Wednesday, August 27, 2014

My Obsession With Running

"The obsession with running is really an obsession with the potential for more and more life." - Dr. George Sheehan

I love running and when I am not running, I spectate or I volunteer or share in the accomplishments of my running friends on Facebook. I have devoured books about running, runners biographies, the history of the Boston Marathon and have two more in queue after I finish reading Johnny Kelley's "Young at Heart." I read on line articles about running.

My obsession with running began after I wrote the poem "Running the Race" as I sat in a leg brace, using a wheelchair for mobility at times and feeling the worst in mind, body and Spirit that I ever felt in my life.

Running did not and does not come easily to me. The first time I ever ran for 30 seconds, at the age of 54 years old, shortly after coming out of my leg brace, my heart rate soared over 170.

For a moment I believed that I had no business running when I ran the Marathon Sports 5 Miler in July of 2008 as I began training for the 2009 Boston Marathon. But Tom and my Marathon Sports family gave me the boost I needed to believe in myself as a runner.

Running is in my soul now.

My heart breaks for that little 5 year old, when I think back to when I was in a full leg brace after contracting paralytic polio and desperately trying to keep up with my brother and my friends.

Running is my form of redemption.

When I crossed the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon, it was a moment bigger than I was yet it was also my personal moment of redemption.

A few weeks ago, I was obsessed with seeing if I could achieve a PR at the Bill Rodgers 5K Run/Walk to Benefit Prostate Cancer. Talk about a moment of redemption and experiencing the fullness of my life after taking a detour off my healing path in 2011. What a blessing to be able to inspire others to move beyond a diagnosis or a condition and see what they are capable of doing when put to the test on and off the roads.

I am training for the Tufts 10K and am eager to see what this body can do on race day. After Tufts it's training for the Feaster Five on Thanksgiving Day.

The sport of running is one of the only sports I know of where you can stand shoulder to shoulder and run on the same road as the running greats. I have been blessed to receive support, encouragement and advice from Bill Rodgers, Frank Shorter, Greg Meyer, Dave McGillivray and the inspirational Hoyts just to name a few.

There is an energy in the running community that is the energy of life itself. My obsession with running was borne out of a time in my life when I faced a grim diagnosis of post polio syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular condition. It has become my therapy, my medicine and the vehicle for bringing me from the precipice of decline to the fullness of my life.

"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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