussed, she sent me off to Marathon Sports to be fitted for my first pair of running shoes ever.
She pushed us hard knowing what it would take for us to go the distance. We did speed drills, hill workouts, fartleks and strength training. I did an 11 minute mile one time. She provided me with support, encouragement and a lot of tough love along the road to Boston.
Recently, I have been resurrecting the runner within me reclaiming the sense of joy and freedom and that fiery Spirit in my soul to challenge myself to see just what this body can do.
Through training for tomorrow's race, I reclaimed my sense of dignity and integrity that others had tried to hijack from me through intimidation, humiliation and basically selling me a bill of goods on a treatment modality that was wrong for me. It was all a part of my journey and I am grateful for the soul lessons I learned.
I am delighted to be where I am today poised to take my place at the starting line of tomorrow's race. I don't know what the finisher's clock will say. I don't know if I will finish last in the group of runners. None of that matters. I will dig deep and leave nothing on the roads tomorrow. I can walk with character and pride knowing that I had the strength to begin again after a two year running hiatus. I worked my way back to remember what it was like to trash talk about a PR tomorrow and to see what this body can do. Tomorrow is my victory lap and one that I will embrace with a sense of deep personal satisfaction having reclaimed my dignity, my pride and my courage to be myself.
"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.