It was the Thursday before Boston Marathon weekend 2014. My therapist at Sollievo Massage and Bodywork knew the events that were coming up for me, for the city of Boston and people watching and waiting around the world. Thursday evening was our annual pre marathon meeting at L Street Running Club. Saturday was the BAA 5K, the Boston Marathon Expo and many events honoring survivors and their families. On Sunday we took the field at Fenway Park to represent the BAA volunteers and Monday was when Boston raced again.
As we said goodbye Joseph said to me, "Journey well."
With those two words I knew that I had to write another book and that the title would be "Journey Well."
Every book begins with a blank page.
I had no idea what was going to fill the pages of Journey Well. It's been written in real time woven together with excerpts from my memoir, "Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing, Hope and Possibility", poems, blog posts from then and now and journal entries. I know the arc of my story ends with my running of the 2014 Tufts 10K. I have been revising and editing and editing some more as I go along.
What is my intention for writing Journey Well?
April 15, 2013 was a defining moment in my life and in the lives of people in Boston and around the world. It was a personal wake up call for me to return to my healing path and the sport and community that have been medicine and a lifeline for me throughout my marathon of healing the late effects of paralytic polio and experiencing 9 years of domestic violence as a child and adolescent.
My intention is to capture the essence of Boston Strong through my experience of the 2014 Boston Marathon and as I profile the people who are Boston Stronger.
In Journey Well, I take an honest look at what led me to stray from my healing path and the running community in the hopes that others who are vulnerable and hungry for healing will be discerning about who and what they choose to help them heal.
Despite the horrific events I experienced in my life, I always kept the spark of hope, healing and possibility alive in my heart and soul. I am blessed with the gifts of Aquatics Therapy at Spaulding Rehab, weekly treatments with Joseph at Sollievo that help me to heal mind, body and Spirit, my running and the unconditional love, laughter and support in the running community. My village grows. I have been so blessed with experiences that make for a great read - and a life well lived.
We can always begin again. And no matter what happens to us, we can always find a way to journey well.
And now - drumroll please -- unveiling the cover of Journey Well with deepest thanks to Kathleen Healy Fencil and J. Alain Ferry of RaceMenu and Race Director extraordinaire for the inspiration and cover and author photos.
"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.